To the lover of wilderness, Alaska is one of the most wonderful countries in the world. – John Muir
The name Alaska comes from an Aleut word which means “great land”, and what a great land it is. This country is raw, pure and enormous in scale. Alaska’s vast, feral wilderness is easily accessible for tourists, who, by coming here, get an opportunity to view nature in its purest form, untouched by industrialization and urbanization. It is the perfect destination for everyone who dares to leave their comfort zone, and changes certainty for spontaneity. If these words are describing you, here are some of the best places to go to experience the 49th state.
Denali National Park
One of the largest national parks in the U.S., Denali National Park is located in the northern part of the country and it encompasses six million acres of wide river valleys, glacier-draped mountains, high alpine ranges and tundra. It is also the home of reindeer, wolves, grizzly bears, more than 160 species of birds and many other animals. Besides admiring the incredible wild beauty of this park, visitors also have the chance to try a dog sled adventure with energetic huskies.
Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park
If you want to combine your love of history with love of nature, there is no better place to be than Klondike Gold Rush Historical Park. This location is full of wonderfully maintained charming historic buildings which are commemorating the 1897-98 Gold Rush. You can hear the tales of this period at the onsite museum and visitor center, but if you are up for a more active emerging into history, you can try hiking the 33-mile-long Chilkoot Trail.
Tracy Arm Fjord
Alaska is full of jaw-dropping views, so it is hard to decide which one to see first, but Tracy Arm is definitely on the very top of those show-stoppers. This scenic setting will stun you with waterfalls, glaciers and small icebergs. Since it lies within the Tongass National Forest, it’s full of wildlife, which includes moose and brown bears. This destination is popular for boat trips and cruise ships, and since it is a huge hit, almost every reputable Alaska travel agency includes it in its offer.
Kenai Fjords National Park
One can never get enough of fjords, and Kenai Fjords National Park is just what you need to get your dose of this breathtaking natural wonder. The panoramas of the many glaciers of the Harding Icefield, the uninhabited coastline, the humongous brown bears and the wonderful whales are enough to make this an experience you will talk about for years.
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park
Located on the frontier with Canada, this national park is home to nine of the sixteen highest peaks in the States. It also contains numerous lakes, glaciers and mountain streams. It is a perfect choice for everyone in search for peace, but also for adventures since there are many climbing and walking trails. If you visit the Kennecott Mines National Historic Landmark, you will get the chance to see a well-preserved historic mill-town with abandoned mines and heritage buildings.
If you are lucky enough to be in the Fairbanks area of Alaska between September and the mid-April, you will probably get to experience some of the best aurora borealis viewing. Of course, you have to be careful to stay awake after midnight. If you are unsure about traveling across Alaska or staying outside, you can always join one of the aurora tours.
Alaska is full of mysteries and undiscovered places. You can almost never know if anyone ever stood before you on the land you are standing now. Maybe you are the first one. That’s why it is a different experience for every visitor. What we do know is that these five places and one event are something that everyone could enjoy in.