Floatplane Services Based in Homer, Alaska       (907) 299-0284

Brooks Camp 2017

Today, June 23, we did the first bear viewing trip of this season at Brooks Camp and Falls in Katmai National Park. While it is still slow with bears showing up for their favorite meal, there were sows with cubs visiting the Falls. Normally sows with cubs stay away from the waterfall – with boars ruling the waterfall most of July, it is dangerous for cubs to be too close to the prime feeding grounds.

One change this year at Brooks is that the National Park Service has prohibited use of tripods for your cameras, or any devices that would attach your camera to the railing on the platforms by the Falls. Those are the platforms where access is limited during peak of the season. Talk to us how we can help you avoid crowds and have the best viewing spots mostly to yourself in the height of the busy July in Brooks.

The webcams are starting to come alive – see them at
Falls camera,
Lower River camera,
River Watch

Getting the most out of your Brooks Camp visit

In July, the waterfalls at Brooks River are packed with salmon jumping upstream to get to their spawning grounds. This attracts the crowds – of hungry coastal brown bears! That is great since it is an incredible sight to be seen. However, these sights attract crowds of people. Most of us try to avoid standing shoulder to shoulder as we watch bruins merely moving their heads to snatch a meal in mid air. Small scuffles play out in front of us as bears fight for a better spot in waterfalls. While human visitors to the falls tend to be more civilized, I would like to offer some tips for better experience at Brooks Camp visit.

After an hour and a half flight from Homer we arrive at Brooks Camp. We beach the float plane on Naknek Lake and let you off to start your visit. The beach is soft sand with small pumice rocks – see them float in the lake as you toss a few in the water! The first order of business is getting through an orientation by National Park Service rangers called “Bear Etiquette”. In order to maximize your time at the Brooks Falls, try to get to the Visitor Center quickly, getting a spot in the briefing room. The Visitor Center is located about twenty yard uphill from the flagpole with American flag; we try to park as close to the flagpole as possible, but sometimes there are 25 airplanes on the beach at Lake Naknek. If we have to park a little ways away, please walk up one of the ramps and on a trail towards the Visitor Center. The pilot will be busy for a few minutes tying the airplane to a tree – there are no docks or cleats at Brooks, we just stretch a rope to any bush or a tree up the beach. After a short video and a follow up by a ranger showing off a prop that used to be someone’s backpack but ended up as a toy for a curious bear, you will graduate and receive a pin you will be suggested to wear while you are at Brooks.

We ask you that you bring lunch or dinner with you, as the case may be – the total trip time runs at 6-6.5 hours before we get back to Homer with its great restaurants and some fast food places that pale in comparison with fresh salmon that bears catch. At Brooks Camp you can not take any food with you on the trail. The four options are: eat on the airplane just before we land at Brooks, on the airplane after we depart Brooks, at the camp next to the Visitor Center in a picnic area guarded by an electric fence, or as some well informed passengers of ours have done, during the Bear Etiquette briefing!

As you get through the orientation, keep in mind that everyone in the room with you is headed for the same place – platforms at the falls. It is about a mile walk from the Visitor Center to the prime spot for bears trying to get a salmon and for us to see those huge creatures scoring a meal. Once the platform nearest to the falls gets packed to the capacity of 40 people, NPS rangers start taking names and allowing one hour to view the bears once you are on the platform. When you walk up to the covered area, your name goes on a list, and when they call it out, you can get close and get the great views of the bears.

It seems like everyone tends to book for 9AM departure. While convenient for most people, it happens to be popular as a departure time and around 10:30 the beach at Naknek lake get packed! Floatplanes will be beached wing to wing, a few boats might be in the lineup and crowds of day visitors invade the Visitor Center. This slows down the briefing with questions like, “can I chew gum on the trail?” “Is it OK to bring chap-stick?” and on and on! While it is important to be well informed, this robs you of your time which could be spent looking at the bears instead of listening to bear stories.

