Katmai National Monument: Happy Birthday Novarupta!
Visitors to Brooks Camp observe bear behavior from ideally-situated viewing platforms.
PHOTO: National Park Service
Situated at the mouth of the Brooks River, along the shore of Naknek Lake (the largest lake within any unit of the National Park System), Brooks Camp attracts visitors of all kinds to view brown bears, enjoy world-class sportfishing, and learn about the long human history of the area. Also a starting point for many backcountry adventures, daily naturalist-led/concessioner-operated bus tours from Brooks Camp provide easy access to the geologic splendors of the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, site of the largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century.
From June 1 to September 17, the National Park Service operates a visitor center, ranger station, campground, and auditorium with daily interpretive programs. Also during this time, the park concessioner, Katmailand, Inc., provides additional services and amenities, including meals and lodging at Brooks Lodge.
Photo: Kathleen Turner, National Park Service
Katmai National Monument was created in 1918 to preserve the famed Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, a spectacular forty square mile, 100 to 700 foot deep ash flow deposited by Novarupta Volcano in 1912. A National Park & Preserve since 1980, today Katmai is still famous for volcanoes, but also for brown bears, pristine waterways with abundant fish, remote wilderness, and a rugged coastline.
Visiting Brooks Camp
While Brooks Camp offers many public services and accessibility options unavailable elsewhere in Katmai's millions of acres of wilderness, visitors must arrive prepared to experience backcountry Alaska. Whether staying for just a few hours or for several days, visitors should expect to encounter wind, rain, cold, mud, uneven terrain, and transportation delays. Be sure to dress and pack in anticipation of diverse and changing weather conditions.
Most Brooks Camp visitors arrive via small, float-equipped aircraft. Click here for directions and other transportation information.
All visitors to Brooks Camp are required to begin their stay by checking-in at the visitor center for a brief "Bear Etiquette" training course and safety talk outlining park regulations. Click here for a preview of bear safety regulations at Brooks Camp and throughout Katmai.
While bear-viewing platforms and most trails around Brooks Camp are wheelchair accessible, they are unpaved and frequently muddy. Visitors should be prepared to leave the trail in order to avoid a bear.
Download The Bear Essentials, which includes a map and brief guide to Brooks Camp. The same information is also included in The Novarupta, the official Katmai newspaper and a comprehensive, up-to-date guide to planning your visit.
Bear activity at the Lower River may delay crossing Brooks River Bridge (see map below). Please be prepared to wait in windy and/or rainy conditions and allow yourself ample time to meet meal services and/or your departing flight.
Read all about Katmai! Download (PDF, 4.96 MB) the latest edition of the Katmai newspaper, The Novarupta.Read More
Did You Know?
The first people in Katmai arrived about 9,000 years ago. They left behind artifacts like this one, a core from which small microblades were struck. Expert tool makers set the microblades into the sides of bone arrowheads to increase cutting power.