Alaska's National Parks offer a wealth of opportunities to experience its wilderness areas firsthand. This pristine state abounds with natural wonders and beauty, attracting thousands of photographers and naturalists to its untamed back country every year. The ultimate remote getaway, Alaska demands respect for its diverse wildlife, especially its bear population; read all park materials on bear safety before embarking on your adventure.
Kenai Fjords National Park
The coastal region of Kenai Fjords National Park offers natural panoramas creating a haven for magazine cover photo opportunities. Bears, ice worms and whales call this home. Take a boat tour or kayak in an isolated fjord. Hike to the top of Harding Icefield Trail and drink in the picturesque beauty. Ranger-led guided tours are available to see an active glacier slowly creaking its way across the landscape. A durable rubberized raincoat is recommended when hiking or backpacking in the Kenai Fjords because of heavy, soaking rain that falls on the rugged coastline. Plan your trip to Kenai Fjords National Park carefully and always pack extra food and emergency first-aid supplies to be prepared for unexpected mishaps.
Kobuk Valley National Park
Kobuk Valley hosts the 25-square-mile Great Kobuk Sand Dunes comprising the Little Kobuk and Hunt River dunes. River bluffs made of sand stand 150 feet tall and contain permafrost ice wedges and fossils of extinct Ice Age mammals. Caribou numbering almost half a million migrate north in the summertime, leaving their tracks everywhere on the Great Kobuk Sand Dunes, then head south to warmer weather in the fall. Visit Onion Portage, where a tradition of caribou harvesting spanning 9,000 years still takes place as thousands of caribou traverse the aptly named Hunt River in a southerly direction during the fall. Kobuk Valley National Park offers ample opportunity for the outdoorsman, with boating, kayaking, hiking and backpacking. Fishing and wildlife watching are popular activities. In the deep midwinter, with the correct survival skills, dog-mushing is popular.
Lake Clark National Park and Preserve
Lake Clark National Park and Preserve offers unspoiled views of the Alaskan landscape and endless opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts, such as viewing the aurora borealis, snowshoeing, sledding, rock climbing, mountaineering and snowmobiling. Back-country skiing and dog-mushing are popular activities. Prepare for wilderness exploration by following the guidelines and park rules and regulations on their official site. For avid birdwatchers, Alaska provides excellent opportunities as well as rafting, day hiking, power boating and canoeing. Remember that wherever you go, leave no trace of your presence and keep Alaska's parks pristine for future generations.
Article Written By Victoria Ries
Victoria Ries is a freelance writer whose work has been published in various print magazines, including "Guideposts," "BackHome," New Homesteading" and "Mother Earth News." Ries enjoys working on diverse topics such as travel, animal rescue, health and home business. Ries is currently working on her B.A. in psychology.