Getting There: 2.5-hour drive/4-hour train ride south of Anchorage.Time: You can do a long day trip from Anchorage, but try to allot two days.How to do it: A day cruise is the best way to see the park: You’ll find calving glaciers, steep cliffs along the shoreline, seabirds, and chances to spot whales and other marine mammals. Which were the most popular? 3) Wrangell-St. Elias. With such a wide variety to choose from, it can be difficult choosing which ones are right for you and your family. Alaska. Discover Alaska’s National Parks from the highest mountains to the harshest glaciers, in national parks like Denali, Kenai Fjords, and Wrangell-St. Elias. And while you might not see any other humans during your trip there, you’ll have plenty of Caribou to keep you company. These are the 10 most popular national parks. By National Geographic Staff. Plan to take a bus tour, because you’ll want to go farther than that. An itinerary connecting Kenai Fjords National Park, south of Anchorage, and Denali National Park, to the north, is probably Alaska's most popular land trip for first-time visitors. The nearby Chugach National Forest further expands your options: hike to Thunderbird Falls, canoe on Eklutna Lake, go berry-picking, get great views of Anchorage from Flattop Peak, stroll through a temperate rainforest near Girdwood, or walk up to Byron Glacier and search for ice worms. Birding and hot springs draw a few visitors, Coastal plain in the Arctic with rolling hills perfect for hiking and watching for migratory birds. Wrangell-St. Elias is on the Alaska-Canada border and is the largest national park in the US. Sign up for a boat tour and you might get a glimpse of a mammoth section of glacier spectacularly calving into the ocean. Most Popular National Parks in Alaska July 24, 2014 Dan Ashbach All Travel Blogs , Dan 330 Top 10 Lists , domestic travel , Travel , Travel Natural Wonders 0 I don’t think that there is any argument that Alaska besides being the largest state in the union, … Katmai now features a beautiful crater lake where its peak once stood. A 1.5-hour bus ride splashes through creek beds and up to a view over miles of ash stretching toward distant volcanoes. Self-drive vacations. Please try again. For the purpose of this blog post I checked the official list of national parks units in Alaska. Highlights: Visit 4 National Parks including Kenai Fjords, Denali, Wrangell-St. Elias and Katmai (or Lake Clark National Park for bear viewing). Getting There: 1.5-hour flight from FairbanksTime:How to do it: Here you’ll find even more remoteness, with no amenities or cell service. Alaska never had a chance to become overdeveloped or spoiled, as conservation was an early initiative in many of its most beautiful natural attractions. The Alaska Railroad is your transportation method. Floating through a sea of small icebergs, you can hear the creaking of active glaciers, with potential for huge chunks of ice to fall splashing into the bay. 7-10 days is the most common. Would you like your visit to include informative visitor centers, guided tours, and paved hiking trails? We are committed to providing su Denali may be one of Alaska’s most popular national parks, but it is certainly worth traveling too. If you’d like a quick hike the whole family will enjoy, try the Horseshoe Lake trail near the visitor’s center. Cruises and land tours are great ways to see Alaska. Size: 6,075,107 acres While the national parks are fantastic, don’t feel like you’re missing the Alaskan experience if you don’t have the chance to visit them. The wide-open tundra makes it easy to hike for miles here. Take a flightseeing tour or go for a hike in the largest untouched mountain-ringed river basin in the U.S. Wild and remote. Visit other members of our travel family 2010 visitorship: 444,530 Size: 3,283,246 acres Closest lodge: Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge. 2010 visitorship: 297,596 ... “ Glacial Point Wilderness Safari is a very popular on-shore … At Alaska’s most popular national park, visitors come from all over the world to see North America’s tallest peak, Denali. Size: 3,283,246 acres Whichever you choose, Denali makes it easy to feel like you’re in remote Alaska. Getting There: 5-hour drive/8-hour train ride from Anchorage; 3-hour drive/4-hour train ride from Fairbanks.Time: At least 3 days: 2 to get there and back, and another to explore the park.How to do it: Personal vehicles aren’t allowed past the 15-mile mark of the 93-mile park road. A popular destination is Grewingk Glacier, a glacial lake that’s popular for its easy hiking and marvelous views. Get here by boat – there’s a convenient ferry service from Juneau that has been running since 2011, or you can kayak in from the nearest gateway town, Gustavus. We’ve been honored to help plan literally thousands of visitor trips to the great state of Alaska over the past 3 decades. 