Bears of Katmai Photo Tour
Photo Tour from Anchorage (Full-Day)
- A truly Alaskan Bear Photo Adventure.
- Intimate scenic flightseeing tour from Anchorage; flight times vary depending on weather and plane type.
- Lunch option is available at Brooks Camp.
- Photograph Katmai Brown Bears catching salmon at Brooks Falls.
- Tour Limited to 6 participants.
About Brooks Lodge & the Bears of Katmai
The Brooks River, in the heart of Katmai, is without a doubt the most accessible location in the world for photographing these magnificent animals. Each year millions of salmon burst from the Bering Sea into the lakes and streams of Katmai National Park. These fish provide a food source for the world's largest population of brown bears. Our fly out Katmai bear viewing adventure takes you to Brooks Falls, where three bear viewing platforms connected by elevated boardwalks allow for close, unobstructed and extraordinary bear viewing in Katmai National Park. In July, lured by spawning salmon, as many as fifty bears can be seen at once along the 1.5-mile Brooks River.
While the Katmai bear viewing at Brooks Falls is self guided, Katmai National Park Rangers provide an initial briefing upon arrival and are available throughout the park for questions. An on-site wait list for the Lower River bear viewing platform may be implemented when visitation reaches capacity to ensure quality bear viewing. What this means is that sometimes the bear viewing is crowded and the ranger may ask you to move to another platform. The is plenty of room in Katmai overall to see bears.
The World Famous bear viewing at Brooks Falls is only a short walk from Brooks Lodge. As many as fifty bears can be viewed fishing along the mile and a half long Brooks River during the peak of the salmon season. Many visitors see bears within minutes of arrival. All visitors are instructed by the National Park Service on how to conduct themselves in "Bear Country". Besides the famous Brooks River and Brooks Falls, bear viewing opportunities abound in the park, and no one has more experience or better locations for viewing these magnificent animals than we do.
What You Need To Know
Your travels to Brooks Lodge in Katmai National Park begin when you board a pressurized propjet aircraft bound for King Salmon. Upon arrival into King Salmon you will connect with your 20 minute scenic floatplane service to Brooks Lodge. Upon arrival at Brooks Lodge you will have the opportunity to visit the World Famous Brooks Falls where brown bears feed and the friendly National Park Service rangers will point you in the right direction and answer all of your questions about this incredible park. PLEASE NOTE: Some walking is required. Click the following link to view Map of Katmai National Park/Brooks Camp.
The Katmai National Park one-day tour includes round trip air transportation to Brooks Camp via King Salmon and one-half day at Katmai National Park (Brooks Camp/Brooks Falls) unguided. The "Valley of 10,000 Smokes" Natural History Tour is not available on the one-day tour.
View the Bear Webcams
NOTE: These webcams belong to Explore.org and Planet Earth Adventures does not maintain them. These cameras go off-line at the end of bear season.
Frequently Asked Questions
When are the salmon running?
Salmon runs vary from year to year and it is not possible to predict them with absolute accuracy. Most years a large run of sockeye (red) salmon will begin to enter the Brooks River during the middle of June. This run continues through July and the salmon usually begin to spawn in the Brooks River in early August. The spawn continues throughout August and peaks during early September.
When is the peak time to view bears at Brooks River?
The bear viewing opportunities vary throughout the season and also from year to year, mostly due to differences in salmon runs (see salmon run FAQ). While it is common to see bears almost any time during the summer at Brooks, especially if salmon are present, the possibility also exists that you may not. The National Park Service suggests that the peak times are July or September.
Can I drive to Brooks Lodge?
Driving to Brooks Lodge is not possible. Like most of Alaska, there are no roads to our area and we are accessible by air only.
How long does it take to get there?
The flight from Anchorage to either King Salmon or Kulik Lodge is approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. The floatplane to Brooks Lodge is approximately 25 minutes.
Can I pay for meals in advance?
