About BROOKS CAMP (Search under Permits - Katmai NP)
The Brooks Camp Campground in Katmai National Park provides a quintessential Alaskan wildlife experience. When campers step off their floatplane or boat, they enter one of the largest concentrated habitats of brown bears on earth. July and September are the prime bear viewing months and close encounters are common. Katmai National Monument was established in 1918 to preserve the famed Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, a spectacular 40 square miles of deep ash flow deposited by the 1912 volcanic eruption of Novarupta. A National Park and Preserve since 1980, Katmai is still famous for volcanoes, brown bears, pristine waterways, abundant fish and rugged coastline. Natural Features: Nestled in the boreal forest, between Dumpling Mountain and the scenic shores of Naknek Lake, Brooks Camp is a short walk from the Brooks Camp Visitor Center. Recreation: In addition to bear viewing, many people enjoy sport fishing, kayaking, hiking, and birding. If you are interested in hiking, the Dumpling Mountain trailhead is within the campground. Daily Ranger-led programs are also available. Fishing licenses can be purchased at the Brooks Lodge Trading Post. Facilities: Brooks Camp is the only developed camping area in Katmai. A fish freezer is available, but no fish cleaning is allowed within a 1.5-mile radius of Brooks Falls. Bring all food and cooking supplies. Drinking water is available in summer months. All guests at Brooks Camp must attend a Ranger-led bear orientation to learn park rules and regulations regarding bears. Close encounters with bears are common. Maintain at least 50 yards distance from bears, even within electric fencing. Nearby Attractions: Take a ranger-led bus tour to the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes or travel by canoe down the Alagnak Wild River toward Bristol Bay and the Bering Sea. Flight-seeing trips above the Alaska Peninsula are also available to visitors.
National Park Service
BROOKS CAMP (Search under Permits - Katmai NP) is located in Katmai National Park & Preserve in Alaska
Katmai is 290 miles southwest of Anchorage, Alaska. There are daily commercial flights from Anchorage to King Salmon. Commercial air taxis fly daily, weather permitting, from King Salmon, Anchorage and Homer to Brooks Camp. Many individual lodges have their own transportation.
2 Reviews of BROOKS CAMP (Search under Permits - Katmai NP)
Beautiful place, they have clean bathrooms and enough space for the tents. It has an electric fence for avoiding the bears to enter. You can walk to the lunge (about 1/2 km) for having prepared food and even a bath if you pay for using the hot water. They also have spaces for making fire and cook your own food, which by the way, can be kept in a separate place to avoid bear encounters at your own tent.
First to Review
If you are a national parks enthusiast, or even remotely interested in them, you’ve probably heard of this spot in Alaska where you can witness bears grabbing salmon straight out of a waterfall. This is Brooks Camp, in Katmai National Park.
To camp at Brooks Camp is very tricky. Sites are available for booking about a year and a half in advance of an average summer visit, on January 5th of the year before you will be visiting. They usually fill up in about 5 minutes. This is because people will reserve and put down deposits for several weeks’ worth of camping, before they know when they’ll be visiting. Then, when they finalize their plans, they’ll cancel spots, sometimes at the last minute.
We talked to several rangers who confirmed this phenomenon. We crossed our fingers, and set a backup plan (there is backcountry camping allowed if you hike out a bit from the developed areas of the park) and hoped for the best, refreshing the recreation.gov page daily.
Sure enough, only two weeks before we’d arrive, two spots opened up (costs are per person) on our selected days and we snagged them.
Camping here was unique and wonderful. (Of course, this was probably heightened by the stress of uncertainty). The campsites were enclosed in an electric fence, there were provided wooden food caches and nice covered picnic areas, and the sites were perfectly cozy.
It’s not a cheap trip (you have to first fly to King’s Salmon then bush plane to Brooks Camp) but it is certainly an unforgettable one. It’s not an exaggeration that the bears are everywhere. We could have stood on that viewing platform at Brooks Falls for days.
You can read much more about our two days in the park on our blog: Switchback Kids (Katmai)