2010 visitorship: 378,855 Its 8 national parks cover and protect millions of acreage, which is there for the public to respect and enjoy. Don't want to drive? Size: 13,175,901 acres Take a flightseeing tour or go for a hike in the largest untouched mountain-ringed river basin in the U.S. Wild and remote. Please check your email to verify your subscription. The only part of the park you can get to by car is Exit Glacier, a definite highlight. Alaska’s 4 Most Popular And Accessible Parks. Proudly displaying North America‘s tallest mountain and over six million acres of land, Denali is one of Alaska’s most popular national parks. Denali. Try booking a boat tour and see the glaciers from the water. Witness this popular area’s green fjords, rugged cliffs, and bountiful wildlife, Towering mountains and massive glaciers punctuate a vast wilderness with just, Denali and a vast wilderness host bears, moose, caribou, and mountain goats, Dramatic fjords and impressive tidewater glaciers, seen on a cruise, flight, or ferry. It’s the third most popular park, logging a record 4.7 million visitors in 2019, a 44 percent uptick in crowds since 2012. Free personal GPS–driven travel guide to Alaska. View caribou, go birding, or take a flightseeing tour in the northernmost national park in the U.S. Nearly half a million caribou migrate through this valley and its spectacular sand dunes, View brown bears at Brooks Falls and visit volcanic, Bear viewing, world class salmon fishing and Dick Proenneke’s famous wilderness cabin, Spans the Kenai Peninsula, Prince William Sound, and Copper River Delta, Features dozens of convenient trails and recreation opportunities near Anchorage, South of Denali National Park; known for Byers Lake, scenic trails and great views of Denali, Most visitors float the famous Yukon, with dramatic geologic formations to each side, The largest national forest in the U.S., Tongass is home to glaciers, deep fjords, and an old-growth temperate rainforest, This remote area once linked Alaska and Russia. Most of the 4-million-acre Katmai National Park in Alaska is a designated wilderness and off limits to tourists. The park is a sprawling 6 million acre wilderness home to towering mountain peaks, grizzly bears, pristine rivers, and stunning long valleys. From the staggering heights of Denali in Denali National Park to the sweeping sand dunes of Kobuk Valley National Park, each one is beautiful in its unique way. Best national parks (5) Kenai Fjords National Park #1 - Kenai Fjords National Park. Book entire boat for your family or group, or opt to bunk with other guests. If you’re pressed for time, some parks make for an easy day trip from Anchorage or Fairbanks. Alaska national parks list. The word “fjord” is a Norwegian term for a glacier-carved inlet. Use our calculator to find out, Stay casual, dress in layers, and get proper footwear, Guides to the best locations around the state to view wildlife. Yet the park has the Harding Ice Field, one of the largest in the United States with more than 40 glaciers. Size: 699,983 acres Rent a car and travel independently on a set itinerary, with lodging and tours booked in advance. They have convenient accommodations nearby and well-developed tours that make exploring easier for the casual visitor. Then going to one of the more heavily visited parks is your best option. There are 24 units listed but when you limit the the list only actual national parks you end up with a … All visitors must book a float plane to experience its splendor first hand, but those who do are treated to awe-inspiring views of three converging mountain ranges, picturesque lakes, and lush rainforests. Walk across the footbridge (no vehicles allowed in town), and there’s typically a shuttle a shuttle to Kennicott —a thriving mining town abandoned long ago. Also note, this itinerary can be customized to suit your schedule. Snowmachining, skiing, and dogsledding are popular winter pastimes here; canoeing, fishing, and camping are summer highlights. Getting There: Floatplane from Anchorage or HomerTime: Day trip for bear viewing, longer for other Valley of Ten Thousand SmokesHow to do it: Katmai famous for the large brown bears that converge to feed on salmon at Brooks Falls; go in June and July to