Yes. When you make your reservation, you may specify that you would like to prepay all or part of your meals with your package. Any amount may be paid in advance and you will be given a credit voucher in the amount you prepaid which can be used not only for meals, but also for any souvenirs or tours you purchase while at the lodge.
Can I hike on my own in the Brooks area?
Yes, there are hiking trails in the park. Maps are available at the NPS Visitor Center next to the lodge.
Are there a lot of bugs?
There can be depending on how wet or dry it has been. You want a good insect repellent with a high DEET concentration for it to be effective. Thick socks will help keep the bugs off while walking through the brush and head nets are available at the Trading Post.
How far away are the platforms for wildlife viewing?
There are three viewing platforms on the Brooks River, all within walking distance from the lodge. They range from 300 yards to one mile from the main lodge.
How difficult is this activity?
MODERATE: Guests should be able to walk short distances on uneven ground with their camera packs. The longest required walk is two miles round-trip over a relatively flat trail to Brooks Falls, for the purpose of observing and photographing the brown bears. Trails surfaces for our various walks vary, from paved to uneven natural terrain. Tour participants must be able to walk at least one mile.
What camera gear do I need?
Upon booking this trip, we will contact each guest personally to discuss camera gear and make suggestions for what to bring. Please feel free to E-mail us at any time if you have questions at any time regarding camera gear or equipment to bring for your trip. You can also contact us for renting specific camera gear from BorrowLenses.com.
What is the weather like in Katmai?
The weather in Katmai is very unpredictable. Temperatures can range between 45 and 70 degrees and even lower in September. Wind and rain are common so bring layers that can be added to or taken away as the weather dictates.
Katmai National Park is in a remote area accessible only by plane so many of the common expectations of “civilization” are not available. You should bring essential medications with you and not plan plane connections on the same day of this trip. Additionally, if visiting Katmai is extremely important to you, please allow time in your schedule for possible rescheduling of this trip. We fly through two mountain passes to reach Katmai and this trip does sometimes cancel due to weather. Please note that we use several vendors for this activity based on availability at the time of booking. This tour is not operated by Planet Earth Adventures, LLC, and we do not own the aircrafts that are used for this tour. Prices are subject to change without notice. Your price is guaranteed at the time of booking. We reserve the right to choose from different air taxi services based on availability at the time of booking.
2017 Tour Cost
TOUR DATES: Daily Departures Anchorage (July - September)
TOUR COST: $1,200 per person. Lunch option available at extra cost. Prices are per person and subject to change without notice. Please inquire at time of booking. National Park Fees and taxes are extra. This Full-Day Trip includes flight time between Anchorage and Brooks Camp. Departure times vary.
NOTE: Due to the rising aviation fuel prices, we will be enacting a fuel surcharge of 5% as of June 10th 2018. All pre-booked trips will be honored at the rates they were booked.
ACTIVITY LEVEL: MODERATE: Guests should be able to walk short distances on uneven ground with their camera packs. The longest required walk is two miles round-trip over a relatively flat trail to Brooks Falls, for the purpose of observing and photographing the brown bears. Trails surfaces for our various walks vary, from paved to uneven natural terrain. Tour participants must be able to walk at least one mile.
TRAVEL INSURANCE: We strongly suggest purchasing trip cancellation/interruption insurance to protect your travel investment at the time you sign up for one of our trips. This coverage will offset cancellation charges in the event of illness before or during your trip. Trip cancellation/interruption and baggage insurance is available at a supplemental cost. Click Here to purchase travel protection.
CANCELLATION POLICY: We consider the deposit non-refundable at the time of reservation; however, Planet Earth Adventures will try to be flexible in the event of a cancellation. Cancellation with less than 90 days prior to the flight and the deposit is completely non-refundable. Cancellation with less than 72 hours prior to the flight and 100% of the flight will be billed. A major credit card is required to make your reservation. Your card will be charged when you book your trip. We require at least 90-day notice for cancellations. PLEASE NOTE: Wildlife sighting is not guaranteed.
GENERAL RULES AND CONDITIONS (Please read before making a reservation)