Parks of the Alaska Peninsula
Katmai and Aniakchak

Parks of the Alaska Peninsula - Katmai and Aniakchak

As featured in the May 2014 issue of Outside Magazine, join us this summer for a truly exploratory hiking expedition into the seldom visited Aniakchak National Monument & Preserve, located along the volcanically active "Ring of Fire" in the heart of the Aleutian Mountain Range.  Combine it with 3 nights at the world famous Brooks Camp in Katmai National Park, including a tour of the Valley of 10,000 Smokes, and you're in for one of Alaska's most amazing hiking and national park experiences.

*While Alaska Alpine Adventures endeavors to follow our itineraries as written, odds are in fact slim that you actually will during the camping portion of this trip.  The expeditionary factors at play quite often compel our guides to deviate from the written itinerary.  Guide considerations could include weather conditions, group preference, individual ability, specific safety considerations, or unforeseeable circumstances; collectively what many have called “The Alaska Factor.”  Flight times into and out of the wilderness may also vary based on any number of similar factors. Therefore we strongly suggest that you approach any adventure in Alaska with an open mind.

Trip Details

DURATION 12 days
LENGTH 50+ miles
INTENSITY Level 2
SEASON Summer
MIN AGE 12
BEGINS IN Anchorage
ENDS IN Anchorage
AIRPORT Anchorage International Airport (ANC)
WILDLIFE/
SCENERY
bears, salmon, caribou, fox, wolves

 

What's Included

  • All group gear: Expedition quality tents, group tarp, all cooking equipment & eating utensils
  • Safety Equipment: Satellite phone, maps, GPS, and medical kit
  • Trekking poles
  • Complimentary airport transfer
  • Roundtrip air transportation from Anchorage to King Salmon
  • Roundtrip air transportation from King Salmon into the wilderness
  • Camping at Brooks Campground
  • Valley of 10,000 Smokes tour
  • Lodging on night one in Anchorage
  • 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
Day
1

Your trip begins today in Anchorage, Alaska.  You can arrive at any time and enjoy our complimentary airport transfer to the bed & breakfast.  We’ll be staying at the Susitna Place or the Copper Whale Inn, which are both located close to the airport and adjacent to downtown Anchorage.  Depending on your arrival time, the remainder of the day is yours to relax after your flight or to explore some of the city’s notable sites including the Anchorage Museum of History & Art or the city Park Strip.  This afternoon, you’ll meet your guide at 4pm and head to our Anchorage facility for an orientation and gear check,  followed by a  group dinner featuring gourmet pizza and local craft brews.  The orientation will include a discussion of the route, an introduction to our unique style of Alaska wilderness travel, a familiarization of the principles of Leave No Trace, and a conversation about traveling safely in bear country. Dinner and accommodations included.

Day

After a sumptuous breakfast at the B&B, you’ll meet your guide, load up and transfer to the airport for the flight flight to King Salmon, a small fishing town on the Naknek River near the Bering Sea coast.  Once in King Salmon, you'll gather gear, and board a float plane bound for Brooks Camp. Here, you'll have a chance to view the famous brown bears of the Brooks River, camp at the famous campground,  and prepare for tomorrow’s bus ride and tour of Katmai’s Valley of 10,000 Smokes.  All meals included.  Distance: 2-3 miles, Elevation Gain: 200'

Day

This morning we board the Valley of 10,000 Smokes bus and leave this outpost of civilization behind.  The 26-mile bus ride will take you along Margot Creek, through a beautiful boreal forest, across two more creeks, and eventually to the Three Forks Visitor Center.  It will be here that we leave the rest of the tourists behind, and step foot into the Katmai wilderness.  The Valley’s eerie landscape reflects the power of the eruption that buried the valley floor under 700 feet of pumice and ash and dotted the surface of this lunar-like topography with thousands of steam vents (fumaroles).  Nearly a century of harsh weather has enhanced the beauty of the Valley of 10,000 Smokes, and one can now gaze into river canyons hundreds of feet deep where the layers of pumice and ash have been slowly eroded by the channeled rain and snow melt.  As we hoist our day packs and head to the valley floor, we will immediately see the effect that this powerful and historic event had on the landscape.  All meals included.  Distance: 6 miles, Elevation Gain 500'

Day
4

Today we’ll spend the day exploring the area around Brooks Camp, Brooks Falls, and the Dumpling Mountain trail.  The Dumpling Mountain Trail is a an 8-mile roundtrip hike with 2500’ of elevation gain & loss.  Reaching the summit along this straightforward trail offers incredible views of Naknek Lake, Brooks Lake, and the Bristol Bay region.  All Meals Included.  Distance: 8 miles, Elevation Gain 2500’.

Day

After breakfast at the campground,  you’ll then board a floatplane destined for Surprise Lake within the Aniakchak Caldera. As we unload our gear and establish camp on the shores of the lake’s azure waters, you are sure to be awestruck by the magnitude of your surroundings.  With mountains surrounding you on all sides, the outside world will suddenly seem distant and detached, and you’ll never forget the overwhelming feeling of solitude as the float-plane lifts from the lake and disappears over the crater rim.  All meals included.

Days
6-11 

We'll take the next four days to explore this surreal wilderness on foot. With light packs containing the day’s essentials,  we’ll head out in search of  incredible vistas, wildlife, and solitude.  Whether climbing to the caldera’s rim, climbing to the summit of Vent Mountain,  or scanning for wildlife along the lake shore, you are sure to experience a wilderness like nowhere else on earth! All meals included. Hikes will average 6-8 miles in length with 1000-3000’ of elevation gain & loss.

Day
12 

By noon we'll be ready for the skilled bush pilots to whisk us back to King Salmon.  In his article in Outside Magazine, writer Christopher Solomon best sums up the flight out. "I press my forehead to the window and stare for a long time as the ramp finally climbs higher and higher, until it vanishes in a smother of white clouds. I look up. Gabe and Dan are smiling. For a moment we grin like idiots at one another. Then we press our foreheads against the cold of the Cessna’s tiny portholes. Seeing all this, some of our fellow passengers look out their windows, perplexed. If you hadn’t been there, it would be easy to think there was nothing worth seeing at all."  From King Salmon, we’ll conclude our adventure with a flight back to Anchorage.  Please make certain that you schedule all home bound flights from Anchorage for after 11:00pm.  Better still, we suggest staying in Anchorage this night. Breakfast & lunch included

*While Alaska Alpine Adventures endeavors to follow our itineraries as written, odds are in fact slim that you actually will during the camping portion of this trip.  The expeditionary factors at play quite often compel our guides to deviate from the written itinerary.  Guide considerations could include weather conditions, group preference, individual ability, specific safety considerations, or unforeseeable circumstances; collectively what many have called “The Alaska Factor.”  Flight times into and out of the wilderness may also vary based on any number of similar factors. Therefore we strongly suggest that you approach any adventure in Alaska with an open mind.

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Exceeded my wildest expectations! The country was wild, unspoiled and brand new geologically. The caldera was only 3700 years old and we felt than we were witnessing the birth of the earth as if we were transported back in time hundreds of millions of years. A fantastic, once in a lifetime experience!

Kurt Goerwitz
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