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Craft an exhilarating Alaska adventure itinerary centered around Crystal Creek Lodge to soar through the skies of Southwest Alaska. Explore a wilderness that’s rugged, awe-inspiring, and brimming with diversity. You’ll be hundreds of miles from the thousands of tourists mobbing the popular cruise ship ports. Highway-accessible regions of the State are hundreds of miles away as well. Plus, prepare for the thrill of possibly being the sole visitor to some of the most extraordinary destinations we’ll uncover along the way.

Alaska adventure while exploring the wild landscape

A combination of specialists

A combination of specialists from our guide team will host your day-to-day Alaska adventure. Dan Michels and Alex Oberholtzer, owners, pilots, and guides, personally conduct many of the adventure activities. Fly-out destinations are between 30 to 90 minutes away from the lodge. The flights themselves will offer aerial views of points of interest. The day’s plan will include 2-4 stops at ground points of interest. Ample time on the ground will be available to take advantage of interpretive possibilities relating to history, geography, and wildlife. Adventure guests also have the option to fish during the week. Check out our fishing options.

How to design an itinerary:

Four or seven-day package

Choose either a four or seven-day package at Crystal Creek Lodge, then explore the activity and destination options listed on the Adventures menu. Our extensive guided fishing resources allow for flexibility in mixing fishing into your itinerary as desired. You can integrate adventures into a fishing vacation, incorporate fishing into an adventure vacation, or design a standalone adventure vacation. Heather Oberholtzer and Dan Michels will personally guide you by phone to discuss the optimal options based on the time of year and your interests. Also, a customized sample itinerary will then be emailed to you for approval.

Please note: Adventure itineraries are accessible throughout the season, with the optimal period being from June 1 to September 1. Guest parties are typically kept together and are expected to participate jointly in daily activities unless there are exceptional circumstances. The feasibility of reaching any destination and engaging in any activity depends on favorable weather conditions and other natural factors that may be beyond our control. While we strive to ensure a safe and enjoyable vacation, there may be occasions when destinations and activities need to be substituted. We encourage you to share your interests with us and be open to flexibility during your trip. It’s all part of the adventure!

An Alaska adventure lunch at Proenneke's cabin in Lake Clark

Our Alaska Adventure Options

Brooks Bear Viewing

Bear Viewing

The nearby Katmai National Park and Preserve is world famous for its population of Brown Bears. Literally thousands live there. It is very common to see bears each day as we fly between the lodge and field destinations.

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A day of bear viewing

The nearby Katmai National Park and Preserve is world-famous for its population of brown bears. Thousands live there. It is very common to see bears each day as we fly between the lodge and field destinations. It is also very easy to find and safely watch them on the ground as they fish, graze, and interact with each other.

For decades, Katmai has served as a bear sanctuary, allowing the bears to become accustomed to and unthreatened by human presence. An Alaska adventure day of bear viewing is a memorable experience and is often the highlight of a vacation at Crystal Creek Lodge.

The bears move constantly to take advantage of concentrated food sources. Accordingly, we have several great bear viewing areas within the Park and nearby Alaska Peninsula Wildlife Refuge where bears congregate to feed. We can provide a great bear-watching trip anytime during the season.

The famous Brooks River in Katmai Park is a 15-minute flight from the lodge. Brooks is the most accessible place in the world to see bears: just step off the plane, walk about a mile along an easy, graded path, and then watch up to 30 bears from the safety of an elevated viewing platform. There is excellent fishing for rainbow trout and sockeye salmon in the Brooks River for those who’d like to fish for part of the day.

Is it safe to fish with or watch bears?

Most bears tend to avoid people. In most cases, if you allow a bear to do the right thing, it will. Although Alaska is home to many bears and outdoor enthusiasts, encounters with bears are rare. A study by the state epidemiologist showed that during the first 85 years of the 21st century, only 20 people died in bear attacks in Alaska. In the 10 years 1975-85, 19 fatalities occurred due to dog attacks in the state.

Most people who see a bear in the wild consider it the highlight of their trip. The presence of these majestic creatures is a reminder of how privileged we are to share some of the country’s dwindling wilderness.

