Established in 1918, Katmai National Park is a geological splendor of untamed wildlife, active volcanoes, and picturesque landscapes located in King Salmon, AK. Accessible almost exclusively by plane or boat, this national park is renowned for its thriving brown bear population. Although most often having windy, rainy, and cold weather conditions, the beauty of Katmai National Park cannot be replicated anywhere else in the world. To experience the wonder of Wild Alaska, prepare for some amazing adventures in Katmai National Park!
Prepare For “Beary" Close Encounters
Because of its abundant salmon population, Katmai National Park is home to some of the highest densities of bears in the world. Well over 2,000 brown bears are estimated to inhabit the park, with populations increasing during peak salmon-run seasons. While many visit the park to see bears in their natural habitat, what the park aims to give visitors is an educational experience that lets them walk away with a greater understanding of the animals and more respect for them too.
To reduce your risk of a bear-human conflict during your visit:
- Travel in groups and make noise as you move
- Maintain awareness of your surroundings
- Keep food in designated bear-proof caches
- Give bears their space, never approach them
- Move away slowly if you see a bear, never run
One of the best spots to see bears up close is Brooks Camp which features three wildlife viewing platforms. Other popular bear watching sites include Hallo Bay, Swikshak Lagoon, Moraine Creek, and Funnel Creek. When watching the bears, keep your voice low, avoid flash photography, and be respectful of other viewers.
World-Class Fishing Opportunities
With everything from rainbow trout and arctic char to lake trout and pacific salmon, Katmai National Park attracts anglers from all over the globe. While fishing guides are available, you can also fish the waters of the park on your own, as long as you are in accordance with Alaska Department of Fish and Game regulations. For safety reasons, you should always fish with caution due to the dense populations of bear in the area. Be prepared to sever your line if a bear makes its presence known to you. Per regulation, all fishing must cease when a bear is within 50 yards. Some of the top fishing spots in the park include the Alagnak River, Moraine Creek, Kulik River, Brooks River, and American Creek.
Explore By Land, Water, Or Air
There is so much to see within Katmai National Park, and luckily you have a few different options when it comes to how you want to explore it all. With under five miles of maintained trails, you can hike the landscape, but be prepared for a backcountry experience. Because the Katmai region contains hundreds of miles of waterways, you can explore by kayak, canoe, or raft too! And lastly, you can take in the enormity of the park from the sky with a flight-seeing tour! This aerial view provides one of the most incredible opportunities for seeing the Alaskan landscape and the wildlife that call it home.
Camping & Lodging
Within Katmai National Park you’ll find Brooks Camp Campground settled among towering birch trees and balm poplar, less than half a mile from Brooks River. While the campground does accept reservations, it doesn’t have designated sites and it doesn’t accommodate RVs either. A number of rentable lodges and cabins are available within the park and along its boundaries.
For RV-friendly and accessible accommodations, one of the best choices is the Ship Creek RV Park which is located about 15 minutes from the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. This airport regularly schedules flights to King Salmon, AK, to offer you convenient transport to Katmai National Park. Ship Creek RV Park includes a dump station, restrooms and showers, RV storage, a self-service RV wash, and a laundry facility.
Have you ever been to Katmai National Park? Tell us about your experience by leaving a comment!