Katmai National Park
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- National Parks
- Katmai National Park
Katmai National Park in Alaska was established to protect the area around Mount Katmai and the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. It’s an active volcanic area, but it’s also home to 9,000 years of human history, as well as being a habitat for salmon and thousands of brown bears. The primary ways of getting to the park are by plane or by boat. Although most of the park is wild and undeveloped, Brooks Camp offers lodging and hot meals. Many companies provide transportation and guided tours around the park.
Because Katmai is between the North Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea, storm systems abound and you can encounter all sorts of weather. Spring, summer, and fall are generally wet and cool, with highs up to the 80’s and lows in the 20’s. Winter is dry and much colder, with temps that range from 50˚F to -35˚F. You can expect to find snow at higher elevations until late May or early June. The coastal areas of the park tend to be wetter and colder than the interior, and strong winds are common year-round. Make sure to bring high-quality waterproof clothing and plenty of layers.
You can travel to the park via plane or boat from several other Alaskan towns - Anchorage, Dillingham, Homer, King Salmon, and Kodiak are the most common. These towns are also home to restaurants, shopping, museums, and other points of interest, and you may want to spend a few days exploring them before or after your trip to the park.
If you’re looking for things to do inside Katmai National Park, there are scheduled events throughout the summer. You can find them here. You can also do many activities on your own or with a tour, such as boating, fishing, bear-watching, trapping, and more.
- Summer 30-80 F
- Winter -35 - 50 F
- Coming soon
- Coming soon
RV Rentals Near Katmai National Park
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Katmai National Park Hiking Trails
Along with the more defined trails you’ll encounter at Brooks Camp, more experienced hikers can venture into the backcountry wilderness. At Brooks Camp, you’ll find everything from a short hike to learn about the area’s cultural history, to a potential 46-mile hike through the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes.
Katmai National Park Brooks Camp Trails
Things to do Outside Katmai National Park
There are plenty of things to do in the towns near the park. Learn about the history and unique geology of the state of Alaska, pan for gold, or shop for the unusual ulu knives commonly used by the Inuit and other native Alaskans.
Discover Nearby Towns and Cities
RV Resorts & Campsites in Katmai National Park
Since the park can only be accessed by plane or boat, your options for staying at Katmai are to either pack everything into a campground, or stay at a park lodge. There are RV campgrounds and other accommodations available in the nearby towns that can serve as a hub while you explore the area.
Campgrounds Near Katmai National Park
Find the Best Dumpstations Near Katmai National Park
Dumpstations Near Katmai National Park
How to get to Katmai National Park
To get to Katmai National Park, you need to travel by boat or by plane. Flights and boats are available from many surrounding towns including Anchorage, Dillingham, Homer, King Salmon, and Kodiak.
If you’re flying to Alaska for your visit, the nearest large airport is Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, about 290 miles from the park. You’d then want to arrange either a plane or boat trip to the park itself.
Another way to travel around Alaska is by renting an RV. You can travel in comfort and explore off the beaten path at your own pace. If you don’t own an RV, rentals are available. You can fly into Anchorage and rent an RV after you arrive, or you can rent one near you and drive to Alaska.
There are no RV campgrounds at Katmai National Park, however, there are some in the towns that the boats and planes serve. Consider making one of those your home base, parking your RV there, and heading to the park to explore. Make sure the campground you want to use is open at the time of year you’re traveling and see if they allow reservations so you’re assured of a spot.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, parts of Katmai National Park are accessible for disabled visitors. The accessible facilities are all at Brooks Camp. Public buildings including restrooms are accessible. Bear viewing platforms are accessible although visitors may need assistance getting to them. Getting into and out of float planes can be challenging for disabled visitors.
Yes, pets are allowed at Katmai National Park. They are allowed in the backcountry, Pets and service animals are not allowed in the Brooks Camp Developed Area around the Brooks Falls Platform from May 1 through October 31.
Katmai National Park is 5,741 square miles, or 4.1 million acres large. Most of the park is a designated wilderness area.
The best time of year to visit Katmai National Park is from late June until September. The weather at the park is warmer, and the bear viewing opportunities are very good during that time. Salmon run dates in the area are in late June, July, and September, meaning that there's a greater likelihood of seeing the bears as they fish.
Top things to do at Katmai National Park include touring Brooks Falls, visiting the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, and fishing for salmon. There are numerous hiking trails, fishing and boating opportunities, and much more at the park.