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All reviews fish salmon run viewing platform king salmon float plane day trip lower platform the river bucket list bear viewing katmai air watching bears salmon jumping an amazing experience mother bear once in a lifetime bear safety
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Reviewed September 21, 2018

Loved every minute of our time here! Trip of a lifetime and we can't wait to go back one day! Definitely a must see and experience!

Thank lorif_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 20, 2018 via mobile

We were so thrilled to see many bears in mid August . It turned out late afternoon was the best time. A once in a lifetime experience and well worth the effort to get there and the cost. Even the float plane is an experience. Close up experience with a couple of bears on the track added to the excitement.
We did a day trip from Anchorage and was fortunate the day was clear and weather fine. Nice lunch provided and everyone in our group agreed this was the highlight of our 5 week trip in Alaska and Canada. If you are looking to get close to grizzlies this is definitely the place, they roam free and watching them catch and eat salmon adds to an unforgettable experience .
They say don’t get closer to the bears than 50m here , but in Denali they say 300m .

1  Thank bradbf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 18, 2018

The bears are amazing because they know their survival depends on eating enough salmon to get them through hibernation. Most of the people at the falls are fairly intelligent; but, some make just really stupid comments. Most photographers (and there are a lot) are fairly well mannered. Some of them do have the "my lens is bigger than your lens so get out of my way" mentality.

1  Thank I13JAmarym
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 3, 2018 via mobile

If you want to see the bears in their natural habitat close-by. You have to go there! It’s worth the visit

1  Thank aishaa873
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 22, 2018

The price is steep to get to Katmai, but worth every penny! When we had our chance to view at the upper falls there were 19 bears in the river! It was stunning. Walking between the platform areas you do have to watch our for bear. At one point a bear was laying down in the trail in front of the gate to get on the platform to see Brook's falls. We had to wait 15 minutes before the bear moved it is surreal walking with the bears.

2  Thank venom550pm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 18, 2018 via mobile

Didn't see bear fishing salmons since it wasn't July yet, but it was worthy anyway. Quite and pacific, we fell in love with this place. You can find a bear everywhere. It was expensive to get there, but if you sleep in the camp you won't pay much.

1  Thank chiarys2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 13, 2018

Tuesday, 24 July 2018, booked through Katmailand. This trip included transportation by 4 different flights, 2 by turboprop, and 2 by floatplane. As a pilot, I can vouch for the safety and efficiency of all the flights. The first thing after landing at Brooks Lake (the floatplane base for Brooks Falls) you will receive a bear safety briefing. Pay attention, you will have a personal experience with a brown bear before your day ends. The visitor center is located about 2 miles by road from the floatplane base, requiring bus transport, and ½ mile walk over a trail and bridge, often interrupted by bear jams. The visitor center is a compact collection of necessary cabins and mess hall designed to accommodate day and overnight visitors. Most buildings are scarred by the clawing of bears. NPS personnel and Katmailand employees are everywhere. One of the more interesting positions is bear technician (a.k.a. bear harasser). These intrepid souls are the negotiators/arbitrators between bear and human contact. Both species must obey their guidance at all times. The meal provided by our package and the kitchen staff was served buffet style, precisely at noon, and was delicious. Plenty of choices, always fresh coffee, and a warm inviting fire in the adjoining lodge room. Your experience at Brooks is left to your imagination after your briefing. You can walk anywhere, sit by the campfire, or go fishing if you choose. We were a party of 4, and one of our members became ill (bad cold) and was left by the campfire. The other 3 explored and made our way to Brooks Falls for those famous pictures (a back-track walk of almost 1.5 miles). Only 4 bears here, no leaping salmon, but still a great experience. We then walked back to the floatplane base to await our plane ride home. The day we were there most bear activity encounters were at the visitor center, and along trails roads. Bears, especially sows and cubs were in constant presence amongst the visitor center complex. Many bears were along the roads and trails. The only place skimpy on bears was the falls. No one I spoke with could adequately explain the distribution of bears at any location, (there were plenty of salmon in the river) and a lot of human activity at the visitor center, but loads of bears at the visitor center, somewhat contrary to intuition.
I recite the following experience to highlight the spontaneous atmosphere at Brooks. While waiting for our ride back to civilization, my wife and I settled in at the floatplane base, (nothing more than a covered picnic table, food locker, and wide gravel area to the edge of Brooks Lake. A compact area. Taking a que from a floatplane pilot passing time between flights, I settled in along the lake’s edge to soak up some rays of sunlight, and soon began to doze about 10 feet away from the likewise sleeping pilot. Surprised and unexpectedly, I was awakened by the jumping pilot, kicking rocks and yelling at the top of his lungs in some ancient human tongue. Momentarily, my blurry eyes caught the vision of two yearling brown bears 10 feet away. I quickly tried to recall from my safety briefing and any mention whatsoever of bears ability to swim, what to do if chased into water, etc.…nothing came to mind, but the bears were by that time retreating backwards at the sight of the crazed Neanderthal pilot. That was my personal bear experience at Brooks, and it occurred at the place you will receive your bear safety briefing. And yes, I asked my wife what the hell she was doing as these bears approached me at the lakes edge, and she gave the standard Brooks answer to everything “I was taking pictures of the bears”.
If you are planning this trip one, two, or three years in advance as I did, rest assured you will be happy with your choice and will have experiences that warrant the stiff price of this experience. Book in the prime months (June-July) and be assured you’ll see plenty of bears, and more importantly, have a personal bear experience.

