Bears, mountains, glaciers and more! Join us for a week of bear viewing on Katmai National Park’s rugged Pacific Coast. From our comfortable base camp we will hike the beaches and tundra observing bears feeding, socializing and traveling through this spectacular wilderness.
The Katmai Coast is like no other place on earth. Katmai National Park boasts some of the highest densities of brown bears, and the largest brown bears in the world. But bear viewing is just the tip of the iceberg for this week-long adventure on the rugged coast of Katmai National Park. The rich waters of the North Pacific have carved long sandy beaches on this volcanic coast. Glacier encrusted peaks loom above rich grassy meadows, active volcanoes smoke in the distance, basalt cliffs shelter rocky harbors, and wildlife is everywhere. From our camp in the flower-filled dunes, we can watch sea birds fish, observe Katmai bears feeding in the tide, hear glaciers cracking on the peaks to the north, and watch the dramatic weather move over this wild landscape.
Our days will be filled with exploration. Tundra hiking is excellent on the headlands to the east of camp. Beach combing and tide pooling offer twice daily forays among the clams, chitons, anemones, and glass fishing floats. Several archeological sites are within a day’s walk from camp. A longer hike towards the active volcanoes leads to the base of a glacier. All this in addition to the stunningly powerful and majestic Katmai bears, which can generally be found either on the beach or in the lush meadows near camp.
Like all our base camp trips, there is as much or as little exertion and adventure as you choose. Your guide will be happy to lead hikes beyond the horizon, accompany you to watch and interpret bear behavior in the sedge meadows, or just provide nourishment and insight while you find your own enjoyment on the beach or in the mountains.
Camping on the Katmai Coast among the numerous bears and formidable weather may seem a little intimidating to some. But, we have found an ideal location and method for enjoying this beautiful and rich coast. We will set up a sturdy and comfortable base camp including a big “cook-tent” in the vegetated dunes near the beach. Our camp will provides adequate shelter no matter what the weather throws at us. By surrounding our camp with a portable electric fence, we take some of the worry out of having an inquisitive bear investigating our gear. With our qualified guides to teach you bear etiquette and our high quality equipment, you will be able to relax and enjoy the weather and wildlife in this stunning national park.
Last updated: July 13, 2021
What follows is a general flow of events. Expect the unexpected and prepare to be flexible.
Meet your guide(s) in King Salmon, Alaska for a pre-trip meeting. Lodging on your own.
Depart King Salmon in a small “bush-plane” and arrive on the beach around low tide. Set up camp and walk down the beach in search of bears.
Explore and enjoy from our basecamp. Beach walks, hikes up to the glacier, searching for Aliutiq house pits, beach combing for glass fishing floats, watching bears grazing on the sedge meadows, watching bears fishing, watching bears napping, watching bears negotiate for the best fishing spots, watching bears scour the beach at low-tide, watching bears being bears, walking the sea cliffs out by the cape, enjoying the solitude of wild Alaska and the company of bears. Did we mention the bears?
Weather permitting, our pilot arrives at low tide for the flight back to King Salmon.
We had a guide whose judgement and advice I trusted unconditionally. I am sure we had the great fortune to benefit from her many years of guiding, especially regarding the food she selected to bring. I found it incredible that the meals never tasted like they were selected for camping but also it always seemed to be very efficient, starting from the good coffee in the morning, to lunches that included gourmet cheeses, to the dinners she prepared that were better than those in many restaurants.
Transportation beyond King Salmon
Food while in the wilderness
Stoves, cooking & eating utensils, water filter, base camp tent
Safety & repair gear
Professional guide service
Select camping equipment is available through Arctic Wild
Personal clothing and gear per our Equipment List
Gratuity for guide(s)
Weather on the Katmai Coast can be blissful, sunny and warm. But it can blow and rain and storm for days too. Temperatures are mild, averaging in the 50’s but ranging from low 40’s to high 70’s. Quality raingear is a must. Bugs usually aren’t an issue on the coast but occasional biting flies warrant a small bottle of DEET, just in case. Aviation delays due to weather are fairly common.