20 popular attractions in Alaska
The largest and most northern state in the United States. In addition, it is separated from the rest of the country. Alaska consists not only of the mainland, but also of a large number of islands. These lands once belonged to the Russian Empire, and traces of Russian presence are still preserved, for instance, in the names of several geographic locations. In 1867 Alaska was sold to the United States and very soon started to form as a tourist area.
The interest of travelers is aroused by the local nature. National parks, glaciers and fjords are the main treasure of the state. There are hiking trails to suit all tastes, such as hiking through the “Foggy Fjords” or cruising to Juneau for whale watching. The climate and geographic location give travelers the opportunity to see another unusual phenomenon – the Northern Lights.
What to see and where to go in Alaska?
The most interesting and beautiful places to walk. Photos and a brief description.
One of the main attractions of Alaska. The national park covers about 25 thousand km². Here is the highest point of Alaska, after which the area is named. Mount Denali has another name – McKinley, given in memory of the country’s 25th president. Visiting the park allows you not only to admire the natural beauty, but also to learn about the life and culture of Native North Americans.
The area of the national park is about 13 thousand square kilometers. Most of the area is covered by forests. In addition, there are many hills, mountain rivers and streams, lakes and glaciers. The largest glaciers are Margerie and Lamplugh. The climate in Glacier Bay is peculiar: warm winters and cold summers. For tourists there are comfortable hiking trails. Guests of the park can go fishing, rock climbing or rafting.
It was established in 1980 with the aim of protecting the Arctic territories from the negative impact of people. The area is about 2800 km². More than half of the area is covered with snow and ice. The fauna is typical for this climate: polar bears, walruses, whales, seals. But the coastal flora is more exotic. Kenai Fjords is famous for its “glacier cruises”: tourists are invited to look at the parts that break away from the glaciers.
In 1978 the area with this name was declared a national reserve. The area is 9,500 km². The remoteness of the area has allowed the wildlife to remain virtually untouched. Tourists are brought here mainly by cruise ships and planes. Hiking trails allow you to see the main beauties of the park. Those who wish can go rock climbing, boating, or fishing in designated areas.
The largest glacier off the coast of Alaska. Hubbard continues to gain weight and grow. At the same time, it is on the move and slowly heading toward the bay. The maximum age of the ice strata is 400 years. During the summer, impressive chunks of ice break off and fall noisily into the water. Tourists come to watch this process. And icebergs separating from Hubbard are a serious problem for navigating ships in the region.
It can be found in the valley of the same name. Because it is not so far from the central part of Juneau, in the past it was called “the glacier outside of town. In 1891, it received its present name in honor of the physicist and meteorologist Mendenhall. It is about 19 km long. Climate change has greatly affected the size and location of the glacier. The glacier is part of the recreational area of the Tongass National Forest.
Tracy Arm Fjord.
Surrounded by emerald water. The banks of the fjord are rugged, the slopes are covered, and the cliffs and mountains have “jagged” features. Tracy Arm waterfalls carry their waters directly into the sea. Tourists are brought as close as possible during sightseeing tours. Sometimes you can see chunks of glaciers breaking off. Another interesting phenomenon – swimming bears and deer. Dolphins at the fjord are used to people and often swim up to the ships.
Located in Katmai National Park. Large numbers of seals and shallow water attract bears. In the past, they were hunted, so the population has declined significantly. Thanks to current extermination bans and conservation regimes, the number is increasing year by year. There are webcams set up near the waterfall to watch the bears fish.
Antique Car Museum (Fairbanks)
In 2007, Tim Kearney opened this vintage car museum in Fairbanks. They managed to collect 85 cars under one roof. They look perfect, and all but a few are on the road. The cars in this collection predate World War II. In good weather in the spring and summer they are “released” from the hangar. If you find yourself in the museum at such a time, you have a chance to take a ride in a rarity or watch a mini race.
Museum of the North (Fairbanks)
Located in Fairbanks. A futuristic building was built specifically for the museum’s collection. Each room is responsible for a particular area. The historical, geographical, and cultural halls are the largest. Notable exhibits are mummified ancient bison and Inuit products. The museum has a gallery displaying artists whose work is related to Alaska and a botanical garden.
Morris Thompson Center (Fairbanks).
Here you can plan your trip around Fairbanks or throughout Alaska. The center offers brochures, phone and wi-fi access, and overnight accommodations. The spacious exhibit hall features dioramas and other exhibits that tell the history of the state. The center is open year-round, with no weekends and only closed for a few national holidays. Research activities are conducted on its premises.
Opened in 1968, so the state authorities celebrated the centennial of the sale of Alaska to the Americans. The area of the museum exceeds 16 thousand square meters. Originally the exhibition was made up of about 2500 exhibits of ethnographic and historical nature. Of these, 60 were paintings. Now the funds have increased by 10 times. Now a full gallery is dedicated to paintings. The design of the museum building is dominated by metal and glass.
