The Skagway visitor center is at 291 Broadway st. If you can add one more park, it should probably be either Glacier Bay National Park or Kenai Fjords National Park. I’m sure you’ll have an awesome time! If you prefer to fly, there are a lot of air services to Sitka from Juneau, Anchorage, and even Seattle. Anchorage, AK 99503 There is actually quite a lot people do in Denali NP –. The only caveat is that it’s accessible only to those who travel along the Inner Passage marine “roads”. I booked our room for a family of four 10 months prior to our visit and we paid $180 for that. It can get cold, even on a sunny July day! Starting with the more popular ones – Glacier Bay and Katmai. 11 Anchorage Hotels with Pools (Some with cheap rates! Summer Hours (May-September): Monday to Sunday: 8:30 A.M. to 5:30 P.M. Winter Hours (October-April): Monday to Friday: 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Private vehicles can only use the first 15 miles of the road – ending at Savage River area. Year-round scheduled air service is also provided by a variety of small air taxis and charters. In fact, you can even take the train. Katmai National Park is located on the northern Alaska Peninsula, northwest of Kodiak Island and southwest of Homer, Alaska. Use the links I just put in and it’ll get you to the search results in (that’s how I usually book hotels for us). Website: Covering 3.3 million acres of rugged mountains, dynamic glaciers, temperate rainforest, wild coastlines and deep sheltered fjords, Glacier Bay National Park is a highlight of Alaska's Inside Passage and part of a 25-million acre World Heritage Site—one of the world’s largest international protected areas. When you visit, be prepared to encounter all types of weather. Feb 10, 2020 - Did you know there are 16 national parks in Alaska? Coming from the north, take the Glenn Highway to Slana and then drive down to Nabasena. Know what you’re doing and register with the rangers before heading out to explore this park. The park is accessible by car via the Edgerton Highway from Copper Center to the small communities of McCarthy and Kennicott. “ Our small cruise ship dropped anchor and we explored the area led by a ranger naturalist. You can make camp in the parks and take multi-day hikes. It provides travelers a glimpse into true Alaska wilderness, complete with vast empty spaces, incredible mountain scenery and tons of wildlife. As we began to compile a list of American National Parks by state for this piece to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service, I was shocked and dismayed to realize how few of the 59 officially designated parks we’ve visited.. Fortunately, we’re already planning a future family road trip with lots of national parks to visit. If I don’t know the answer myself, I’m always happy to try and research to help you find an answer. Possibly the most amazing thing you can get to see in Kobuk National Park are the incredibly huge herds of migrating caribou. Learn More >, Alaska Tour & Travel Park Headquarters is open year round M-F 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM. In which case you can take a paid guided excursion into the park, or limit your visit to the very nice visitors center on the Richardson’s Highway (on the way to Valdez). The Denali Park entrance is 240 miles by road from Anchorage and 125 miles from Fairbanks. If you’re not visiting Glacier Bay as part of a cruise,  you’ll probably be taking the daily boat tour that goes out of Bartlett Cove where the park headquarters are. Otherwise, you’ll need to purchase an entrance ticket. National Parks Employment can be found with the NPS itself or one of the many concessionaires operating in the parks, which provide buses, hotels and lodges, and tour guide services (among other things). The area generally enjoys a relatively temperate maritime climate but this being Alaska, the weather is difficult to predict and can change rapidly. The problem with viewing the Exit Glacier is that it keeps receding. Discover Alaska’s National Parks from the highest mountains to the harshest glaciers, in national parks like Denali, Kenai Fjords, and Wrangell-St. Elias. Luckily, Anchorage is in the center of it all and offers many ways to enjoy the parks. There’s no fee for visiting the visitor center. The parks are road-free, so it is mainly small planes leaving from Anchorage that provide access to sensational bear viewing opportunities. Skagway is one of the few places along the Inner Passage that you can actually reach by road. At 13 million acres, Wrangell-St. Elias is the largest park in the U.S. system. The right time to visit Katmai is during the salmon run from late July to September. Denali National Park. The main visitor season is from late-May through early-September with the peak being the month of July. Definitely made me want to return to Denali during fall. What if you can’t go off-road? Fabulous