– Courtesy Alaska Department of Fish and Game website

Beachcombing Alaska


There are many places to go and find great beachcombing. What are we looking for? Shells, driftwood, interesting rocks, bones of giant sea mammals, antique artifacts, and detritus from around the Pacific Ocean that washes up on shore. This is pure kids’ play, and everybody loves it! Birders will love walking the seashore of Bristol Bay. There are many stories to be told in the myriad of animal tracks that follow the ocean edge, too.

A real treasure to find is the round, hand-blown glass floats and antiques formerly used by Japanese fishing vessels to float their nets.

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There are many places to go and find great beachcombing. What are we looking for? Shells, driftwood, interesting rocks, and bones of giant sea mammals for instance. Or antique artifacts, and detritus from around the Pacific Ocean that washes up on shore. This is pure kids’ play, and everybody loves this Alaska adventure.

Birders will love walking the seashore of Bristol Bay.  There are many stories to be told in the myriad of animal tracks that follow the ocean edge, too.

A real treasure to find is the round, hand-blown glass floats formerly used by Japanese fishing vessels to float their nets. Most floats were made in Japan or Korea 30-60 years ago. They are shades of green because that is the color of glass from recycled sake bottles (especially after prolonged exposure to sunlight). However, transparent, amber, aquamarine, amethyst, blue, and other colors were also produced.


Our roadless region of Southwest Alaska is filled with inspiring possibilities for the hiking enthusiast. Fly into a volcano crater and behold a 360 view of jaw-dropping wonder.  You can also take a historic trail to the divide of the Alaska Peninsula and witness mountains sculpted by tectonic rise and water erosion while walking the path of ancients.  We have innumerable locations to find breathtaking wilderness hikes, and the floatplane is just the ticket to get you deep into the wilderness for a day hike and back home again in time for a hot shower and delicious dinner.

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Imagine hiking a trail through a mountain pass used by Eskimos and Aleuts to portage and trade for thousands of years. Then, consider the same trail used by Russian traders and explorers in the 1700s when the land was in Russian America. How about hiking to the rim of a volcano that has been dormant for 30 years?

We have a few hikes set up to seek objectives. Such as viewing birds, bears, caribou, walruses, seals, and other various wildlife, waterfalls, rock formations, or just plain beautiful scenery vistas. Of course, there are many Alaska adventure places to hike into and find great fishing.

Some of our preferred hiking locations have unique areas for in-depth exploration and boast some of the most picturesque spots for a midday meal.

Rafting & Kayaking

How about a gentle, easy float down a stream filled with spawning salmon and patrolled by fishing brown bears?  It’s safe, and exhilarating.  We also have inflatable kayaks that can packed into a seaplane then be deployed at a number of locations featuring wildlife viewing, spectacular scenery and easy paddling.

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The Kayak trip is an effortless float that is guided and safe for kayak operators of all skill levels. Before each float, the guides will ready the Kayaks and brief each guest about their operation and safety. Double or single Kayaks are available. The waters near the Kayaks are much protected, and the current is gentle.

The Alaska adventure raft trip is conducted from a durable modern inflatable raft equipped with a rowing frame, which your guide will row. Again, this is a gentle float with minimal rapids in the water.

A stream-side lunch will be served halfway into the trip. Salmon shore lunches can be requested. The pace is leisurely and comfortable. The rafts and kayaks are so stealthy that we sometimes see bears, moose, or caribou on the shorelines. Beavers and other small animals can be seen, as well as a variety of raptors, waterfowl, shore, and songbirds.

Walrus Herd

Walrus Viewing

Three of the only regularly used terrestrial haul outs for Pacific walruses in the United States are within flying distance of the Lodge, two of the haul outs are on capes accessible by aircraft and one on an island accessible only by boat. We visit one site 125 miles south of the lodge that has the greatest number of approachable walrus.

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The walrus viewing adventures are unique naturalist opportunities. You can see hundreds or thousands of wild walrus bobbing in the surf and hauled up on the beach. It is also probable to see herds of caribou, groups of bears, foxes, and other small mammals. Also, you might see estuaries filled with migratory waterfowl, and numerous other rare upland birds in spectacular wilderness settings.

