Alaska National Parks, Alaska
Alaska National Parks, Alaska
Kayak with orcas, hike late into the evening on endless summer solstice days, be dwarfed by ten-thousand-year-old glaciers, soar around Mt. Denali in a private plane and spot grizzly families ambling through meadows below you…do you need more convincing to get to Alaska now?! If your appetite for adventure isn’t satisfied, journey into British Columbia to see salmon almost as big as you are tall, barrel down streams, helicopter to mountain-top picnics, and maybe even see migrating polar bears.
Denali National Park
Alaska’s most well-known national park is a rolling expanse of beautiful forest and untouched nature. The park is huge – covering over 6 million acres – and is filled with valleys of lush forest surrounded by snow-capped mountain peaks, including the giant Denali (the continent’s tallest at 20,320 feet and referred to as the ‘Great One’ by the Athabaskan Indians). Remote and undisturbed, it’s here where views of the Northern Lights are better than just about anywhere else in the world. Wildlife is also easy to spot in and around Denali, with abundant eagles, caribou, moose, Dall sheep, otters and wolverines. But most of all, Alaska’s interior is ‘bear country’ – grizzlies roam at will, along with other brown bear and the American black bear.
With over 20 hours of daylight in summer, there’s plenty of time to adventure here. Whether fly fishing, glacier trekking, hiking, or kayaking, you’ll be awed at every turn by exquisite views and epic expanses. And the charming town of Talkeetna provides a perfect hub for jet boat tours, rafting trips and other aquatic activities as it sits at the meeting point of three sparkling glacial rivers.
Alaska offers some of America’s grandest uncharted wilderness. Denali is your gateway to it. We’ll help you experience it to the fullest on your Denali National Park vacation.
Wildlife is one Denali National Park’s greatest draws. Grizzly bears, wolf, caribou, moose, and fox are always “just on the other side of hill.” Undoubtedly one of the most goose-bump inducing ways to see Denali’s wildlife and landscape is by wheel plane. Dip and glide around America’s highest peak, Mt Denali, on a private flight-seeing tour. Your base will be remote lodges. You’ll touch down for fly fishing, guided hiking, wildlife viewing and canoeing in some of the park’s most remote stretches.
Hike through boreal forest, past glacial lakes, over tundra and along the Nenana River on grassroots trails made by other curious adventurers. Pro tip: Denali opens different areas of the park on a rotating basis so no single area becomes over-trodden. Denali National Park has veteran local guides who are committed to sustainable exploration and know the best trails at any given moment.
Glacier Bay National Park
From the lush forests and snow-capped mountains on land to the 1,000 plus tidewater and terrestrial glaciers along the ocean, Glacier Bay’s vibrant, contrasting natural features present an opportunity for endless exploration.
Reachable exclusively by plane or ferry from the small Alaskan town of Gustavus, roughly 50 miles west of Juneau, this national park is worth the extra bit of effort to experience perhaps the most spectacular scenery on the planet.
Glacier Bay National Park extends over 5,000 square miles across Southeast Alaska. Whether you are an angler looking to fish in both salt and freshwater, or are more of a wildlife enthusiast looking to photograph sea lions and mountain goats, we will help you navigate this vast terrain by curating a trip built around your curiosities and interests.
Let our expert guides lead you through the wilderness of Bartlett Cove, opening your eyes to the flora that vary with the shifting seasons. Or boat around the remote Outer Coast and spot humpback whales that call the national park’s waters their summer home. As if the sight of whales wasn’t enough to leave your breathless, we will be sure to point out Mt. Fairweather in the background.
Accompanied by a National Park Ranger, experience a Glacier Cruise up-bay to the tidewater glaciers of Grand Pacific and Margerie, which frequently calve huge icebergs into the bay. And when they do, the sound is called “White Thunder” by the Tlingit natives. Take a boat through time to the behemoth glaciers, while you look on the newly growing spruce forest on the south side of the bay.
Kenai Peninsula & Kenai Fjords National Park
Kenai Fjords National Park is at the tip of the Kenai Peninsula’s 9,000 square miles off the coast of southern Alaska. Accessible from Anchorage via the Seward Highway or Alaska Railroad, and separated from the mainland on the west by Cook Inlet and on the east by Prince William Sound. Although it is the smallest of Alaska’s 8 national parks, Kenai Fjords embodies the essence of coastal Alaska with its ice fields, rugged and jagged coastline, wild stormy seas one day, and placid and utterly gorgeous waters bathed in sunshine the next. Inside the park is Harding Icefield; its hundreds of square miles of ice up are up to one-mile thick which feed dozens of glaciers. The ancient ice carved out the Kenai’s fjords creates habitats for dozens of species of mammals and seabirds.
