With US national parks such as Yosemite and Yellowstone facing overcrowding, we take a look at 10 beautiful but little-known parks where youre more likely to see a bear, moose or champ tree than another human
Katmai national park, Alaska
Katmai, in southern Alaska, is for the bears: its home to the worlds largest population of Alaskan brown bears, a subspecies of the grizzly. Over 2,000 bears live in Katmai and thanks to their salmon-rich diet, they are some of the largest bears in the world, with matured males routinely reaching over 1,000 pounds( 453 kg ), more than twice the size of the average Yellowstone grizzly. With the backcountry full of bears, people usually stay within a small segment of the four-million-acre park. The most popular area is Brooks Camp, at the mouth of the Brooks river, along the shores of Nanak lake.
Here hundreds of bears congregate in summer and autumn to feast on salmon, which pass through in July and September on their seasonal breeding migrations. From June to September, guests can view the bears from wooden platforms along the river. Katmai national park is also home to some of the most active volcanoes in the world. The Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes is an ash-filled valley devastated by the largest volcanic eruption in the 20 th century, which took place in June of 1912, when Mount Katmai and Novarupta erupted simultaneously, expelling an estimated 13 -1 5 cubic kilometres of ash.
Top tip-off After viewing the brown bear feast at Brooks Camp, committee one of the park buses for a tour through the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. More than 100 years since the 1912 eruption, the smoking fumaroles are quiet, but creeks and rivers have carved canyons into the ash hundreds of feet deep and only a few feet wide, devoting guests a dramatic glimpse into the geologic layers of the eruption.
Gates of the Arctic national park and preserve, Alaska
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