spend a magical day there. Nearest lodge: Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge. They have convenient accommodations nearby and well-developed tours that make exploring easier for the casual visitor. Check out this list of the most popular Alaska national parks in descending order: Glacier Bay National Park. Focus on Denali & Kenai Fjords. At 669,000 acres it is a relatively small park by Alaska standards. Alaska has 60% of all land managed by the National Park Service, even better, some of this parkland is relatively easy to reach. Discover the optimal month due to daylight, temperature, and rain. Use the 80 miles of trail to find lakes, ridges, glaciers, valleys, and meadows, with campsites, public-use cabins, and yurts for rent along the way. Last year, when NPCA surveyed its supporters on the national park site they most wanted to visit anywhere in the country, Denali National Park and Preserve got far more votes than any other park. When your park is home to the tallest mountain on the entire continent, you know you’re going to attract a lot of visitors. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which attracted 12.5 million visitors last year, topped the National Park Service's 2019 list of most popular national parks, the park service reported Thursday. Size: 8,472,506 Kenai Fjords is an easy trip over from the Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge. Choose a round-trip Inside passage or one-way Gulf of Alaska Cruise. Established in 1980, Kenai Fjords National Park near the town of Seward, AK has some of the best of Alaska’s National Parks. “ Beautiful landscape and … Or ride the park shuttle bus, which lets you hop on and off to hike. Alaska’s most-visited national parks are the ones most accessible from the road system or on a cruise. Here, coastal brown bears dig for clams or fish for salmon along the shore. Other remote national parks and preserves can be challenging to visit, requiring more time, a flexible schedule, and a budget that can cover charter flights and backcountry guides. While there, explore the multiple exhibits, receive one-on-one trip planning assistance, pick up maps of popular destinations, speak with National Park Rangers and more! Boutique, small ship adventure cruises in Alaska's Inside Passage, Cruises depart from Whittier, a 1 hr drive from Anchorage. 2010 visitorship: 55,172 Sign-up for any of the following email series to help plan your Alaska trip. #1 of 5 Nature & Parks in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve “ Lake Clark National Park & Preserve is one of the most pristine national parks you will find. Also a mining road, the Nabesna follows a valley between two mountain ranges, with some trails and a campground along the way. They say second place is the first loser, but that saying just doesn’t apply to mountains. Car, train, or group tour. 2021 SUMMER BOOKINGS – FLEXIBLE TERMS Flexible booking terms are available for travel dates between May 15 and September 15, 2021! I’ll just say that the national parks in Alaska are on another level. Glacier Bay National Park is the most popular national park in Alaska, drawing adventure junkies from all over the world. This option often makes you feel like you have Denali to yourself, you may not even see another person until the bus comes back to pick you up. Which one is right for you? Getting There: To the town of McCarthy inside the park, it’s about a 7-hour drive from Anchorage and a 9-hour drive from FairbanksTime: At least 3 days: 2 to get there and back, and another to explore the park.How to do it: You have 2 route options—both primitive. Alaska Railroad: Adventure Class or Goldstar Dome Car Service? There was a problem with your submission. Or stay for a few days and add a tour into the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, site of the 20th-century’s largest volcanic eruption. For example, Anchorage is nestled along the edge of Chugach State Park, and several convenient trailheads give immediate access to the park. Getting There: Floatplane from Anchorage or HomerTime: Day trip for bear viewing, longer to stay at a lodgeHow to do it: Lake Clark offers bear viewing in an undeveloped area with fewer visitors. 