Plan your Visit to
Katmai National Park
The Gem of Southern Alaska
Katmai National Park has always been a very popular area for both visitors and natives alike, but on June 6, 1912 the area was forever changed when Novarupta erupted. There were no casualties in the eruption because the native people that surrounded the volcano saw fit to leave a week before the actual eruption occurred. Research into the geological structure of the area has been done since that time and the land even carries the name Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, but it was not until 1980 that the park became Katmai National Park as we know it today. It has become a feature destination in southern Alaska.
If you have ever seen a picture taken at Katmai National Park it likely had a brown bear in the shot somewhere. The brown bears of the park are a huge attraction to many visitors and can be found throughout the park, but the greatest concentration of these impressive creatures are often photographed from Brooks Camp on the shores of the Naknek Lake. The platform above the lake gives visitors the perfect view of the brown bears playing in the water below. Brooks camp is the gateway to the backcountry wilderness and therefore is a great place to start your journey.
Although Novarupta is still considered an active volcano, it has not erupted since 1912. It has become a wildly popular destination within Katmai National Park. There are those that choose to hike up its rugged terrain, but if you want to get a really special view of the volcano, you can book a flightseeing tour. This is the only way you can see the entire area without the threat of running into a brown bear and it is by far the most memorable way to see the entire park. Novarupta is especially unique because of the lake within the crater of the volcano itself.
When you arrive at Katmai National Park you will come to realize that much of the park is comprised of beautiful lakes and rivers that need to be explored. It is wonderful to explore the vast wilderness on foot, but exploring by water can allow you to have a memorable experience that you will never forget. Watching the bears can be quickly interrupted if a traveler makes too much noise, but the quiet nature of a kayak offers visitors the opportunity to see their bears in the most natural setting without disturbing their livelihood.
Things to Know
When visiting such a wide range of wilderness environments that Katmai National Park provides you will need to be aware of a few things. The first thing is how you arrive at the park. There are some roads that lead to the park, however the most popular way to arrive is by airplane. If you charter a flight you will have to ensure that all your gear as well as all your people will fit on the craft without hindering the weight requirements. Multiple trips may have to be made to ensure that everyone and everything gets to the destination.
The next thing that you will notice is the fact that there are no entrance fees associated with Katmai National Park. They maintain the park through camping fees that they charge to those choosing to stay within the very popular Brooks Camp Campground. The fee is a mere $6 per person with the ability to take advantage of all the amenities the campground has to offer. This is a viable option for those who may want to view the bears without having that up close and personal encounter. The option to camp in the backcountry is available as well and recommended if you have the survival skills to do so.
All visitors to the park are given a very extensive orientation on how to keep safe while in the park. Bears may be beautiful and majestic creatures however they are still wild animals and therefore they should be respected at all times. During the orientation visitors, will become well versed on bear safety as well as how to camp properly within the park. The backcountry camping areas are not maintained by the park and therefore the campers themselves are required to camp with the “No trace left behind” mentality.
Katmai National Park is truly a beautiful landscape and encompasses the awe inspiring vast wilderness that Alaska is famous for. It deserves your attention as a visitor, but also your utmost respect. All wilderness skills need to be kept at their highest level when in the park to ensure that you have a memorable and enjoyable time throughout your visit.
Download a Katmai National Park Map Map
Planning a trip to Katmai National Park Map? Be sure to download the official Katmai National Park Map map, below, or use our interactive maps to find restaurants, hotels, or activities along the route of your choosing in and around the park. Either way, don’t leave home without a map of Katmai National Park Map. This free Katmai National Park Map map shows park roads, attractions, and more.
[rating itemreviewed=”Katmai National Park” rating=”8″ reviewer=”Adventure Review – National Parks” dtreviewed=”20 December 2016″ best=”10″ worst=”0″]Katmai National Park has always been a very popular area for both visitors and natives alike, but on June 6, 1912 the area was forever changed when Novarupta erupted.[/rating]
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Official Katmai National Park Map Map – Click on the Map to download