Brooks Camp Campground Review

Brooks Camp Campground is the only designated campground near Brooks Falls, a popular bear-viewing destination within Katmai National Park and Preserve.

The unique campsite is surrounded by a bear-resistant electric fence to deter bears from entering. You’ll often see many bears along the beach or sleeping along the trails that lead to the campground.

In this post, I’m going to review the Brooks Camp Campground in Katmai National Park.

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Brooks Camp Campground Review

Camping in Brooks Camp amongst Alaska’s wild brown bears is a unique experience. The campground has a 60-person capacity and is open from May 1 to October 31, with services reduced in the shoulder season.

Campground Amenities

  • 60 Tent Sites
  • Including 2 Accessible Sites
  • Electric Fence
  • 3 Cooking Shelters
  • 3 Fire Rings
  • Firewood
  • Food Storage Cache
  • Trash Receptacle
  • Gear Storage Cache
  • Fuel Storage Locker
  • Sink with Potable Water
  • 2 Vaut Toilets

Brooks Camp Campground is similar to most campgrounds, but it has some unique amenities to avoid attracting bears to the campground.

The entire campground is surrounded by an electric fence to deter bears from entering, but the fence is not bear-proof. Bears tend to avoid contact with the fence, but campers must take extra precautions to avoid attracting bears.

I have heard stories of campers accidentally leaving the gates open! Make sure to always double-check that they’re closed.

All ten sites are first-come-first-served. They’re all pretty similar but some have extra tree coverage, which is nice when it’s super rainy or the sun is beaming.

Each cooking shelter is covered and has two picnic tables with bench seating for cooking and eating. This is the only place you’re allowed to eat in the campground.

You must store all of your food, odorous items (toothpaste, hand sanitizer, lotion, etc), and extra gear in the storage caches.

There is a sink with running potable water (available from June 1 to September 17). Scrape your dishes in the trash before washing them in the sink because it gets clogged easily.

So, what’s missing?

Since it’s a campground, it’s actually well-equipped. It would be nice to have an extra camping shelter because it can be busy at certain times, but it’s manageable. It would be nice if there was a separate sink in the bathrooms as well.

food and gear storage cache brooks campground
brooks camping shelter

Brooks Camp Campground Location

Brooks Camp Campground is located in Katmai National Park and Preserve. It is NOT accessible by Alaska’s road system.

You can only reach the camp by plane or boat. Getting here can be an expensive journey, so here’s the best way to get to Brooks Camp.

Once you reach Brooks Camp, you will find the campground near the beach on the north side of Brooks Camp. It’s .3 miles or about a 5-minute walk from the Visitors Center.

How to Reserve Brooks Camp Campground

You must have a reservation to camp at Brooks Camp. To reserve a camping permit for Brooks Camp, you will need to visit Recreation.gov or call 1-877-444-6777. Reservations for the current calendar year can normally be made beginning January 5 at 8 a.m. AKST.

Reservations during peak season are extremely competitive since capacity is limited to 60 people. If you want to visit in July, I recommend trying to make your reservation the moment that reservations open.

Campers are limited to 7 nights in July and 14 nights per calendar year. Group size is limited to 6 people.

Costs

  • June 1 to September 17: $12/night per person
  • May, September 18 to October 31: $6/night per person

Save 50% if you have an America the Beautiful Access or Senior Pass.

Check-in/Check-out Times

  • Check-in time: On arrival
  • Check-out time: 12:00 p.m.

What if you don’t have a reservation?

Some reservations are canceled last minute. If you arrive at Brooks Camp without a camping reservation, it’s possible to stay at the campground if it’s not full. If there are no available permits, you must be prepared to backcountry camp outside of the Brooks Camp Developed Area if it doesn’t work out. 

The Brooks Camp Developed Area is the area within 1.5 miles of Brooks Falls. Backcountry camping is NOT permitted here or within the core Hallo Bay meadows from April 1 through October 31. You do not need a permit for backcountry camping. 

How to Get Your Brooks Camp Permit

Once you arrive at Brooks Camp, you will be required to attend Bear School. Afterward, you can check in with a park ranger at the Visitor Center desk to receive your camp permit, which is a tent tag. Place the tag in a visible location on your tent.

camping in brooks camp katmai

Things to do Near Brooks Camp

There’s plenty of things to do during your stay at brooks Camp. Here are some ideas:

Brooks Lodge Alaska

What Can I Bring to Brooks Camp?

You can bring all the gear and clothes you want to Brooks Camp. Keep in mind that some items like bear spray are not allowed on commercial planes and you may run into baggage weight limits.

If you want to make sure you have a good time camping, here are some things you’ll want to bring out here. To help you pack, check the weather forecast beforehand.

  • Food!
  • Rain gear (it can rain a lot)
  • Camping gear
  • Cooking gear
  • Camping chair
  • Waterproof boots
  • Warm clothes
  • Waterproof gloves
  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Camera

TIP: Double check all of your tent pieces are in your tent bag!

Whether you pack your things in a backpack or a suitcase, you can find carts to help you transport your gear from the Visitor Center to Brooks Camp Campground. The carts can be found at Brooks Lodge.

brooks lodge cart

Conclusion: Here’s What I Really Think…

If you’re looking for a fun and unique experience camping in one of the densest seasonal concentrations of bears on earth then I recommend camping at Brooks Camp Campground.

Getting to Katmai National Park can be expensive so camping can help you save money on your bucket-list trip.

I recommend staying for at least two nights to really have the best experience and take advantage of being able to access the Brooks Falls Platform during opening and closing hours while it’s less busy.

naknek lake sunset

Answering Your Questions

Can campers eat at Brooks Lodge?

Campers can eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at Brooks Lodge.

Do I need bear spray in Katmai?

If you are staying at Brooks Camp then you don’t need bear spray, but if you are hiking or camping in the backcountry then I recommend bringing bear spray.


Brooks Camp Campground Tour


Read More

Best Way to Visit Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park: Tips From a Local

Hike Dumpling Mountain Overlook in Katmai National Park

How to Practice Leave No Trace in Alaska

Alaska Travel Guide


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Brooks Camp Campground is the only designated campground near Brooks Falls, a popular bear-viewing destination within Katmai National Park and Preserve. The unique campsite is surrounded by a bear-resistant electric fence to deter bears from entering. You’ll often see many bears along the beach or sleeping along the trails that lead to the campground. If you want to add some adventure travel to your Alaska vacation then add camping with bears to your list. #alaska #katmainationalpark #brownbear

Do you have any questions about camping in Brooks Camp campground? Leave them in the comments.

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