information! Another point of interest in the Kobuk Valley National Park is Onion Portage, which for 9000 years, served as a destination for local native people. The park is open the rest of the year, but visitor services are extremely limited. I’m glad you enjoy the blog and sorry about the late reply here. Possibly more if you’re going to include a visit to nearby Whitehorse, the capital of the Canadian Yukon. These are rustic campground without too many services and zero stores. Hiking the Denali wilderness you could be facing –. Learn More >, Book Now with no risk, your deposit is fully refundable until 31 days prior to travel with the purchase of our Worry-Free Cancellation Waiver. Traveling by guided bus tour is the best way to experience the area's scenic beauty and wildlife. This is probably the most accessible national park in Alaska. Either taking Inside Passage, a ferry system along the Pacific Coast, or driving on a highway through Canada. These ten parks are really different from one another. List of National Parks in the United States 2020. As the salmon arrive, so do the bears, and visitors to Katmai NP get a unique opportunity to view them in their natural habitat, as they fish huge salmon right out of the waterfalls. 800-208-0200 or 907-245-0200. Downtown is pretty close to the national park area itself. The many lakes in the park typically begin freezing in November with meltdown starting around April. Though they may not have the name recognition of Yosemite and Yellowstone, in most other ways, Alaska's national parks eclipse those of the Lower 48. Gorgeous glaciers, icebergs, and wildlife! Learn More >, Formed by volcanoes and renowned for its brown bears, Katmai National Park draws nature and wildlife photographers from around the world. Gates of the Arctic National Park is located in Central Brooks Range, about 200... 3. That said, Alaska is home to some of the largest national parks in the United States. Getting There: 5-hour drive/8-hour train ride from Anchorage; 3-hour drive/4-hour train ride from... Kenai Fjords National Park. The park is divided into several districts; Nabesna (northern portion), Kennecott (southern), and Yakutat District (coastline). In other words, be prepared. If want to have a better chance at experiencing sunny Glacier Bay, the driest months are April, May, and June. Access 2915 reviews, 507 photos & 590 tips of every rv park & campground in Alaska. But if you have the annual parks pass, you can get a refund for the charge. You can get there from Anchorage via Seward Highway, which is a national scenic byway well worth the drive on its own. In this post, I’ll cover all ten Alaskan national parks, just so you can get an idea of what’s available in all of them – including the remote ones. Learn More >, Within the crystal blue waters of Kenai Fjords National Park is an abundant array of glaciers and wildlife. Oh, and while there don’t miss out on the other things Seward has to offer. Even when the weather’s not that cold, you can still possibly acquire hypothermia on a wet, windy day. It took a LOT of research to produce this one and I do hope you’ll find it helpful. This list of parks in Alaska includes 24 national parks, 9 national historic landmarks, 16 national natural landmarks, and a multitude of state parks. Most people see the park by driving the McCarthy road. It can also get cold during summertime, especially at higher elevations. Many visitors reach the park on cruises from Vancouver to Whittier or Seward. You park by the visitor center and hike to see the glacier. Overcast and cool rainy days are frequent. And as always, questions are welcome. Hi Sharon, Rangers: During summertime, you’ll see many rangers in Denali. Research well before you go out on this adventure. So much so that viewing platforms that were built right along the glacier a decade or two ago are now miles away from where the ice actually is. Like other Alaska parks, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park has no entrance stations or gates. You can get to the park via two-hour flights from Homer, Kenai, or Anchorage. #2 of 3 Nature & Parks in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve “ One day, we explored the Forest Trail, Beach Trail, Campground, Tlingit Trail, and Bartlett Lake Trail. Wrangell-St Elias is the one on the American side of the border. There’s a small visitor center in nearby Port Alsworth but rangers are there only during summertime. For more affordable options try searching nearby Healy. Just how many national parks there are depend on your definition of national parks. Commercial airlines provide service from Anchorage to Kotzebue, or from Fairbanks to Bettles. National Park Service map of Alaska National Parks. List of parks in Alaska. Wrangell-St. Elias National Park The country’s largest national park represents everything that is compelling about Alaska. Detail from our America National Parks map. