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King Salmon logistics

King Salmon logistics

Old Oct 21, 19, 10:33 pm
  #1  
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King Salmon logistics

My group of 8 friends was able to snag a flight and booking at Brooks Lodge for next summer.

We've chosen the option to fly out of King Salmon (far cheaper) and have redeemed miles to fly from ANC to AKN. We're actually flying into AKN the morning of the day before our Brooks flight in order to minimize potential weather delay/cancellation issues and also to experience whatever King Salmon/Naknek has to offer. (Some of us like driving to ends of roads, which is always fun in Alaska, so the Alaska Peninsula Highway is of interest...)

A few questions from those familiar with this area:

1) What are the on-the-ground logistics like in King Samon? Is there any infrastructure to speak of--taxis, places to eat, etc.? We do have a lead on a car rental option; is that the best/only way to get around? Anything near the airport to kill time doing?
2) Any particular recommendations on affordable lodging in King Salmon for our overnight? Have a few leads but nothing is jumping out as an obvious option. Appreciate any recommendations from personal experience.
3) Anything of interest in the King Salmon/Naknek region--hiking, or anything else? Or will our full day there kind of a waste?
4) How do the Brooks flights on Katmailand work? They've assured us that if we were to experience a weather delay getting into King Salmon, they'd hold the plane for us, but how does that actually work? Probably a non-issue as I think we're all flying in the day before, but if someone does need to fly in the same day and they have a Ravn weather delay, would the rest of our group be held up (like a charter) until our whole group is assembled and ready, or do they run regular shuttle flights and just whoever is ready to go, goes, and anyone who's late just takes a later flight?
5) We obviously have plans to spend a significant amount of time at Brooks Falls itself, but we've booked the longer package that includes the bus ride to the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. I assume the itinerary is fairly fixed, but anything we should know about or be sure not to miss while in the park?
6) For the return, we're planning a ~4 hour layover before catching our return Ravn flight to ANC--again, as insurance against weather delays on our Katmailand flight. How reliable are those flights and do we need to have such a large buffer? Or would catching the 4pm Ravn flight be acceptable (and does Ravn have flexibility when Katmailand flights are delayed)?
7) Any obvious things I'm missing?

Special ping alert to fti and Gardyloo, who are always good for answers to this kind of thing.
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Old Oct 22, 19, 5:28 am
  #2  
fti
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I got stuck in King Salmon once due to an Alaska Air flight delay. Was very difficult to find lodging for one night at the last minute. Fortunately the staff at the Alaska Air lounge in Anchorage was very helpful in giving us some options. It was years ago so I don't recall where we stayed.

With 8 of you I would try for a flight with a different airline. I sed Branch River Aur once and they were much better than Katmai Air. Much less restrictive weight allowance too.

If you use Katmai Air - or any company for that matter - they run constant flights all day and would put you on ac flight to get you there or back. Even with Branch River I doubt they would hold all of you up if one didn't arrive until late.

Not much to do in King Salmon. I think there is inner place to eat out. Very small town.

You might look into the discount books - Toursaver and Northern Lights - to see if you can save on things like the Valley of 10,000 Smokes tour. Just that tour alone would pay for the book.

There is a Dumpling Mountain hike behind the campground that I have not done but I heard is interesting.

I would consider bringing some food. Are all meals included? I have only tent camped three times at Brooks. I brought most of my own food. That way I could stay at the viewing platform during meal times at the lodge - usually less crowded at those times. You can't have food in your cabins but there is a food locker near the NPS office and a place to eat inside an electric fence. Just a thought. Get to the platform early when it opens. Less crowded with fewer day trippers early and late in the day.

I would leave the 4 hour layover in King Salmon just in case.

Have a great time. When are you going? I hope July or September which are the peak times for Brooks.
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Old Oct 22, 19, 8:27 pm
  #3  
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Thanks for the reply! It is helpful.

We are going in early-mid July.

Not sure how feasible it is to change the Katmailand stuff now--we've already prepaid and there are cancellation fees attached...
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Old Oct 22, 19, 10:09 pm
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Originally Posted by jackal View Post
My group of 8 friends was able to snag a flight and booking at Brooks Lodge for next summer.

We've chosen the option to fly out of King Salmon (far cheaper) and have redeemed miles to fly from ANC to AKN. We're actually flying into AKN the morning of the day before our Brooks flight in order to minimize potential weather delay/cancellation issues and also to experience whatever King Salmon/Naknek has to offer. (Some of us like driving to ends of roads, which is always fun in Alaska, so the Alaska Peninsula Highway is of interest...)

