For many people, an Alaskan vacation is on the top of the bucket list.  Alaska is one of the most popular destinations due to its rich culture, epic fishing, amazing scenery, and incredible wildlife.

Planning your trip ahead of time, typically at least a year (or more) in advance, is necessary since the summer season is short and the demand to visit Alaska is so high.  In order to give visitors an equal chance at staying at one of Alaska’s most popular bear viewing destinations in Katmai National Park, Brooks Lodge, we’ve instituted a random lottery.  Here’s everything you need to know to get your shot at a room in 2025 at Brooks Lodge.

How Do I Enter?

Applications for the 2025 Brooks Lodge lottery will be available online December 1, 2023, through 5 pm Alaska Standard Time on December 31, 2023.  We accept one application per person.  If you try to do more than one, duplicates are deleted. You must apply using the name of the person traveling.  If you make the reservation, you can’t transfer it or give it to another person.

First Come, First Served?

The short answer is no.  All applications have an equal chance of being selected.  It’s not like trying to get Taylor Swift tickets.  It’s truly a random drawing so it doesn’t matter if you sign up for the Brooks Lodge lottery on December 1 or December 21.  Spots are randomly assigned.  It’s your spot on the wait list that can be important.  But more on that in a bit.

Here’s a tip: If you’re flexible with your travel time, you have better odds of getting a spot.  On the initial Lottery application, provide more than one choice for your travel dates. However, only put dates that you are willing to travel!

I’m Excited. When Do I Find Out?

You’ll have plenty of time to plan your trip.  We do our best to notify every entrant by email by January 31, 2024, whether you’ve won a spot or not. For those that have been selected for a spot, this email will include a reservation and invoice for the date you’ve been given within the date range listed in your application. For those that are not selected, this email will let you know what number you are on the wait list.

We contact people in the order that they’re drawn, so don’t despair.  We’ll be contacting lottery entrants any time between January 3 and 31.  Once you receive an email with the date of your visit, you have 7 days to hold that reservation with a 50% deposit.

If I Don’t Win the Lottery, Should I Give Up All Hope?

Not necessarily.  Your order on the wait list is based on the random number that was assigned to you during the original drawing.  Typically, July and September are filled with Lottery applicants.  There’s a chance that some June and August dates will be available.  Once the peak travel dates are filled, we notify the wait list with available dates, starting with the first batch of 50.  If you get an email with one of these alternate dates, call, or email us back within 24 hours to check that that time is still available.  If we’ve still got space, it’s yours.  If not, we’ll add you back to the wait list. Then, it’s rinse and repeat until all the Lottery applications are processed.  When we get through this process, which is at the end of January, any remaining rooms are opened up to the public.

Here’s a tip: We see the highest demand for space in the lottery for dates in July and September. That means the lowest odds of getting selected. However, August is a great time to visit Brooks. Contrary to popular belief, bear activity at Brooks typically continues throughout the month of August. There’s also less crowds. Being open to dates in August increases your chances of being selected.

We can’t wait to share the stunning beauty and the magic of Brooks with you.  We hope these insights and tips have helped get you a step closer to your dream vacation to Alaska.  If you have any questions in the meantime, please reach out.