Katmai Canoe


July 17, 2025 - July 23, 2025


Katmai National Park





July 17, 2025 - July 23, 2025


Katmai National Park



Katmai National Park is among the richest ecosystems on earth and the Savonoski River loop is the perfect canoe trip through the Park. Millions of salmon swim inland to feed the world’s largest bears and Alaska’s largest lakes sprawl between volcanic peaks. Enjoy Katmai’s Savonoski Loop with Arctic Wild.


Katmai National Park is on the Alaska Peninsula, a long, volcano-studded finger pointing to a 2,000-mile archipelago arcing across the north Pacific to Siberia. Constant tectonic activity, volcanism, and retreating glaciers have left behind jagged peaks, rounded hills, and deep blue lakes. We’ll paddle along these glacial lakes and on the Savonoski River, roughly 80 miles, on our Katmai Canoe trip. Fifty of our miles will be on lakes and thirty miles on rivers. Camping on the beaches, fishing the creeks and watching bears in the autumn light, we enjoy the best of Katmai’s interior on this wilderness canoe trip.

Summer on the Alaska Peninsula means cool weather, fish in the rivers, and a jungle of vegetation. July also means fattening-up time for the huge brown bears that live in Katmai National Park.  We may see moose, black bears, wolves, and foxes in Katmai. We will certainly see great big brown bears, passing their time eating salmon. Though they treat humans as something to walk around, they are themselves staggeringly powerful creatures. We will have close, but safe, encounters with them. There are unparalleled opportunities for observing and photographing bears at play, while feeding, and just being bears. We will also see bald eagles and a variety of waterfowl.

The rainbow trout and Northern pike fishing is excellent throughout the trip and especially in the Grovenor River. In a few locations we can hike into the alpine and cast our eyes over the vast, lake-bejeweled landscape we have been paddling through.

This trip is a moderately difficult route. Experience with canoe travel is recommended. The lake paddling is not difficult, but because the lakes are susceptible to big winds, we will paddle in light chop or swells some days. We will paddle close to shore, and while we need not undertake open water crossings, there is one such crossing we can elect to do, if conditions permit. The Savonoski River paddling is all Class I with swift, braided channels. We will provide canoe instruction during the trip but taking a class before the trip will help you feel more comfortable on the river. The ACA offers river canoe classes in most areas of the US and we encourage you to improve your skills prior to the trip. You need not be an expert paddler to join but some canoe experience is essential.

After a week in the remote backcountry of Katmai National Park we spend the final night and day of the trip at world-famous Brooks Falls. We won’t have the area entirely to ourselves, but humans are still likely outnumbered by bears.

Last updated: February 16, 2024


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

July 16

Meet your guide for a pre-trip meeting at 4 pm in Anchorage. Location TBD.

July 17

This is a long day.  We fly from Anchorage to King Salmon.  After a visit to the visitor center we board a float plane and fly to Colville Lake.  Once the plane is unloaded we will assemble the canoes and paddle several miles to make a nice, secluded camp on a pebbly beach.  We’ll spend the rest of the evening settling into our surroundings.

July 18 - 21

We have 50 miles to go and time to enjoy it.  We’ll be paddling up to six hours a day, stopping several times to stretch, snack, hike, and explore.

We’ll paddle across Colville Lake and into Grosvenor Lake, a long finger of a lake curving beneath tall mountains, a hidden jewel with secret creeks full of salmon. Snow capped volcanoes loom in the distance. At the very tip of the lake, we will descend a creek that empties into the Savonoski River. From here, we’re paddling swift water in a vast open plain of river gravels. The views are stunning as we enter Naknek Lake, gray with glacial silt and dotted with floating rocks (pumice).

We will spend time fishing the lakes and rivers, swapping stories around beach fires, and watching bears feed, swim and interact with each other.

July 22

Paddle the last few miles to Brooks Camp and unload our gear. We spend our last night of the trip in Brooks Camp at the Katmai National Park campground and will have the afternoon to watch bears from the platforms overlooking the world famous Brooks Falls.

July 23

After a last walk up to Brooks Falls, we meet our plane and depart Brooks Camp. We fly back to King Salmon, and then catch a jet back to Anchorage arriving late in the evening.  Change socks!

The great food throughout the trip shouldn’t have been a surprise, but it was a delight. As I review the meals, it sounds more like an immobile glamping excursion than an Arctic expedition — French toast and pancakes (with maple syrup!) and bacon and oatmeal and Mexican egg scramble, hummus and couscous and cheese and eggplant and jerky and smoked oysters and nuts and chocolate, Mexican feasts of pork quesadillas and enchiladas and a weenie roast and fusilli with salmon al fredo (with sun-dried tomatoes and rosemary) and Thai chicken stew and the Thanksgiving feast (I mean, really, turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes in the wilderness?)

- Tom, Cape Town, South Africa



Round-trip airfare to Katmai National Park

Food while in the wilderness, stoves, cooking & eating utensils

Boats, paddles, life jackets, safety & repair gear

Professional guide service

Select Camping Equipment is available through Arctic Wild


Non-camp lodging

Non-camp meals

Personal clothing and gear per our Equipment List

Fishing gear, and fishing license

Gratuity for guide(s)


Temperatures vary from the 70’s to the low 40’s.  Rain is almost assured.  We should be past the peak of bugs, but some flies will persist.  For this reason, you should pack a head-net and DEET bug repellent.


Grizzly Maze, Nick Jans

The Bears of Katmai, Matthais Breiter

Path of the Paddle, Bill Mason

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!"
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Eileen - Canning River