With its staggering mountain ranges, old mining towns, and arresting natural attractions, Alaska is often dubbed as the Last Frontier. Both the largest and the most sparsely populated state, Alaska is filled with heavy crowds from May to September as tourists flock to see everything from the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve to the Black Sands Beach State Marine Park. The Fall and Spring months can be excellent times to visit without the crowds, especially in October when you can view the whale-filled waters near Anchorage and the colorful fall foliage. Over 2.7 million visitors per year venture north to visit the national and state parks in the Land of the Midnight Sun. This list of parks in Alaska includes 24 national parks, 9 national historic landmarks, 16 national natural landmarks, and a multitude of state parks. For history lovers, there are 430 places on the National Register of Historic Places along with 634 places on the Heritage Documentation Program.
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National Parks & Historic Sites
Alagnak Wild River
King Salmon, AK 99613
The headwaters of Alagnak Wild River lie within the rugged Aleutian Range of neighboring Katmai National Park and Preserve. Meandering west towards Bristol Bay and the Bering Sea, the Alagnak traverses the beautiful Alaska Peninsula, providing an unparalleled opportunity to experience the unique wilderness, wildlife, and cultural heritage of southwest Alaska.
Alaska Public Lands
Information Center: 605 W 4th Ave, Anchorage, AK 99501
Alaska’s parks, forests and refuges are rich and varied. The Anchorage Interagency Visitor Center helps visitors and residents to have meaningful, safe, enjoyable experiences on public lands, and encourages them to sustain the natural and cultural resources of Alaska. This center and three others statewide provide trip-planning, interpretation, and education for all ages.
Aleutian World War II National Historic Area
Unalaska/Dutch Harbor, AK; Unalaska, AK 99692
During World War II the remote Aleutian Islands, home to the Unangax^ (Aleut) people for over 8,000 years, became a fiercely contested battleground in the Pacific. This thousand-mile-long archipelago saw invasion by Japanese forces, the occupation of two islands; a mass relocation of Unangax^ civilians; a 15-month air war; and one of the deadliest battles in the Pacific Theater.
Aniakchak National Monument & Preserve
King Salmon, AK 99613
Given its remote location and challenging weather conditions, Aniakchak is one of the most wild and least visited places in the National Park System. This landscape is a vibrant reminder of Alaska’s location in the volcanically active “Ring of Fire,” as it is home to an impressive six mile (10 km) wide, 2,500 ft (762 m) deep caldera formed during a massive volcanic eruption 3,500 years ago.
Bering Land Bridge National Preserve
214 E Front St, Nome, AK 99762
Imagine a place of whimsical beauty and larger-than-life landscapes: an ancestral home to ice-age giants and turbulent volcanic activity. A land that holds secrets to the intriguing history of human migration, sustains people that have lived here before its establishment as a preserve and continues to be part of a wide breadth of traditions. Bering Land Bridge is unlike any other place on Earth.
Cape Krusenstern National Monument
171 Third Ave, Kotzebue, AK 99752
North of the Arctic Circle, the monument forms 70 miles of shoreline on the Chukchi Sea. More than 114 beach ridges provide evidence of human use for 5,000 years. The Inupiat continue to use the area today. Vast wetlands provide habitat for shorebirds from as far away as South America. Hikers and boaters can see carpets of wildflowers among shrubs containing wisps of qiviut from muskoxen.
Denali National Park & Preserve
Parks Hwy, Denali National Park and Preserve, AK
Denali is six million acres of wild land, bisected by one ribbon of road. Travelers along it see the relatively low-elevation taiga forest give way to high alpine tundra and snowy mountains, culminating in North America’s tallest peak, 20,310′ Denali. Wild animals large and small roam un-fenced lands, living as they have for ages. Solitude, tranquility and wilderness await.
Gates of The Arctic National Park & Preserve
Airport Rd, Bettles, AK 99726
This vast landscape does not contain any roads or trails. Visitors discover intact ecosystems where people have lived with the land for thousands of years. Wild rivers meander through glacier-carved valleys, caribou migrate along age-old trails, endless summer light fades into aurora-lit night skies of winter. It remains virtually unchanged except by the forces of nature.
Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve
Covering 3.3 million acres of rugged mountains, dynamic glaciers, temperate rainforest, wild coastlines and deep sheltered fjords, Glacier Bay National Park is a highlight of Alaska’s Inside Passage and part of a 25-million acre World Heritage Site—one of the world’s largest international protected areas. From sea to summit, Glacier Bay offers limitless opportunities for adventure and inspiration.
Iñupiat Heritage Center
5421 North Star Street, Utqiagvik, AK 99723
On the rooftop of the world, the Iñupiat Heritage Center in Barrow, Alaska, tells the story of the Iñupiat people. They have thrived for thousands of years in one of the harshest climates on Earth, hunting the bowhead, or “Agviq.” In the 19th century, these lonely seas swarmed with commercial whalemen from New England, who also sought the bowhead for its valuable baleen and blubber.
Katmai National Park & Preserve
King Salmon, AK 99613
Katmai National Monument was established in 1918 to protect the volcanically devastated region surrounding Mount Katmai and the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. Today, Katmai National Park and Preserve remains an active volcanic landscape, but it also protects 9,000 years of human history as well as important habitat for salmon and thousands of brown bears.
Kenai Fjords National Park
At the edge of the Kenai Peninsula lies a land where the ice age lingers. Nearly 40 glaciers flow from the Harding Icefield, Kenai Fjords’ crowning feature. Wildlife thrives in icy waters and lush forests around this vast expanse of ice. Sugpiaq people relied on these resources to nurture a life entwined with the sea. Today, shrinking glaciers bear witness to the effects of our changing climate.
Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park
291 Broadway, Skagway, AK 99840
Headlines screamed “Gold!” The dream of a better life catapulted thousands of people to Alaska and the Yukon Territory. Their journey shaped them, and changed the people they encountered and the north forever. Today, the park remembers the trails, boomtowns, and stories of the Klondike Gold Rush.
Kobuk Valley National Park
171 3rd Ave, Kotzebue, AK 99752
Caribou, sand dunes, the Kobuk River, Onion Portage – just some of the facets of Kobuk Valley National Park. Half a million caribou migrate through, their tracks crisscrossing sculpted dunes. The Kobuk River is an ancient and current path for people and wildlife. For 9000 years, people came to Onion Portage to harvest caribou as they swam the river. Even today, that rich tradition continues.
Lake Clark National Park & Preserve
Port Alsworth, AK 99653
Lake Clark National Park and Preserve is a land of stunning beauty. Volcanoes steam, salmon run, bears forage, and craggy mountains reflect in shimmering turquoise lakes. Here, too, local people and culture still depend on the land and water. Venture into the park to become part of the wilderness.
Noatak National Preserve
As one of North America’s largest mountain-ringed river basins with an intact ecosystem, the Noatak River environs features some of the Arctic’s finest arrays of plants and animals. The river is classified as a national wild and scenic river, and offers stunning wilderness float-trip opportunities – from deep in the Brooks Range to the tidewater of the Chukchi Sea.
Sitka National Historical Park
103 Monastery St, Sitka, AK 99835
On an island amid towering spruce and hemlock, Sitka National Historical Park preserves the site of a battle between invading Russian traders and indigenous Kiks.ádi Tlingit. Park visitors are awed by Tlingit and Haida totem poles standing along the park’s scenic coastal trail, and the restored Russian Bishop’s House speaks of Russia’s little known colonial legacy in North America.
World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument
Honolulu, HI, AK, CA
At World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, home of the USS Arizona Memorial, learn about one of the most pivotal moments in US history: the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the subsequent entry of the United States into World War II. The monument preserves and interprets the stories of the Pacific War, from the internment of Japanese Americans to the battles in the Aleutians.
Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve
Copper Center, AK
Wrangell St. Elias is a vast national park that rises from the ocean all the way up to 18,008 ft. At 13.2 million acres, the park is the same size as Yellowstone National Park, Yosemite National Park, and Switzerland combined! Within this wild landscape, people continue to live off the land as they have done for centuries. This rugged, beautiful land is filled with opportunities for adventure.
Yukon – Charley Rivers National Preserve
Located in Interior Alaska, Yukon-Charley Rivers offers exploration in a largely untouched landscape. Whether you float the mighty Yukon River or paddle the Charley River’s whitewater, your memories will last a lifetime. Geology, cultural history, gold rush remnants, wildlife, and vast scenery will be a part of your experience. But, the strongest element will be solitude. Your adventure awaits.
For more attractions, visit Travel Alaska.
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