Alaska has an overwhelming sense of remoteness, coupled with a powerful proximity to wildlife. This world is shared with a vibrant ecosystem, headlined by some of the largest, most majestic mammals on earth. Here are only some of the most mind-blowing spots in the state.
Seward AlaskaSeward, United StatesI love Seward. Cute ocean front Alaskan town with beautiful mountains and a beautiful bay full of wild life and fun bars. I will move back here one day. Gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park and the beautifulness that is the Kenai Peninsula. Lots of salmon and halibut fishing here too.
Alaska, the largest state in the US by far, has about the same number of highway miles as Vermont. Chances are if you’re driving somewhere, you’re on the only road that takes you there. The Seward Highway connects Anchorage and the little harbor city of Seward, where the Resurrection River meets the bay.
Denali National Park
You can get a sense of the vastness of the land by going on your own backcountry trek. Denali is a good place for it — the national park covers 6 million acres and has relatively few established trails. The state is also full of whitewater, and Denali is one of the easiest places to access it. The north-flowing, glacier-fed Nenana parallels the Parks Highway by the national park entrance, and operators typically float two trips on it: the mellow, scenic McKinley Run, and the faster Canyon Run, which includes several class III and IV rapids.
Eagle River Nature Center
Eagle River Nature CenterAnchorage, United StatesThe ponds at eagle river nature center have beautiful reflections of the mountains. It’s a great place to spend an hour or two just walking around in nature.
The Alaska Range defines the topography of the state, a crescent spine that curves from the southeastern border with Canada, up to just south of Fairbanks, and back down to the sea at the mouth of Cook Inlet. The section most people know and visit, though, is the area surrounding Denali, North American’s tallest peak at 20,320ft, and its two sidekicks, Foraker (17,400ft) and Hunter (13,965ft). A handful of companies run “flightseeing” tours out of Talkeetna, K2 Aviation being the biggest. It’s also possible to fly in from the Denali area. Whoever you fly with, sign up for a glacier landing for the full effect (with K2: $385/person, 2hrs).
Situk RiverYakutat, United StatesA classic Alaskan fishing experience on the Situk river when the silvers (coho) salmon are running. There are a limited and tightly regulated number of permits available. Best bet is to talk to the crew at the Yakutat lodge to get the most up to date info on conditions/permits etc. #fishing #salmon
Fishing is another hugely popular on-the-water activity in the state. There are salmon in the rivers, trout in the lakes, and monster halibut and cod out at sea.
Seldovia, popular with locals for tide pooling, boardwalk strolls, is a seaside community. Built up on the water, it’s a cocktail of wild, secluded, and quaint. Catching good views of volcanos Illiamna and Redoubt is a given and it’s exciting to watch when they let off steam. Seldovia’s equally fantastic for families or solo travelers in summer — there’s lots of opportunity to catch Dolly Varden, Outside Beach is the picnic hot spot, and traversing the Otterbahn trail to get there is a must.
Hubbard GlacierYakutat, United StatesTaking a boat across the bay from Yakutat to the base of the Hubbard glacier was a great way to spend a day. On the way we fished for halibut, saw some giant elephant seals and motored past massive icebergs. Highlight was watching school bus sized chunks of ice calving off and falling hundreds of feet. A powerful sight. #alaska
Where Hubbard Glacier meets the sea, its 6-mile-wide face calves huge blocks of ice.
Dude MountainKetchikan, United StatesA quick 1.5 mile hike, be ready to work for that 1500 ft of elevation gain. Incredible views make it all worth it. Some boardwalk and stairs, otherwise mostly natural tread. My favorite hike in any condition, it never disappoints. Tip: wild flowers are abundant on this trail during the late spring. #hiking #alpine #mountain #mountains #view #views #viewpoint #viewpoints #hike #ketchikan
There are endless opportunities for shorter hikes in southcentral and interior Alaska as well. Regardless of how long you’re on the trail, we recommend going with a guide. With a company like Alaska Nature Guides, you’ll be led by a legit local, someone who blazed their own trail and made a home in the bush. Their insights about the land, its history, its flora and fauna, will add layers of meaning to a hike you won’t get otherwise.
This is a good half-day or overnight hike to Portage Pass, Portage Lake, and an overlook of Portage Glacier. Portage Pass is a beautiful spot in its own right, and this hike is also the easiest way to get a good view of the face of Portage Glacier.
Glacier Bay National Park
Southeast Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park is a named UNESCO World Heritage Site. Glacier Bay is unusual among national parks in that most of its visitors arrive by sea. Full-size cruise ships poke their noses in on their way to or from nearby Juneau, tour boats run day trips to the park, private pleasure boats come and go as they please — and a fair number of visitors arrive via kayak, either on unsupported solo trips or on shorter guided excursions.
Graveyard CoveYakutat, United StatesProbably one of the most spectacular backdrops to a surf spot that I’ve even seen. Clear days are pretty rare but when they come along and you’re out waiting for a set staring at Mt. St. Elias it’s nothing short of jaw dropping.
Fairbanks, AKFairbanks, United StatesHead up to the Nortic Ski Club in Fairbanks to enjoy some cross country skiing. Make sure to head a bit further up the hill to the overlook where you can look down into the valley and capture breathtaking views during sunset. #nortic #ski #club #fairbanks #alaska #sunset #hiking #extreme #snow #funforteens #kidslearning #activekids
Fairbanks is the northernmost metropolitan area in the United States, located less than 120 miles south of the Arctic Circle. The land is rugged and beautiful. With less than four hours of sunlight during the shortest days of the year, the sunsets seem to last all day.
Wood-Tikchik State Park
To get to Wood-Tikchik State Park air taxi from Dillingham or charter boat via Aleknagik Village is the price of admission for roughing it in one of the 1.6 million acres that form America’s largest state park. Among all five Pacific salmon varieties, anglers can also expect rainbow trout, arctic char, and Dolly Varden. The park is especially popular with kayakers, canoers, rafters and pretty much anyone with a thing for floating boats. Awesome wildlife viewing is a given when surrounded by this much untamed Alaskan wilderness, though, there’s no telling what kind or around which corner. Wood-Tikchik State Park is best left for the experienced outdoors person or with a knowledgeable guide.