"Katmai National Park and Preserve" Katmai National Park and Preserve by MTrav

Katmai National Park and Preserve is a large park located about 250 miles west of Anchorage, and about 100 miles east of Bristol Bay. This is roughly the area where the Aluetian island chain connects with mainland Alaska.

This is an amazing region of active volcanoes, forests, lakes, and wildlife.

One of many things that makes Katmai unique is that you can only get there by floatplane. (Unless you happen to have a boat on the Naknek river.)

Nearly 100 years ago an enormous volcanic eruption occurred in this area, depositing a layer of pumice, 150 feet deep in places, above a wet glacial valley. When the area was explored a few years later, water was still steaming up through the hot pumice via thousands of vents. The Valley of 10,000 Smokes described the area well and the name stuck, although the area no longer has any steaming vents.

The fascinating geology was the initial justification for designating the area as a national park. It was mistakenly assumed that Katmai volcano had erupted, although it was later determined to be a nearby volcano which was named Novarupta.

Most people are attracted to Katmai NP for the exceptional wildlife. Brown Bears, in particular, converge on the Naknek Lake area and prosper on the rich Salmon runs during the summer.

The local wildlife makes a visit here most unique. Becuase of the high concentration of bears, every activity revolves around the bears, and close encounters are a daily occurrence.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Peaceful, isolated, lots of Bears and Salmon
  • Cons:Mosquitoes and biting flies
  • In a nutshell:An experience of a lifetime
  • Last visit to Katmai National Park and Preserve: Jul 2005
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (14)

Comments (10)

  • SLLiew's Profile Photo
    Jul 21, 2009 at 2:20 PM

    Great tips of Katmai National Park. I am trying to get a postcard from there. Anyone can help. Cheers, SL :)

  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo
    Jun 28, 2008 at 6:49 PM

    Fantastic page with tons of very useful info. I am going to get to Katmai by seaplane from Kodiak (one day tour only).

  • karen_mo's Profile Photo
    Jan 31, 2008 at 2:23 PM

    Thanks for the tips, can't wait to go .... even if I have to tape my trouser legs down! karen

  • chewy3326's Profile Photo
    Mar 19, 2006 at 2:08 PM

    Great page! The bears and the valley of 10000 smokes looks impressive... what a wonderful place!

  • cheesecake17's Profile Photo
    Mar 9, 2006 at 7:59 PM

    that pic of the "upper fall bears". is great.....nice advice on the whitesock..they sure sound mean..;)...lovely place...greetings..ursula

  • goingsolo's Profile Photo
    Jan 8, 2006 at 4:14 PM

    Great page on a place I've always wanted to visit. The $$ made it impossible on my Alaska trip. Enjoyed reading your descriptions. Thanks for sharing!

  • Aurora907's Profile Photo
    Dec 14, 2005 at 10:21 AM

    Incredible photos, especially of the bears. And "Grizzly Man" should serve as a lesson as to what NOT to do in bear country. This is a trip I hope to make this summer! Thanks for the helpful info!

  • quintessential1's Profile Photo
    Nov 13, 2005 at 4:32 PM

    Quintessential info again Mike. Great stuff indeed. But, I still want to know about the dangers from the bears. After all they can kill you!

  • roamer61's Profile Photo
    Aug 28, 2005 at 8:24 AM

    Fascinating. Go check out the movie "Grizzly Man'.

  • catalysta's Profile Photo
    Aug 7, 2005 at 3:59 PM

    Great information, what an amazing experience that must be! (I've still not been out there)...cat


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