Red Onion Salon (Skagway)
During the gold rush, this establishment was the most popular in Skagway. Upstairs were the “leisure” rooms. Each girl was correlated with a doll, which were displayed at the bar. Once the doll was in the horizontal position, it meant that the prostitute was available. For the museum, the appearance of the solon was completely recreated. During tours, real performances are given and tales of the past are told.
Alaska SeaLife Center (Seward)
The Grand Aquarium has been in Seward since 1998. Its mission is to maintain the integrity of Alaska’s aquatic system. It is a non-profit organization, providing its reports to all those who help keep the seas and rivers clean. Another line of activity is animal rehabilitation. As a result of natural disasters or human activities, some animals need treatment, and the center provides it.
Alaska Zoo (Anchorage)
In operation since 1969, it attracts more than one hundred thousand additional tourists to Anchorage each year. The history of the Alaska Zoo began with an elephant won in a lottery by a local resident. Currently, the number of mammal species has reached 46. In addition to them there are about a hundred birds. Scientific research and rehabilitation of animals injured or discarded by their former owners are conducted in the zoo.
Totem Bait Historical Park (Ketchikan)
Occupies 13 hectares in the vicinity of Ketchikan. It was created in 1939. In the past there was a camping site. The historic area includes the original totem poles of the indigenous people of the state. Other unique sites have been added, like a restored chief’s dwelling. Tourists can take part in dexterity trials, rituals, and canoe rides. A large campfire is held every evening.
Tony Knowles Coastal Trail (Anchorage).
Over 17 kilometers from downtown Anchorage to Kincaid Park. It runs along the coast of Cook Inlet. The features and scenic views attract hikers, bikers, half-marathon runners, and skiers to the trail. There’s plenty to see at any time of year. Conditions, however, remain comfortable for both walking and sports. From here you can see Fire Island and planes taking off from the local airport.
Construction began in 1903. The length of the main line is about 760 km. The road belongs to the state’s second class. With the rest of the railroad system of the country, it is connected by ferry: from Whitter trains on it ferry to Seattle. There are several special tourist routes. The cars on them are equipped with panoramic windows or even transparent domes on the roof.
Whales in Juneau.
Among the sightseeing tours, this one is the most popular. The tour lasts about 4 hours. Buses with tourists depart from downtown Juneau and reach the port in less than half an hour. There groups are placed on special boats. On the way to the whale shoal, all kinds of inhabitants of these waters can be found. There are especially a lot of seals. They attract the whales. Orca whales are not afraid of people and swim up close.
One of the most beautiful and unusual natural phenomena. The glow of the upper layers of the atmosphere is due to their interaction with a stream of ionized particles. Alaska is just the place where it is best to observe the aurora borealis. The phenomenon usually unfolds in all its glory in September, although the forecast varies from year to year. The uplands of Denali National Park are perfect as a viewing platform.
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Attractions in Alaska
Denali National Park Katmai Volcano Tanana River Augustine Volcano St. Michael’s Cathedral Whittier Village Museum of the North Chinatown Hot Springs
This site contains Alaska attractions – photos, descriptions and travel tips. The list is based on popular guidebooks and is presented by type, name and rating. Here you will find answers to questions: what to see in Alaska, where to go and where are the popular and interesting places in Alaska.
Denali National Park
Denali National Park is perhaps the main attraction in Alaska. The area of this huge biosphere reserve is about 25,000 square kilometers. Here, on the territory of the national park is the highest mountain peak in America – Mount McKinley. The Athabasca Indians called it “Denali”, which translates as “Great”. As scientists later found out, the Indians’ definition was surprisingly accurate, because if you count the height of the mountain from its deep underwater base to the summit, it exceeds the size of Mount Everest.
The mountain was first explored and described by a Russian expedition led by Lavrenty Alexeyevich Zagoskin, and until 1867 Mount Denali was the highest mountain peak of the Russian Empire. But in 1867 Alaska was sold to the United States, and the mountain was subsequently renamed after William McKinley, the 25th president of the United States.
A visit to Denali National Park offers a glimpse of Native North American life as well as magnificent natural scenery. There are picturesque rivers running through the area, glacial lakes, and tundra stretching for dozens of miles. The animal and plant life represents a rare mix of North American and Asian species. Thousands of nature lovers come here every year.
Coordinates: 63.12953800, -151.20648200
Katmai Volcano, an active volcano in the Aleutian Range of the Alaska Peninsula, is the main attraction of the national park of the same name.
The volcano is quite high with steep slopes. Its height is 2047 meters and its diameter is more than 10 km. Interesting is the fact that on the north-eastern side of the active volcano, a glacier feels great.
In 1912, there was a very strong eruption of Katmai. Incredible rumble was heard even at a distance of 1200 km, and small tremors were felt 200 km away from the volcano.
The eruption-explosion created a caldera on top of Katmai, which was filled with sediment. The resulting cloudy green volcanic lake has been closely studied by scientists. There is a small crescent-shaped island in the middle of the lake.
