The United States’ largest state, Alaska is a land of unbelievable beauty and endless opportunities for excitement. Ranging from snow-capped peaks to pristine glaciers, this untamed wilderness possesses a variety of places of interest both for those who are interested in nature and those who are looking for adrenaline. In case you have plans to visit Alaska, here are the top 10 must-see attractions that will leave you gaping in wonder.
1. Denali National Park and Preserve
Denali National Park and Preserve, including the towering peak of Denali, the highest peak in North America, has become an animal sanctuary for naturalists and outdoor enthusiasts. In fact, this immense wilderness is inhabited by grizzly bears, moose, caribou and wolves among other wildlife occupying its vastness of over six million acres. Take a guided hike or go on a thrilling wildlife safari to get closer to these impressive animals.
Wilderness Explorer Tip:
Why don’t you consider taking a scenic flight over Denali to observe the stunning landscapes and glaciers through a birds eye view? This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
2. Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve
Get ready to be fascinated by the awe-inspiring beauty of Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. Approximately one thousand glaciers exist in this UNESCO World Heritage site each with more grandeur than another. Massive ice breaks off into water below as calving glaciers spectacularly shatter into hundreds of pieces. Take an iceberg-kayaking tour or boat trip through frozen fjords for personal intimacy with this incredible work of nature.
More tidewater glaciers actively calve here than any other place on earth!
3. Kenai Fjords National Park
Rarely can any other place on earth compete with the magnificent beauty of Kenai Fjords National Park. Situated at Kenai Peninsula, the park boasts a breathtaking coastline with towering glaciers as well as abundant marine life. Keep your eyes open for humpback whales, sea lions, puffins and otters when you go on marine wildlife sightseeing cruises. For breath-taking panoramic views of the huge icefield which occupies much of the park, remember to hike Harding Icefield Trail.
If you would like to experience fjords up close while enjoying kayaking at the same time, consider this option. It will leave you speechless as you paddle through glaciers.
4. Mendenhall Glacier
On Juneau’s doorstep, Alaska capital, lies Mendenhall Glacier whose beauty is beyond words. The massive glacier goes for about 12 miles and is surrounded by Tongass National Forest. Join a guided tour to explore hidden ice caves and see the brilliant shades of blue and turquoise that emanate from them. You might also want to take a picture at Nugget Falls – an amazing waterfall pouring into Mendenhall Lake.
For an unmatched adrenaline rush, try going on a helicopter tour across Mendenhall Glacier. Fly high above this icy paradise and land right on its surface- once in a lifetime experience!
5. The Northern Lights
The dancing, green, pink, and purple hues of the Northern Lights give an impression of their magic. This celestial phenomenon can be observed in one of the biggest cities in Alaska called Fairbanks. You can also go to the outskirts of town, wrap yourself in warm clothes and see this beautiful natural light display.
Winter months from September through April are the best time to see the Aurora Borealis in Alaska. Always check the weather forecast before you set off on your journey.
6. The Alaska Highway
Drive along the Alaska Highway that twists through undisturbed wilderness offering breathtaking views at every turn. Starting from Delta Junction, Alaska, it stretches for 1,390 miles toward Dawson Creek, British Columbia. Move across unspoiled nature to view snow covered mountain tops in Alaska Range and spot wild animals along your way.
Road Trip Tip:
Don’t hurry when making a trip via Alaska Highway; make frequent stops. In these places you will find charming towns such as Tok and Haines where you can spend some time fishing or hiking among other outdoor activities while creating great memories.
7. Katmai National Park and Preserve
No encounter with gigantic brown bears of Alaska is possible outside Katmai national park. This remote air-or-boat-accessed park boasts one of the highest densities of brown bears globally. It is possible to watch them feed on salmon at Brooks Falls or play from a distance away safely Remember to follow park guidelines and prioritize safety when observing wildlife in their habitat.
If you are a photography enthusiast you may think about taking a guided photography tour within Katmai National Park where skilled experts will help you take outstanding shots of bears in their natural habitat.
8. The Iditarod Trail
Alaska’s rich history and culture will be yours if you try out the world famous Iditarod Trail. This historical dogsled race that stretches more than a thousand miles from Anchorage to Nome is dedicated to mushers and their sled dogs, honoring their heroism. The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Headquarters in Wasilla is a place where one can learn about the race’s interesting history, watch dog sled demonstrations, and cuddle with some adorable sled dogs.
The Iditarod Trail started out as a mail and supply route during Alaska’s gold rush days..
9. Inside Passage
Travel along Alaska’s Inside Passage, a scenic waterway that runs for over 1,000 miles along the southern coast of Alaska. Be sure not to miss the towering fjords, majestic glaciers or lush rainforests. Keep your eyes open for such marine animals like whales, dolphins, bald eagles or any other marine life that may call this pristine wilderness home. And while there make stops in small towns like Ketchikan and Sitka which offer glimpses into the rich Native culture of Alaska.
Each time you consider choosing cruises with activities such as whale watching or kayaking or bear viewing then think about taking it to another level by sailing through the Inside Passage.
10. Tracy Arm Fjord
Get ready for visual overload as you head out into Tracy Arm Fjord which is a narrow fjord carved out by glaciers located in Tongass National Forest. Cruise between towering cliffs and behold Sawyer Glacier; a tidewater glacier that towers above the ocean waters below it. Admire icebergs composed of ancient ice with their deep blue coloration and listen for gigantic cracking sounds. Watch out for seals on the rocks below because they are often seen there together with mountain goats or even black bears..
Seeing a calving event happen at Sawyer Glacier is a once in a lifetime experience. The show of raw power and beauty mother nature offers will leave you awestruck
To sum up, Alaska is a place of unmatched beauty and adventure. This majestic wilderness has a plethora of attractions ranging from towering glaciers to its amazing wildlife that will captivate all your senses. Hiking through Denali National Park, witnessing Northern Lights at Fairbanks or cruising the Inside Passage; these are just some of Alaska’s awe-inspiring sights and experiences that will stay with you for life. So get ready for the adventure of your life, pack your bags and discover the wonders of the Last Frontier!
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