A few questions from those familiar with this area:

1) What are the on-the-ground logistics like in King Salmon? Is there any infrastructure to speak of--taxis, places to eat, etc.? We do have a lead on a car rental option; is that the best/only way to get around? Anything near the airport to kill time doing?

There is really not much to do in KS in my opinion. There is an OK visitor center near the airport. Walk to the river and see the floatplanes take off and land its actually pretty junky around the airport. We stayed at the antler inn within walking distance to the airport. They have cabins that are pretty reasonable but rustic for sure, Cab rides to Naknek is pretty expensive $30 each way, going to see the set nets fish at Naknek is pretty cool to see. If its a nice day walking along the beach is nice. Its a different world out there unlike most places in AK.


2) Any particular recommendations on affordable lodging in King Salmon for our overnight? Have a few leads but nothing is jumping out as an obvious option. Appreciate any recommendations from personal experience.





3) Anything of interest in the King Salmon/Naknek region--hiking, or anything else? Or will our full day there kind of a waste? IMO a waste


4) How do the Brooks flights on Katmailand work? They've assured us that if we were to experience a weather delay getting into King Salmon, they'd hold the plane for us, but how does that actually work? Probably a non-issue as I think we're all flying in the day before, but if someone does need to fly in the same day and they have a Ravn weather delay, would the rest of our group be held up (like a charter) until our whole group is assembled and ready, or do they run regular shuttle flights and just whoever is ready to go, goes, and anyone who's late just takes a later flight?

We took the jet boat over it was really fun, Katmai water taxi. The plus is that you are not limited to what baggage you can bring. Most of the air taxis limit you to one bag not to exceed 50lbs.

5) We obviously have plans to spend a significant amount of time at Brooks Falls itself, but we've booked the longer package that includes the bus ride to the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. I assume the itinerary is fairly fixed, but anything we should know about or be sure not to miss while in the park?

The bus ride is worth it but on the way back it gets long.


6) For the return, we're planning a ~4 hour layover before catching our return Ravn flight to ANC--again, as insurance against weather delays on our Katmailand flight. How reliable are those flights and do we need to have such a large buffer? Or would catching the 4pm Ravn flight be acceptable (and does Ravn have flexibility when Katmailand flights are delayed)?

Weather in AK is very unpredictable but the floatplanes can fly pretty low over the lake so you should be ok. I think 4 hours is about right. There are certain times of the year when you really do not want to miss your flight. It might take you a week to get on another one. I am not kidding when fishing season is over thousands of fishermen and cannery workers are trying to get out of a tiny airport. When I flew out the standby list was over 500 people long for the day on all AS flights.

7) Any obvious things I'm missing?

Are you camping to staying in the lodge at Brooks? The food is pretty decent at the lodge actually. Just plan on spending lots of time taking in the amazing bears and taking photos. We did a nice long hike into the valley of 10,000 smokes. There is another hike but we decided to enjoy the bear viewing and passed on the other hike

Special ping alert to fti and Gardyloo, who are always good for answers to this kind of thing.

Katmai Water Taxi this last summer
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Last edited by chillymac; Oct 22, 19 at 11:29 pm
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Old Nov 11, 19, 12:26 pm
  #5  
 
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Originally Posted by jackal View Post
My group of 8 friends was able to snag a flight and booking at Brooks Lodge for next summer.

We've chosen the option to fly out of King Salmon (far cheaper) and have redeemed miles to fly from ANC to AKN. We're actually flying into AKN the morning of the day before our Brooks flight in order to minimize potential weather delay/cancellation issues and also to experience whatever King Salmon/Naknek has to offer. (Some of us like driving to ends of roads, which is always fun in Alaska, so the Alaska Peninsula Highway is of interest...)

