10 Things to do in Katmai National Park and Preserve That You Shouldn't Miss

November 27, 2021 Malia Yoakum

See bears catch salmon as they leap through the air in Katmai National Park.

1. Brooks River

Katmai National Park and Preserve, AK http://Www.explore.org
Excellent
88%
Good
11%
Satisfactory
2%
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5.0 based on 57 reviews

Brooks River

One of the best sites for spotting brown bears, this river flows through the heart of Katmai National Park.

2. Savonoski Loop

Katmai National Park and Preserve, AK
Excellent
75%
Good
25%
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5.0 based on 4 reviews

Savonoski Loop

A five- to ten-day paddle route around the park.

3. Naknek Lake

Katmai National Park and Preserve, AK
Excellent
82%
Good
18%
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5.0 based on 17 reviews

Naknek Lake

Scenic lake in the park.

Reviewed By TheZ123

Last visited this lake in early September 1989 while working summers for Trident Seafoods out of Naknek,AK. Ran the Naknek River in a Jon boat up to the lake and a few miles up ran into huge waves and high wind. Sheered the prop pin and spent 4 days slowly getting up to Brooks Lodge using oars. Did not see anyone on the lake. Was able to row across the lake to Brooks Lodge around 4 a.m. the 4th day as the wind finally stopped. For $20 had a great and very much needed breakfast that morning at the lodge. Saw tons of bears and there was a viewing platform where many bears were off from very close and fishing for salmon at a broad falls area. Saw mom with three cubs along the beach and campground area. Bears were able to go wherever they wanted so there were aerial storage caches for peoples food that had ladders to access. Fishing was great in the river where it came into the lake and had to time your landings when the bears were not in a position to try and take the fish. Ran into some fisherman in their boat who sold to Trident and we fished two days in the lake. Fabulous rainbow trout very good size and beautiful silver pink and spotted bodies. Many small delicate scales and fragile. We took great care to release them. Great week, lots of neat islands with lots of bear tracks. I would do it again all over if I could but life and the job that comes after college has had a different agenda for me. I’ve engineered overhead power line projects in parts of Alaska that are as beautiful but Katmai was a magical place in 1989.

4. Alaska Bear Expeditions Bear Viewing Tours

Excellent
92%
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8%
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5.0 based on 12 reviews

Alaska Bear Expeditions Bear Viewing Tours

Alaska Bear Expeditions Katmai National Park Alaska offering the Ultimate bear viewing, bear watching and bear photography tours in the highest concentrated areas of coastal brown bears in Alaska. Specializing in coastal brown bear day tours and our EXTREME multi day base camp tours you will LIVE, SLEEP and Walk side by side with North Americas largest living land predator on close distance bear photography tour that is sure to produce the most unique images that can be had along with lasting memories. Our bear viewing tours are a adventure in exploring the Alaskan wilderness while following the feeding source's of the coastal brown bear to insure optimal wildlife viewing. The ULTIMATE Adventure in Bear Photography Tours in Katmai National Park with Alaska Bear Expeditions.

5. Brooks Falls

Katmai National Park and Preserve, AK +1 907-243-1595 http://www.flyrusts.com
Excellent
92%
Good
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5.0 based on 309 reviews

Brooks Falls

Area on the Brooks River where a large number of brown bears spend their summer due to salmon migration.

Reviewed By 907blaked - Tampa, United States

We made a special trip to Katmai National Park from Anchorage to view the grizzly bears, and we were not disappointed. We looked at a couple of different private transportation services to get there, including Rust's and Katmailand. We ultimately settled on Katmailand, and we were not disappointed, even though the price was steep at $895 per person. Our trip started at a private hanger near the Anchorage airport, where we loaded into a nine passenger jet for the one hour and 15 minute flight to King Salmon. The flight left at around 7 AM, arriving in King Salmon at 8:15 AM. King Salmon is the main hub for getting to Brooks Camp, and it seemed like little float planes to and from Brooks Camp were constantly taking off and landing, whether with passengers, supplies, or both. Our flight on a 10 passenger float plane ultimately left at around 9:45 AM and landed at Brooks Camp on Naknek Lake at 10:05 AM. Immediately upon arrival we went to the visitor center for a briefing on bear safety. There was a 10 minute film, followed by a 10 minute life talk from the Ranger. After that, we were allowed to explore the entirety of Brooks Camp on our own. We immediately headed for Brooks Falls, knowing that that was the best place to view the grizzlies. We walked across the brand new bridge that was opened for the 2019 season, which was fantastic (no bear jams!). Several platforms off the bridge allowed you to stop and watch the grizzlies if there were any, and there definitely were each time we crossed it. The walk to Brooks Falls was ultimately around 20 minutes from the visitor center. The upper Falls viewing platform holds only 40 people at a time, and so they have a system for managing the tourists: When you arrive to the upper Falls location, you are given a buzzer similar to what you get at a restaurant by the host when you’re waiting for your table. You are than invited to go to the lower Falls platform viewing area to watch the grizzlies down stream while you wait for your buzzer to ring. Once your buzzer rings, you are permitted to go to the upper Falls for one hour. On the day we were there, the lower downstream area was actually better viewing for the bears then the upper Falls area. This was by far the highlight of our trip to Katmai, and probably even to Alaska overall. As part of our tour reservation through Katmailand, we were provided access to the buffet lunch at the dining lodge. I was not expecting much, but it actually was very good. There was a full salad bar, plus 4 or 5 hot dishes, including beef, chicken fried rice, sticky rice, and beef barley soup. There were also two desserts to choose from, chocolate brownies and pecan bars. There was plenty to eat for the vegan member in our group. Our flight was scheduled to leave at 4 PM, and we were told to check in back at the office near the visitor center and hour in advance. The fact that we had to check in a full hour early was a little disappointing, because once you come back down to the office and visitor center area from the Falls area, it is difficult to get back up to the Falls area for viewing, and so you are essentially "stuck" around the office area for the entire hour before your flight (although they do allow you to hang out on the new bridge, where we could still view some bears). Our flight eventually left around 3:50 PM, and we were headed back to King Salmon and then eventually to Anchorage. Viewing grizzlies at Brooks Falls is something everyone should do if you have the interest and ability! We went on July 12, and we probably saw 35 bears in total, with the maximum at any one time of around 10 or 11.

6. Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes

Katmai National Park and Preserve, AK +1 907-246-3305 https://www.nps.gov/katm/planyourvisit/exploring-the-valley-of-ten-thousand-smokes.htm
Excellent
62%
Good
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Satisfactory
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Poor
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4.5 based on 65 reviews

Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes

This area offers many hiking options.

7. Windy Point

Katmai National Park and Preserve, AK

Usual starting point for hikes to many of the park's mountains.

8. Baked Mountain

Katmai National Park and Preserve, AK
Baked Mountain

One of the mountains popular with hikers in the park.

9. Broken Mountain

Katmai National Park and Preserve, AK

One of the mountains popular with hikers in the park.

10. Falling Mountain

Katmai National Park and Preserve, AK

One of the mountains popular with hikers in the park.

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