The western slope, unlike the eastern glacial slope, is very hot and is called the Ten Thousand Smoke Valley. It used to be a beautiful pine forest, but the eruption destroyed it, and the land turned into fountains of red-hot fumes and gases.
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The Tanana River is a left tributary of the Yukon, flowing in eastern Alaska. The Native American name of the river was recorded in 1867 by an American expedition. In translation, it meant “mountain river,” and it was also the term used to describe the tribe that lived in the area.
The Tanana, along with its tributaries, make up about 30 percent of the Yukon’s total watershed, but all together they represent only one-fifth of the river’s basin. The banks of the Tanana River are rich in minerals, making it a gold-bearing river in history. Beginning in the mid-19th century, the events of the famous “Gold Rush” unfolded here. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the wood-processing industry and agriculture began to actively develop in the surrounding areas. Gradually the town of Fairbanks, located on the banks of the Tanana, became an important industrial center, specializing in the production of potatoes and various crops.
An interesting fact is that the beginning of ice drift on the Tanana River is a symbol of the beginning of spring in Alaska, when you can open the navigation. The locals even have a tradition of predicting the start date of the ice drift. The prize pool has reached several hundred thousand dollars in recent years.
The climate in the Tanana Valley is quite harsh, with large temperature variations and heavy fog during the winter. In the summer, due to the permafrost and frequent precipitation, the area is swamped. But despite such difficult climatic conditions, landscapes in the Tanana Valley have a special, restrained beauty.
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Augustine Volcano is the youngest and most active of the volcanoes in the Aleutian Arc of eastern Alaska. It is located on Augustine Island, southwest of Cook Inlet, about 280 kilometers from Anchorage. The volcano began forming 25 to 40,000 years ago, its crater is 1,260 meters above sea level. It makes up most of the uninhabited island, which stretches from north to south for 10 kilometers and from west to east – for 12 kilometers, and consists mostly of volcanic deposits.
The dome of the volcano consists of a complex of slabs, through which streams of red-hot lava erupt. Volcanic eruptions are usually accompanied by strong earthquakes and tsunamis. Augustine’s last eruption, accompanied by severe destruction, occurred in 2006, resulting in a sinkhole in the northwest of the island. The Volcano Observatory of Alaska is engaged in studying the activity of the volcano and predicting subsequent eruptions.
Saint Michael’s Cathedral
St. Michael’s Cathedral, erected in 1848, is the main attraction of Sitka. This Orthodox church is a unique monument to the Russian presence in Alaska.
The building of the temple is built in the form of a Greek cross, the walls are painted in gray-blue color with white edging, and the roof is lined with roof tiles. The central green dome is on an octagonal drum, with windows on each side. The spacious bell tower, which is 12 meters high, is topped with a spire-shaped dome and has eight arched openings with a bell in each. It has a round clock with a Roman dial.
In the church hall there are four columns supporting the dome. The bishop’s pulpit with an eagle is located in the center of the church; on either side of it are iconostases with the faces of St. Michael, the Mother of God of Kazan, and St. Innocent of Moscow. Paintings with scenes from the Old and New Testament adorn the walls of the church. St. Michael’s Cathedral is of great historical value and was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1962.
Coordinates : 57.05007500,-135.33520600
The town of Whittier was founded during World War II, in 1943, to house a military base. The town was named for a giant glacier of the same name, which in turn was named for the poet John Greenleaf Whittier. Subsequently, a five-kilometer tunnel was dug by the hands of the military.
The military left Whittier half a century ago and today the town is very popular with tourists. The main local attraction is the sliding glaciers, which rumble into the water.
When cruising to the glaciers, keep your eyes open for marine life such as whales, seals, and otters.
Museum of the North
Housed in a unique futuristic building, the University of Alaska Museum of the North offers visitors a variety of interesting exhibits. The largest number of exhibits are in the culture, geography, and history halls. Among the most interesting exhibits are Inuit products, as well as a real bison mummy from the Ice Age. Particular attention is paid to Alaska Natives – among the exhibits are their traditional costumes.
In addition to the main halls, demonstrating the peculiarities of local nature, the Museum of the North has the Rose Berry Gallery, where paintings of Alaskan artists are on display. The Georgeson Botanical Gardens and the Large Animal Research Station are also worth checking out.
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Chyna Hot Springs
Chyna Hot Springs is a small settlement located in the boro of Fairbanks-North Star, Alaska. The settlement is one hundred kilometers northeast of the town of Fairbanks. In August 1905 Robert Swann found a hot spring there. The water in it turned out to be very close in its properties to the Carlsbad spring.
The hot spring quickly became popular among tourists, and soon a resort was built there. The resort gave the village of Chyna Hot Springs a new breath: every year it is visited by a huge number of tourists wishing to bathe in hot water.
The hot spring was also used to establish many necessary for life systems of the village: low-temperature geothermal power station and heating greenhouses.
Coordinates : 65.05305600,-146.05555600
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