Independence Day at Independence Mine in Hatcher Pass.

Alaska State Parks

Lots to do in Alaska’s smaller parks.

Homer is a great destination for sea kayaking in Kachemak Bay.

Alaska State Parks

Lots to do in Alaska’s smaller parks.

Stream runoff from Byron Glacier in the Chugach National Forest.

Alaska State Parks

Lots to do in Alaska’s smaller parks.

Rewarding Denali views from the top of Kesugi Ridge.

Alaska State Parks

Lots to do in Alaska’s smaller parks.

Alaska State Parks

Tucked among Alaska's noteworthy national parks are a collection of quieter state parks loved by locals. The Chugach State Park is one of Alaska's most visited. It borders Anchorage, comprising thousands of acres of protected wilderness, and more than 25 easily accessible trails. The most popular originate from the Glen Alps trailhead about a 20-minute drive from most Anchorage hotels.

Whether by road or rail, every visitor traveling between Anchorage and Denali National Park passes right through Denali State Park without knowing it. The Parks Highway cuts right through the middle, and the Alaska Railroad train track skirts its eastern border. The park boasts some of the best views of Denali and the Alaska Range. On clear days, the tallest mountain in North America can be seen from roadside viewpoints, while kayaking on Byers Lake, or on a guided hike above the tree line. From Byers Lake, it's about 90 miles by road to the Denali National Park entrance.

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Across the water from the off-the-beaten-path town of Homer is Kachemak Bay State Park. It's a tranquil park with calm coves to explore by kayak , and a variety of trails to hike. Wildlife is plentiful in the park. Visitors may see black bears on rocky beaches at low tide, bald eagles, seabirds, sea otters, harbor seals, and an array of colorful tide pool creatures.

It takes until June for the snow to melt at the Independence Mine State Historical Park north of Anchorage. High in the Talkeetna Mountains in an area known as Hatcher Pass, the park was established to protect and restore the historic Independence Mine. Visitors can explore the mine ruins by a network of mountainside trails. It's an easy day trip from both Anchorage and nearby Palmer.

Alaska is also home to some exceptional national parks. Check out our Alaska National Parks page to learn about Denali, Kenai Fjords, Wrangell-St.Elias, and more.

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Alaska State Parks