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Katmai National Park

Pictures by QT Luong

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[Backpacking the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes]

Large format photos of Katmai National Park · Panoramic photos of Katmai National Park]

Located 300 miles Southwest from Anchorage, near the end of the Alaska Peninsula and along the crest of the Pacific Rim of fire, Katmai is today mostly known as the largest the spawning grounds of millions of Sockeye salmon, which attract the largest Brown bear population in the world. However, what prompted the creation of the Park was the eruption of Novaropta in 1912, the largest recorded in modern times. Acid rain burned clothing lines as far as Vancouver, and locally a lantern held at arm's length could not be seen for days. The floor of a vast Valley was buried in 700 feet of pumice and ash, and its surface was found by a 1916 National Geographic expedition to be steaming with thousands of fumaroles, hence the name Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. Nowadays, the fumaroles are gone from the valley floor, however nearly a century of harsh weather has enhanced its beauty, 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 snowmelt.

You have probably seen images of a brown bear catching a salmon flying mid-air. It is almost certain that the photograph was made at Brooks falls. There is an observation platform where you stand just in front of the bears, and a modest telephoto is sufficient to take a good picture. Nowhere else it is as easy to view them, and often inadvertently encounter them on the trail or on the lake beach. While all visitors spend some time to admire those magnificent animals, and sometimes take the four-wheel drive bus for a tour to an overlook to watch the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, Eureka Wang and I set up to backpack in the Valley for a week. Although bad weather thwarted our attempts to climb the high peaks surrounding the valley, we left with memorable impressions of an eerily unique landscape. See also the pictures of backpacking.

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Naknek Lake and Brooks Lake from Dumpling mountain in autum. Katmai National Park ( color) Rain showers above lakes. Katmai National Park ( color) Naknek Lake with rainbowed shaft of light. Katmai National Park ( color) Brooks River and mountains, evening. Katmai National Park ( color) Lake and mountains at sunset. Katmai National Park (Panoramic color) Rainbow, seagulls, and bear, Naknek Lake. Katmai National Park ( color) Bear tracks, Naknek lake. Katmai National Park ( color) Alaskan Brown bear (Ursus arctos) on the shore of Naknek lake. Katmai National Park ( color) Bears in autumn grasses, Brooks River. Katmai National Park ( color) Overview of Brown bears fishing at the Brooks falls. Katmai National Park ( color) Brown bear holding in mounth  salmon at Brooks falls. Katmai National Park ( color) Brown bears fighting, Brooks River. Katmai National Park ( color) Sow and grizzly bear cub. Katmai National Park ( color) Shaft of light over tundra meadow downstream of Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Ash cliffs carved by Ukak River, Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Three Forks Confluence, Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Colorful ash and Lethe River gorge, Valley of Ten Thousand smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) A break in the clouds illuminate the floor of the Valley of Ten Thousand smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Snow-covered mountains contrasting with arid valley floor. Katmai National Park (Panoramic color) Mt Meigeck emerging above ash plain of Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes at dusk. Katmai National Park ( color) Gorge carved by Lethe River ash floor of Valley of Ten Thousand smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Melting snow and lichens, Valley of Ten Thousand smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Brightly colored ash in wide plain, Valley of Ten Thousand smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Wildflowers, pumice, and distant peaks in storm, Valley of Ten Thousand smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Detail of pumice, Valley of Ten Thousand smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Aerial view of Naknek lake. Katmai National Park ( color) Aerial View of island in autumn foliage contrasting with blue waters, Naknek Lake. Katmai National Park ( color) Aerial View of Naknek Lake in autumn. Katmai National Park ( color) Aerial View of pond, tundra and Naknek Lake in autumn. Katmai National Park ( color) Aerial View of forest and ponds. Katmai National Park ( color) Aerial View of meadows, forest, and Naknek Lake. Katmai National Park ( color) Aerial View of Lake Brooks and Naknek Lake. Katmai National Park ( color) Dawn, Naknek Lake. Katmai National Park ( color) Sun rising over Naknek Lake. Katmai National Park ( color) Sunrise, Naknek Lake. Katmai National Park ( color) Bear tracks on the shore of Naknek lake. Katmai National Park ( color) Huge bear footprints on shore of Naknek Lake. Katmai National Park ( color) Naknek Lake shore with huge bear footprints. Katmai National Park ( color) Shore of Lake Brooks. Katmai National Park ( color) Cloud and rainbow, Naknek Lake. Katmai National Park ( color) Naknek Lake and rainbow near Brooks River. Katmai National Park ( color) Close-up of rainbow over Naknek Lake. Katmai National Park ( color) Rainbow over autumn grasses and trees. Katmai National Park ( color) Grasses and rainbow, Brooks Camp. Katmai National Park ( color) Grasses, meadow, and rainbow. Katmai National Park ( color) Grasses and pond, Brooks Camp. Katmai National Park ( color) Grasses and mountain in autumn. Katmai National Park ( color) Wildflowers and leaves in autumn color. Katmai National Park ( color) Looking up cottonwoods trees in autumn. Katmai National Park ( color) Forest and undergrowth in autumn. Katmai National Park ( color) Deciduous forest in autumn. Katmai National Park ( color) Reflections in pond near Brooks camp. Katmai National Park ( color) Sunset and rainbow, Naknek lake. Katmai National Park ( color) Naknek Lake at sunset with pink clouds. Katmai National Park ( color) Sunset on the Brooks river. Katmai National Park ( color) Lake and Mountains with pink clouds at sunset. Katmai National Park (Panoramic color) Naknek Lake at night, framed by trees. Katmai National Park ( color) Moonlit Naknek Lake at night. Katmai National Park ( color) Brooks camp and river seen from Dumpling mountain in summer. Katmai National Park ( color) Naknek Lake with patch of glassy water. Katmai National Park ( color) Lake Brooks from above, autumn. Katmai National Park ( color) High view of Naknek Lake from treeline. Katmai National Park ( color) Clouds and shadows above Naknek Lake. Katmai National Park ( color) Tundra and shimering Lake Brooks. Katmai National Park ( color) Lake Brooks from Dumpling Mountain. Katmai National Park ( color) Tundra above lakes and distant rain showers. Katmai National Park ( color) Tundra in fall colors above Naknek Lake. Katmai National Park ( color) Autum colors on tundra above Naknek Lake. Katmai National Park ( color) Colorful tundra in the fall above Naknek Lake and Lake Brooks. Katmai National Park ( color) Close-up of berries and lichen. Katmai National Park ( color) Close-up of tundra with berries in autumn. Katmai National Park ( color) Multicolored tundra in autumn. Katmai National Park ( color) Close-up of autumn tundra. Katmai National Park ( color) Dumpling Mountain. Katmai National Park ( color) Cloud and rain over lakes. Katmai National Park ( color) Clouds and showers above Lake Brooks. Katmai National Park ( color) Iliuk Arm and North Arms of Naknek Lake from above. Katmai National Park ( color) Rainbow in sun shaft piercing clouds. Katmai National Park ( color) Brooks Camp and Naknek Lake from above. Katmai National Park ( color) Naknek Lake, Brooks River, and Lake Brooks from above. Katmai National Park ( color) The entire Brooks River from above. Katmai National Park ( color) Brooks River area in autumn from above. Katmai National Park ( color) Footbridge over Brooks River from above. Katmai National Park ( color) Mountains and clouds in stormy evening light. Katmai National Park ( color) Brown bears gathering at Brooks Falls. Katmai National Park ( color) Salmon leaping and Brown bears fishing at the Brooks falls. Katmai National Park ( color) Brown bears fishing at the Brooks falls. Katmai National Park ( color) Alaskan Brown bear trying to catch leaping salmon at Brooks falls. Katmai National Park ( color) Brown bear (Ursus arctos) catching leaping salmon at Brooks falls. Katmai National Park ( color) Brown bear (Ursus arctos) trying to catch leaping salmon at Brooks falls. Katmai National Park ( color) Brown bears (scientific name: ursus arctos) fishing at the Brooks falls. Katmai National Park ( color) Alaskan Brown bear (Ursus arctos) fishing at the base of Brooks falls. Katmai National Park ( color) Brown bear and bird at the base of Brooks falls. Katmai National Park ( color) Brown bear extending leg to catch jumping salmon at Brooks falls. Katmai National Park ( color) Alaskan Brown bear with catch  at Brooks falls. Katmai National Park ( color) Brown bear (Ursus arctos) and leaping salmon at Brooks falls. Katmai National Park ( color) Alaskan Brown bear in the Brooks river. Katmai National Park ( color) Overview of Brooks falls. Katmai National Park ( color) Alaskan Brown bear (scientific name: ursus arctos) chewing salmon at the base of Brooks falls. Katmai National Park ( color) Leaping salmon at Brooks falls. Katmai National Park ( color) Two Brown bears trying to catch leaping salmon at Brooks falls. Katmai National Park ( color) Brown bear watching a salmon jumping out of catching range at Brooks falls. Katmai National Park ( color) Brown bear (scientific name: ursus arctos) eating salmon at Brooks falls. Katmai National Park ( color) Alaskan Brown bears gathered at Brooks Falls. Katmai National Park (Panoramic color) Brown bears encounters on trail are frequent at Brooks camp. Katmai National Park ( color) A brown bears plays with a photographer's equipment. Katmai National Park ( color) Brown bears in Brooks river. Katmai National Park ( color) Brown bear in shallows waters of Naknek lake. Katmai National Park ( color) Bears, Naknek Lake, sunset. Katmai National Park ( color) Brown Bear and seagull, Naknek Lake. Katmai National Park ( color) Grizzly bear walking on gravel bar, Naknek Lake. Katmai National Park ( color) Bear in Brooks River and Dumpling Mountain. Katmai National Park ( color) Wetlands and forest with distant bear and seagulls. Katmai National Park ( color) Bear in Brooks River autumn landscape. Katmai National Park ( color) Brown bears swimming, Brooks River. Katmai National Park ( color) Grizzly bear swimming, Brooks River. Katmai National Park ( color) Bear and ripples, Brooks River. Katmai National Park ( color) Bear head emerging from rippled water. Katmai National Park ( color) Brooks Falls and bears fishing in autumn. Katmai National Park ( color) Brown Coastal Bear at Brooks Falls in autumn. Katmai National Park ( color) Bears in Brooks River below Brooks Falls. Katmai National Park ( color) Grizzly Bears gathered at Brooks Falls. Katmai National Park ( color) Fat brown bear at Brooks Falls. Katmai National Park ( color) Coastal Bear in Brooks River. Katmai National Park ( color) Brown Bear eating salmon, Brooks River. Katmai National Park ( color) Grizzly Bear eating a salmon, Brooks River. Katmai National Park ( color) Grizzly bears fighting in Brooks River. Katmai National Park ( color) Sow and bear cub sleeping. Katmai National Park ( color) Mother and bear cub. Katmai National Park ( color) Sow and brown bear cub. Katmai National Park ( color) Rainbow over valley in autumn foliage. Katmai National Park ( color) Dappled light over autumn tundra and mountains. Katmai National Park ( color) Tundra and snowy mountains near Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes in autumn. Katmai National Park ( color) Lethe gorge, Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, and mountains. Katmai National Park ( color) Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes from rim. Katmai National Park ( color) Snowy peaks rising above Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Ukak River gorge, Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Ukak River carving gorge in Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Confluence of the Knife, Lethe, and Windy creek, Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Convergence of the Lethe river and and Knife river, Valley of Ten Thousand smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Gorge cut in volcanic ash plain, Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. Katmai National Park (Panoramic color) Gorge at the convergence of  Lethe and Knife rivers, Valley of Ten Thousand smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Cliffs carved from ash rock, Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Ukak River flowing on rock bed, Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Ukak River flowing on hard rock, Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Ukak River and flutted ash cliffs, Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Ukak River at brink of Ukak falls, Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Ukak River, Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Ukak Falls, Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Ukak River flowing in ash