Fodor's Expert Review Brooks Falls and Camp

Katmai National Park and Preserve Viewpoint/Scenic Overlook

At this immensely popular spot, viewing platforms overlook a 6-foot-high cascade where salmon leap to try to make it upstream to spawn while bears stand on the edge of the falls to catch them. An access trail and boardwalk are separated from the river to avoid confrontations with bears. Here, you can see brown bears fishing in July and September. Unlike McNeil River, no special permits are required, though there is a $10 day-use fee at Brooks. Bears are also common along the park's outer coast, where they graze on sedge flats, dig clams and sculpin on the beach at low tide, and fish for salmon. Even on slow bear days it's a beautiful place to be. Ducks fill the park's rivers, lakes, and outer coast, fussing over nesting space with huge whistling swans, loons, grebes, gulls, and shorebirds. Bald eagles perch on rocky pinnacles by the sea. More than 40 species of songbirds make the area their home during the short spring and summer, and if you fall back into big-mammal mood, Steller's... READ MORE

At this immensely popular spot, viewing platforms overlook a 6-foot-high cascade where salmon leap to try to make it upstream to spawn while bears stand on the edge of the falls to catch them. An access trail and boardwalk are separated from the river to avoid confrontations with bears. Here, you can see brown bears fishing in July and September. Unlike McNeil River, no special permits are required, though there is a $10 day-use fee at Brooks. Bears are also common along the park's outer coast, where they graze on sedge flats, dig clams and sculpin on the beach at low tide, and fish for salmon. Even on slow bear days it's a beautiful place to be. Ducks fill the park's rivers, lakes, and outer coast, fussing over nesting space with huge whistling swans, loons, grebes, gulls, and shorebirds. Bald eagles perch on rocky pinnacles by the sea. More than 40 species of songbirds make the area their home during the short spring and summer, and if you fall back into big-mammal mood, Steller's sea lions and a couple of species of seals hang out on the rock outcroppings. From Brooks Lodge, a daily tour bus with a naturalist aboard makes the 23-mile trip through the park to the Valley Overlook. Hikers can walk the 1.5-mile trail for a closer look at the pumice-covered valley floor. (Some consider the return climb strenuous.)

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Viewpoint/Scenic Overlook

Quick Facts

Alaska  USA

907-246–4250-King Salmon Visitor Center

www.nps.gov/katm

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