How large will my group be? Small groups are the best way to witness the Last Frontier! This wilderness trip is limited to 8 guests. And with a guest to guide ratio of 4:1 you are assured of our commitment to risk management and safe operations. Furthermore, it is a best practice to keep groups exceptionally small to minimize our impact on the Alaskan backcountry by following Leave No Trace principles.
What about the mosquitoes? In case you've heard horror stories... the number of mosquitoes is greatly dependent on hatching season, annual weather conditions, specific locations, and time of year. While you are bound to encounter some mosquitoes during the course of your summer adventure, their numbers rarely present major problems. That said, please arrive prepared with insect repellent and a head net to fend off any bugs that are present.
Will bears be a problem? Alaska is bear country! There are both grizzly and black bears in most of the wilderness areas of Alaska we visit. We love seeing bears in the wild, and consider bear sightings one of the most thrilling privileges common in Alaska's backcountry. That said, traveling safely and taking precautions to minimize a negative encounter are considerations we take very seriously. In addition to conducting a thorough pre-trip bear safety orientation, your guides also take many precautions on all of our trips including: 1) all of our food is packaged to minimize odors – we vacuum seal most of our fresh ingredients and sauces, we pack our food in bear resistant food canisters, and we store our food well away from camp. 2) We make noise when we’re hiking in thick brush or when we’re hiking in windy conditions to minimize surprise encounters. 3) We keep an exceptionally clean camp and 4) as a last resort guides travel armed carrying a .44 magnum or a shotgun. Alaska’s national parks allow firearms and our guides are thoroughly trained. Again, using a firearm is a last resort and thankfully we’ve never had to call one into service on a trip!
Will I see wildlife on my trip? It's important to keep in mind that while we do have abundant wildlife populations in Alaska, animals are often obscured by the vastness of the landscape, subject to imprecise migration routes and often affected by Alaska's dynamic weather patterns. While historically wildlife viewing on our trips has been reliable, and we schedule our trips to maximize the chances of seeing wildlife, there are simply too many factors to make any guarantees.
What kind of food might we expect? Our food is excellent – in fact it is something that clearly differentiates us from our competition. We have spent the past fifteen years fine tuning our backcountry menu. And in 2012, we launched Adventure Appetites – an award winning food company focused on bringing our lightweight and packable wilderness cuisine to adventurers everywhere. Breakfasts include pancakes, scrambles, homemade granola and cereal, locally roasted gourmet coffee, assorted tea and cocoa. Lunches could include an Italian club torta sandwich, asiago bagels and Alaska lox, a curried tuna pita, or perhaps crackers with genoa salami with a roasted red pepper goat cheese spread. We also feature house made snack mixes (both savory & sweet), and an assortment of energy bars available throughout the day. Dinners could include pasta carbonara, Alaska reindeer rotini, chicken and chorizo enchiladas, penne pasta with a roasted red pepper pesto, and more. And we ALWAYS experience one of Adventure Appetites home baked desserts after dinner.
What will the weather be like on my trip? Alaska has some of the most dynamic and dramatic weather on the planet. During the summer months in Alaska, average daytime temperatures range from 60 to 80 degrees F, nighttime and morning temperatures are cooler, but rarely dip below 40 degrees F. Fall arrives early at these latitudes and you'll experience cooler temperatures and fewer hours of daylight in late August and early September. Throughout the summer season, you may experience rain, sun, wind, clouds and fog on your departure. We live by the adage "prepare for the worst, hope for the best, and you'll likely end up with some of both".
What will the camping be like on my trip? Alaska Alpine Adventures has camped in some of Alaska’s most remote and wild places; from the remote beaches of the Alaska Peninsula, the rugged glaciers of the Neacola Mountains, to the open tundra expanses of the Brooks Range, With literally thousands of nights camped in the Alaska wilderness in all seasons, we have refined camp craft to a science. Expedition quality tents, included trekking poles, group-size tarp shelters, and only the best cooking equipment accompany each and every one of our wilderness trips. Not only does including the finest equipment make camp life more comfortable, it also adds a level of safety to trips that could otherwise be relentlessly unforgiving to the unprepared. In other words, we take our camping very seriously! Don’t be surprised if you find yourself waiting out a storm under the group tarp, out of the weather, enjoying hot drinks, sumptuous meals and excellent company, while your guide fastidiously tensions all of the tent guy lines!
The Valley of 10,000 Smokes:
Why go to the Valley of 10,000 Smokes?
Backpacking in the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes in Katmai National Park is a trip of a lifetime. Near the end of the Alaska Peninsula and along the crest of the Pacific Rim of fire there sits a National Park of legend and lore. This park, Katmai, is home to the largest brown bear population in the world, holds the spawning grounds of literally millions of sockeye salmon, and contains within its wild borders the unaltered evidence of one of the world's most powerful volcanic eruptions ever recorded. What remains today is a vast area known as the Valley of 10,000 Smokes, and, even nearly 90 years after the cataclysmic eruption, the landscape still bears the scars. Brimming with adventurous possibility and inviting exploration, Katmai's Valley of 10,000 Smokes is a backpackers dream.
Where is the Valley of 10,000 Smokes?
