Alaska caught my fancy while watching “Encounters of the fourth kind"”where Milla Jovovich who plays the protagonist takes a sea plane to go to her office! It was amusing but the beauty in the background was not just good camera work, it was real. Thanks to the movie, it was the thought of meeting aliens in Alaska that was on my mind. However, Alaska proved to be a place that was much more….I forgot about aliens quite instantly! The pristine environs of Alaska are not only spectacular to watch but incredible to breath in! This place has a large habitat of wilderness and is home to many snow clad mountains and glaciers. It has museums and some of the biggest national parks of United States that signify the beauty of this place. Wherever you go, adventure or sightseeing, the scale of this place is sure to impress you. Read through to get a detailed insight about the various US Nationals Parks in Alaska, and breathe in the beauty, the wilderness and the glory of the place. We are rounding up must do activities and the places to visit, so come along!
Denali National Park…Highest Mountain and a long winding road
This national park encompasses nearly 6 million acres of preserve. The captivating façade of Denali National Park is also the abode of Mount Mc Kinley, the highest mountain in America. The specialty of the park is its single curvy road which leads to every destination in the park. You must take the pleasure of an off trail hike here. If you are lucky, you will be able to get glimpses of the wildlife around along with the stunning tundra pan images. It is not possible to do any of this during the winters as the temperatures are freezing and the entire expanse is snow covered.
Wildlife such as mammals, namely, Marmot and Moose are easy to trace along with brown bears and wolves. During the summers and the spring time, Denali is a chirpy place with a humongous bird population. Many birdwatchers wait for the right season to pay a visit to this national park. Arctic Warblers, waxwings and the majestic tundra swan are among the common birds found here. The water bodies here are home to salmon and trout. Denali is the place where love for nature and need for adventure come together seamlessly!
Glacier Bay National Park… the place of historic wonders
This land was made to be a preserve by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act in order to preserve a part of the Alsek River and related plant life and the fishes that had made their habitat in the surroundings. The snow clad national park has tours that take you around the giving you extensive information about this place. We recommend the NPS tour boat as you will be able to see the very well-known and beautiful Margerie Glacier. The beauty of the bay comes from all the glaciers that have descended into it, making their homes in the base. The sight is sure to leave you mesmerized.
Glacier Bay Park is home to many plants that survive in the cold temperatures along with animals like mountain goats, black bears, eagles and seals. If you are lucky, you may even get to see whales As a tourist, you can carry your backpack, be ready to click the most scenic pictures, enjoy sightseeing, bird-watching and fishing as well.
Kenai Fjords National park… for the eternal and divine beauty
The Kenai Fjords National Park derives its name from many glacial valleys and fjords that are now settled below the sea level. We were spellbound to see one of the largest ice field in the United States with 40 glaciers running down the mountain, known as the Harding Ice field. You will most certainly be captivated by the views that are as rare as they are spectacular! Bald eagles, puffins, stellar sea lions and mountain goats are amongst the residents here. You can spot black bears on the glaciers, up the mountains and sometime in the dense woodlands.
The park has many adventure options and tours including wildlife cruise, hiking, etc However, the Wildlife Cruise at Kenai Fjords with a lunch Buffet should be on your list of things to do in Alaska. It is 5 hour long hour cruise that will take you around the clear waters of the Resurrection Bay. It is not only beautiful but also informative. The tour has a guide who will be providing a narrative on the history, ecology, and the wildlife found in that area.
Katmai National park … places can get hotter too
The Katmai National park is situated on the southern belt of Alaska. This place is most famous and known for the bears who can be seen relishing salmon in Brook Falls. There are many platforms that will enable you to get a close look at the bears. Katmai National Park also has a landmark where one can see solidified lava, which eventually settled in the region. It is known as The Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. Hiking, Kayaking and Canoeing are the things you can easily indulge into here.
Kobuk valley National park… to the place of migratory birds and sand dunes
It is one of the underdeveloped places of Alaska. There is room for hiking, photography and if you can survive the freezing waters, then you can even take a dip into it. Boating and dog sledding is also an option, but due to its poor and backcountry approach, fewer tourists actually visit here. Even if you want to visit this place, it is not possible to do so by road. They have special air taxi services from Nome, Bettles or Kotzebue. The flights are also highly dependent on the weather conditions. So if you are truly up for a challenging adventure and believe in going as off beat as it gets, then Kobuk Valley might be something you would want to take a look at!
Lake Clark National Park
Lake Clark is a place for everyone whether you want to just chill while watching wilderness in motion and stretch legs or go for paddling or move a little more and spin a fly rod! This place also has biking facility as well as opportunities like river rafting and bird watching. The lake is magnificent and its beauty is enhanced by equally magnificent mountain ranges that tower over it gently. During spring time, Lake Clark is washed with vibrant hues of green around the vicinity and brilliant whites in the distance. Even if adventure is not on your mind, the tranquility of this place is something you must not miss.
Alaska is truly a paradise and in these modern times, one of the few places that afford tremendous natural beauty and soothing solitude. Off the mainland of the US, Alaska is truly an experience to be cherished for a lifetime. Now that we have introduced you to the popular and not so touristy national parks of this region, let us give some more information that will get you there.
How to Reach
By Air: There are three airports in Alaska- Anchorage, Juneau and Fairbanks. Anchorage has an International Airport which also happens to be its busiest.
By Road: Road to Alaska is through British Columbia, Canada. There are car and RV rentals that can be taken for the route.
By Sea: Alaska has state's ferry system, The Alaska Marine Highway. Cruising is also a popular way of exploring Alaska which has an extensive coastline.
Where to Stay:
Alaska has numerous options for accommodation. Here are our tops picks ranging from budget to luxurious options. Alternatively, you can look use the search box give here for a complete list of hotels in Alaska
Here are the tours that we have handpicked just for you for your visit to Alaska
Click here for a comprehensive list of things to do and places to see in Alaska