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A good destination and base for a multi-day trek is the USGS Baked Mountain Huts, 11 miles from the drop-off point. The huts, which are free and open to the public (no reservations), are often filled with researchers, but you can set your tent up nearby and make use of the outhouse and gear shed. From here, you can hike two more miles to Novarupta or continue on beyond Katmai Pass, the lowest point in the mountains separating the Shekilof Strait and Brooks River.

Because it is so remote and often changing, the valley and what lies beyond it remains shrouded in mystery. Nearby Trident Mountain has showed activity recently, resulting in changed topography and inaccurate maps – the huts have maps on the wall with scribbled updates; the USGS huts’ log books record rumours of hot springs; and when the clouds clear, at least three steaming, snow-covered volcanoes are in sight. It is safe to say that there is no place on earth like this one.

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© 2012 Lonely Planet. All rights reserved. The article ‘The Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes’ was published in partnership with Lonely Planet.

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