Katmai National Park
P.O. Box 7
#1 King Salmon Mall
King Salmon, Alaska 99613
King Salmon Office: (907) 246-3305
King Salmon Visitor Center: (907) 246-4250
Camping reservations: National Park Reservation Service 800-365-2267 or (International) 301-722-1257.
Brooks Lodge reservations: 800-544-0551 or (International) 907-243-5448.
Katmailand: 800-544-0551 or (International) 907-243-5448
Katmai National Park and Preserve is located on the Alaska Peninsula, across from Kodiak Island. Park Headquarters are in King Salmon, about 290 air miles southwest of Anchorage. Several commercial airlines provide daily flights into King Salmon, as there is no road access. Brooks Camp, along the Brooks River approximately 30 air miles from King Salmon, is a common destination for visitors to the Park and is the only Federal Fee Area within Katmai. Brooks Camp can be reached only via small float plane or boat.
The park is open year-round. National Park Service and concessionaire services are offered at Brooks Camp from early June to mid-September. Backcountry activities are also best during this time. Prime bear-viewing months at Brooks Camp are July and September, although a few bears may be in the area at any time between late May and December.
A note on accessibility: Due to the remote wilderness nature of Katmai National Park and Preserve, handicapped accessibility is limited. Brooks Camp lodging, camping, visitor center, and auditorium facilities are accessible to visitors using wheelchairs; however, the narrow dirt walkways can be rough and become muddy during bad weather. Brooks Lodge has the only flush toilet public restrooms in the Park. They are wheelchair accessible. The lower bear-viewing platform, located at the mouth of Brooks River across the floating bridge from Brooks Camp, is also wheelchair accessible; however, we caution those of limited mobility that inadvertent very close encounters with brown bears are possible and require visitors to move quickly. The trail to Brooks Falls and the Falls bear-viewing platform are not handicapped accessible. The Trail is also not appropriate for visitors unable to move quickly off the trail and into the woods, especially during high bear density in July. There is a steep grade on the Falls Trail just before the Falls platform, which is in an area of high bear use and the site of many lengthy bear delays to and from the bear-viewing platforms.
King Salmon Visitor Center: Located next to the airport terminal in King Salmon and open year-round. The King Salmon Visitor Center is jointly supported by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, the Bristol Bay Borough, and the Lake and Peninsula Borough. The visitor center has exhibits of the local area as well as interpreters who will provide information on the entire Katmai region. The Visitor Center serves as an outlet for books, postcards, and other interpretive material offered through the Alaska Natural History Association (ANHA). Bear resistant food canisters can be loaned out, and Backcountry Planners filed at no charge for those planning to use the backcountry.
Brooks Camp Visitor Center: Located on Naknek Lake near the mouth of Brooks River, 30 air miles from King Salmon and open early June to mid-September. All visitors to Brooks Camp are required to attend the Brooks Camp School of Bear Etiquette offered at the Visitor Center. This 15- to 20-minute orientation provides visitors with basic information to help keep themselves safe and bears out of trouble. Books, cards, posters, and videos are just some of the items available at the Alaska Natural History Association (ANHA) Bookstore. Backcountry Planners and bear-resistant food canisters (no charge) are also available for those challenging Katmai's trackless backcountry. There is no telephone service to Brooks Camp.
Three Forks Visitor Contact Station: Located 23 miles from Brooks Camp on the only road within Katmai National Park & Preserve. The Three Forks Station overlooks the famous Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes at the start of the Ukak Falls Trail, and serves as the gathering place for the daily Valley Bus Tour, available by reservation through Brooks Lodge.
Lodging and Camping
No trace camping is permitted anywhere in Katmai National Park and Preserve, except within five miles of Brooks Camp, where campers must camp in the established Brooks Camp Campground. The Brooks Camp Campground is located approximately 0.25 mile north of the Brooks Camp Visitor Center, and is the only established campsite in Katmai. Campers may either make reservations for meals at Brooks Lodge, or provide their own portable camp stove for food preparation in the designated Campground cooking shelters (white gas is available for stoves at the Brooks Lodge Trading Post). Space at Brooks Camp Campground is limited to 60 persons. Advanced reservations and both Day Use fee and Campground fee payments are required in advance through the National Park Reservation Service. Reservations must be made prior to arriving at Brooks Camp.
For those coming to Brooks Camp as part of a lodging, touring, or fishing package provided by one of the many commercial operators to Katmai, reservations may have already been made through your provider. Please check with your provider at least three weeks prior to your arrival.
A private concessionaire, Katmailand, provides additional accommodations and food service at Brooks Camp's Brooks Lodge and two other lodges within the Park. The lodges are open from early June to mid-September. Reservations are necessary. Many other commercial operators offer tour packages for Katmai and the Alaska Peninsula area as well.
Meals are served at Brooks Lodge and are available by advance reservation to all visitors to Brooks Camp. Brooks Lodge Trading Post sells white gas for camp stoves (no propane), plus fishing gear and licenses, T-shirts and sweats, some snack foods, souvenirs, and other limited supplies. All food must be secured so as to prevent bears from gaining access to it. No food is allowed to be carried on the trails and paths of Brooks Camp, including candy, gum, mints, beverages (other than water), and any other edible items.
Summer daytime temperatures are usually in the low to mid 60s. Cool, overcast days, with strong winds are common. Be prepared for fluctuations from warm and sunny to cold and rainy, sometimes in the same day. Spring and fall temperatures are cool, with cold nights. Winters are cold with about six hours of sunlight.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication