|from $3,650* per person||10 Days||June-September
Exertion level: 5
|Operator: Alaska Alpine Adventures
8 people max
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. Rimmed with active, glaciated volcanoes, and blanketed with a hiker-friendly surface of sand and ash from a massive 1912 eruption, the Valley is a must-see for anyone with a "peak" experience in mind. On this trip we will circumnavigate the valley floor, with stops along the way to attempt non-technical ascents of Mt. Griggs, Mt. Mageik, and the Mt. Katmai Caldera. Backpacking in Katmai and the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes is wilderness like nowhere else on Earth.
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North, Alaska, United States
0 testimonials about this trip.
Reviewer: Caroline Seaman
"The scenery and routes were gorgeous – we loved the area. Food was
fantastic and far exceeded our expectations. Guides were extremely
knowledgeable and fun to travel with.”"
Reviewer: Augie Spagnola
"This was a great trip, it truly exceeded my expectations."
Reviewer: John Wargo
“As a seasoned backpacker worldwide, I would rate this trip as a once in a lifetime experience! I’ve never had better food in the field. Great weather, spectacular scenery. Overall – outstanding!”
Day 1: Your trip begins today in Anchorage, Alaska. You can arrive at any time and transfer to our bed & breakfast independently. 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 at leisure 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 evening, you’ll meet your guide at 6pm and head to an orientation dinner at a local restaurant. 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 included.
Day 2: After a filling breakfast at the hotel, we’ll board a flight to King Salmon, a small fishing town on the Naknek River near the Bering Sea coast. We'll gather our gear, and board a float plane to Brooks Camp. Here, we'll have a chance to view the famous brown bears of the Brooks River and prepare for tomorrow’s bus ride into the Valley. All meals included.
Day 3: After breaking camp and adjusting our packs, we board the Valley of 10,000 Smokes bus and leave the last bit of civilization behind. 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 snowmelt. As we hoist our packs and head to the valley floor, we will immediately see the effect that this powerful and historic event had on the landscape. Our goal today will be the clear water of Mageik Lake – 12 miles from our drop-off. On the way, we’ll be sure to revel in our surroundings and enjoy the route between the Buttress Range and the slot canyon that is the River Lethe. We’ll have the glaciated Mt. Mageik in our sites throughout the day. As we enjoy our first meal in the valley, we’ll discuss glacier travel techniques and tomorrow’s summit attempt. All meals included.
Day 4-9: We'll spend the next few days exploring the Valley of 10,000 Smokes. If the weather is kind and our legs primed, we'll attempt non-technical ascents of Mt. Mageik, Mt. Katmai Caldera, and Mt. Griggs, three of the most impressive destinations that rim the Valley floor. While success achieving all three summits is slim and often prevented by inclement weather in the high mountains, the Valley always reveals amazing secrets and absolutely breathtaking landscapes. Regardless of the final summit talley, we'll enjoy the adventure of a lifetime as we explore this most amazing and highly regarded national park. All meals included.
Day 10: After enjoying a final night at Juhle Creek, a clearwater stream that forms an oasis at the rim of the valley beneath Griggs Volcano, we’ll trek the final miles to our pick-up point and celebrate our success at circumnavigating this unique and amazing valley. The bus will deposit us back at Brooks Camp and our waiting float plane, where we will be sure to scan for one last sighting of the amazing bruins that call the Brooks River home. From King Salmon, we’ll catch a flight back to Anchorage. If you are leaving Alaska on this day, please make certain that you schedule all homebound flights from Anchorage for after 10 pm. Breakfast & Lunch included.
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