2010 visitorship: 3,164 The most intimate multi-day cruise option. We'll match you with a local itinerary expert to help you plan your trip. Plan your journey with this gorgeous printed map. Closest lodge: Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge. Then hike down 800 feet to the valley floor, where the river has cut a ravine into ash and rock. Over 400,000 Caribou are believed to roam the park’s stunning environs. Size: 4,725,188 acres In addition to touring the mine, popular activities include guided glacier hikes, flightseeing, and rafting. The most-visited of all American national parks, Great Smoky Mountains National Park straddles the boundaries of North Carolina and Tennessee and offers breathtaking scenery and wildlife viewing as well as remnants of Southern Appalachian mountain culture. Let us simplify it for you, How much does an Alaska summer vacation cost? Alaska's top five most popular parks by visitorship are Glacier Bay, Denali, Kenai Fjords, Wrangell-St. Elias and Katmai. Your second option to reach the national park is via the Nabesna Road, on the park’s north edge, a 42-mile journey where you may not see another soul. Stops include Seward (Kenai Fjords), Girdwood, Whittier & Spencer Glacier, Stops include Wasilla, Talkeetna, Denali National Park & Fairbanks. See Alaska's highlights by railroad or motorcoach in a group of up to 50, Travel in small groups, stay at exclusive wilderness lodges, and spend more time outdoors, All-inclusive multi-day vacation packages at a remote wilderness lodge, Travel with a professional photographer to the best photo locations around the state, Trips range from backpacking, rafting, to upscale remote lodge retreats, Cruises depart Juneau or Sitka. Some of our list items are so remote, they have to be accessed by seaplane. View caribou, go birding, or take a flightseeing tour in the northernmost national park in the U.S. Nearly half a million caribou migrate through this valley and its spectacular sand dunes, View brown bears at Brooks Falls and visit volcanic "Valley of 10,000 Smokes", Bear viewing, world class salmon fishing and Dick Proenneke’s famous wilderness cabin, Spans the Kenai Peninsula, Prince William Sound, and Copper River Delta, Features dozens of convenient trails and recreation opportunities near Anchorage, South of Denali National Park; known for Byers Lake, scenic trails and great views of Denali, Most visitors float the famous Yukon, with dramatic geologic formations to each side, The largest national forest in the U.S., Tongass is home to glaciers, deep fjords, and an old-growth temperate rainforest, Our guide to experiencing ANWR. 2-5 day small ship explorations. Closest lodge: Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge. Closest lodge: Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge. Here are twelve more facts sure to impress even your most … Glacier Bay National Park hosts the most visitors of any park in Alaska. Alaska’s most-visited national parks are the ones most accessible from the road system or on a cruise. Size: 4,030,025 acres A short water taxi from Homer, the Kachemak Bay Recreation Area offers backcountry experiences just off the road system. Check out this list of the most popular Alaska national parks in descending order: 2010 visitorship: 444,530 National Parks (8) Waterfalls (8) Gardens (7) Ski & Snowboard Areas (7) Mountains (6) Forests (5) ... We even came upon a very large moose and took amazing pictures on the most beautiful river in Alaska! Popular Alaska Itineraries Using In-State Airlines, Anchorage to Denali National Park Driving Map. 1.Denali National Park Denali National Park is located in southcentral Alaska. If you're there between mid-May and mid-June, don't miss the synchronous firefly viewing event. Trips available from Whittier, Homer, Seward, Juneau, and Sitka. Getting There: This park may be on your cruise itinerary; if not, you’ll need to fly or ferry to Gustavus (easy to do from Juneau) where you can book a day cruise.Time: If you’re on your own, spend one day cruising Glacier Bay, and add one or two more days for activities like a ranger-led hike or sea kayaking.How to do it: Massive, calving tidewater glaciers and marine wildlife are the main draws here. Plus, an add-on opportunity for a 5th national park with a visit to Gates of the Arctic National Park. Explore the most popular national parks in Alaska with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you. But remember, when planning, be realistic—Alaska is huge. Katmai National Park is home to Mt. These companies do: Alaska 4x4 Rentals, Alaska Auto Rentals. Two National Parks in 1 Week. The most popular place within Katmai National Park is Brooks Camp, reachable by float plane or boat. Stop to fish in the lakes, hike up a volcano, and enjoy the panorama of the Wrangells—as entrancing a view as any other in the state.Note: Most rental car companies do not allow their vehicles on these gravel roads. For details please review our booking-cancellation-terms policy. The classic Alaska Cruise, offered by such companies as Holland America, Princess, and Royal Caribbean. First established as a national monument in 1978, Lake Clark was dedicated as a national park and preserve in 1980 under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservations Act, under which most of Alaska's national parks were established. 