Very few visitors see these rare natural wonders each year. Crystal Creek Lodge is the only lodge in Western Alaska and Bristol Bay offering this kind of guided naturalist trip. The trip to the cape is a day trip by aircraft. The flights to these viewing places take you across some of the most spectacular flightseeing scenery in Western Alaska, and your pilot/guide will interpret the dozens of sights and landmarks along the way.

Due to longer than average aircraft flight times, associated extra costs might apply.

In recent years, over 2,000 walrus have stationed themselves at Cape Grieg, near the mouth of Ugashik River and about 70 miles south of Crystal Creek Lodge.

Please inquire regarding the details of these unique adventures.

Flying over Ugashik Lake

National Parks & Wildlife Refuges

Guided Adventure Tours of Southwest Alaska: The 4,725,000 acre Katmai National Park and the 1,157,000 acre Becharof National Wildlife Refuge are both within sight of the lodge and the 4,000,000 acre Lake Clark National Park and the 4,100,000 acre Togiak National Wildlife Refuge are a short airplane ride away. Each destination and tour offers a multitude of guided day trip possibilities. Spend a day in each discovering amazing natural features, wildlife and history.

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We have a few hikes set up to seek objectives such as viewing birds, bears, caribou, walrus, seals, and other various wildlife, waterfalls, rock formations, or just plain beautiful scenery vistas. Of course, there are all kinds of places to hike into and find great fishing. The alpine tundra on most mountains in Becharof National Wildlife Refuge is relatively firm and brush-free.

Our amazing variety of National Parks & Wildlife Refuges:

  • Katmai National Park & Preserve – Katmai National Monument was established in 1918 to protect the volcanically devastated region surrounding Mount Katmai and the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. Katmai is also famous for its incredible salmon runs and the thousands of brown bears that feed on them.
  • Lake Clark National Park & Preserve – This is a land of stunning beauty where volcanoes steam, salmon run, bears forage and craggy mountains reflect in shimmering turquoise lakes, and local people and culture still depend on the land and water of their home.
  • Aniakchak National Monument & Preserve – Given its remote location and challenging weather conditions, Aniakchak is one of the wildest and least visited places in the National Park System.
  • Becharof National Wildlife Refuge – The centerpiece of the Refuge is the vast Becharof Lake, named after a Russian explorer. (note: due to present Federal Regulations we must spend the majority of our day in Becharof NWR with the intention to be fishing while enjoying hiking, photography, and wildlife viewing).
  • Alaska Peninsula National Wildlife Refuge This complex stretches down the Alaska Peninsula in southwest Alaska and is home to volcanoes, wilderness, and a variety of Alaskan wildlife.
  • Togiak National Wildlife RefugeThis refuge is home to the Pacific Walrus. Their scientific name means “tooth walker.” Males can weigh more than 3300 pounds.
viewing a rainbow while flying on an Alaska Adventure

Flying in a bush plane around the Alaska Peninsula offers awe-inspiring vistas of rugged mountains, expansive glaciers, and pristine wilderness, creating an unforgettable aerial Alaska adventure.

View our Adventure Map

Check out our Adventure Map that highlights some of our major destinations.

Fishing, flying, bear, walrus, adventure, FUN!!

Where to begin??? Love, love, love Crystal Creek Lodge. . . . what it has to offer, the attention to detail, service, safety and customer fulfilment. The staff are genuinely passionate about their surroundings, environment, their guests and one another. I have been blessed to experience my second stay with CCL this past summer – the Lodge Owners [Dan/Lynette, Alex/Heather] really set a fabulous tone among the staff who all have such respect and appreciation for them. Be prepared to be part of the family – we were fortunate to have an amazing fishing experience catching limits; plenty of bear encounters to keep the blood pumping between hook ups! Rooms are comfortable, food is great, Manhattans at the end of the day; truly felt a sadness when pulling away.


Crystal Creek Lodge guest

Crystal Creek Lodge, nestled on the banks of the Naknek River, near King Salmon, Alaska is a renowned Luxury Alaska Fishing and Adventure Lodge with over 400 5-star reviews. Since 1988, we’ve been delivering thousands of exciting and memorable flyout excursions.

Check out our Fishing page to learn more about opportunities to enjoy the Alaska fishing season. Discover the wonders of Crystal Creek Lodge through our Instagram page, where you can immerse yourself in stunning visuals and learn more about our exciting adventures in the Alaskan wilderness!

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