While it may be difficult to access due to the limited travel options to and from the park, Katmai National Park and Preserve is a great destination for travelers to Alaska. The park provides a varied landscape that consists of woods, valleys and volcanoes. A variety of wildlife, including many bears who consider the large national park and Katmai Alaska home, will also enhance a visitor's trip to the park.
Katmai park headquarters are located at King Salmon, which can be difficult to reach as it is only accessed by air since there are no roads leading into it. During the busy summer months, the park also houses a visitor's center at Brooks Camp, which is about 30 miles north of King Salmon. This also has limited access through planes or small boats only.
A wide variety of activities at Katmai are available for visitors to the park including backpacking, bird watching, boating, camping, climbing, fishing, hiking, hunting, kayaking, mountaineering, nature walks, snow skiing, whitewater rafting, and wildlife viewing. Some of the wildlife you might see while visiting the park include moose, red foxes, caribous, wolverines, river otters, minx, beavers, wolves, lynx, porcupines and red squirrels.
While visitors enjoy seeing a variety of wildlife at Katmai, viewing one particular animal overshadows all the others. One of the favorite activities visitors enjoy the most is bear watching, as the number of brown bears in the park has grown to over 2,000. The prime time to view these bears is from late June through September, although August can be a slow time to see the bears in their natural habitat. Visitors to the Brooks Camp can use one of the three different bear watching stations, which are elevated platforms that keep visitors out of harms way while watching the bears. However, each visitor is still required to attend the Brooks Camp School of Bear Etiquette, so they will know how to act when near a bear. In fact, the park advises making sure you are in good health and have enough mobility, as sometimes visitors are required to abandon hiking trails and enter the woods to allow a bear to pass.
The park was designated as Katmai National Monument in 1918 to preserve the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, which is an area measuring 40 square miles where ash flow was deposited by Novarupta Volcano. It was not however, officially designated a national park until 1980. The park today contains 14 volcanoes which are considered to be active. Other historic marks in the park include the Brooks River National Historic Landmark, which contains the largest concentration, about 900, of prehistoric dwellings in North America.
Whether wanting to see wildlife or enjoy a hike through a beautiful national park, Katmai, Alaska, is the perfect destination for your next adventure. As a visitor you can enjoy breathtaking views of the landscape, which includes forests, valleys and volcanoes. You can also learn more about the animals residing in the park and how to maintain your safety in their presence, which is important if you want to make repeated trips to the park. You'll want to do this, as the park is too big, too beautiful, and contains too much to do in just one trip.