Explore Aniakchak Crater on our 5 day base camp adventure in America’s least visited National Monument. Between the stormy Bering Sea and the Gulf of Alaska rises a chain of volcanoes stretching from Siberia to Alaska’s mainland. 400 miles out the chain is Aniakchak Crater, a still smoking volcano with an amazing amount of wildlife. We will call this spectacular and wild landscape our home for the week.
Picture a still-hot volcano, rising from the Pacific Ocean, whose crater is home to grizzly bears as big as horses, with a mineral green lake, and some of the best hiking in Alaska. Welcome to Aniakchak Crater National Monument! From our weather worthy and comfortable camp next to the lake and within striking distance of the warm springs, we will spend our days enjoying the caldera in all its moods.
There are cinder cones to climb, a river to walk down with impressive rapids to view, wildlife such as brown bears, wolves, and caribou.We can hike the crater rim and look out to either the Bering Sea or the Pacific Ocean (weather permitting). There is even a volcano inside of a volcano (Vent Mountain) we could climb. Or we could attempt to circumnavigate the 6-mile wide caldera. We can also focus our energy on photography, watching birds, or simply watching the weather and the changing light on the enormous crater walls. However we choose to use our time, the land will inspire and delight us.
Few people have ever heard of Aniakchak and many fewer still have had the opportunity to visit this spectacular part of the Alaska Peninsula. The peninsula stretches southwest from Anchorage for 600 miles of the most remote and beautiful wilderness anywhere. With smoking volcanoes, rivers full to their banks with salmon, and some of the world’s largest bears it is a rich and awe inspiring region. Half of the way down this road-less peninsula lays the least visited unit of the National Park Service, Aniakchak Crater National Monument. We plan this trip during the mid-summer in hopes that the weather will be mild and sunny, but we will come prepared for the famous winds and storms of the region.
The crater is full of surprises, from its resident moose, to the thermal springs, to the tenacious plant life growing on coarse volcanic rocks, to lakes and rivers full of salmon. The Caldera was formed a scant 3500 years ago and erupted as recently as 1931. Signs of the active geology are everywhere in the area. Please join us for a week of wildlife, exploration, and adventure with latitude.
Last updated: December 22, 2020
What follows is a general flow of events. Expect the unexpected and prepare to be flexible.
Meet your guide(s) in King Salmon for a pre-trip meeting.
We will board a de Havilland Beaver for a beautiful flight down the peninsula over countless lakes to Aniakchak Crater. The plane will land us on a bright green lake right in the Caldera. We will unload, set up a comfortable base camp, and get to exploring!
We can do as much or as little as we want each day. Your guide will be available to lead hikes, interpret geology and natural history or simply suggest and facilitate your adventure. Hiking is great. Wildlife is all around.
On our last day (weather permitting) we are picked up by the same plane which brought us to this rugged paradise, returning us to King Salmon in time for a hot shower.
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
Expect temperatures in the 50’s most of the time with a breeze or a genuine wind. We could get 70 and sunny or we could see a storm to remember. Bugs shouldn’t be present in the crater, rain and fog are much more likely. Weather related aviation delays are likely. Travel insurance is highly recommended.