Anyone who passes you on the trail will get on the platforms ahead of you – but do not run. Pay attention to the video, feed yourself before the orientation lets out and head down the trail so you would have a lot more time to catch that once in a lifetime photo!

Bearviewing at Brooks Camp Begins Tomorrow

Brooks Camp bear viewing for the 2016 season is on! Fish are jumping and the bears are in the falls. The bear camera is live now, so stay tuned to see how many bears are out there each day!

Brooks Camp is located at the mouth of the Brooks River on the shore of Naknek Lake in Katmai National Park. It is known all over the world as one of the most beautiful and best places to view brown bears in large concentrations. The bears in Brooks Camp can be seen roaming the trails, teaching their babies to fish in the lake, and pulling salmon straight out of the famous Brooks waterfalls.

Our trips to Brooks Camp leave daily from Homer until September 9am until 3pm, allowing for approximately 3 hours of bear viewing time. Check out the Brooks Camp bear viewing brochure, and contact us to reserve your spot.

If you would like to customize your Brooks Camp experience, just let us know. We have seats available on existing flights for one way transportation at reasonable prices. Whether you would like to stay in Brooks campground, just outside of it on Dumpling Mountain with its stunning views or explore the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, we will provide you with plans B and C and contacts for when weather stops us from picking you up at the end of your stay in Katmai.

Homer Newbie Chronicles: Fly-Hike-Boat

Uran here again reporting on my most recent flight adventure – the Fly-Hike-Boat we offer in conjunction with Mako’s Water Taxi. Our esteemed pilot Jimmy got the trip started off with a quick and beautiful scenic flight over to Leisure Lake (China Poot Lake). He pulled the plane up to the beach at the entrance to the China Poot Trail and helped us all out. From there, we began the hike following the trail signs headed toward the Ranger Station. The trail was freshly groomed, easy to navigate, and filled with breathtaking views. In total, it took us about 3 hours to get to the Ranger Station, and we really took our time along the way to enjoy the scenery and take lots of pictures for sharing with you!

Once we got on our scheduled pickup from Mako’s, we meandered around the lagoon a little and then cruised through the beautiful Halibut Cove community, which is only accessible by boat or plane. From there, we headed over to Gull Island, the local rookery, where as many as 20,000 birds build their nests each year. Finally, we made it back to the Homer Spit! Take a look through my pictures below at all the great things to see, and schedule your Fly-Hike-Boat with us today!

Homer, Alaska, Fly-Hike-Boat
China Poot Lake, Leisure Lake, Katchemak Bay State Park, Fly-Hike-Boat
Two Loon Lake, Fly-Hike-Boat, China Poot Trail, Homer, Alaska
China Poot Peak, Homer, Alaska, Katchemak Bay State Park
Katchemak Bay State Park, Homer, Alaska, Fly-Hike-Boat
Katchemak Bay State Park, Ranger Station, Homer, Alaska, Fly-Hike-Boat, Halibut Cove Lagoon
Halibut Cove Lagoon, Steller's Jay, Katchemak Bay State Park, Homer, Alaska
Mako's Water Taxi, Katchemak Bay State Park, Homer, Alaska, Fly-Hike-Boat
Gull Island, Homer, Alaska, Fly-Hike-Boat
Gull Island, Homer, Alaska, Fly-Hike-Boat

Volcanoes, bears, and a glacier… all in a flightsee!

Interested in seeing bears but don’t have an entire day to devote to a bear viewing trip? Join us on a volcano and bear viewing tour and see bears from the air! This 1.5 hour flightsee leaves from Beluga Lake in Homer and heads west over the Cook Inlet towards the Mt. Iliamna volcano. You will circle the 10,000 foot volcano and then descend into Chinitna Bay to view the bears clam digging all along the beach. Included in this 90 minute tour is the massive Tuxedni glacier on the backside of Mt. Iliamna. Get it all in one flightsee!