9  Thank garykitty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 12, 2018

Seeing the Bears was just simply amazing. The viewing platform is great and we spent a good hour and a half observing the bears. We had to wait two hours when we arrived to cross the bridge, though, as there were bears within 50 yard which then went to sleep. I totally appreciate the need to keep safe and was happy to wait (in retrospect, after having a good observation time with them!) but this waiting time made no sense, when, on the way back we were approached by a bear and there were no rangers allocated to monitor those areas. Seems a little strange to me. Thankfully, a guide with another group took charge of the situation and managed the bear's behaviour and ours.

1  Thank Dawn W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 11, 2018

This was our 56th National Park and one of the best to which we have been.
There are no roads in or out of the Park, so most visitors get there by bush plane to King Salmon and then a float plane to one of the lakes by the Park; Anchorage and Homer flying services also offer trips directly to the area. We were fortunate to take a flight offered by Trail Ridge Air directly there on our last day in Alaska.
There are camping facilities and a great lodge within the Park; both sell out very far in advance; however, most visitors are day only visitors.
There are a number of activities to do in this National Park, but most people come for the bears at Brooks Falls. This is the area where the brown bears congregate to feed on the salmon which are going upstream to spawn. A viewing platform close to the ranger station and lodge exists to watch bears feed in the Naknek Lake area. There are two other viewing platforms to see the falls—one further down stream which has some great views but serves as a waiting area for the final trek to the falls viewing platform; this is approached by a boardwalk and is very controlled during high periods of visitation; your time there will probably be limited in high season which is July.
When you arrive, you have to go to “bear school” where you learn how to deal with bears that you may encounter on your trek to the viewing platforms. Rangers give about a 15-minute presentation often at both areas of access to the falls—Brooks Lake or Naknek Lake.
Regardless of which lake on which you land, after “bear school”, you must walk a little over a mile to the falls and bear viewing platforms. The NPS Visitors Center is near Naknek Lake and requires a further walk if you have landed at Brooks Lake.
There is also an excursion to the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes in the Park of which we did not take advantage.
This National Park is worth all the time and money it takes to get there.

4  Thank IdaIllinois
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 7, 2018 via mobile

The high light of our Alaska trip. Nature at its best!! Speechless ! The bear , the cubs and the jumping salmon .. wow!

3  Thank Darla B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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