Alaska Travel Guide

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Alaska Travel Guide

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Alaska can be called the final frontier. It is big, extremely big and full of nature’s bounties. It is also breathtakingly beautiful. This 49th state of the United States is a land of natural wonders and home to some of the highest mountains in the United States. Alaska is one of the most popular destinations for the tourists interested in tasting the flavors of nature. The adventure lovers will also find Alaska alluring with its many options of skiing and kayaking.

The popular gateway of Alaska is Anchorage which is serviced by most major airlines. However one can get in through Fairbanks as well. Taking the road is an option for those who have some time to spare while the other option is catching a ferry from Seattle. This is often preferred as the route is through some very scenic locations. But one has to catch a train to reach Anchorage.

Anchorage

Anchorage is the gateway city for Alaska. This city can give many of the creature comfort one is used to and will give the feel of any big US city. Girdwood, approximately half-an-hour’s drive away, is home to a forest fair and is favorite skiing destination. The Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge is a great place to watch more than 130 species of birds including lesser Canada geese, mallards, northern pintails, horned grebes, etc. But for something bigger, visit Chugach State Park, the third largest state park in America. It contains 9 different environment regions in itself and is home to almost all the Alaskan mammals except polar bear, caribou and musk ox. Portage Glacier area is the other area of attraction around Anchorage.

Prince William Sound

The other attraction, not far from Anchorage is the Prince William Sound, a home to 10,000 odd glaciers and numerous marine species like porpoise, whales, sea otters, seals, etc. the mammals on land include sheep, goat, deer and bear. One of the major cities in this region is Valdez, one of the most beautifully located cities and starting point for Columbia Glacier cruises. One can go hiking along the Mineral Creek trail for the abandoned mining town and the Shoup Bay Trail for some breathtaking views of glaciers.

Mat-Su Valley

A short journey from Anchorage can take one to Palmer, a quaint farming community having a Midwestern appearance right among the mountains. This is also the entry point to the Mat-Su Valley area, the home to the most fertile farmlands in Alaska known for its giant vegetables. Matanuska Glacier is one of the most accessible glaciers where the visitors can go as far as the terminal moraines and even on to the glacier with adequate safety equipment and trained guides. Other areas of interest in this region are the Independence Mine State Historical Park, Summit Lake State Recreation site, Nancy lake State Recreation Area, Lake Louis State Recreation Area, etc.

Denali National Park

Traveling further north one will reach the heart of Alaska and home to the famous Denali National Park. The national park is home to the towering Mount McKinley, the highest mountain peak in North America. Its granite spires are so high that the top is often covered in clouds. This park has over 37 species of mammals and about 130 bird species. But here people come for the famous four, wolf, caribou, moose and the famous grizzly bear. Most attractive feature of this park is that it is well connected to the nearby cities and there are plenty of places to stay.

Fairbanks and Surrounding Area

Fairbanks was the trading post for northern Alaska and was the haunt of miners, lumbers and fur trappers. But now it is a city and just 15 minutes south of it is North Pole, the home of Santa Claus. This whole area recreates and preserves the Christmas theme complete with the relevant decorations. There are many recreation sites around Fairbanks like Birch lake State Recreation Area, Chena River State Recreation Area having the Chena Hot Springs, etc. There is also a hot spring at Manley.

Kodiak

Coming down to south again one should never miss Kodiak, a town busy fishing with almost 770 boats mooring here. This is one of the greatest landing ports for the king crabs. This region is also has the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge where one can sight the famous Kodiak bear, the largest carnivore to roam the earth. These bears can reach 1000lbs in weight and during the spawning season of the salmons they gather in huge numbers to feed on these fishes.

Juneau

Juneau is the state capital and it is one of the most beautiful cities in the USA. Just minutes away are the great Juneau ice fields which feed almost 38 glaciers. One can take a helicopter to land on the glacier and take part in a variety of activities from simple hiking to dog sledging. It is also a great place for whale watching. Those wanting to hike in some of the most diverse settings should come to Juneau for the ultimate experience. It is also near to Glacier Bay National Park and Admiralty Islands.

Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve

It is one of the most famous destinations and a must visit stop for all Alaska cruises. It has one of the most spectacular settings with the massive tidewater glaciers that release huge chunks of ice into the sea resulting in spectacular show. The abundance of marine animals is another reason why this national park is so popular with tourists.

Kenai Fjords National Park

Alaska Travel Guide

It is the home of another of the ice fields, the Harding Ice fields and is also a place to see the grandeur of cracking and crashing tidewater glaciers. There are many tour boat cruises that take the visitors closer to the glaciers for a ringside view of nature’s drama. The area is also host to many marine animals including the beautiful orcas.

Alaska is one of the popular destinations for cruises and people travel from all over the world for such breathtaking beauty. However, just visiting the coastal areas of Alaska leaves many beautiful areas unexplored. Traveling within the state is best made by seaplanes where it is difficult to travel by car. Also, flying in these planes give some enchanting aerial views of the ice fields, glaciers, lakes and the beautiful forested landscapes.

Alaska Travel Guide

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