Homer Newbie Chronicles: The 1-Hour Flightsee

Hello all. Uran here. As the newest Steller Air employee and brand-new Homer transplant, I have been given the difficult task of jumping on our flights to get familiar with the area and our offerings. I know. It sounds just awful, doesn’t it? However, I’m a dutiful employee, and it’s part of my training, so I try to oblige. 😀

The first of these “training flights” was a 1-hour Flightsee. We took off from Beluga Lake, and flew out the Homer Spit to the mouth of the Wosnesenski River. Following the river into Katchemak Bay State Park, we soared over the Wosnesenski Glacier. Our skilled pilot Jimmy snaked a path over the park to show us the Grewingk, Dixon, and Portlock Glaciers, Bradley Lake, and several other beautiful sightings. Once we reached the head of the bay, we circled around and followed the bluff all the way back to Homer. The whole trip was absolutely breathtaking, and we saw a lot of wildlife including birds, mountain goats, and even a mother black bear with her two cubs. From flying in a floatplane to seeing the picturesque landscape of Homer, it was an experience unlike any I’ve ever had.

Stay tuned for my next flying adventure. Better yet, join me in Homer and we’ll experience it together! Call us at 907-299-0284 or fill out our request form to reserve your spot.



Take a Scenic Day Trip to Dick Proenneke’s Cabin on Twin Lakes!

Dick Proenneke was a naturalist who lived alone for 30 years in Twin Lakes, in a log cabin he built himself from resources found on the land.  Proenneke documented every day in journals and video of his life in the wilderness. These recordings eventually aired on PBS in a documentary called Alone in the Wilderness, and showed the process of building his cabin by hand, fishing, panning for gold and living as one with nature.

Proenneke Cabin on Twin Lakes, Lake Clark National Park Alaska

On this trip, you will step onto the beach of Upper Twin Lakes and see the spectacular view of the surrounding mountains and even enter the cabin to take a look around. Here, you’ll be able to get an up close look at Proenneke’s celebrated wood workmanship and even the desk where he penned his journals, all nestled in a remote corner of Alaska where few ever get to visit.

We spend two hours on the ground at the cabin.

Visiting Dick Proenneke’s cabin in Twin Lakes

We recently took a couple to visit Dick Proenneke’s cabin in Twin Lakes.  The husband has been a long time fan of Proenneke and his famous documentary and journals. For those of you who aren’t as familiar, Dick Proenneke was a naturalist who lived alone for 30 years in Twin Lakes, Alaska very simply in a log cabin he built himself from resources found on the land.  Proenneke documented everyday in journals and video of his life in the wilderness.  These recordings evenDick Proenneke's cabin in Twin Lakestually aired on PBS in a documentary called Alone in the WIlderness.  An amazing trip that’s not as far as most would think.

Volcano and Bear tour anyone??

We have been selling the heck out of this trip!  It’s fairly new as we only just began offering it last summer.  A one and a half hour flight see across Cook Inlet that tours Mt. Iliamna and Chinitna Bay.  The flight across Cook Inlet slowly ascends Scenic flights with Steller Air in Homer, Alaska.to the 10,000 ft it takes to get to the top of Mt. Iliamna, a glacier covered volcano with constant plume activity.  It then travels to Chinitna Bay to view the bears from the air.  Our flightseers this week have reported seeing 30+ bears along the coast of this bay, feeding and lazing in the sun.  Don’t forget glaciers and waterfalls and mountains…oh my!

All this for only $297 per person… what a deal!

To Scare a Bear….

Bear-viewing-from-Homer-Alaska-Brooks-CampA passenger bound for a bear viewing trip at Brooks Camp in Katmai National Park explained that to scare away a bear, you should put your hands over your head, “because bears aren’t capable of doing that, and seeing it scares them.” Many of us have been bear guiding for years and have lots of other ideas about how to scare bears: like maybe you could display your opposable thumbs?