1 Minute Read. Now we’re getting into the parks that are off the beaten path of the Alaskan tourist industry. Alaska is home to a number of national parks, some of the most (and least) visited in the United States. Birding and hot springs draw a few visitors, Coastal plain in the Arctic with rolling hills perfect for hiking and watching for migratory birds. You can do this same trip using the railroad. And while you may not hear it invoked often in the lower 48, Alaska has an abundance of beautiful fjords that enchant visitors every year. Overwhelmed by choices? Glacier Bay National Park hosts the most visitors of any park in Alaska. Visit the small native village of Anaktuvuk Pass to get a sense of life in the north, or plan a float trip on one of six Wild and Scenic Rivers. It’s also home to the second largest mountain in America, the breathtaking Mt. Experience Alaska's diverse, wildlife, natural history and native culture. While Lake Clark National Park isn’t too far from the more populous areas of Alaska, it receives very low annual visitorship due to the fact that no roads exist leading into the park. The best way to choose is to ask yourself what kind of experience you’re looking for. Also north of the Arctic Circle, Kobuk Valley receives under 5000 visitors annually. Visitors to Fairbanks appreciate the Chena River State Recreation Area and its 100 miles of trails and year-round public-use cabins. 2010 Visitorhip: 73,170 Closest lodge: Fairbanks Princess Riverside Lodge, Gates of the Arctic National Park is located entirely within the Arctic Circle, meaning round-the-clock sunshine in the summer and perpetual nighttime in the winter. No tour of Alaska is complete without visiting at least one of its eight stunning national parks. The park features glaciers, rugged coastline and … Gondwana Ecotours has hosted thousands of happy travelers since 2013 - we show you your destination in a unique exciting and responsible fashion. Travel on a set itinerary with lodging and tours booked in advance. Three other factors make a huge difference in visitation: location, location, location. Nearly 400,000 people every year visit Denali National Park to get an up close and personal look at the majestic Denali. Many preserves, public lands and state parks provide equally wild spaces and spectacular views. However, the most visited park in all of Alaska is not any of these. Mt. Katmai, an active volcano which blew its top in 1912 in what was the largest volcanic eruption in Alaska’s recorded history. Or perhaps you’d prefer a trek into pure wilderness, just you and the amazing surroundings with no other humans for miles around. Enjoy two nights at the Seward Windsong Lodge for the first part of your journey. Wildlife and marine mammals are common, giving you chances to spot bear, moose, whales, and more. Here’s an overview of what you need to know. America's 20 Most Popular National Parks, Ranked ... Alaska's decidedly kick-ass Gate of the Arctic, would handily trounce many of the places on … Veteran paddlers float the Aniakchak River from volcano to ocean, Campgrounds, RV Parks & Public Use Cabins. Your reward for the high price tag is truly remote Alaska, and the prospect of seeing caribou migrating from the Brooks Range to the Seward Peninsula, or camping on Arctic sand dunes that can be 200 feet tall. Your must-have activity guide + map while in Alaska. Closest lodge: Fairbanks Princess Riverside Lodge. The park received its dramatic name from wilderness explorer John Marshall in 1929, who thought that Boreal Mountain and Frigid Crags which flanked the Koyukuk River resembled imposing “gates to the Arctic.”, 2010 visitorship: 9,931 Denali Park’s headquarters is located along Alaska Route 3, the George Parks Highway, approximately 240 miles north of Anchorage, Alaska and 125 miles south of Fairbanks, Alaska and 12 miles south of Healy, Alaska. Or head inland to visit Dick Proenneke’s hand-built cabin and spend a fascinating day learning how he survived and thrived in the wilderness for decades. Walk right up to its face, or plan a longer hike to overlook the vast Harding Ice Field. Getting