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. Prague is the leading contender though Scandinavia and Spain/Portugal are not out of the question. This being Alaska they also hunt within park boundaries. Some are small, others incredibly huge. The coastal area in the park gets a lot of rain and has milder temperatures. I also would like to go dog sledding and deep sea fishing. This is an Alaskan mountain ridge. Would you help me understand this as its a bit hard to get a hold of them. There are two visitor centers, both of them are relatively small. Website: The park is home to the Harding Icefield where nearly 40 glaciers flow. According to the Wikipedia list of National Parks, if you sort out parks by size, Alaskan parks take up seven spots out of the top 10, including the four top places. The mountain ranges serve as a fence protecting the geographical features within. Why does it say open year round but closed October – ETC. Not all fees are listed on this page, so please check for additional campground fees on our Facility Fees page prior to … Within these protected acres you'll find glaciers unparalleled in size, vast wilderness entirely untouched by people, dense populations of bears and whales, and North America's tallest mountain. Assuming you’re just looking for a hotel in Denali where you can rest after a day of sightseeing in the park, there are plenty of options for that as well. 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. If this is your first long hike in Alaska, do yourself a huge favor and read up before embarking on this adventure. Website: Three mountain ranges meet within the park to create a tangle of 18,000-foot peaks, huge glaciers, and deep river valleys. People have cabins inside the park and you’re not allowed to walk through their territory. This huge area has very limited accessibility and there are only two roads going into this park and only one is paved. My travel “diary” website is below…still trying to work on my blog (yours is great by the way!). By the way, you could technically visit this park without ever leaving the Lower 48. The Yukon is fantastic and quite different from Alaska in many ways. Kenai Fjords National Park is the meeting point of ocean, ice, and mountains. The road to the Exit Glacier area is not plowed during the winter months and is closed to vehicle traffic once it is covered in snow and ice. Learn More >, Tucked amongst its famous national parks are Alaska's quieter state parks. The park covers 6 million acres of mostly untouched wild landscape. Park headquarters and visitor center are located at 2nd and Broadway in Skagway, Alaska. A Acadia American Samoa Arches B Badlands Big Bend Biscayne Black Canyon of the Gunnison Bryce Canyon This is mostly pristine wilderness and it’s also dangerous. If you’re camping, you can get a permit to drive in with your RV. Expect to pay anything between $150-$400 a night for a room for two. For history lovers, there are 430 places on the National Register of Historic Places along with 634 places on the Heritage Documentation Program. Kenai Fjords National Park is much beloved for its wildlife as well. Alaska Airlines provides daily jet service from Juneau to Gustavus in the summer months. That road stretches along 92 miles well into the wild areas of the park. Skagway has a highly variable climate with frequent rain and high winds. Craving a more intense Denali experience? If you go to the National Parks Service’s website, you’ll see that Alaska has 10 national parks – so which ones should you go to? One of the country’s most remote national parks, the 4-million acre Lake Clark National Park is a pristine landscape and home to a variety of wildlife. The bay sees an influx of humpback whales in the summer, making it one of the best places to whale watch in Alaska. Get the poster start exploring This list shows the complete Alaska State Park System, managed by Alaska Department of Natural Resources: Division of Parks & Outdoor Recreation. Rain is the norm in lush cool southeast Alaska. The point is, it can actually rain a lot, even during summer. You can come when you want – just keep in mind that between October and May, most of the park isn’t accessible without special winter gear. Featuring Simeonof National Wildlife Refuge, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Togiak National Wildlife Refuge, Tuxedni National Wildlife Refuge, Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge, Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge… Rangers lead daily walks through the rainforest and show informative films in the auditorium. Everything is relative, of course. Gates of the Arctic is all about wilderness and a true representation of genuine wild nature. Alaska is an expensive destination where it comes to accommodation rates and even more so in Denali. It's befitting that the largest state in