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National Parks in Alaska

Updated on May 27, 2009


Out of the 17 national parks in Alaska, there are four major national parks in Alaska. Alaska is the largest state of the United States of America by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait. Even it is a least densely populated state, there are four most beautiful National parks in Alaska.

National parks in Alaska

Alaska national park
Alaska national park

Denali National Park

Denali National Park, one of the major national parks in Alaska, is located in interior Alaska, about 240 miles north of Anchorage and 120 miles south of Fairbanks. The park covers more than 6 million acres and is home to North America’s tallest peak, Mt. McKinley. Nearly deserted in winter, Denali comes to life in the summer with many lodging and activity options. Weather in Denali is extremely variable. Often changes in weather occur without warning. Many rangers tell visitors to expect sun, wind, rain, and clouds, and expect them all on the same day.

Denali National Park and Preserve is home to both black bears and grizzly bears. Black bears inhabit the forested areas of the park, while grizzly bears mainly live on the open tundra. Almost all bears seen by visitors along the Park Road are grizzlies offering great sights of wildlife. To truly experience the park take the Kantishna Wilderness Tour which travels the entire length of the Park road on a 13 hour day tour. For a shorter tour the Tundra Wilderness Tour could be a great option.

Denali National Park
Denali National Park

Glacier Bay National Park

Glacier Bay is a globally significant marine and terrestrial wilderness sanctuary. As its name implies, much of Glacier Bay National Park is water and is a great national park in the magnificent Alaska. Most of the land within the park is mountainous, covered with dense rain forest or alder thickets, and without roads or trails. Glacier Bay National Park is located in southeast Alaska, approximately 60 air miles west of the state capital of Juneau. The nearest town is Gustavus, Alaska located 11 miles away. Glacier Bay National Park now encompasses over 3 million acres, and is often referred to as one of the Crown Jewels of the National Park system. The Park has snow-capped mountain ranges rising to over 15,000 feet, coastal beaches with protected coves, deep fjords, tidewater glaciers, coastal and estuarine waters, and freshwater lakes. In addition to spectacular scenery, there are plentiful wildlife viewing opportunities with a wide variety of seabirds, marine and land mammals. Many visitors experience Glacier Bay National Park while on large cruise ships that visit the Park for the day, while others stay inside the Park at the Glacier Bay Lodge.

Glacier Bay is a natural waterway from Alaska's Inside Passage to the tidewater glaciers that are the park's main attraction. Its numerous branches, inlets, lagoons, islands, and passages offer virtually limitless opportunities for exploration.

Glacier Bay National Park
Glacier Bay National Park

Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska

Magnificent Kenai Fjords National Park's marine wildlife includes otters, sea lions, harbor seals, humpback and orca whales, porpoises, puffins and kittiwakes. Kenai Fjords National Park is most easily accessed by tour boat from Seward or by driving out to Exit Glacier, just outside of Seward. Wildlife and glacier exhibits are available at the Small Boat Harbor visitor center and the Alaska Sealife Center.Fjords are narrow inlets of the sea situated between cliffs or steep slopes. Fjords exist where glaciers once formed on mountains bordering coastal areas.

Kenai Fjords National Park
Kenai Fjords National Park

Wrangell St. Elias National Park

The Chugach, Wrangell, and Saint Elias ranges converge here and is known as the "mountain kingdom of North America." The largest unit of the National Park System, this spectacular wilderness includes the continent's largest assemblage of glaciers, and greatest collection of peaks above 16,000 feet, including Mt. St. Elias, the second highest peak in the United States.

It is the largest U.S. national park, it equals six Yellowstones, with peaks upon peaks and glaciers after glaciers making it a large national park in Alaska. Follow any braided river or stream to its source and you will find either a receding, advancing, or tidewater glacier. The park lets you sample representative Alaska wildlife as well as historic mining sites. Hike its mountains, float its rivers, ski its glaciers, or fly over this landscape and you witness living geology. You sense discovery, the feeling you might be the first to see such sights.

Wrangell St. Elias National Park
Wrangell St. Elias National Park

Have you visited any national parks in Alaska?

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Denali National Park, Alaska


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    • hafeezrm profile image

      hafeezrm 6 years ago from Pakistan

      Beautiful hub. A few years back I took Ferry Alaska and had all these parks in mind. Unfortunately, the ferry stopped at Ketchikan and one fellow traveller persuaded me to return free to the mainland and claim refund of money paid and compensation for unpleasantness. I fell for it. Though I had financial gain, I now realize how much I missed. Thanks for sharing.

    • DayLeeWriter profile image

      Debra Cornelius 6 years ago from Georgia

      Going to Alaska is on my 'bucket list' .... Beautiful!!!!