Katmai National Park is one of those places in Alaska that you have to visit. Read on to learn about the top things to do in Katmai National Park.
In 2016, almost 38,000 visitors spent over 58 million dollars in Katmai National Park. This wild and rugged place has numerous things for you to enjoy. But plan ahead, because the spending comes out to roughly $1500 a person. To put that in perspective, a few days in Las Vegas can set you back more than $1200. However, Katmai won't give you a pampering experience. It will tax your body and emotions sometimes. There will be many stressors unlike those found anywhere else. But at the end of the trip, you will grow in your knowledge of the outdoors. And you will come back more physically fit than when you left.
What all can you do while there? Keep reading to find out.
Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica.
Well, 1 of 3 isn't so bad anyway. Katmai is a very popular place to see and watch bears. But, give them a wide berth. In July, you can find even more bears than usual. Wherever the salmon and other tasty fish are, the bears gather there too. Bears catching fish in their mouth holds its place as one of nature's most spectacular sights.
Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes
For the geographer, the curious and the outdoorsy types, this valley cannot be missed. Built by natural and destructive causes. The explosion which created it was 30 times more powerful than Mt. Saint Helens. For many years the valley looked like the setting of a post-apocalyptic world. Fumaroles spewed volcanic steam into the air. Many believed it would develop geysers to rival Yellowstone. But things cooled off, and today, a prismatic wash of colors paint the earth where a mountain once stood. You won't see any smoke there today, but you will enjoy sights unlike any you have seen before.
This is a very popular place to see bears. Salmon make their way upstream to the spawning pools in Brooks Lake.
For the salmon, this is the most perilous part of the journey. Not only do they have to travel up the falls, but also must do so while bears wait to eat them. If you plan your trip around the highest concentration of bears, look at mid to late summer. Bears come out in droves during this time. But that's not to say you can't see bears at other times of the year too.
Camping Here, There and Everywhere
Katmai National Park contains a huge amount of land. It covers more square feet than all of Connecticut. But unlike the New England area, the land is wild and untamed. You won't have the option of driving around much. But you will have plenty of places to camp.
Make sure you take a look at leave no trace rules. These aren't laws so much as guidelines. But part of enjoying nature means leaving it for future generations of enjoyment. In general, try not to camp too close to other people or running water. If you can, set up your camp where others have camped before.
If roughing it for a few days or a week sounds like your bag, Katmai is your place. No matter what, bring a few extra days worth of food and fuel. And you will be in violation of the law if you do not have bear boxes for food. Along with bear boxes to keep food safe, most recommend having an electric fence. This will deter bears from entering your site. As always, please don't try to feed the bears.
Hiking in Katmai National Park
Again, this is a wild and untamed piece of land. With that in mind, Katmai has very few miles of maintained trails. Brooks Camp is one of the most popular places to visit. This may be largely due to its proximity to Brooks Falls. But it sits as the trailhead for many hikes in Katmai. When hiking, try to stick to areas which appear to have been disturbed before. If you cannot stay to areas trod by humans, look for game trails next. When neither is available, proceed with care.
Yes, we know it sounds like a name a toddler made up but this site begs to be seen. It is the largest lake in the US to be found with its entire volume inside one park. The acres and acres of water urge you to take an early kayak trip. If mornings aren't your thing, have a mid-afternoon canoe ride. Either way, drop on by to these still waters framed by mountains.
But if you aren't interested in the tranquility of a still lake. A wild adventure summons you and you answer the call. Katmai has several rapids popular with rafters. Among them, American Creek and Funnel Creek stand out. These trips won't finish in an hour and a half. Rather, these trips tend to last 3-6 days. Also, you will go thru spots of tranquil water and stretches of rushing rapids. Make sure to bring a heavy-duty sleeping bag rated to 0° F. And store it in a water-tight container. Otherwise, you will have several uncomfortable nights.
Katmai's landscape has so much variation largely due to the many mountains. Maybe you want some time to hike to the top of one and take in the scenery. Broken Mountain, Baked Mountain and Falling Mountain all invite you to climb them. Once there, take in the unique and majestic scenery.
Start Planning Your Trip
Remember, Katmai Nation park won't mimic the state parks near you. Rather this land is wild and untamed. Respect it and fear it when necessary. But admire the beauty of it from safe distances. Alaskan trips will awaken your soul in a way nothing else can. Contact us to start planning your trip to the wild lands of Alaska. Our experienced team will guide you every step of the way.