Brown Bears of Katmai National Park – Alaska

Brown Bears of Brooks Falls

Katmai National Park and Preserve — July 2–6, 2017 – 1 spot left!

Limited to 4 Participants — $3,295, early-bird $2,995 if registered by April 15th 

To register, click here: 

Join a small band of adventuresome photographers on an intensely exciting trip to Alaska’s remote Katmai National Park. During this trip, you will view and photograph one of the greatest seasonal concentrations of top predators anywhere on earth — the annual gathering of brown bears along the Brooks River in the heart of Katmai National Park. Katmai hosts an incredible density of brown bears — the largest carnivores in North America. In late-June and early-July, the bears gather at Brooks Falls and along the Brooks River to feed on one of the earliest runs of migrating sockeye salmon — over the course of a few weeks, several hundred thousand salmon will try to make their way up the Brooks River and past the Falls. Normally, brown bears are solitary creatures, but with abundant food readily available, the bears are more willing to tolerate one another; as many as 25 bears have been seen fishing at Brooks Falls at the same time. You will see a wide variety of fishing techniques — some bears quietly wait in still water, watching for unwary salmon; others prefer to fish in fast-moving water; some bears use their paws, while others attempt to use their powerful jaws to catch jumping salmon in mid-flight; and some bears run and bound over long stretches of the river, apparently hoping that by covering more water, they have a greater chance of encountering a meal.

Occasionally, you will see some preliminary courting. And at other times, the scene is not so peaceful; dominant bears, usually males, will attempt to displace other bears from prime fishing spots. Conflicts can occur, and can escalate — sometimes just a facedown, sometimes a more serious attach, with teeth and claws brought into action; many bears show visible scars from such encounters. Furthermore, some male bears have been known to attack cubs — and mother bears will do their best to defend their cubs, running the cubs up nearby trees, and facing down the male. In short, you will find lots of action at Brooks Falls and along the Brooks River, and sometimes-high drama. Amazing photo ops everywhere!

This Trip Includes —

  • Small-personalized trip to one of the most remote National Parks.
  • An unforgettable experience not to be found anywhere else in the world.
  • One night’s lodging in Anchorage. Two guests per room, two queen beds.
  • Flights from Anchorage to King Salmon, and King Salmon back to Anchorage.
  • Three nights’ lodging in King Salmon. Two guests per room, two twin beds.
  • Three round-trip flights from King Salmon to Brooks Camp, in Katmai National Park. These flights provide great views of untrammeled Alaska wilderness.
  • Three long days of bear viewing and bear photography at Brooks Falls and along the Brooks River.
  • Expert advice on gear and camera settings to help you get the best possible photos of the action. We will provide you a wealth of information to help you plan your visit to Katmai.
  • A lifetime of memories and stories of your adventures with the bears of Katmai National Park.

BonusEach participant will receive priority enrollment and a $500 discount on our 2018 Katmai Bears Workshop. In 2018, we will be staying in Katmai National Park, at Brooks Lodge, during the first week of July — historically, the best time to view the bears at Brooks Falls. Our 2018 trip will give you even more time with the bears, and more time to experience all that Katmai has to offer.

This trip does not include —

  • Your airfare to and from Anchorage.
  • Trip insurance (highly recommended).

Itinerary 

Sunday, July 2

  • Arrive Anchorage. Make your flight reservations to arrive in Anchorage no later than Sunday, July 2. Our hotel has a shuttle service and will pick you up at Anchorage International Airport. If you arrive by 6:00 PM, you are welcome to join us for dinner downtown.

Monday, July 3

  • Flight to King Salmon. We will depart Anchorage in the early morning — 7:00 AM — in order to get to the bears at the earliest possible time. Our flight will take just over an hour.
  • Upon arrival in King Salmon, we will drop off our luggage at our lodgings; visit the general store to pick up some groceries (feel free to bring your own “essentials” along with you) and pick up lunch or a light snack on the plane; and then check in at the Katmai Air floatplane facility.
  • We are scheduled to depart for Katmai National Park at 10:30 AM. Our flights between King Salmon and Brooks Camp will take about 90 minutes. Upon arrival at Brooks Camp, we will attend a bear safety briefing by a National Park Ranger. Then we are off to see and photograph the bears! You are not allowed to take food beyond Brooks Camp. If you buy food at the general store, you will either need to consume it on the plane or store it in one of the camp sheds.
  • You can watch the bears and photograph them all day long (about 6 hours). At some point, we will break for a meal. Due to the nature of Katmai, we will be staying together as a group when we head back to the camp for food. If you don’t have dinner at Brooks Lodge, you can do so back at “Base Camp” — our lodgings in King Salmon. We have a fully equipped kitchen, refrigerator, coffee maker, dishes, and utensils, so a hot breakfast or dinner is an option.
  • We will depart Brooks Camp for King Salmon at 7:00 PM.

