7 Popular Attractions in Alaska

The largest and most northern state in the United States. In addition, it is separated from the rest of the country. Alaska consists not only of the mainland, but also of a large number of islands.

These lands once belonged to the Russian Empire, and traces of Russian presence are still preserved, for instance, in the names of several geographic locations. In 1867 Alaska was sold to the United States and very soon started to form as a tourist area. For more information on the Russian Empire, read A Brief History of the Russian Empire.

The interest of travelers is aroused by the local nature. National parks, glaciers and fjords are the main treasure of the state. There are hiking trails to suit all tastes, such as hiking through the “Foggy Fjords” or cruising to Juneau for whale watching. Or you can go on expedition tours and trips. The climate and geographic location give travelers the opportunity to see another unusual phenomenon – the Northern Lights.

1. Mount Denali

One of the main attractions in Alaska. The national park covers about 25 thousand km². Here is the highest point of Alaska, after which the area is named. Mount Denali has another name – McKinley, given in memory of the country’s 25th president.

A visit to the park allows you not only to admire the natural beauty, but also to learn about the life and culture of the indigenous people of North America.

2. Glacier Bay

The area of the national park is about 13 thousand square kilometers. Most of the area is covered by forests. In addition, there are many:

  • hills;
  • mountain rivers and streams;
  • lakes;
  • glaciers.

The largest glaciers are Margerie and Lamplugh. The climate in Glacier Bay is peculiar: warm winters and cold summers. For tourists there are comfortable hiking trails. Park guests can go fishing, rock climbing, or rafting.

3. Kenai Fjords

This park was established in 1980 with the aim to protect the Arctic territories from the negative impact of people. Area – about 2800 km². More than half of the area is covered by snow and ice.

Fauna is typical for this climate:

  • polar bears;
  • walruses;
  • whales;
  • seals.

But the coastal flora is more exotic. Kenai Fjords is famous for its “glacial cruises”: tourists are invited to look at the parts of the glaciers that break away.

Kenai Fjords

4. “Foggy Fjords”

In 1978 the area with this name was declared a national reserve. The area is 9,500 km². The remoteness of the area has allowed the wildlife to remain virtually untouched. Tourists are brought here mainly by cruise ships and planes.

Hiking trails allow you to see the main beauties of the park. Those who wish can go climbing, boating, or fishing in designated areas.

5. Hubbard Glacier

The largest glacier off the coast of Alaska. Hubbard continues to gain weight and grow. At the same time, it is on the move and slowly heading toward the Gulf. The maximum age of the ice strata is 400 years.

In summer, impressive chunks of ice break off and fall noisily into the water. Tourists come to watch this process. And icebergs separating from Hubbard are a serious problem for navigating ships in the region.

6. Mendenhall Glacier

It can be found in the valley of the same name. Because it is not so far from central Juneau, it was formerly called “the glacier outside of town.” In 1891 it received its present name in honor of the physicist and meteorologist Mendenhall. It is about 19 km long.

Climate change has greatly affected the size and location of the glacier. The glacier is part of the recreational area of the Tongass National Forest.

7. Tracy Arm Fjord

Surrounded by emerald water. The banks of the fjord are rugged, the slopes are covered, and the cliffs and mountains have “jagged” features. Tracy Arm waterfalls carry their waters directly into the sea.

Tourists are brought as close as possible during sightseeing tours. Sometimes you can see chunks of glaciers breaking away. Another interesting phenomenon – swimming bears and deer. Dolphins near the fjord are used to people and often swim up to the ships.