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Aniakchak


2. & 3. Aniakchak National Monument & Preserve




General - Aniakchak National Monument

A visit to the Aniakchak NM is primarily a landing on Surprise Lake with in the Aniakchak caldera.

Aniakchak Caldera is six miles (10 kilometers) across and 3,000 feet (1000 meters) deep. Created by a volcanic eruption approximately 3,500 years ago, the caldera resulted from the collapse of a 7,000 foot mountain.

Visits to both the Aniakchak Monument and the adjacent Preserve generally require air taxis which are available out of King Salmon. Flight paths and times normally vary from 4 to 5 hours. There are basically two routes used-East side Flightseeing over Katmai features views of the mountains and Valley of 10,000 Smokes.. Landings are possible in Preserve at Lake Meshik and at the mouth of the Aniakchak River. Bears are commonly seen at the mouth of Aniachak River. These visits would normally be tied together with a float plane landing in the Preserve unit and flight into the Caldera often through the “Gates of Hell” opening in the Caldera and a landing on Surprise Lake. Flight down on East side also flies over Alaska Peninsula NWR. Preserve landings are lowlands. Caldera landing at Surprise Lake is at 1055 ft elevation but top of caldera is 2000 to 4400. Typically pilots fly through the famous :Gates of Hell at 2000 to 3000 feet and then descend 1000 to 2000 feet to land with float plane on Surprise Lake. Pilots will circle inside the Caldera. Look for some signs of research instruments. Rafting parties are available by several outfitters. (Check with Barb and Dean Stewman for particulars - See their trip report where they spent 1 week in the Caldera and one week in the Preserve raft/canoeing the Aniakchak River.

Sometimes the pilots can beach the float planes and it is not necessary to put on waders but they are generally carried on the planes in case they are needed. The pilots will usually dress with them prior to the takeoff.
Count on 4 to 5 hours depending on route and weather. Ask how much free time allowed on the ground. Most visitors will want to do the Caldera along with the landing into the Preserve.

Straight line distance from King Salmon to landing at River Mouth - about 135 to 150 miles depending on landing location. Low land on Western route - mountainous on Eastern coastal route which is much more interesting and scenic (but costs more)

The NPS has an informative Guidebook for NPS employees for Katmai, Aniakchak and Katmai.

Puyulek Pu'irtuq! The People of the Volcanoes by Michele Morseth - Aniakchak National Monument Ethnographic Overview and Assessment

Maps for Aniakchak National Monument

A map of the Aniakchak NM and NPres is in the Unigrid brochure (1999) and at the Aniakchak web site.

Google Maps - Surprise Lake landing site




NPTC boundaries definition

"There are no visitor centers within the designated Monument, nor within the designated Preserve.  The Visitor Center in King Salmon is outside the boundaries.   Aniakchak National Monument consists of the area immediately surrounding the Aniakchak Caldera.  The rest of the area to the south and to the east is designated as Aniakchak National Preserve." - NPTC

Air Taxis authorized by NPS for Aniakchak National Monument

Commercial Use Operators, Aniakchak National Monument &Preserve

Air Taxis used by Members from Member Trip Reports into Aniakchak National Monument &Preserve

King Salmon Airport and Seaplane docks (Google Maps location)

Alaska Alpine Adventures - phone 877 525-2577
(Their web site features photos of our members Barb and Dean “Explorer” on their 10 day trip in the Caldera and down the Aniakchak River in 2009)

Arctic Wild - phone   907 479-8203

Branch River Air - phone 907 248-3539

Katmai Air - phone 907 243-0649


NPTC Member Trip Reports for Aniakchak National Monument

(Note: You must be registered at the NPTC web site as a guest or member to view the Member Trip Reports)


2014 - Ron (ParkFlyer) landing at Surprise Lake - (photos)

2013 - Jim Johnson landing at Surprise Lake


2011 - Fred and Debbie Koegler

2009 - Barb and Dean Stewman (Explorer)

2009 - Dan Seckinger (Dan)

2007 - Bruce and Letty Johnson (BruceandLetty)

- BruceandLetty Flickr photos

2007 - Arthur Berman

2005 - Dennis and Nancy Bandley




General - Aniakchak National Preserve

Visits to both the Aniakchak Monument and the adjacent Preserve generally require air taxis which are available out of King Salmon. Flight paths and times normally vary from 4 to 5 hours. There are basically two routes used-East side Flightseeing over Katmai features views of the mountains and Valley of 10,000 Smokes.. Landings are possible in Preserve at Lake Meshik and at the mouth of the Aniakchak River. Bears are commonly seen at the mouth of Aniakchak River. These visits would normally be tied together with a float plane landing in the Preserve unit and flight into the Caldera often through the “Gates of Hell” opening in the Caldera and a landing on Surprise Lake. Flight down on East side also flies over Alaska Peninsula NWR. Preserve landings are lowlands. Caldera landing at Surprise Lake is at 1055 ft elevation but top of caldera is 2000 to 4400. Typically pilots fly through the famous :Gates of Hell at 2000 to 3000 feet and then descend 1000 to 2000 feet to land with float plane on Surprise Lake. Pilots will circle inside the Caldera. Look for some signs of research instruments. Rafting parties are available by several outfitters. (Check with Barb and Dean Stewman for particulars - See their trip report where they spent 1 week in the Caldera and one week in the Preserve raft/canoeing the Aniakchak River.

Sometimes the pilots can beach the float planes and it is not necessary to put on waders but they are generally carried on the planes in case they are needed. The pilots will usually dress with them prior to the takeoff.
Count on 4 to 5 hours depending on route and weather. Ask how much free time allowed on the ground. Most visitors will want to do the Caldera along with the landing into the Preserve.

Straight line distance from King Salmon to landing at River Mouth - about 135 to 150 miles depending on landing location. Low land on Western route - mountainous on Eastern coastal route which is much more interesting and scenic (but costs more)

The NPS has an informative Guidebook for NPS employees for Katmai, Aniakchak and Alagnak.


Maps - Aniakchak National Preserve

A map of the Aniakchak NM and NPres is in the Unigrid brochure (1999) and at the Aniakchak web site

Google Maps -  Lake Meshik - Aniakchak River mouth





Air Taxis authorized by NPS - Aniakchak National Preserve

Commercial Use Operators, Aniakchak National Monument & Preserve


Air Taxis used by Members from Member Trip Reports - Aniakchak NPres

King Salmon Airport and Seaplane docks (Google Maps location)

Arctic Wild - phone   907 479-8203

Alaska Alpine Adventures - phone 877 525-2577
(Their web site features photos of our members Barb and Dean “Explorer” on their 10 day trip in the Caldera and down the Aniakchak River in 2009)

Branch River Air - phone 907 248-3539


NPTC Member Trip Reports for Aniakchak NPres

(Note: You must be registered at the NPTC web site as a guest or member to view the Member Trip Reports)

2015 Jennifer Williams and Pat

2013 - Jim Johnson - Landings at Surprise Lake and Lake Meshik


2011 - Fred and Debbie Koegler

2009 - Barb and Dean Stewman (Explorer)

2009 - Dan Seckinger (Dan)

2007 - Bruce and Letty Johnson (BruceandLetty)

BruceandLetty Flickr photos

2007 - Arthur Berman


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