Road Travel America ... Home Page

Katmai National Park & Preserve

Katmai National Park
PO Box 7 1000 Silver Street
Building 603, King Salmon, AK 99613
Phone 907.246.3305
Website of Katmai National Park at NPS

Location and Characteristics

Katmai National Park is located approximately 260 miles southwest of Anchorage, Alaska, and is a true wilderness destination. It is notable for its volcanoes, lakes, Brooks River, the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes and for its brown bears. The park and preserve encompass 4,093,077 acres (6,395 sq miles).

The park is named after Mount Katmai, its centerpiece stratovolcano. The park is located on the Alaska Peninsula, across from Kodiak Island, with headquarters in nearby King Salmon.

The area was first designated a national monument in 1918 to protect the area around the major 1912 volcanic eruption of Novarupta, which formed the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, a 40-square-mile, 100-to-700-foot-deep pyroclastic flow. The park includes as many as 18 individual volcanoes, seven of which have been active since 1900.

Let's Visit the Park!

Katmai is open year-round for visitors to enjoy. However, it is a remote park that cannot be accessed by automobile. There are few services in the park and preserve. The closest grocery store and post office are located outside of the park in King Salmon. Plan ahead and bring what you need to enjoy your visit. 

The park and preserve offer unique opportunities to explore vast wilderness and immense volcanoes, watch brown bears, fish for salmon and trout, and many other activities.

Bears aren’t the only ones fishing in the park! Katmai is also home to the Alagnak Wild River and Naknek Lake, the largest lake in the park, supports all five species of Pacific salmon as well as rainbow trout, Arctic char, Arctic grayling and northern pike, making the park a famed destination for sport anglers.

Unconnected to any town by road, a trip to Katmai requires detailed planning and advance reservations for extended visits. Bear viewing tour packages to the park, even one-day tours, can be arranged from Kodiak, Homer and Anchorage.

Spend a day, or more, and enjoy and explore Katmai National Park and Preserve!

Map showing the location of Katmai National Park relative to other Alaska cities, parks and preserves
Map showing the location of Katmai National Park relative to other Alaska cities, parks and preserves

Katmai Caldera looking towards Mount Griggs in the distance (NPS)
Katmai Caldera looking towards Mount Griggs in the distance

The rugged beauty of Mount Katmai (NPS)
The rugged beauty of Mount Katmai


Mirror Lake in Katmai National Park and Preserve (NPS)
Aerial view of Mirror Lake in Katmai National Park and Preserve

 

What you will see in the Park: Overviews, Vistas and Lakes

Lake Kaguyak Crater (NPS)
Lake Kaguyak Crater in Katmai National Park in Alaska

Visitor Centers

King Salmon Visitor Center

Located next door to the King Salmon Airport, the King Salmon Visitor Center provides information on the many federal public lands of Southwest Alaska, particularly those in the Bristol Bay area. A large collection of films is available for viewing and an Alaska Geographic bookstore sells maps, charts, videos, posters, clothing and more.

Mt Griggs Visitor Center
A common sight in in Katmai National Park - float planes and brown bears
A common sight in in Katmai National Park - float planes and brown bears!

The Robert F. Griggs Visitor Center overlooks the famous Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes and is the starting point of the Ukak Falls Trail. The posted hours are estimated because the visitor center is only open during ranger-led Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes tours.

Brooks Camp Visitor Center

The Brooks Camp Visitor Center, open June 1– late September, is the point of entry for all visitors to Brooks Camp. A park ranger is on duty to provide information, campground check-in, mandatory bear etiquette and safety talks, and backcountry planning. An Alaska Geographic Association (AGA) bookstore offers books, maps, and other Katmai-related items.

Brooks Camp and Brooks Falls

Situated at the mouth of the Brooks River and the shore of Naknek Lake, Brooks Camp attracts people from all over the world to view brown bears, enjoy world-class fishing, and learn about the long human history of the area. It is also a starting point for many backcountry adventures.

Daily bus tours from Brooks Camp provide easy access to the geologic splendor of the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, site of the largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century. Hiking opportunities also exist.

Most people arrive at Brooks Camp via small, float-equipped aircraft. The weather can be severe, and changes often ... visitors should expect to encounter windy, rainy, and cold conditions.

Aerial view of Brooks Camp at Katmai National Park (NPS)
Aerial view of Brooks Camp at Katmai National Park

 

Cactus blooming in Katmai

 

Close the Gate!
CLOSE THE GATE! Keep the brown bears out, at Katmai National Park in Alaska
One of the bear viewing plaforms at Katmai
One of the bear viewing plaforms at Katmai National Park on the Brooks River
Brown bears hunting for Sockeye Salmon at the top of Brooks Falls (NPS)
Katmai Bear Cams at Explore.org
Brown bears hunting for Sockeye Salmon at the top of Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park and Preserve


Brown bears at Brooks Falls
Brown bears hunting for Sockeye Salmon at the top of Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park and Preserve

 

Things to do in and around Katmai... from TripAdvisor

Katmai National Park Travel Guide ... TripAdvisor reviews, photos

Things to do in Katmai National Park

Brooks Falls

Brooks River

Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes

Naknek Lake

More Outdoor Activities and Adventures

Where to Stay: Katmai area hotels and lodging - Reviews and Photos


The Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes (NPS)
The Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes in Katmai National Park

 

Map of the Park

Shown to the right is a map of Katmai National Park, courtesy of the National Park Service.

click the image to view the map at NPS

Map of Katmai National Park ... click to view the map at the National Park Service website

 

What Weather to Expect in Katmai

Located between the stormy north Pacific Ocean and the even stormier Bering Sea, the Katmai region is often a meeting place for conflicting weather systems. Visitors need to be prepared to encounter all types of weather.

On average, wet and cool conditions predominate in spring, summer, and fall. Summer temperatures range from 30˚ to 80˚ Fahrenheit.

Winters are drier and colder. Winter temperatures are even more variable than summer and can range anywhere from -35˚F to 50˚F (-37˚ to 10˚ Celsius). Most ponds and lakes are frozen by mid to late fall and snow covers the higher elevations of the park until late May and early June.

The Pacific coast of Katmai experiences cooler, wetter, and stormier conditions than the interior of the park. Strong winds are common all year.

Various types of lodging is available in the area ... seen here is the Katmai Wilderness Lodge
Katmai Wilderness Lodge

Where to Stay: Katmai area hotels and lodging - Reviews and Photos at TripAdvisor

More Information about Katmai

Website of Katmai National Park at NPS

 

TravelAlaska: Katmai National Park

 

Katmai Bear Cams at Explore.org

 

Katmai National Park Travel Guide ... TripAdvisor reviews, photos