National Parks in Alaska.
National parks and preserves abound in North America's Last Frontier.
Alaska's rugged, largely untouched nature is undoubtedly its biggest draw, and more than half of this massive state is public land. The state has a total of 16 national parks and preserves (18 if you count the Inupiat Heritage Center and the NPS-protectedRead more...
Alaska's rugged, largely untouched nature is undoubtedly its biggest draw, and more than half of this massive state is public land. The state has a total of 16 national parks and preserves (18 if you count the Inupiat Heritage Center and the NPS-protected Alagnak Wild River). However, many of the parks in the state are so remote that they can only be reached by boat or plane. Camping in Alaska national parks is an unforgettable experience, though the annual tent-camping window in much of the state is limited to just a few months per year, making glamping and cabins better suited to winter adventures.
Where to Go
The northernmost stretch of Alaska is also its most remote. Around 13,000 square miles of this region's tundra is protected by Gates of the Arctic National Park, the second-largest national park in the country. The region is also home to the remote Kobuk Valley National Park, the Noatak National Preserve, Cape Krusenstern National Monument, and the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve.
The star attraction of this region is Denali National Park, one of the most popular parks in the state and home to the tallest peak on the continent: Mount Denali. Denali is also one of the more accessible parks in Alaska—it’s within easy day-tripping distance of Fairbanks and has six campgrounds for those wanting to stick around for a while. Birders flock to Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve, which protects the largest peregrine falcon nesting grounds in North America.
South Central Alaska
Although Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve isn't the most famous national park in Alaska, this park in Alaska’s south-central region is certainly the largest, clocking in at well over 13 million acres. If you want to see glaciers up close and personal, Kenai Fjords National Park is the place to do it (they also have a campground and reservable cabins).
If you want solitude, hop aboard a plane and head to Lake Clark National Park & Preserve, where you can backpack in peace–without any trails to follow. The other park in this region, Katmai National Park & Preserve, gets considerably more visitors, the bulk of whom come in July spawning season to witness Alaska brown bears fishing in Brooks Falls.
Many of Alaska's most-visited national parks are concentrated in the southeast, including Sitka National Historic Park, Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park, and Aniakchak National Monument & Preserve. The best-known is the UNESCO-protected Glacier Bay National Park, which draws in cruise ships with its excellent wildlife-watching opportunities.