Monday, April 22, 2024

5 Breathtaking National Parks in Alaska for Your Weekend Outdoor Escape

Alaska is a dream destination for nature lovers with over 54 million acres of protected public lands. It is home to towering mountains, massive glaciers, untamed wilderness, and a diversity of wildlife.

National parks in Alaska offer some of the most pristine and jaw-dropping scenery in the United States.

If you’re looking to get out and experience the great Alaskan outdoors this weekend, here are 5 of the best national parks in Alaska to visit.

What are the Best National parks in Alaska? – List of 5 Parks with Its Places to Visit

1. Denali National Park

Denali National Park

As one of the most iconic and beloved national parks in Alaska, Denali needs to be at the top of your list.

Centered around Mount Denali, the highest peak in North America, Denali National Park offers incredible mountain scenery and abundant wildlife viewing opportunities.

Here you can see North America’s “Big 5” – grizzly bears, caribou, moose, wolves, and Dall sheep. With over 6 million acres of designated wilderness, Denali is a paradise for adventurers.

Go hiking among alpine tundra while keeping an eye out for bears, wolves, and moose. Many visitors also enjoy rafting trips down the Nenana River, which winds through the park. Just looking at majestic Mount Denali reflecting in a tranquil lake will take your breath away.

2. Kenai Fjords National Park

Kenai Fjords National Park

For a truly Alaskan experience, be sure to check out Kenai Fjords National Park near Seward. This rugged coastal park is best known for its dramatic tidewater glaciers pouring down from the Harding Icefield.

Take a boat tour to get up close and personal with glaciers like Bear and Aialik. As you sail near these icy giants, listen for the thunderous sound of carving glaciers calving massive icebergs into the ocean.

With a little luck, you may even witness a seal or sea otter hauled out on an ice floe. In addition to glaciers, Kenai Fjords also offers top-notch whale watching, seabird colonies, and opportunities for sea kayaking along fjords and inlets.

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3. Katmai National Park

Katmai National Park

Katmai National Park is a prime spot for wildlife viewing and is famous for its brown bears. Each summer, hundreds of bears descend upon Brooks Falls to feast on migrating salmon.

For an unforgettable Alaskan experience, watch these massive bears grab leaping salmon right out of the water at this iconic spot.

If bear viewing isn’t your thing, Katmai also boasts scenic coastlines, volcanoes, and excellent trout fishing opportunities.

You can even hike across the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, a stark volcanic landscape formed by the 1912 Novarupta eruption.

4. Wrangell-St. Elias National Park

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park

If you wonder how many national parks in Alaska, then let me tell you there are more than 8 national parks in Alaska. In that, for the ultimate Alaskan wilderness adventure, head to Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. It is one of the top-rated & best national parks in Alaska to visit this weekend.

Encompassing over 13 million acres, Wrangell-St. Elias national park is the largest national park in the country. This remote park is home to 9 of the 16 highest peaks in the United States, as well as incredible glaciers and icefields.

Flightseeing trips provide jaw-dropping aerial views of craggy peaks and expansive ice. On foot, ambitious trekkers can summit some of Alaska’s iconic mountains, like 16,390-foot Mount St. Elias.

For an easier but equally beautiful hike, check out trails around the old mining town of Kennecott. Wrangell-St. Elias truly lets you immerse yourself in the wild spirit of Alaska.

5. Gates of the Arctic National Park

Gates of the Arctic National Park

Last but certainly not least on our list of best national parks in Alaska is Gates of the Arctic.

If you really want to get away from it all, Gates of the Arctic is about as remote as it gets. With no roads or established trails, this park epitomizes untouched arctic wilderness.

Many visitors access the Gates of the Arctic via flightseeing or by hiking in from the small villages on its borders.

Once there, prepare to be awestruck by massive Brooks Range peaks, sweeping tundra meadows, sparkling lakes, and migrating caribou herds. Bold backpackers can trek for days without seeing another soul.

Whether you’re spotting a grizzly bear strolling across the tundra or marveling at the Aurora Borealis dancing in the night sky, Gates of the Arctic will give you an experience like no other.

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