Tuesday, July 4 —

  • Breakfast at “Base Camp.”
  • Depart for Katmai National Park at 7:30 AM.
  • Enjoy a full day (about 9 hours) with the bears.
  • Dinner at Brooks Camp, if you wish, or wait until we are back at “Base Camp.”
  • Depart Brooks Camp for King Salmon at 7:00 PM.

Wednesday, July 5 —

  • Breakfast at “Base Camp.”
  • Depart for Katmai National Park at 7:30 AM.
  • Enjoy a full day (about 9 hours) with the bears.
  • Dinner at Brooks Camp, if you wish, or wait until we are back at “Base Camp.”
  • Depart Brooks Camp for King Salmon at 7:00 PM.

Thursday, July 6 —

  • Breakfast at “Base Camp.”
  • Depart for King Salmon Airport at 7:45 AM.
  • Our flight back to Anchorage departs at 9:25 AM, with arrival at 10:30 AM.
  • You can now continue your travels homeward, looking forward to sharing your memories and photos with family and friends — or perhaps you will head out to continue your adventures in Alaska.

Getting to the Bears — There are three viewing platforms along the Brooks River — the Lower River Platform is 0.3 mile from the Visitor Center, the Riffles Platform is 1.0 mile, and the Falls Platform is 1.2 miles. These platforms are designed to allow great viewing of the bears, while keeping them away from guests; a National Park Service Ranger staffs each platform, and additional Rangers patrol the area. But you can encounter bears anywhere in the area, particularly along the trail to the Falls Platform, as these trails are considered bear paths. Since bears are active on the paths, we will move together as a group.

Restrooms are located at Brooks Camp and where Brooks Falls Trail meets the main trail to the camp.

Important — You are not allowed to take any food, any snacks, any candy, or any drinks other than water outside the developed area of Brooks Camp. This is essential to prevent bears from becoming conditioned to and attracted to human food.

Meals at Brooks Lodge ­— Meals are not included in this tour. Brooks Lodge has buffet meals available for lunch and dinner, and the food is good —

  • Lunch (11:30 AM – 1:30 PM) — $24.00 (includes: ice tea, lemonade, water)
  • Dinner (5:30 PM – 7:30 PM) — $40.00 (includes: ice tea, lemonade, water)

We will be back in King Salmon by about 8:30 PM each day, so you might prefer a late (and less expensive) dinner back at “Base Camp.”

Weather — In early July in Katmai National Park and King Salmon, we typically see high temperatures in the low-to-mid-60s (F), with lows in the upper 40s. Rain is always possible, so be prepared to protect your gear and yourself while out shooting. Dress in layers.

Sunrise / Sunset — We expect ample daylight during our time in Katmai National Park — sunrise will be about 5:35 AM, and sunset will be about 11:30 PM — and there will be no “pitch dark” at all; twilight will be present continually from sunset to sunrise.

Single Supplement — We have planned for two guests per room in Anchorage (two queen beds) and King Salmon (two twin beds). Lodging in King Salmon is limited, and expensive. If you absolutely want a private room of your own, there will be an additional single supplement fee of $1,100.

Tour Cancellation Policy — We may cancel this trip if, by June 15, 2017, fewer than two participants have enrolled. If we cancel the tour, we will notify you by email and 100% of any payments you made will be refunded. We will not be responsible for booked airfare or other fees and expenses you may have incurred. We will notify you when the minimum number of participants has been reached. We also strongly recommend travel insurance whenever you are traveling to a destination in Alaska.

Participant Cancellation Policy — We require written notice of your cancellation (email will be adequate).  If you cancel on or after May 15, 2017, a non-refundable fee of $250 will be assessed, but you may apply this amount as a credit to a future 2017 or 2018 RRPT trip that is priced at $900 or more. If you cancel on or after June 15, 2017, a non-refundable fee of $500 will be assessed, unless we are able to find another person to take your place; if we fill your spot, a non-refundable fee of $250 will be withheld, but you may apply this amount as a credit to a future 2017 or 2018 RRPT trip that is priced at $900 or more.

Travel Insurance — Travel to and from King Salmon and Brooks Camp can be affected by weather and other factors. RRPT is not responsible for any delay or cancellation made by one of our air carriers or other service providers or for any resulting losses. We strongly advise the purchase of travel insurance. Travelinsurance.com offers many different options from various vendors and allows for product comparison.

Schedules are Subject to Change — Flights between Anchorage and King Salmon are limited and subject to change by the carrier; and seats on our desired flights may fill faster than we expect. The times discussed here reflect flights and seats available as of early March 2017. Book early to avoid any need to travel earlier or later than planned.

Additional Information — 

 

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