landscape, Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Cliffs of ash rock and Ukak River, Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Ukak River and ash cliffs, Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Yellow paintbrush and orchid flowers. Katmai National Park ( color) Orchids and Yellow paintbrush. Katmai National Park ( color) Lupine and Lethe river on the edge of the Valley of Ten Thousand smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Wildflowers and Lethe river at the edge of the Valley of Ten Thousand smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Deep gorge carved by the Lethe River, Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Lethe river gorge and volcanic peaks, Valley of Ten Thousand smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Stream flows from the hills into the floor of the Valley of Ten Thousand smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Lethe river, Valley of Ten Thousand smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Stream flows from the verdant hills into the barren floor of the Valley of Ten Thousand smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Stream flowing into arid ash-covered valley. Katmai National Park (Panoramic color) Volcanic landscape with deep gorge cut into ash valley. Katmai National Park (Panoramic color) Stormy landscape with ash-covered valley and mountains. Katmai National Park (Panoramic color) Volcanic landscape with river cutting into ash valley. Katmai National Park (Panoramic color) Lethe river cutting deep into ash floor, Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. Katmai National Park (Panoramic color) Stream flows from verdant hills into  barren valley floor. Katmai National Park ( color) The Lethe river carved a deep gorge into the ash of the Valley of Ten Thousand smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Snowfield and Lethe river, Valley of Ten Thousand smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Ash dune formation, Valley of Ten Thousand smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. Katmai National Park (Panoramic color) Wildflowers grow on ash at the limit of the Valley of Ten Thousand smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Wildflowers growing on foothills bordering the Valley of Ten Thousand smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Snow-covered mountains with pink dusk sky. Katmai National Park (Panoramic color) Ash plain, and mountains at sunset, Valley of Ten Thousand smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Big bear tracks in the ash, Valley of Ten Thousand smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Close-up of animal tracks in fine ash, Valley of Ten Thousand smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Animal tracks in ash, Valley of Ten Thousand smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Colorful slab, Valley of Ten Thousand smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Valley with animal tracks in  ash, Valley of Ten Thousand smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Ash-covered valley. Katmai National Park (Panoramic color) Arid ash plain landscape with colorful deposits. Katmai National Park (Panoramic color) Ash formation, Valley of Ten Thousand smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Ash formation on the floor of the Valley of Ten Thousand smokes, below the green hills. Katmai National Park ( color) Colorful ash, Valley of Ten Thousand smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Ash-covered floor of the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, evening. Katmai National Park ( color) Mt Meigeck rising above floor of the Valley of Ten Thousand Smoke. Katmai National Park (Panoramic color) Desert-like ash-covered valley surrounded by snowy peaks. Katmai National Park (Panoramic color) Snow-covered mountains surrounding ash-covered flats. Katmai National Park (Panoramic color) Ash formation, Valley of Ten Thousand smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) The desert-like floor of the Valley of Ten Thousand smokes is surrounded by snow-covered peaks such as Mt Meigeck. Katmai National Park ( color) Mt Meigeck raises above the floor of the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Snow-covered peaks surrounding the arid ash-covered floor of the Valley of Ten Thousand smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Patterns of melting snow, Valley of Ten Thousand smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Pumice below Novarupta volcano, Valley of Ten Thousand smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Baked mountain seen from Novarupta. Katmai National Park ( color) Snow is still present in early summer, Valley of Ten Thousand smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Pumice slopes and misty mountains. Katmai National Park (Panoramic color) Lichens, snow patches, and snowy peaks. Katmai National Park (Panoramic color) Tiny plants growing on ash floor, Valley of Ten Thousand Smoke. Katmai National Park (Panoramic color) Volcanic landscape with pumice hills surrounding ash valley. Katmai National Park (Panoramic color) Pumice and wildflowers, Valley of Ten Thousand smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Rare plants growing out of the ash of Valley of Ten Thousand smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Pumice close-up, Valley of Ten Thousand Smoke. Katmai National Park (Panoramic color) Tiny plants begin to reestablish themselves in the Valley of Ten Thousand smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Close-up of tiny plants in the Valley of Ten Thousand smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Close-up of tiny plants and flowers, Valley of Ten Thousand smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Bears and salmon on visitor center sign. Katmai National Park ( color) Brooks Camp Visitor Center. Katmai National Park ( color) Naknek Lake, Brooks Camp Visitor Center Window Reflexion. Katmai National Park ( color) Brooks Lodge dinning hall. Katmai National Park ( color) Cottages, Brooks Lodge. Katmai National Park ( color) Sign in Brooks campground, warning of the electric fence used to keep the bears out. Katmai National Park ( color) Brooks Camp campground surrounded with electric fence. Katmai National Park ( color) Food and gear cache building, Brooks Camp campground. Katmai National Park ( color) Inside food Cache, Brooks Camp. Katmai National Park ( color) Inside Gear Cache, Brooks Camp. Katmai National Park ( color) Tents, fire ring, and shelter, Brooks Camp campground. Katmai National Park ( color) Native dwelling interpretive sign. Katmai National Park ( color) Cultural site with reconstruction of Native dwelling. Katmai National Park ( color) Road between Brooks Camp and Lake Brooks. Katmai National Park ( color) Three Forks Overlook shelter. Katmai National Park ( color) Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes Three Forks Overlook shelter window reflexion. Katmai National Park ( color) Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes intepretive sign. Katmai National Park ( color) Chain of Volcanoes intepretive sign. Katmai National Park ( color) Trail in dense forest, Brooks Camp. Katmai National Park ( color) Narrow trail in dark forest, Brooks Camp. Katmai National Park ( color) Trail to Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. Katmai National Park ( color) Dumpling Mountain Trail. Katmai National Park ( color) Baggage claim, King Salmon. Katmai National Park ( color) Floatplanes, Lake Brooks. Katmai National Park ( color) Floatplane in Naknek lake. Katmai National Park ( color) Floatplane facing Naknek Lake. Katmai National Park ( color) Unloading floatplane, Lake Brooks. Katmai National Park ( color) Katmai lodge, Brooks camp. Katmai National Park ( color) Inside Brooks Lodge. Katmai National Park ( color) Picnic area enclosed in electric fence. Katmai National Park ( color) Entrance of Brooks Camp campground with electric fence. Katmai National Park ( color) Food and gear cache in the campground, protected from bears by an electric fence. Katmai National Park ( color) Camper ferrying loads into the campground. Katmai National Park ( color) Camper sitting by campfire at night,  Brooks Camp. Katmai National Park ( color) Group heading towards Brooks falls. Katmai National Park ( color) Crossing a bridge on the way to Brooks falls. Katmai National Park ( color) Ranger holds door open as visitors cross footbrige over Brooks River. Katmai National Park ( color) Bear viewing. Katmai National Park ( color) Photographers at the Brooks falls obervation platform. Katmai National Park ( color) Photographers on observation platform and Brooks falls with bears. Katmai National Park ( color) Man fishing for salmon in the Brooks river. Katmai National Park ( color) Fishermen in the Brooks river. Katmai National Park ( color) Visitor looking, Naknek Lake from Dumpling Mountain. Katmai National Park ( color) Visitor Looking, Ukak River, Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. Katmai National Park ( color)
All the 252 color pictures of Katmai National Park are on this page