the U.S. would also have the largest national park in the U.S. That's Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, a 13-million-acre wilderness on the east side of Alaska. Winter temperatures can range from the low 30s to -20. The one in Exit Glacier is a short drive (minutes long) from the road into Seward. Plan Now. You can also book for accommodations, food, and guided multi-day trips. You can either fly or hike into the park (we’re talking about a very long hike!). It’s going to be a few good hours from each one of these destinations (which is not too bad). Some mentions its open year round but closed during winter or closed after September. All rights reserved (c) 2019 Denali NP is wild at heart and hikers can traverse the area without necessarily relying on trails. There are 24 units listed but when you limit the the list only actual national parks you end up with a shorter – and more manageable – list. It’s not cheap but definitely counts as a bucket list experience for many people. Actually, this park does have one additional challenge that you won’t find in the more remote national parks of Alaska: humans. Seven national parks (including six in Alaska) are paired with a national preserve, areas with different levels of protection that are administered together but considered separate units and whose areas are not included in the figures below. Plus, download my free checklist! Website: Below is a list of campgrounds available sorted by park area. Do you have any information about them? Hike, kayak, and explore local area history within these protected landmarks and wilderness areas. Click here for the list, including things to do and how to get there. For summertime, I’ve seen excursions that offer to fly you to a glacier where you can experience dog sledding. My husband and our eldest did that and really enjoyed their hike. Camping wherever possible. If you can budget several hundreds of dollars per person, there are several tour operators going out of Fairbanks like this one. Even farther off the beaten path are Gates of the Arctic National Park and Glacier Bay National Park. When we visited in the summer of 2017, the trail ended several hundred yards before the glacier. That said, Alaska is home to some of the largest national parks in the United States. A rich marine environment within Kenai Fjords' protected fjords and lush temperate rain forests supports a wealth of plant and animal life, from migrating seabirds like puffins and cormorants, to sea lions and transient orca whales. The park is open throughout the year but the main season for visitors is May 20 through the second or third week in September. Website: If you’re just looking for Alaska national parks that you can drive to, you can finish reading here. This is pristine wilderness which may be beautiful but is also dangerous and lacks cell coverage or any form of services. Alaska's top five most popular parks by … Alagnak Wild River. Some celebrate the sheer wilderness while a couple of them focus on history. I hope you found this post helpful! Please note that camping is only possible either in designated campgrounds (with a valid reservation) or in the rest of the park with a free backpacking permit. Looks like you had a great Alaska trip! This is yet another magnificent wilderness to get lost in (if you’re ready and equipped to take on the Alaskan wilderness, that is). Just to give you a general idea of where these parks are, here they are on a single map. There are several operators, all of them going out of Seward. There were several charters going out of Seward, and from Valdez too. Website: You have to use bear-proof storage too. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to see a glacier calving into the water. The park is open year-round. There is something in placid lakes that simply takes your breath away. Location: Mile 237 Highway 3. There are six campgrounds in Denali itself. Summer temperatures average 50° to 60° F (10° to 15° C). Admission Fees: This is a national park, so if you have the annual parks pass, you’re covered. I really hope you manage to set up a blog and write more about it. You can drive to Denali from Anchorage or Fairbanks, along Highway 3, aka the “George Parks Highway.” Fairbanks is about 2 hours north, while Anchorage is 5 hours south of the Denali entrance. You then have two roads that go into the park. Canada has its own incredibly large national park on the other side of the border: Kluane National Park. The most popular Katmai destination is the Brooks Camp where you can enjoy first-class accommodations next to the bear watching platforms. Alaska’s state park system is managed by the Alaska Department of Natural Resources division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation. Getting There: 2.5-hour drive/4-hour train ride south of Anchorage. This place is the centerpiece of Alaska’s Inside Passage and a 