The Valley of 10,000 Smokes and the 3.5 Million Acre Katmai National Park it's contained within lies the end of the Alaska Peninsula at the crest of the Pacific Rim of fire. This remote park is over 200 air miles south west of Anchorage.
How do you get to the Valley of 10,000 Smokes?
Access to the Valley of 10,000 Smokes in Katmai National Park and Preserve is solely by small aircraft or, in some instances, by boat.
Is transportation to the Valley of 10,000 Smokes included in the price of the trip?
Absolutely, our trips are all inclusive from Anchorage. All you need to do is get yourself to Anchorage on Day 1 of your itinerary.
Where will you meet us?
Your Alaska Alpine Adventures guide will meet you at 4 PM at the hotel on the afternoon of day 1 for an orientation, gear check and dinner at a local restaurant.
Who will I be flying with and what time will we be departing on day one?
Your guides will meet you at the B&B before 8AM. You'll fly with your guides commercially to King Salmon, Alaska with either Alaska Airlines or Pen Air. From there, we'll be flying with Katmai Air from King Salmon to the famous Brooks Camp, the access point for the Valley of 10,000 Smokes.
Is the Valley of 10,000 Smokes a good place for viewing wildlife?
Absolutely. Katmai National Park is home to grizzly, coastal brown, and black bears, Dall's sheep, caribou, moose, wolves, and tremendous seasonal populations of migratory birds. We'll spend the afternoon of day 2 viewing the famous brown bears of the Brooks River.
Getting to Alaska
This trip originates in Anchorage, Alaska. Getting to Anchorage is a snap. Alaska Airlines, your travel agent, or the carrier of your choice can easily arrange roundtrip airfare from the lower 48.
Access to Katmai National Park is limited to air travel in a small airplane flown by experienced bush pilots. This adventure includes flights between Anchorage and King Salmon, Alaska on either Alaska Airlines or Pen Air, and floatplane flights into Brooks Camp. Have your camera at the ready, because your expedition really begins when you board the float plane. The flight to Katmai takes you across the southern Aleutian Range with towering peaks and tumbling glaciers below the aircraft. The 200 mile flight to King Salmon, Katmai National Park’s gateway community, takes just over an hour. After arriving in King Salmon, you will then be taken to Katmai Air's floatplane base located along the world famous Naknek River. This will likely be your first experience in a small aircraft, and what a way to start! Here you and your guide will board Katmai Air's floatplane for the brief flight to Brooks Camp - our home for the evening of night two.
Lodging on night one is included in your package. We use a couple of the best properties in Anchorage, and they are comfortable and conveniently located downtown. Prices are double occupancy. If you prefer your own room on night one you will be asked to pay a single supplement of $110.00. The remaining nights will be spent camping in the wilderness!
- All group gear: Expedition quality tents, group tarp, all cooking equipment & eating utensils
- Safety Equipment: Satellite phone, maps, GPS, and medical kit
- Trekking poles
- Complementary airport transfer
- Lodging on night one at a local B&B or hotel in Anchorage
- Roundtrip air transportation from Anchorage to King Salmon
- Roundtrip floatplane transportation from King Salmon to Brooks Camp
- Roundtrip Bus transportation from Brooks Camp to the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes
- Professional guide service at a maximum 4:1 client to guide ratio
- All meals from dinner on day one through lunch on the final day of the itinerary
- Storage for your extra travel items while in the field
- Lodging in Anchorage prior to and after your adventure
- Personal gear (sleeping bags, packs, rain gear, etc.) - See Equipment Lists and available rental items
- Trip cancellation insurance
- Additional hotel nights in Anchorage, Brooks Camp, or King Salmon due to weather delays
- Alcoholic beverages
- Guide gratuities
Reservation & Cancellation Policy
A deposit of $1000.00 per person is required to reserve a trip with Alaska Alpine Adventures. The remaining balance is due 60 days prior to the start of the trip. Reservations made within 60 days of the trip starting date require payment in full.
If the participant cancels a reservation earlier than 60 days prior to the starting date, the deposit will be refunded, minus a $100.00 administration fee. If the participant cancels within 59-31 days of the starting date, 50% of the trip balance will be refunded. If cancellation is made within 30-0 days of the trip starting date, there will be no refund of any costs. Alaska Alpine Adventures recommends cancellation insurance available through Travel Guard. Please call or email us for details.
Trip Cancellations or Delays
Alaska Alpine Adventures reserves the right to cancel or change the itinerary of a trip. In the event that Alaska Alpine Adventures cancels your trip and you are unable to participate, the total balance will be refunded. Occasionally, weather or other factors may cause delays or make completing a trip impossible. In these circumstances, there will be no refund of fees. Furthermore, Alaska Alpine Adventures is not responsible for any other costs, (e.g. airline flight changes, additional hotel nights, etc.) associated with trip delays or itinerary changes due to weather or other factors.
In order to assure any Alaska Alpine Adventures departure, a minimum number of participants must sign up. Our Valley Experience trip requires a minimum of 3 guests to guarantee departure. However we will operate our adventures at below the minimum required for a modest surcharge. Please see our Reservations Page for more information regarding trip minimums.