Bear Viewing in Katmai National Park (Bald Mountain Air)

How do I get there?

Only accessible by floatplane, Brooks Camp is ½ hour from King Salmon or 1.5 hours from Anchorage. Flights are also available from Homer and Kodiak.

The Bears

Brooks Camp is the classic! A big, wet brown bear standing at the edge of a falls in a clear-water stream, mouth open, waiting for the salmon that’s mid-leap. The river is filled with salmon in July and September, when brown bears gather from as far as 50 miles for easy feasting. During peak season, you might see 20-25 bears from your viewing platform at Brooks Falls. And many of these are large, adult males! That’s a rarity, for most male brown bears steer clear of other bears. But plentiful food (sockeye and coho salmon) bring in the bruins. There are also younger bears, as well as females with cubs fishing downstream of the falls.

Viewing Situation

You’ll be greeted by National Park Service employees who will take you to the Visitor’s Center for a 20-minute orientation, and then you’re free to explore. There are three main bear viewing areas, the closest is ¼ mile from the Visitor’s Center. A trail and boardwalk follow the river to Brooks Falls, about one mile away. There are two platforms here. You can spend the day here, or several days. The park service runs a campground (60 people per night) and there is a lodge that hosts another 60. Campers can get hot meals at the lodge. The place is remote, but is also pretty highly trafficked, with 10,000 visitors per summer. If you want a more remote viewing experience, consider some other places in the park, listed separately.


June 15-July 20, Sept 2-30




Guides and Transport Services:


  • Brooks Lodge
  • Katmai Adventure Lodge