The Kenai is known as ‘Alaska’s playground’ and with very good reason. How else to best describe wildlife viewing, deep sea fishing, glacier trekking, helicopter glacier dog sledding, flight-seeing, whitewater rafting, fishing, jet boating, etc., as anything but big-time playtime? And as with all of our custom trips, you’ll be in the very best of hands with our expert guides and outfitters during your Kenai Fjords National Park vacation. Whatever you do, you’ll not only have the time of your life, you’ll return home with lifetime memories, new insight, perspective and appreciation for the great state of Alaska and our wild spaces.
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park
From the air, as you pass over Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, the second-largest national park in the world, it’s possible to see nine of the sixteen tallest mountains in the United States. One of the park’s glaciers covers an area larger than Rhode Island. With so much vast and rugged landscape to explore, it’s hard to know where to begin? We’ll edit the grandeur down to size for you. We recommend tackling this less-often visited region of Alaska from home bases at McCarthy and Kennecott, each a tiny hamlet with approximately 25 people in their year-round resident count. You’ll get to know the locals at their mom-and-pop shops and eateries. They’ll be eager to share their residents’ tips on the best glacier hiking, ice climbing, sightseeing and wildlife spotting in the region.
Lake Clark National Park
It’s a fact: 95 percent of the United States’ brown bears live in Alaska, with a huge majority of them at Lake Clark National Park. This vast wilderness is the best of Alaska all wrapped up in one spectacular place, making a Lake Clark National Park flight-seeing trip a fantastic way to experience the Great White North and its critters, lakes, active volcanoes, mountains, glaciers and more. There’s rarely a crowd here, despite the park being relatively close to Anchorage – no roads lead to the park and it can only be reached by small aircraft, with float planes being the best method. Lake Clark National Park is one of the least visited in the National Park System, averaging just over 5,000 visitors per year.
Because of its relative inaccessibility, the most convenient way to view the park from a dramatic perspective is ‘sky-trekking’ via plane. Just a few of the scenic highlights include active volcanoes of Mt. Iliamna and Mt. Redoubt, immense glaciers, the 42-mile-long, strikingly turquoise Lake Clark, Kontrashibuna Lake and the Tuxedni Bay coastline. The park also has two rustic lodges that, for the intrepid traveler, offer up hiking, fishing, wildlife viewing, climbing, rafting (the parks boasts three wild rivers) and amazing birdwatching.
Alaska is renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty and unique wildlife, offering a wide range of travel experiences for various interests. Here are some types of travel experiences that Alaska is particularly well-suited for:
- Outdoor and Adventure Enthusiasts: Alaska is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, with opportunities for activities like hiking, camping, kayaking, rafting, fishing, and wildlife viewing. The state boasts stunning national parks, glaciers, fjords, and rugged mountains, making it an ideal destination for adventurers.
- Wildlife and Nature Lovers: Alaska is home to an array of wildlife, including bears, moose, whales, sea lions, eagles, and numerous bird species. Wildlife enthusiasts can embark on guided tours or cruises to spot these magnificent creatures in their natural habitats.
- Scenic Road Trips: Alaska’s vast and scenic landscapes make it perfect for road trips. The state features iconic routes like the Alaska Highway and the Seward Highway, offering breathtaking views of mountains, glaciers, lakes, and forests.
- Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) Viewing: Alaska is one of the best places on Earth to witness the mesmerizing Northern Lights. Fairbanks and other remote areas in the state offer excellent opportunities to experience this natural phenomenon during the winter months.
- Cultural Exploration: Alaska is home to diverse indigenous cultures, including the Inuit, Yupik, and Athabaskan peoples. Visitors can engage in cultural activities, attend native festivals, visit heritage museums, and learn about Alaska’s rich Native American heritage.
- Cruise and Marine Adventures: Alaska’s coastline offers exceptional opportunities for cruises and marine adventures. Cruising along the Inside Passage allows you to witness stunning fjords, glaciers, and coastal wildlife, including whales and sea otters.
- Winter Sports: Alaska’s snowy winters provide ample opportunities for winter sports enthusiasts. Activities such as skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, and dog sledding can be enjoyed in popular winter destinations like Alyeska, Girdwood, and Anchorage.
- Photography and Nature Appreciation: The vast landscapes, wildlife, and unique geological features of Alaska make it a haven for photographers. From towering mountains to vibrant sunsets, there are endless opportunities to capture stunning images of nature.
It’s important to note that the best time to visit Alaska varies depending on the activities you’re interested in. Summer months (June to August) are popular for outdoor adventures and wildlife viewing, while winter months (December to February) offer opportunities for Northern Lights viewing and winter sports.
Important Things to Know:
Passport Requirement: No
Visa Requirement: No
Recommended Vaccinations: None
This Destination is Best For: See Above.
Is This a Family-Friendly Destination: Yes
Best Time To Travel to This Destination: July & August