There: Charter plane from Kotzebue or Bettles – about $500 round-trip, with another flight into the park adding some $2,600 for 2–3 people.Time: Can fly in for the day,How to do it: Kobuk is also situated north of the Arctic Circle. With an area of 6,075,107 acres, people are attracted to Denali for glimpses of wildlife such as caribou, moose, and grizzly bears. Closest lodge: Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge. You’ll find no services of any kind; if you don’t have backcountry experience, we can recommend guides who will take you or show you the ropes so you can go on your own. Yosemite is one of the most popular National Parks in California and spans Tuolumne, Marisposa, Madera and parts of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Located near the state capitol Juneau, Glacier Bay is one of the most popular national parks in Alaska. Nearest Lodge: Copper River Princess Wilderness Lodge. Highlights plus less visited destinations. Witness this popular area's green fjords, rugged cliffs, and bountiful wildlife, Towering mountains and massive glaciers punctuate a vast wilderness with just 2 roads, Denali and a vast wilderness host bears, moose, caribou, and mountain goats, Dramatic fjords and impressive tidewater glaciers, seen on a cruise, flight, or ferry. 2010 visitorship: 10,840 Swing by the Alaska Public Lands Information Center in downtown Anchorage to make the most of your Alaskan visit. Visit September to April to see the Northern Lights, Best Northern Lights Viewing Spots Near Anchorage, How to Travel to Alaska in January and February, The Best Large Family & Group Vacations in Alaska, How to Get from Anchorage to Your Cruise Port in Whittier or Seward (or the reverse!). This self-drive tour includes visits to two of Alaska’s most popular National Parks – Kenai Fjords National Park and Denali National Park in addition to South Denali’s adventure based small town of Talkeetna. If you really want to escape civilization and trek into the wilderness, then Kobuk Valley National Park is the place for you. Located on the Alaskan panhandle in the southeastern corner of the state, Glacier Bay is home to some of the most beautiful vistas of active glaciers the state has to offer. St. Elias. First is the more popular McCarthy Road, which takes you to the charming community of McCarthy. Another option: overnight at a campground or backcountry lodge. But it turns out this classic destination is not the most popular park in Alaska. The rest of Alaska’s national parks are accessible by air; some feature lodges that span the range from rustic to luxurious and offer plenty of opportunities for real wilderness exploration. Tours range from 6.5–13 hours round-trip, and offer the spectacle of endless vistas, glorious peaks, and of course the chance to see wildlife like brown bear, moose, caribou, Dall sheep, and moose. This is one of the absolute best national parks for wildlife viewing in the U.S. , world-famous for its unparalleled bear watching opportunities. Whichever you prefer, there’s a national park in Alaska that’s perfect for you. And in Southeast Alaska, the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve offers a rare opportunity to see and photograph the world’s largest congregation of bald eagles—up to 3,000 from October to February. Your Two Most Popular National Parks Tour begins here! Size: 1,669,813 Just how many national parks there are depend on your definition of national parks. Princess Cruises, Gray Line Alaska & Westmark Hotels, Summer cocktails to celebrate the solstice. Due to its accessibility from a major road, it is no wonder that Denali is the most popular and most visited of the Alaska National Parks. The park is also famous for its abundant brown bear population, with an estimated 2000 making their home within Katmai’s boundaries. Veteran paddlers float the Aniakchak River from volcano to ocean. Wildlife viewing opportunities, backpacking, rafting, fishing, and more, This remote area once linked Alaska and Russia. 318 million people visited U.S. parks in 2018. Promising to change visitors’ experiences and interaction with the wildlife around them, Denali offers 39 documented species of mammals and over 650 species of flowing plants, as well as a generous range of slopes and valleys. Find how many days you need based on what you want to see and do in Alaska. This park actually has the accolade of being designated a World Heritage Site in 1984 and it continues to be a popular holiday destinations for Americans and tourists.
2020 most popular national parks in alaska