Experience the unique winter landscapes in the coldest state of the USA. Alaska is located right on the border with Canada and is one of the least populated states in the entire USA.
Of course, there are some hot spots in Alaska that you should definitely visit. You can pet sled dogs or start with you on an exciting tour through the snow. There are breathtaking mountains, ice blue and cold lakes to discover. The freezing temperatures should not deter you, because in Alaska the sun also often shines and conjures up a stunning winter landscape that is second to none. We now present the 16 most beautiful places that you must visit in Alaska.
16. Wrangell St. Elias National Park
Wrangell St. Elias National Park is the largest national park in the United States. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the largest contiguous protected areas in the world. Within this area are many glaciers, including the Bering Glacier, which at 190 kilometers in size is the largest glacier in North America.
Experience breathtaking biodiversity. About 80% of the national park consists of snow and ice. In the barely touched wilderness live wolves, snow goats, grizzly bears, moose, caribou and the famous Dall sheep. In the waters you can find whales, seals, sea lions and sea otters.
Anchorage is by far the largest city in Alaska and probably the best known. The city is known for its cultural attractions and is close to wilderness areas, famous mountain ranges and mountains. Visit Ship Creek with its wild schools of salmon and the fishermen who try to keep the wild shoal at bay.
The large Diamond Shopping Center is centrally located in Anchorage and invites you for an extensive shopping trip. In the summer Anchorage is an absolute insider tip. At this time the city is covered in a sea of flowers. Along the airport, in the northeast of the city, stretches the Coastal Trail, which is especially popular with pedestrians and cyclists.
In Ketchikan you can marvel at Alaska’s second largest cruise port. Right at the harbor you will find the promenade, which is dominated by a pleasure boat harbor. Here you can shop or just stroll. Afterwards, you can explore an old settlement, the Creek Street National Historic District.
This narrow and old settlement is located right on the Ketchikan Creek river and was once used for fishing by the residents. Today, this is a popular tourist hotspot in town. Another item on your list should be the Totem Heritage Center. Here you can marvel at over 33 different 19th century totem poles. These exhibits are part of the world’s largest collection of ancient Tlingit Indian totem culture.
13. Glacier Bay National Park
Over 50 different glaciers can be discovered in Glacier Bay National Park. This national park is located in southern Alaska, in the so-called Alaska Panhandle area and scores with a unique scenery. The national park is home to several mammals, such as marmots and snowshoe hares. Most visitors arrive by cruise ship to visit this park.
There is only one road in the whole national park, this road automatically leads to the only hotel in this area. In Glacier Bay, a glacier bay of Glacier Bay National Park, ice chunks up to 50 meters high break off more and more often and fall into the water. An insane natural spectacle that will take your senses away.
Have you always wanted to stand in the shadow of a dormant volcano? Then visit the town of Sitka on Baranof Island. Here you can enjoy a breathtaking snow-covered backdrop and discover quite a bit. Sitka National Historical Park is the oldest federal park in Alaska’s history and reminds visitors of the city’s cultural history.
At the Alaska Raptor Center, you’ll have the chance to get up close and personal with owls, eagles and other birds. These are nursed here and then released back into the wild. You have never been this close to these animals before. Another highlight is the Fortress Of The Bear, a bear rescue center located about 8 kilometers from the city center in the beautiful Alaskan nature.
Explore the city of Homer, located in Kachemak Bay, with its picturesque scenery, on one of the richest estuaries on this planet. It is also home to the Alaska Coastal Studies Center. Hikes, excursions and guided tours can be booked here.
Marvel at the world’s most densely populated brown bear area in Katmai National Park or go hiking in beautiful Kachemak Bay State Park. There you can also go on a fishing trip and fish for halibut in the crystal clear waters. Indulge in a brewery, cafe or restaurant in town and enjoy the ambiance of this unique city. The food is all fresh and prepared from food grown specifically in town.
A city for nature lovers, Fairbanks. Here you can marvel at the aurora borealis, experience a tour by ferry on the Chena River or experience the fascinating nature on one of the beautiful hiking trails. In summer the sun almost never sets here, yet the city is one of the coldest in the world. The lowest measured temperature was -54.4 degrees Celcius.
So don’t forget your warm hat and gloves. In Pioneer Park, one of the highlights of the city, you can experience the life of the gold miners of that time. If you want to learn more about Alaska’s history, a visit to the University of Alaska Museum is another must on your list.
A must-see on your list should definitely be Juneau. This is the remote capital of Alaska that can only be reached by plane or boat. It is located in the Alaska Panhandle and right at the foot of Mount Roberts, which is over 1160 meters high. You can take a train up to 550 meters up to Mount Roberts and explore the nature there.
You’ll find a developed network of hiking trails with beautiful wildflowers and can catch a glimpse of the Gastineau Channel, a well-known strait in Alaska. You can experience a lively hustle and bustle on Juneau’s harbor promenade. Famous cruise ships arrive here several times a day. Stroll along the busy promenade and enjoy the picturesque harbor scenery of the city.
