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Brooks Falls daytrip on June 30th from Homer

Roeselare, Belgium
Level Contributor
50 posts
39 reviews
Brooks Falls daytrip on June 30th from Homer


I'm looking for advice about the possibility for a Brooks Falls daytrip on June 30th from Homer.

I know June 30th might be a little too early, and I know a day trip is not the recommended way to visit.

We will be staying 2 nights in Homer before heading back to Anchorage for the last 2 nights and the flight back home. On June 30th we have a full day in Homer, and I would like to use this day for a day trip to Brooks Falls.

However this is very expensive, on a trip that is already costing us an arm and a leg. So that's why I'm looking for some advice as to what we can expect on June 30th at Brooks Falls.

No bears fishing at the falls? Some bears fishing at the falls? Bears in the neighborhood but not fishing?

At what date does it come apparent if the salmon run will be early or late?

Thank you.

PS: We have a full itinerary including Valdez, Kennicott, Denali & Seward, so only a day trip is possible.

New York
Destination Expert
for Travel Gadgets and Gear
Level Contributor
1,835 posts
1. Re: Brooks Falls daytrip on June 30th from Homer

When it gets closer you can check both Katmai N.P.'s Twitter feed and the Explore Bear Cam for updated info and then decide


Winnipeg, Canada
Level Contributor
6,912 posts
2. Re: Brooks Falls daytrip on June 30th from Homer

Last year near the end of June there were a few bears who stationed themselves just below the falls, staring hopefully into the water for hours and catching an occasional salmon. I didn't see any bears at all on top of the falls until July (I'm not saying there weren't any, since I would just watch the link given in post #1 off an on--BTW, you can watch highlights at that link at any time, and you can scroll back up to 4 hrs.).

This thread from last year might (or might not) be of some help: https://www.tripadvisor.ca/ShowTopic-g28923-… , but this year's salmon run is up to the salmon.

Level Contributor
310 posts
52 reviews
3. Re: Brooks Falls daytrip on June 30th from Homer

I'll comment on the day trip part as we did this last year on July 7th. We flew to King Salmon the night before and stayed at the Antlers Inn. We were then picked up the next morning by Katmai Air for our day trip. We were booked on the first flight and when we got to the office were told there was a delay for fog. We ended up waiting several hours for the fog to clear, which was pretty stressful as we didn't know if it would clear in time to even make a flight out there. When we finally got to Brooks Falls and went through the mandatory bear orientation, we made our way toward to the platforms. Then there was a bear jam. We waited about 30 minutes for that to clear and by the time we got to the platform and waited our turn we only had time for an hour before having to go back and catch the plane to KS. There were 3 bears at the falls most of the time and 1 or 2 a little bit downstream. There weren't many salmon so it was kind of uneventful. With all that being said, Brooks Falls was amazing and even though there weren't many bears it was incredible to see them so close from the platform. So if you are okay spending a fair amount of money for very little bear time, I would say go for it. I should also mention that this was not our first choice as we tried to get a campsite the day they went on sale last year only to have them sell out before they actually went on sale.

Dover, Delaware
Level Contributor
45 posts
4. Re: Brooks Falls daytrip on June 30th from Homer

I watch the Explore.org bear cams for Brooks Falls (and the river) every summer. I looked at the photos/screen captures that I took on June 30th of last year. At one point, there were 5 bears fishing at the falls. There are two other observation platforms on the lower river where you might see female bears with cubs, but I don't have any photos for that date. The timing of the salmon runs varies each year, so it is hard to predict how many bears will be around on that date this year. It is before the peak bear watching time. Wanderingattorney's advice is good--check the Explore.org cams. The cams should be live starting middle to late June.

Roeselare, Belgium
Level Contributor
50 posts
39 reviews
5. Re: Brooks Falls daytrip on June 30th from Homer

Thank you for the advice.

There are not many outfitters that want to fly to Brooks Falls on June 30th, most have a fixed schedule that only allows flights to there from July 1st, before that they go to a different place more by the coast.

So I might not have the luxury of waiting much longer. Decisions will have to be made.

Edited: 22 May 2017, 22:32
Destination Expert
for Alaska
Level Contributor
16,307 posts
34 reviews
6. Re: Brooks Falls daytrip on June 30th from Homer

The reason that most operators don't go to Brooks before July 1 is because it is not worth the time or money. Generally they get negative reviews and complains from guests who try to push it by going too early.

Have you considered taking a ffloatplane instead to Chinitna Bay/Lake Clark National Park? I would think that might be a better option for more brown bears than Brooks is. If I were going to take a day trip for bear viewing (well, I never would take a day trip, but if for some strange reason I were), I would be sure to be going in peak bear viewing time. The account above by Lager is unfortunately not uncommon. when I camped at Brooks for several nights I met day trippers who had a similar experience with a bear jam. They finally got to the viewing platform about noon. But they had to be back to the plane by 3pm I think. They had to leave plenty of time to return in case of a bear jam in getting back to the plane. So they had at most 2 hours of bear viewing.

Roeselare, Belgium
Level Contributor
50 posts
39 reviews
7. Re: Brooks Falls daytrip on June 30th from Homer

Honestly, I think a few hours is enough, doesn't it get a little dull for hours on end?

The reason I would insist on Brooks Falls, is because the other places seem to be very remote and desolate without any services or sanitary services. Also because the platform allows you to get up close without danger and in an comfortable environment.

I don't see how 1 day on the schedule calendar can make such a difference?

Thanks for your advice, really appreciated.

Winnipeg, Canada
Level Contributor
6,912 posts
8. Re: Brooks Falls daytrip on June 30th from Homer

"Also because the platform allows you to get up close without danger and in an comfortable environment."

When I went on a bear-viewing tour out of Homer to Geographic Harbor, bears came within 10 feet of us, and within 6 feet of the other group that was there. We were just sitting on the riverbank, and bears came in front, beside, behind us, but no danger. The guides know what they're doing and how to keep everyone safe. Of course there wasn't any bathroom available. That didn't bother anyone in our group....

"I don't see how 1 day on the schedule calendar can make such a difference?"

You will likely see bears below the falls. But one day can certainly make a difference whether or not you see them catching salmon. When I watched the Brooks Cam last year on Explore.org, if the bears were just standing there staring into the water, it got boring really fast....the fun arises when the bears are actively trying to catch fish.

You might see activity on June 30. You might not. I read a review from someone who went in July (I don't recall when) and they didn't see any bears. The bears are around somewhere, but not when that person was there. Just bad luck.

Edited: 25 May 2017, 15:45
Lake Tahoe...
Level Contributor
9,264 posts
63 reviews
9. Re: Brooks Falls daytrip on June 30th from Homer

When we did our day trip to Brooks Falls a few years ago we went with Bald Mountain Air on a floatplane out of Beluga Lake. The 1.5 hours of flying each direction was quite enjoyable. But, there is much more to do in Homer far cheaper than flights to Katmai to see bears

10. Re: Brooks Falls daytrip on June 30th from Homer

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