Katmai Bears Base Camp

Katmai Bears Base Camp


July 14, 2024 - July 19, 2024


Katmai National Park





July 14, 2024 - July 19, 2024


Katmai National Park



The best way to watch bears is to immerse yourself in the wilderness. There is no better place to do that than on the coast of Katmai National Park, where bears crowd into salmon streams and laze in the lush flowery meadows.

Spend your days amongst the bears, who could care less that you are there, and get to know the habits of individual bears as they fish, rest and graze along the Pacific Coast. Our favorite area for watching bears is a 2 hour plane ride from any road, viewing platform or lodge. Being the only people for miles in any direction has its benefits. From our cozy and weather ready camp we are free to explore to our hearts content. 


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: January 15, 2024


What follows is a general flow of events. Expect the unexpected and prepare to be flexible.

July 13

Meet your guide(s) in Anchorage, Alaska for a pre-trip meeting. Lodging on your own.

July 14

Depart Anchorage 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.

July 15 - 18

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?

July 19

Weather permitting, our pilot arrives at low tide for the flight back to Anchorage.

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.


- Kirsten , LA, USA



Transportation beyond Anchorage

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



Non-camp meals

Personal clothing and gear per our Equipment List

Photographic equipment

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.


Grizzly Maze by Nick Jans

The Bears of Katmai by Matthais Breiter

More Alaska reading is available from our Bookstore

"The wilderness was spectacular, the leadership perfect."
"I am just finishing my tenth trip with you guys. As always, the trip was more than I expected and I had a great time. See you next year!"
"Of all outfitters with whom we have worked (and that is quite a number), you were by far the most organized and responsive."
"That feeling of wide open wonder, the possibilities for nearly limitless wandering, and the image of those proud caribou...that will stay with me a long time"
"Our guide was an encyclopedia on legs. He was always willing and ready to teach, to talk, to listen, to do another hike, or to lie low in camp if we were beat. He truly gave us the trip we wanted!"
client client client client client
Eileen - Canning River