We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“The Bear Truth!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Brooks Falls

Brooks Falls
Katmai National Park and Preserve, AK
Improve this listing
Visit Brooks Falls like an insider
$625*
and up
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Activities: Viewing wildlife
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Area on the Brooks River where a large number of brown bears spend their summer due to salmon migration.
Vancouver, Canada
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
69 helpful votes 69 helpful votes
“The Bear Truth!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 15, 2011

Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park was the highlight of our trip to Alaska. It was also the most exciting experience of my lifetime...one aspect I truly hope never occurs again!

This is really a double endorsement. To get to Brooks Falls it involves a 3 hour ride in a float plane. Some aircraft are faster than others. Book on the fastest airplane. We chose Rust's Flying Services Airlines which has been around furever! Their pilot was outstanding in that he took us over different topography in each direction. It felt like we could reach out and touch the mountain tops! It's a 12 hour adventure into wilderness.

Bears were sunbathing on the beach as our float plane taxied onto the sand. We then had to get to the park ranger's briefing cabin. We did have a plentiful box lunch - then all food was removed from our person. Unfortunately our park ranger who had a captive audience, liked to hear herself talk. This cut into our very expensive bear viewing time. This was actually July 2010. So don't waste any of your precious minutes, especially if you are not over-nighting. If we did it again, I think we'd spend the night sporting insect repellent and hat and facial nets! The tour that allows you to get into the water with the bears would be something to consider for a future trip.

Hopefully you'll get past the bears that fish around the lower bridge. Park rangers are there to tell you if it is safe to proceed or not. You are then walking through the same woods that the bears inhabit. I believe it's about a gentle mile uphill. When you enter the secured raised walkway platform area, give your name immediately to the park ranger. Depending on the number of people waiting to access the two-tiered viewing platform, they will allot you perhaps an hour.

After that don't miss the lower platform where you can spend as much time as you have left. I feel I got some of my best photography shots from there.

We had been told that often the bears are sleeping in the grass after a salmon feast. What we had not anticipated was the bears not hearing us. Crash boom snap! We whirled around to see what on earth was making so much noise. Two huge brown bears stood towering over us not 8 ft. away! I suggested that we back off the path to give them room to get by, provided they didn't stop for a nibble. Bears are smart. Why tromp through the woods when you have these lovely cleared paths? Well one took the path and the other ran around us. I could have touched his fur as he chose to throttled past us. Hindsight is brilliant. If you are only two people, I strongly urge you to walk with other people and sing very loudly! And yes, I would risk it again. Brooks Falls is the premier location for admiring big beautiful bears! To observe these bears in nature is a lifetime golden memory.

Visited July 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

101 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    90
    8
    1
    2
    0
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Phoenix, Arizona
Top Contributor
72 reviews 72 reviews
21 attraction reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
56 helpful votes 56 helpful votes
“Bears, salmons, volcanoes, lakes, & More bears... amazing!!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 13, 2011

Brooks Falls is located in the Katmai National Park in King Salmon, Alaska. This place is simply amazing. If you really want to see brown bears, and fish sockeye salmon then Brooks Camp is your place. The park is open to public between June-September. In order to visit the park you have to coordinate a flight with Katmai Air.

Once you get there an 10 mins. orientation talk is mandatory by NPS Park Rangers.
Visitors are not allowed to carry food and must be placed in Food Cache.
There is camp ground and Lodge has rooms (Previous reservation is required).
Brooks Lodge has a dinning area: Breakfast ($12), Lunch ($20) and dinner ($30).
Bathrooms and outhouses are available, but limited.
From the Lodge area to the Falls is about 1.5 miles (don't bring too much stuff since the space at the falls might be limited)
Peak visitation is late June and July. Waiting time to see the bears @ Falls will be limited to 1hrs. per person. Before or after there is no limit.
** Keep in mind that if there is bear activity less than 50 yards or less from the bridges that give access to the falls or other areas they will remain closed to public! ** This might causes delays in flight and you might get stuck for a while.
If you want to fish, a fishing license is required. (you can buy it @ Brooks Lodge).
Bring clothes for different kind of weather, might be rainy or hot . (40-60F during summer).
Insect repellent, camel back o Nalgene bottles of water, and comfortable shoes are highly recommended.
Keep you eyes open and bring a good camera with zoom for close ups!
NPS Ranger led programs area available free of charge: Cultural Walk, Evening programs, and many others!

I can try to describe this place but it will be effortless, this place is simply amazing.
It was a dream come true. Recommendation: visit early in the morning!!!

Conclusion: Highly recommended!

Visited July 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, Texas
Top Contributor
131 reviews 131 reviews
19 attraction reviews
Reviews in 48 cities Reviews in 48 cities
95 helpful votes 95 helpful votes
“Water aerobics with bears while trout fishing”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 5, 2011

What an incredible feeling it is to be standing in the Brooks River catching trophy rainbow trout while trying to stay 50 yards, per park rules, away from giant bears. Who materialize out of thin air. 50 yards??. Are you kidding?, in thigh deep water?.....If the bears wanted to they would be on you in seconds. A little nervous and uneasy but the fishing was off the charts. I would do it again in a minute!!!

Visited September 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newport, OR
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Brooks Falls Unique worthwhile experience but Katmai Air, not so much”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2011

My son and I had reserved a plane ride to Katmai National Park for Monday and were told we would be there from 0800-1700, and to arrive at 0730. We got there before 0730 and were told that now our return flight would be at 1300 instead of 1700, but we could have a discount from $188 to $170 (wow). The reason given was something vague about making a flight schedule. As we didn't have any additional time to postpone the trip we took their offer. In a nutshell, the Katmai air staff had very poor people skills. We ended up only having a little over 2 hours to enjoy the whole trip, and felt like we were being rushed in and out of there. I don't know if the other options for planes in and out of Brooks falls are better, but I might try something other than Katmai Air. We didn't get to see the interpretive center nor browse the store. We would have liked to see the auditorium and what was available there, but were rushed out.
BUT, seeing the bears on the waterfalls as well as on the trail close up was spectacular and if we had a good flight experience and were able to see all we wanted I would have rated it excellent.

Visited July 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Barrington, Illinois
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
9 attraction reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
“Best activity in Alaska”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 12, 2011

We stayed in the cabins July 3 with 3 generations. There were not as many bears as you would see in the middle of July, but every time we looked outside, they were there. We all LOVED it. If possible, you should stay the night. A day trip just wouldn't be enough for me. My kids, 10 and 13 were never bored and it was their favorite adventure on our trip also.

Visited July 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Brooks Falls also viewed

Katmai National Park and Preserve, AK
Katmai National Park and Preserve, AK
 

Been to Brooks Falls? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Brooks Falls, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.