Activities in Katmai National Park and Preserve
Fishing in Katmai National Park
Fishing has long been very popular in Katmai. Many of the tourist facilities were originally built for those who want to catch the many prized species that inhabit the lakes and rivers of Katmai. A state fishing license is required for all non-residents over the age of 16 and for most Alaska residents from 16-59. In many of the areas catch and release is the rule. More details are available from the Park Service page that is linked from the title of this section.
Every evening at 8 p.m. there is an illustrated talk by one of the Rangers in the Brooks Camp Auditorium, just across from the Ranger Station when the Bear Orientation took place. The topics are listed in the Ranger Station. The talk may be on the history of the area, the wildlife, or other topic of interest. The talks usually last 45-60 minutes.
If you have some time while in King Salmon, visit the Park Service visitor center there. They have lots of information about the area in general and National Parks in the Katmai area in particular. There are also videos you can watch select and watch about the area.
Evening Slide Show Programs
Join a park ranger for an illustrated program offering information and unique perspectives on Katmai’s special features, history, and wild- life. Inquire at the visitor center for times and topics. The program lasts 45 minutes.
Popular Areas of Katmai National Park
Valley of 10,000 Smokes
A park ranger leads this scenic bus ride through some of Katmai’s spectacular back- country. After lunch at The Robert F. Griggs Visitor Center overlooking the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, you can take the optional, ranger-led hike into the valley. The hike is three miles (4.8 km) round-trip, with 1,000 feet (305 m) of elevation change. Sturdy boots, water, rain gear and warm clothes are recommended. Total trip time is 7–8 hours. Inquire at Brooks Lodge for reservations or contact Katmailand at 1-800-544-0551 and www.katmailand.com.
The Valley is why Katmai became a National Monument before becoming a National Park. In 1912 there was a massive volcanic explosion from Novarupta area of Mount Katmai that is considered to be the largest eruption of the 20th Century. The tour takes most of the day and is not practical if you are just visiting for the day. It is an interesting 23 mile drive, with stops along the way, up to the Overlook Cabin where a Ranger gives the history of the area and then you can hike down to a river to see the layers of volcanic ash and possible wildlife (the hike is considered somewhat strenuous). It is possible to book the trip with or without a sack lunch. You can also take the bus one-way and camp in the Valley of 10,000 Smokes. Be sure to take everything you will need with you and book the bus both ways or you may have a 23-mile hike back to the Brooks Camp area. While it is possible to have rain about anytime and anywhere in Katmai National Park, a raincoat or umbrella and comfortable walking shoes are very highly recommended. You should book this tour at the lodge office in advance as it often sells out. It leaves from the ramp side of the lower platform, usually about 8:30 am.
Hiking in Katmai National Park and Preserve
Hike to Dumpling Mountain
This is about a 1.5 mile (2.4 KM) hike up to an overlook that has a great view of the area. The trail starts just past the campground and climbs about 800 feet (244 m) on the way to the overlook. You can continue on for another 2.5 miles (4 KM) to the top of the mountain, climbing another 1,600 feet (490 m).
Cultural Site Exhibit
About a quarter of a mile walk from the lodge is the Brooks Camp Cultural Site Exhibit. It is a covered area with a reconstructed 650-year old house. There are deposits below that house that have been dated back 4,500 years.
A park ranger-naturalist leads this short .25 mile (0.4 km) walk about the human history of Brooks River Archeological District and Na- tional Historic Landmark, including archeological studies and traditional Alaska Native uses of plants and animals. The walk lasts about an hour and leads to a reconstructed traditional Native dwelling.