A few questions from those familiar with this area:

1) What are the on-the-ground logistics like in King Samon? Is there any infrastructure to speak of--taxis, places to eat, etc.? We do have a lead on a car rental option; is that the best/only way to get around? Anything near the airport to kill time doing?
2) Any particular recommendations on affordable lodging in King Salmon for our overnight? Have a few leads but nothing is jumping out as an obvious option. Appreciate any recommendations from personal experience.
3) Anything of interest in the King Salmon/Naknek region--hiking, or anything else? Or will our full day there kind of a waste?
4) How do the Brooks flights on Katmailand work? They've assured us that if we were to experience a weather delay getting into King Salmon, they'd hold the plane for us, but how does that actually work? Probably a non-issue as I think we're all flying in the day before, but if someone does need to fly in the same day and they have a Ravn weather delay, would the rest of our group be held up (like a charter) until our whole group is assembled and ready, or do they run regular shuttle flights and just whoever is ready to go, goes, and anyone who's late just takes a later flight?
5) We obviously have plans to spend a significant amount of time at Brooks Falls itself, but we've booked the longer package that includes the bus ride to the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. I assume the itinerary is fairly fixed, but anything we should know about or be sure not to miss while in the park?
6) For the return, we're planning a ~4 hour layover before catching our return Ravn flight to ANC--again, as insurance against weather delays on our Katmailand flight. How reliable are those flights and do we need to have such a large buffer? Or would catching the 4pm Ravn flight be acceptable (and does Ravn have flexibility when Katmailand flights are delayed)?
7) Any obvious things I'm missing?

Special ping alert to fti and Gardyloo, who are always good for answers to this kind of thing.
Curiously, I, too, "won" the lottery and now have a 3-day trip booked to Brooks Lodge. Ours is in mid-July 2020. We booked the entire Katmailand package. So to give you an idea of the timings that Katmailand assigns to its "100%" customers, Katmailand has us on Penair arriving from ANC to AKN at 11:55. We then are on Katmai Air leaving at 13:00 to Brooks, so the connection time is 1:05. Departing, we will leave Brooks on Katmai Air at 14:00 and arrive AKN at 14:30. We then leave on Penair for ANC at 16:05 -- so a 1:35 connection.

While I expect that Katmai Air will accommodate late-arriving Penair flights, I do not know whether this will be by holding the float plane, or just flying another rotation. More of a question is whether Penair will wait for a late-arriving Katmai Air plane? I just don't know. All I did was follow Katmailand's advice and not have any flights booked out of ANC until at least the next day (or 14 days for us). I hope this helps.
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Old Feb 9, 20, 1:51 pm
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Originally Posted by jackal View Post
My group of 8 friends was able to snag a flight and booking at Brooks Lodge for next summer.

We've chosen the option to fly out of King Salmon (far cheaper) and have redeemed miles to fly from ANC to AKN. We're actually flying into AKN the morning of the day before our Brooks flight in order to minimize potential weather delay/cancellation issues and also to experience whatever King Salmon/Naknek has to offer. (Some of us like driving to ends of roads, which is always fun in Alaska, so the Alaska Peninsula Highway is of interest...)

A few questions from those familiar with this area:

7) Any obvious things I'm missing?
Yes, make sure there is a spare tire and that it fits the vehicle if there is one to rent!!!
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Old Mar 24, 20, 8:18 pm
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Chiming in a little late here, but I did this last summer (July 2019). And things to do in King Salmon are....limited. The town itself includes 2 restaurants (really bars), 1 convenience/grocery store, and a couple of small cottage-for-rent type motels. All within about a 5 minute walk of the airport. If you go out a little farther, there are bigger, pricier lodges that focus on fishing--we stayed at the King Salmon Lodge, which provided pickup/dropoff at the airport. Lodging was fine, food was fine, but it's really a fishing lodge, and not cheap. There are others in the area, and I'm sure they all offer pickup/dropoff because there are limited rental car options in the area.

There ARE taxis, which are accustomed to people doing what you're doing--spending the extra day in King Salmon to be on the safe side. We did it. Naknek is a $15-20/person cab ride away; another small town with 2-3 more restaurant/bars and some commercial fisheries. We walked out to the end of the peninsula past a few canneries. At a slow pace, it took maybe an hour. Got lunch. Called the cab and went back to the airport. Spent the next 4 hours in an airport the size of a large SUV. (Actually, the National Park Service office adjacent to the airport is not bad, and the gift shop at the airport is surprisingly pretty good.).

We ran into a couple on our trip back from Brooks to King Salmon who didn't have a reservation, and couldn't find a room. They had camping gear, and the folks at Katmai Air were going to let them camp on their property if necessary so they'd have access to a port-a-potty. So there's always that as an option

Seriously, I'd plan on finding some good hikes and/or fishing. You're going to one of the coolest places in the world at Brooks Falls; we were only there for 2 days so didn't do the Valley of 10000 Smokes, but talked to one couple who enjoyed it. Take the best camera you've got, go out to the platforms at the falls as many times as possible during as many different times of day as possible, and enjoy the trip!!!!
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