Seward is the only port city on the south coast of Alaska and is located on the Kenai Peninsula. It is located directly on a fish-rich bay and is surrounded by high green mountains. Beautiful ice valleys can be admired in the Kenai Fjords National Park, these are even below sea level.
Surrounded by secluded bays you will find Resurrection Bay, a breathtaking natural scenery that is second to none. With the Alaska Railroad you can experience a relaxing train ride and visit other cities. This will even take you as far as Fairbanks. With a kayak you can set off through the turquoise waters to Fox Island. There you can observe wildlife in their natural habitat.
7. Mendenhall Glacier
Visit the river of ice, located northeast of Juneau in the Tongass National Forest. Here you can spot numerous species of wildlife, including black bears and eagles. It stretches for about 20 kilometers and is the source of all the glaciers present in the area. With a rather small size of about 67 meters high and 2.4 kilometers wide, it is not one of the largest of its kind, but it is probably one of the most extraordinary.
The ice at the edge of this glacier is, after all, up to 150 years old. The adjacent river, Mendenhall Lake, is 60 meters deep and another highlight when visiting this unique glacier spectacle.
6. Lake Clark National Park and Preserve
The remote Lake Clark National Park is another highlight for the nature lovers among us. It is about 1.6 million acres in size and stretches from the coast of Cook Inlet to the Southwest Alaska region across the Chigmit mountain range to the western interior of Alaska. There are even 2 still active volcanoes in this national park.
In addition, you can discover Lake Clark, a turquoise mountain lake that stretches over a size of 67 kilometers. You can marvel at high mountain ranges as well as glaciers, granite rock towers, thundering waterfalls and a coastline. This all extends in this one national park. A true spectacle of nature that you must experience.
5. Kenai Fjords National Park
Another national park on the list is Kenai Fjords National Park. This one is located in the southwest of Seward and is connected to the big city of Anchorage via the Seward Highway. Mountainous fjords in an ice-blue wilderness, waterfalls as far as the eye can see, huge glaciers and a diverse coastal region characterize Kenai Fjords National Park.
Between the ocean beaches and the breathtaking glaciers live many mammals like moose, bears or even mountain goats. The Exit Glacier, a breathtaking and unique glacier, is easily accessible by car and flows out of the Harding Icefield. It is one of the largest of its kind.
Kodiak was named after Kodiak Island of the same name and is a city in the eastern part of Alaska. The Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge is a wildlife sanctuary of over 7600 square kilometers where the so-called Kodiak bears make their home. Here you can book tours and experience these animals in their unique natural habitat.
In addition, Kodiak is home to Alaska’s largest fishing fleet and is located in the southern part of Kodiak Island. Check out the town’s harbor and experience the everyday fishing life of the locals. The Kodiak Aquarium is always worth a visit and impresses with its great biodiversity and spacious grounds.
3. Katmai National Park
Experience the untouched wilderness at Katmai National Park at the most remote end of the Alaska Peninsula. See breathtaking coastal scenery, ancient rivers, active volcanoes, icy glaciers and valleys that have been shaped by the glaciers. Experience an adrenaline rush rafting the Alagnak Wild River, camp in the park’s wilderness, or hike leisurely through this national park’s breathtaking scenery.
During salmon migration season, you may even be lucky enough to encounter one of the park’s more than 2,000 resident brown bears. A campground is located 50 kilometers from the town of King Salmon and can only be reached by boat or float plane. Here you can also book tours for bear watching.
Skagway is another highlight for cruises and is located at the northernmost terminus for all ships. Here you will follow in the footsteps of the gold miners. Visit the picturesque town with its very own Broadway style. Go shopping on the main shopping street and feel free to go into the very quirky looking stores. Treat yourself to a beer or other cold drink in one of the town’s old pubs.
For something a little more adventurous, a ride on the Yukon Route Railway is an absolute must. Expect extremely steep slopes, crystal clear waterfalls, spooky tunnels and a whole lot of bridges on a route that is guaranteed to give you the thrills you’ve been looking for. The railroad stretches for more than 20 miles and at an altitude of up to 873 meters above sea level.
1. Denali National Park
Central Alaska is home to the 20,000-square-mile Denali National Park. This is known for Denali, the highest mountain in North America at 6190 meters. In fact, the national park was built around this mountain. The park is visited annually by up to 400,000 people and attracts especially wildlife watchers in its spell.
You can reach the park by Alaska Railroad or by car. If you stay at the campground, the entrance fee of 10 US dollars is already included. The road to the park is only passable from mid-May to September, this should be noted before you arrive. The core opening time of 08:00 – 18:00 is to be considered absolutely. In this national park live mainly animals that are under species protection.
Also the flora of the park is under species protection and is unique. Another highlight is a helicopter flight, or a flight with a bush plane, over the national park.