25-million acre  World Heritage Site, most of it sea water. We did that in our Kenai Fjords cruise and you can see the videos of the glacier calving in my trip report. We took the shuttle and it was great but you certainly can pay more and take the bus. For the purpose of this blog post I checked the official list of national parks units in Alaska. Park Name Type Afognak Island State … There is no gate at the park entrance. Tip: When you book your shuttle or bus to see Denali, they’re going to charge your card with a weekly park pass. A small private airstrip is also available near the park entrance for individuals wishing to fly their own small craft to the park. In which case, you can take a tour into the Kennecott area or do as we did and just settle for visiting the Copper Center Visitor Center en route to Valdez. There are local tours that will take you along the road. It could be a huge cruise ship or a smaller charter taken from Gustavus after flying in. Essentially, the only way to really see the park is by taking the glacier cruise. At the same time, it’s very accessible by Alaska standards. Website: Katmai National Park is best known for amazing Grizzly bear viewing opportunities. West of Anchorage across the Cook Inlet you'll find Lake Clark National Park and Katmai National Park. A ranger program is presented in the auditorium each evening. Just how many national parks there are depend on your definition of national parks. Even if you’re willing to pay for an expensive excursion, some of them are just vast areas of wilderness with very few facilities or ways to experience the park other than trekking. The park is open for visitors throughout the year but remember this is Alaska. Today, the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park is a top tourist destination. Glacier Bay National Park. Get a good map and discuss this with the Rangers before hitting the trails. A big problem if you’re driving a rental car because your insurance probably does not cover going off paved roads. The Denali National Park is one of the world’s first national parks established to conserve wildlife. Bering Land Bridge National Preserve. Glacier Bay's landscapes are quite diverse as a result, with huge Sitka spruces and hemlock giving way to cottonwoods, scraggly alder, patchy lichen, and bare rock the farther into the bay you travel. The visitor center is located in the historic White Pass & Yukon Route depot. With that in mind, don’t forget warm clothing and rain gear. The Alagnak River corridor runs from neighboring Katmai National Park to the Bering Sea along the Alaska Peninsula. There are no roads to provide access, so planes take care of most transportation needs. Here’s a map of the park (from the Park’s website). If you choose the former, there are daily air taxi flights that can take you to the local communities of Coldfoot, Anaktuvuk Pass, and Bettles. You don’t have to take a cruise to get here (even though most people do see it as part of their cruise package). #1 of 9 Nature & Parks in Girdwood “ Chugach State Park provides visitors with the opportunity to hike on trails of diversified difficulty with wonderful views and also meeting bears and other wild animals. Then there’s the question of accessibility. You can also reach Denali from either city via the Alaska Railroad, which is operated by the State of Alaska. Click here for the list, including things to do and how to get there. The various parks offer chances to view eagles, bears, spawning salmon, and the breath-taking vistas of "wild" Alaska. That said, you do need to know what you’re doing. Covering 3.3 million acres of rugged mountains, dynamic glaciers, temperate rainforest, wild coastlines and deep sheltered fjords, Glacier Bay National Park is a highlight of Alaska's Inside Passage and part of a 25-million acre World Heritage Site—one of the world’s largest international protected areas. If you’re going to Alaska, you’re probably interested in visiting at least one or two national parks. outdoor gears, specialty foods, medications, etc.). Famous spots include the Little Kobuk and Hunt River dunes, the Great Kobuk Sand Dunes, and the Kobuk River. You do need a permit for wilderness hiking in Denali but the permits are free. In grandeur, wildlife, incomparable landscapes, and big backcountry experiences, it easily lives up to its reputation. Its remoteness draws backcountry travelers seeking off-trail adventures. We got to see the start of that in Denali in late August, and later elsewhere in Alaska. Sitka National Historical Park commemorates the battle between the indigenous Kiks.