The Best National Parks in Alaska

March 10, 2023

national parks in Alaska

From glaciers to fjords, wildlife to wilderness, national parks in Alaska are some of the best in the world. Each offers a unique experience, and many are open year-round.

Visiting Alaska’s national parks is a must for anyone looking to get out and explore. These pristine, unspoiled areas offer healthful outdoor activities, spectacular views, and untouched wilderness.

Denali National Park

Denali National Park, located in Alaska, features rugged snow-capped peaks, eye-popping glaciers, and a variety of wildlife. Visitors can explore this wilderness area on foot, in a helicopter, or by bus tour.

Located in the heart of Alaska’s interior, Denali National Park is a great destination for nature lovers who want to enjoy the solitude of a remote wilderness. It is also one of the world’s most beautiful and accessible national parks.

The park is open year-round, but the summer season (early June through mid-September) offers the best chance to see wildlife and moderate weather. Crowds are usually relatively low, and lodges and tours operate at their optimum.

Kenai Fjords National Park

Located in south-central Alaska, Kenai Fjords National Park is a rugged wilderness area. Established as a national park in 1980, it protects the Harding Icefield and the deeply indented coastline.

Despite its relatively remote location, Kenai Fjords offers a wealth of natural and wildlife activities. Whether you're looking for a boat tour to see the glaciers or want to explore the park on foot, there's something for everyone here.

Cruises into the park immerse you in this wild landscape, offering up-close views of mossy green fjords, waterfalls, cliffs, and islands that are dotted with seabird rookeries. They also give you a chance to witness whales, seals, and other marine mammals in their natural habitat.

Glacier Bay National Park

3.3 million acres of mountains, glaciers, forests, and waterways make Glacier Bay National Park a world-class destination for outdoor enthusiasts. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the park is also home to a thriving Alaskan cultural legacy.

The Huna Tribal House in Bartlett Cove near Gustavus serves as a meeting point for the park’s many visitors, offering an introduction to regional culture and traditions through art, storytelling, and dance. Its Raven and Eagle totems are a reminder of the region’s ancient and powerful history.

From boat tours and kayak adventures to hiking trails, wilderness tours and more, there’s something for everyone in this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Just be sure to follow the necessary protocols before visiting, including proper preparation for bears, hypothermia, tides and moose.

Katmai National Park

Katmai National Park and Preserve is a large area of wilderness and unique geologic features on the southwestern edge of Alaska in the Shelikof Strait. It is located 290 miles southwest of Anchorage, and is home to the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, which was formed by the eruption of Novarupta Volcano in 1912.

The park is also home to an abundance of salmon and brown bears. These animals are popular with visitors, but the park also offers many other opportunities to experience nature in its fullest.

A visit to Katmai is an exciting journey through a land of volcanoes and dramatic geological changes. It is a natural adventure filled with stunning scenery, diverse wildlife, and fascinating human history.

National Historical Parks in Sitka and Skagway

Located in Sitka and Skagway, the National Historical Parks are a must-visit attraction for every Alaskan traveler. They offer a wide range of attractions and activities, including hiking, fishing, rafting, wildlife spotting, and more.

The first of these parks, Sitka National Historical Park, was established in 1910 to commemorate the 1804 Battle of Sitka between the Tlingit and Russians. This is one of the most important events in Alaskan history.

Another park, the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, preserves a number of historic buildings and structures in Skagway to commemorate the gold rush that took place here in the late 19th century. The park includes several trails that pay homage to the journey and struggles of past gold seekers.

The Sheldon Jackson Museum in Ketchikan displays a large collection of historical artifacts from the area, including Native American clothing, pioneer clothing, totems, baskets, and weapons. It also features a variety of exhibits and galleries that tell the story of this region.


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