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Alaska National Parks

Protected Alaskan spaces for generations to enjoy.

View of sea lions from aboard a day cruise to Kenai Fjords National Park.

Alaska National Parks

Protected Alaskan spaces for generations to enjoy.

View of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park from lodge.

Alaska National Parks

Protected Alaskan spaces for generations to enjoy.

Sow bear resting with cubs in Katmai National Park, Alaska.

Alaska National Parks

Protected Alaskan spaces for generations to enjoy.

Views of a glacier in Glacier Bay National Park.

Alaska National Parks

Protected Alaskan spaces for generations to enjoy.

Though they may not have the name recognition of Yosemite and Yellowstone, in most other ways, Alaska's national parks eclipse those of the Lower 48. Within these protected acres you'll find glaciers unparalleled in size, vast wilderness entirely untouched by people, dense populations of bears and whales, and North America's tallest mountain.

An Alaska trip isn't complete without a visit to Denali National Park. Beautiful Denali stands tall in the heart of the park, surrounded by six million acres of wilderness. Traveling by guided bus tour is the best way to experience the area's scenic beauty and wildlife. The park is home to caribou, moose, grizzly bears, Dall sheep, wolves, foxes, and many more small mammals and birds. The Denali Park entrance is 240 miles by road from Anchorage and 125 miles from Fairbanks.

Kenai Fjords National Park is much beloved for its wildlife as well. A rich marine environment within Kenai Fjords' protected fjords and lush temperate rain forests supports a wealth of plant and animal life, from migrating seabirds like puffins and cormorants, to sea lions and transient orca whales. Visit the park on a boat tour or explore on a hike from the Exit Glacier Nature Center near Seward.

It's befitting that the largest state in the U.S. would also have the largest national park in the U.S. That's Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, a 13-million-acre wilderness on the east side of Alaska. Three mountain ranges meet within the park to create a tangle of 18,000-foot peaks, huge glaciers, and deep river valleys. The park is accessible by car via the Edgerton Highway from Copper Center to the small communities of McCarthy and Kennicott.

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West of Anchorage across the Cook Inlet you'll find Lake Clark National Park and Katmai National Park. The parks are dotted with volcanoes, some active and others long dormant, but both Lake Clark and Katmai are best known for their dense bear populations. The parks are road-free, so it is mainly small planes leaving from Anchorage that provide access to sensational bear viewing opportunities.

Even farther off the beaten path are Gates of the Arctic National Park and Glacier Bay National Park. Gates of the Arctic encompasses 8.5 million acres of largely unexplored lands north of the Arctic Circle. Its remoteness draws backcountry travelers seeking off-trail adventures. Because there are no services or roads inside the park, the park's small number of annual visitors travel in by bush plane or by foot from the Dalton Highway.

Equally beautiful in an entirely different way, Glacier Bay National Park in Southeast Alaska is the site of one of the fastest glacial changes in recorded history. Glacier Bay's landscapes are quite diverse as a result, with huge Sitka spruces and hemlock giving way to cottonwoods, scraggly alder, patchy lichen, and bare rock the farther into the bay you travel. The bay sees an influx of humpback whales in the summer, making it one of the best places to whale watch in Alaska. Many visitors reach the park on cruises from Vancouver to Whittier or Seward.

Along with national parks, Alaska has several of its own state parks with accessible hiking areas and other recreational opportunities.

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Alaska National Parks