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The main viewing platform is within a few feet of where the bears congregate to feed on salmon at the base of the falls.
Katmai National Park & Preserve
Closest available address
Brooks Camp is accessible via plane or boat, mostly from King Salmon.
Park is open year round. Brooks Camp is open in the summer.
Best time to visit
Katmai National Park and Preserve is resplendent and unspoiled, remote but popular, and world famous for its brown bears and salmon. As with many Alaska national parks, Katmai is a huge place at 4.7 million acres. If you are touring Alaska and enjoy wildlife and wilderness, Katmai should be high on a priority list.
People have been coming to the Katmai area for thousands of years to take advantage of prolific salmon runs as confirmed by archeological research in the park. More recently, the largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century took place here in 1912. The eruption created the famous Valley of 10,000 Smokes, which is an area that had many steam vents at the time and can be toured today. The volcanic landscape was protected as a monument in 1918, and the park has expanded in size several times over the years.
Visiting requires planning because the park is vast and there are a variety of hiking, camping and ship touring options. Most of the park is only accessible by air or water. The great salmon runs and large brown bear concentrations can be seen at Brooks Camp in July. Unless you want to camp, rental cabins, which are expensive and limited, are the only lodging option at Brooks so plan early. For more information about travel and lodging, check out this website:
or call 1-800-544-0551. Brown bears also can be seen along the coast at different times of year.
A day hike to the Valley of 10,000 Smokes from Brooks Camp was average in quality as the trail was overgrown and there was little wildlife or scenery to view. However, seeing the salmon and bears at Brooks Falls in July was incredible. Standing within twenty feet of up to dozens of brown bears fishing for salmon in the wild is truly a once in a lifetime experience.
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