National Parks in Alaska

By | May 1, 2022

Denali National Park

The 24,000 km² Denali National Park with its towering Mount Denali, with 6,194 meters it is the highest mountain in North America, arguably the main attraction of Alaska. The park is also known and famous for its rich fauna and flora.

Denali National Park is home to over 700 species of plants, more than 160 species of birds and 40 species of mammals. Caribou herds, moose and of course grizzly bears and wolves are the most popular animal species among visitors. But if you take a closer look, you can also see Alaska snow sheep, foxes, marmots and of course the numerous bird species.
There are several hotels directly at the park entrance, which are a good base for exploring the park. This is where the train, the Alaska Railway, coming from Anchorage or Fairbanks stops. There are also several hotels and B & B’s in Healy, about 20 kilometers north and in Cantwell, about 30 kilometers south of the park entrance. The planes for the scenic flights take off from the McKinley National Park Airport.

The 145-kilometer “Park Road”, a gravel track through the breathtaking and still almost untouched landscape, is only open to private traffic for the first 25 kilometers. If you want to venture further into the park and visit Toklat River, the Eielson Visitor Center, Wonder Lake or Kantishna, a place founded in 1905 as a gold digger camp, you have to take one of the public shuttle buses. The buses run from early in the morning until late in the afternoon between the park entrance and Kantishna.

If you want to take a little more time for wildlife observation, you can leave the shuttle buses at any point, hike a section and get on a later bus again. If both routes are too uncomfortable for you on the fairly simple buses, you can also cover a route on the plane. On these sightseeing flights you can also watch Mount Denali up close – if the weather permits!

If you want to see more of the park, the cozy Kantishna Roadhouse, the Denali Back country Lodge or the Skyline Lodge also offer you the opportunity to spend the night in the park. A really unique experience!

  • Transporthint: Overview of Alaska, including population, history, geography and major industries.

Kenai Fjords National Park

The Kenai Fjords National Park is the smallest national park in Alaska with 2,711 km² and is located in the southeast of the Kenai Peninsula. The park is approximately 1,800 km² covered by the Harding Icefield, a huge glacier area.

The boat tours offered are ideal for observing the glaciers and the numerous marine life in the park. The tours start in the small town of Seward and lead along the wild and romantic coast of the park. Let yourself be enchanted by puffins, sea otters, sea lions, seals, orcas, humpback whales and fin whales.

Seward is the ideal starting point for your outdoor adventures. From here, different boat tours start every day in the Kenai Fjords National Park. Seward also has the Alaska SeaLife Center. It is a combination of a research facility, a rehabilitation center for animals and a living museum. Use the opportunities to learn about Alaska’s marine life.

In the Seward Museum you will learn about the history of the region, you will learn more about the great earthquake of 1964 and the role of Seward in the Second World War.

The Exit Glacier originates from the Harding Icefield, is approximately 6 kilometers long and is only around 20 kilometers northwest of Seward. It can therefore be visited very well on a half-day excursion.

Glacier Bay National Park

Glacier Bay National Park – a World Heritage Site in the United States – is a 3.3 million hectare natural wonderland with over 50 named glaciers. Towering snow-capped mountains, lots of birds and wildlife, and miles of unspoilt coastline, you can find it all here. But it’s an adventure to come to the park. You land at Juneau International Airport and then take a small plane towards Gustavus. But promised, this somewhat exhausting journey is well worth the effort, because you will be rewarded with a colorful variety of creatures and unforgettable views. Over 200 species of fish live in the waters of the national park, including all 5 species of the Pacific salmon as well as whales, sea otters and many seals. In addition, about 220 bird species were counted in the park. The numerous land animals include mountain goats, brown and black bears, coyotes, wolverines, moose, and many other animals. Have your cameras ready to capture the fascinating impressions.

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park

The 1980 founded Wrangell-St. Elias National Park is the largest national park in the USA with over 53,000 km² (roughly the size of Slovakia). Together with the Kluane National Park, the part that lies in the Canadian province of Yukon, the park is the largest national park in America and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition to the second highest and eponymous mountain in the USA, the almost 5,500-meter-high Mount St. Elias, there are over 100 glaciers in the park, which originate from the largest ice field (outside the pool regions) in the world. The national park is also home to the largest herd of Alaskan sheep, two herds of bison and many other animal species such as wolves, grizzly bears and moose. Whales, sea otters, seals and sea lions frolic in the coastal waters. This rough but beautiful landscape.

The best starting point to explore the park is the small town of Chitina. From here we continue by plane to the tiny town of McCarthy, in the middle of the unique mountain world of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. McCarthy, your base in the park, has accommodations and restaurants.

Kennicott, about 3 miles from McCarthy, was a thriving mining town with over 800 residents until the 1930s. Today Kennicott is a ghost town, but still a worthwhile destination for every visitor to Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. To other destinations far away from mass tourism, professional guides will accompany you on glacier and rafting tours. But you can also enjoy the spectacular mountain world during a sightseeing flight – an absolute dream!

Katmai National Park

A rough wilderness and an impressive volcanic landscape are the distinctive features of the Katmai National Park. The park was founded in 1918 to protect the volcanically active region around Novarupta and the valley “Valley of the 1000 Smokes”.

Today the Katmai National Park and Preserve is an important habitat for salmon and brown bears. For the bears, the number of which has now risen to over 2,000, the fish-rich area is a real paradise, especially during the salmon migration from late June to September. At the best fishing grounds, at Brooks Camp, on the Brooks River, on Naknek Lake or on the banks of Brooks Lake, you can temporarily watch 40 to 50 bears eating their sumptuous meal. But it’s not just nature and wildlife that offer special features, the Brooks River National Historic Landmark has the largest collection (over 900) of prehistoric human homes in North America. People have been fishing for almost 4.

National Parks in Alaska