The North Stars

Apr 21, 2003
Outside Magazine

Dinner's served, the Grizzly way

[Katmai National Park and Preserve]
Getting to Katmai National Park and Preserve, located on the Alaska Peninsula west of Kodiak Island, can be a schlep: Visitors have to get to the town of King Salmon at the northwest edge of the park, then hop a half-hour bush flight before settling in at Brooks Lodge (16 cabins) or Brooks Camp Campground (60-person capacity). Once there, you won't be in a hurry to leave. Besides the spectacle of bears gorging on salmon, there's fishing and a tour of the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, a moonscape created when the volcano Novarupta blew in 1912. Trek in the valley alongside bear tracks the size of manhole covers.
DETAILS: Park concessionaire Katmailand (800-544-0551, offers a three-night air-and-lodging package that includes transportation from Anchorage, a cabin, and park fees for a family of four for $915 per person. The Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes bus tour costs $89 per person. (Katmai National Park and Preserve, 907-246-3305,

[Alaska's Marine Highway ("The Ferry")]
"Road trip" takes on a whole new meaning along Alaska's Marine Highway, where instead of whizzing past billboards, you float past whales and glaciers. The best itinerary is a five-day trip starting in Bellingham, Washington, from which ferries depart on Tuesday and Friday evenings in summer. After two days of cruising the Pacific along the British Columbia coast—pass the time lounging in a deck chair, listening to a Forest Service naturalist wax on about wildlife, or watching movies in the ferry's theater-lounge—disembark on the morning of the third day in Ketchikan, Alaska. Spend the day viewing massive totem poles made by the Tlingit and Haida people. On day four, catch another ferry to Wrangell, stopping for bear viewing and Stikine River sports. On the fifth day, head for Juneau, Alaska's capital.
DETAILS: The journey from Bellingham to Ketchikan costs $193 per adult ($292 extra for a four-berth cabin with facilities); kids two to 11 travel for half-price, and children under two cruise for free. The Ketchikan-to-Wrangell leg costs $27 per adult ($64 more for a cabin); Wrangell to Juneau, $66 ($78 for a cabin). You can also camp out under the ferry's solarium. (Alaska's Marine Highway reservations, 800-642-0066,

Filed To: Nature, Alaska