There is no place on Earth like the coast of Katmai National Park. It is a landscape of waterfalls, tumbling salmon-filled streams, glaciated volcanoes, and meadows filled with wild flowers. And it is also home to hundreds of Brown Bears.
Coastal brown bears of southwest Alaska are some of the largest bears on the planet. They grow large on a rich diet of salmon, clams from the mud flats, and by grazing the abundant sedge meadows. Unlike the solitary grizzly bears of the interior of the continent, these bears live in close proximity, often encountering and interacting with each other. Because food is abundant, they are less defensive of their space, less shy, and more willing to allow humans within close photography range.
Though some areas of the Katmai Coast, notably the crowded Hallo Bay, receive many visitors, at our isolated camp we will likely be alone. Away from the crowds, we will be free to explore, hike, and photograph unencumbered. We will be able to view the bears on their terms, to watch how they interact in their wilderness environment, and to photograph their natural behavior.
It is a rare and humbling experience to be alone with the bears of Katmai. Over the course of this 6-day expedition (plus an optional add-on day), we will have the unique opportunity to safely camp alone in this landscape of bears. Guided by professional photographer and expert naturalist David W. Shaw, this small-group trip is unlike any other.
July 8-13 2018 (Optional Add-on Day, 14 July)
July 8 – Meet in King Salmon, night at the King Salmon Lodge. We’ll go over equipment, the week’s schedule, and answer any questions that you may have.
July 9 – Weather permitting, we will fly early in the day from King Salmon to the coast of Katmai National Park. We will pass over the enormous lakes in the interior of Katmai before crossing rugged, glaciated mountains and descending to the coast. There, we will set up a comfortable camp, fully equipped with a cook tent, sleeping tents, and bear fences, before venturing out to explore.
July 10-12 – With three full days to hike and photograph, we will have the chance to spend many hours photographing the bears in the nearby sedge meadow, or as they fish for salmon in the nearby stream. We will also venture out on foot, hiking up to the toe of nearby glacier, or to beach comb on the miles of empty coast.
July 13 – Weather permitting, our pilot will arrive in the morning to carry us back over the mountains to King Salmon. There you will have the option of catching a flight back to Anchorage and home, or to stick around for an optional add-on day to visit the famous Brooks Falls.
Brooks Falls Add-OnJuly 14 – (Optional Add-on Day) Brooks Falls is probably the most visited site in Katmai National Park. And for good reason. The short Brooks River (it’s only 3 miles long) connects two large lake systems and serves as a migration route for tens of thousands of Red Salmon during July. Mid-way along that short river lies Brooks Falls, a four foot waterfall which the salmon must leap to continue to their spawning grounds. The bears know about the obstacle and congregate there to fish for salmon. Though we most certainly will not be alone, (in fact it will very likely be crowded), this is a chance to capture the classic images of bears catching leaping salmon, and to watch as the bears fish and interact with each other. We will spend a few hours photographing the bears before returning to our plane and heading back to King Salmon where we will catch the evening commercial flight back to Anchorage.
From King Salmon, all flights, food, lodging (1 night hotel, 4 nights camping), and guiding services.
$4750 per person
Optional Add-on Day at Brooks Falls (including hotel in King Salmon) – $750
Full trip including Brooks Falls: $5,500
This trip is a collaboration with Arctic Wild, visit their website to find out more.
Download a pdf itinerary HERE.
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