Alaska, the largest state in the US is a place packed with natural experiences, wondrous wilderness and is known for its Gold Rush days, rugged mountains, and a unique native culture. Unlike the other cliched states that buzz with traffic, big buildings and revving of the engines, followed by a cloud of undistilled smoke, Alaska is an isolated frontier that is quiet and welcomes its visitors with its subtle charm enough to feed the curious traveler. Adorned with breathtaking glaciers and scenic parks that are as big as the state itself, Alaska is home to some of the huge, exuberant national parks that add to the beauty of the state.
Browse through this list of 8 best national parks in Alaska and see it for yourself.
1. Denali National Park and Preserve
Image Credits: Denali National Park and Preserve/flickr.com
Denali National Park and Preserve is located in the interior of Alaska, concentrated on the highest mountain of Denali (previously known as Mt.Mckinley) and stands majestically at a height of 20,310 feet. With a vivid landscape highlighted by an enchanting wilderness, Denali National Park and Preserve is a mix of forest and ice glaciers attracting nearly 400,000 visitors annually from all around the world and is one of the best national parks in Alaska. Explore this whopping 6 million acre national park that is rich in wildlife and take part in some serious adventure activities.
Entrance fee of the park is priced at $10/person* and allows access for seven days (children aged 15years or less are free to enter). And the annual pass is priced at $40*, which permits the cardholder plus three other travelers.
Activities: Flightseeing, Hiking, Mountaineering, Camping, Fishing, Skiing.
Must see: Denali, Rich wildlife, Polychrome pass overlook, Savage river, Sable pass.
*Prices are subject to change. The mentioned prices are as per September, 2016.
2. Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Sprawling across an area of more than 13.2 million acres, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve is the largest national park and preserve in the US. Witness the sheer length of the landscape as it offers the essence of Alaska in all its wilderness and discover the magic. Visit this breathtaking park of Wrangell-St. Ellias which is also a part of the UNESCO world heritage sites and is absolutely free to explore.
Activities: Mountain Biking, Backpacking, Hiking, Hunting, Ice-back Climbing, Horseback Riding, Fishing.
Must see: Mt.Saint Ellias, Mt.Blackburn, McCarthy river, Kennecott, Nabesna road.
3. Katmai National Park and Preserve
Image Credits: Wikipedia.org
Established in 1980, Katmai National Park and Preserve is named after Mount Katmai and has 18 volcanoes, out of which seven are active. Famous for its wilderness adventures, Katmai National Park is popularly known for its sockeye salmon and grizzly brown bears. Threaded with an unusual volcanic landscape, the park is fuming with steam and gas & is populated by ash-covered mountains. Visit this park in the Bear viewing season of July to catch a sight of the bears ripping apart salmon in mid-air.
The entry to the Katmai National Park and Preserve comes free of cost and you will have to pay only for camping and lodging.
Activities: Rafting, Kayaking, Hiking, Camping, Bear viewing.
Must see: Valley of 10,000 Smokes, Brooks Falls, Brooks river, Naknek lake.
4. Glacier Bay National Park
Image Source: Pixabay.com
A must-stop destination for every cruise ship sailing North through Southeast Alaska, Glacier Bay National Park encompasses a beautiful scenery full of towering mountain peaks, massive tidewater glaciers, abundant marine wildlife and ice-sculptured fjords. A biosphere reserve that is inhabited by wolves, moose, bears, bald eagles, harbor seals, whales and other wildlife, Glacier Bay National Park is also a part of UNESCO world heritage site and secures a spot in every traveler's travel plan
Glacier Bay National Park is free to explore and looks totally spectacular.
Activities: Kayaking, Boating, Rafting, Fishing, Glacier viewing, Whale watching.
Must see: Bartlett Cove, Spirit of Adventure, Whale Song adventures, Woodwind Sailing adventures.
5. Kenai Fjords National Park
Image Credit: Wikipedia.org
Established in 1980 as a means to protect and preserve an amazing field of Alaska that is source to more than 38 glaciers, Kenai Fjords National Park is a glacial wonderland. The park covers an area of 669,984 acres with a right fusion of oceans, glaciers, and mountains while supporting marine wildlife to thrive on. If you are a lover of coastal areas and glaciers, then Kenai Fjords National Park would seem a paradise to you. Visit this crown jewel of Alaska during the Summers between the months of May and October.
Entry to Kenai Fjords National Park is free.
Activities: Kayaking, Hiking, Mountaineering, Beachcombing, Bicycling, Cross-country skiing, Snowmobiling, Dog sledding.
Must see: Exit Glacier, Harding Ice Field Trail, Fox Island, Six Mile Creek, Pederson Glacier.
6. Kobuk Valley National Park
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Situated entirely above the Arctic circle, Kobuk Valley National Park is one of the remotely located parks in the US. Surrounded by the Baird and Waring mountain ranges, Kobuk Valley National Park is the site of the historic Onion Portage that is painted with the footprints of caribou. Highlighted by vast sand dunes including the Great Kobuk Sand Dunes, Kobuk Valley National Park is home to wolves, bears, moose, foxes and other small fur-bearing mammals.
There is no entrance fee to explore the Kobuk Valley National Park.
Activities: Fishing, Dog sledding, Hiking, Backpacking, Boating.
Must see: Salmon river, Kobuk river, Great Kobuk Sand Dunes.
7. Lake Clark National Park
Image Credit: Caitlin Marr/flickr.com
Shimmering with turquoise blue waters and a picturesque view of lofty mountains, Lake Clark National Park looks mesmerizing. Set in closer proximity to Anchorage and offering one of the finest views of Alaska, Lake Clark National Park is not frequented by many and is a hidden gem in Alaska. Crowded by an array of snow-capped mountains, thundering waterfalls, winding rivers and washed coastlines, Lake Clark National Park is an ideal place to seek solitude and breathe in fresh air.
Exploring Lake Clark National Park is free of cost.
Activities: Kayaking, Camping, Hiking, Flightseeing, Fishing.
Must see: Twin lakes, Turquoise lake, Chilikadrotna River, Turquoise Valley, Mulchatna River.
8. Gates of the Arctic National Park
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Spread across an area of 8 million acres, Gates of the Arctic National Park is the second largest and the northernmost park in the US. As wild rivers slither through the glacier-carved valleys of the park, the park remains uncluttered and boasts of a rich ecosystem. Surprisingly visited by only a few who are adventure seekers and outdoor experience enthusiasts, Gates of the Arctic National Park is a sanctuary for many animals including caribou, muskoxen, and more than 145 species of birds.
Gates of the Arctic National Park is free to visit and make sure you attend the orientation session organized by the officials to learn more about the park.
Activities: Hiking, Rafting, Fishing, Backpacking Treks, Dog Mushing, Skiing.
Must see: John river, Kobuk wild river, Kugururok river, Boreal mountain, Tinayguk river.
Amazed by the list of national parks in Alaska, Why not plan a trip? I am sure you will be awe-struck when you visit them in direct.