How to Spend a Weekend in Katmai National Park

Located in Southwestern Alaska, Katmai National Park is so remote that it can’t be accessed by car – your only options for visiting are by commercial flight or boat. The nearest town is King Salmon, though it is rather remote. Katmai National Park was established in 1918 and encompasses a large number of prehistoric human artifacts as well as the iconic Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, created by the 1912 eruption of the Novarupta Volcano. Spend a weekend in Katmai viewing wildlife, hiking, fishing and camping.

Photos from Roy Wood

What to Do

Bear Viewing

Join the park’s annual Fat Bear Week competition to watch Katmai’s bears bulk up before their winter hibernation! Catch them feeding on salmon in the Brooks River and at the Brooks Falls. The park has one of the highest concentrations of brown bears in the world, so there’ll be lots of opportunities to view these massive creatures.


Katmai National Park is renowned throughout the world for sport fishing. Many visitors to the park partake in the excellent fishing opportunities here. Fishermen can expect to catch salmon, rainbow trout, grayling, and dolly varden.


Primarily a wilderness park, there are less than five miles of maintained hiking trails. That said, visitors to the park can still check out the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, one of the original reasons for the park’s preservation.

Where to Stay 

You have a few options for where to stay in Katmai National Park. If you plan to go camping, the Brooks Camp Campground will be your best bet. Be sure to make reservations in advance for the campground! Additionally, there are several lodges within the park that offer overnight accommodation, including Brooks Lodge, Grosvenor Lodge, and Kulik Lodge. Be sure to call ahead to make your booking.

How to Get There

290 miles south of Anchorage, Alaska, you’ll need to either take a small commercial flight from Anchorage to King Salmon, or arrive in the park by floatplane or air taxi.

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WikiVoyage- Katmai National Park