ádi Tlingit and the Russian traders. Do read my detailed post about the Kenai Fjords cruise report where I shared all of the relevant information (along with tons of photos and some videos). Don’t forget to read my post about traveling the Alaska Highway too. Website: This is actually the largest national park in the United States. I’m not sure about their COVID availability, but in the past, I always managed to get a hold of park rangers via email, so I would try that. Learn More >, A true wilderness park offering an untouched world of granite spires, snaking rivers, glaciated valleys, and thousands of miles of arctic tundra. For avid experienced hikers, the risk that comes with wilderness hiking just adds to the thrill. This wild landscape is as vast as Yosemite National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and Switzerland combined! You can travel via boat but most (of the very few) visitors charter a plane. Alaska national parks list 1. and Thank you for this lovely blog! Denali National Park is located in southcentral Alaska. Some people went off-trail to get to the glacier but we just watched it from the trail. Both allow you to see the glorious Alaska coastline, including the famous tidal glaciers. Click on the little icon at the top left corner to see the ledger with park names. Rangers: Park rangers are available much of the day to answer your questions. There are also several hotels in Sitka so you could stay there overnight. Talk to a ranger, learn about daily programs, watch park film “Gold Fever: Race to the Klondike,” and more. Having visited Alaska on a long trip – and done TONS of research in preparation, I’ve compiled a detailed guide for you, to help you plan the wilder side of your Alaska trip. you could, but there would be no services or ranger activity. If you’re interested in guest blogging here to share your travel stories, let me know. Off season, there are still rangers in the park but you’d better call ahead of time if you want to make sure you get to see one. Along with national parks, Alaska has several of its own state parks with accessible hiking areas and other recreational opportunities. There are companies offering visitor services including guided day trips and flights. The routes are pretty much unlimited! We were in Alaska for 3 weeks last summer, had such a great time we are going back this year and heading into the Yukon Territory! If you did, please share your own experiences in a comment and let me know what you liked or didn’t like about them. Plus, download my free checklist! One is near the Exit Glacier trail and the other in Seward harbor area. Claim to fame: Sheer size. Where Will You Travel Next? Explore it by land and by day cruise. Driving from Healy to the park takes 15-20 minutes and it can easily save you $200 a night. An Alaska trip isn't complete without a visit to Denali National Park. When hiking through national parks in Alaska, avoid pockets of spruce forest and alder to make navigation easier. If you’re not up for a crazy hiking adventure, you may just settle for seeing this area from the air. Kenai Fjords National Park is located just outside the town of Seward in south-central Alaska, 126 miles south of Anchorage. The McCarthy road from the west starts at the small town of Chitina and takes you to the Kennecott Visitor Center inside the park. It’s a relatively short drive by Alaskan standards (about 2.5 hours from Anchorage) and if you don’t have a car, there’s a train from Anchorage to Seward as well. They actually have a visitor center in Seattle, WA, the point where many gold prospectors left to get to Alaska. The average temperature of the area ranges from 50 to 60 F (10 to 15 C). The Bair and Waring mountain ranges encircle the Kobuk Valley National Park. Hi Lisa, Thank you so much!! Restrooms, water stations, and benches are available for visitors. I am guessing the differences reflect the closures of the visitors center, while the park grounds are actually open year-round. No stores or anything of the sort along the park road. Located west of Juneau, this national park and preserve is a national monument too. On occasion, summer highs reach the low 80s, though this is rare. The key here is this: Most of Alaska’s national parks are inaccessible by road. During summertime in Skagway, up to 10,000 people, a day visit this small town- almost all of them coming to shore from huge cruise ships. There’s actually enough to do here to keep you busy for two days and possibly more. I’m trying to make plans to visit Alaska. Monday to Sunday: 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Sitka has a temperate maritime climate which means lots of rain, and cool – but not very cold – weather throughout the year. We’re now moving on to those parks which are not as accessible. While each national park in Alaska has something unique to offer nature enthusiasts, a few parks stick out more than the others. The interior – much like elsewhere in the Alaskan interior – is drier but also colder during winter (and hotter in summertime). National Parks in Alaska: A Complete List of All 16. What will you be seeing on your tour? Learn More >, Nothing in the United States quite compares to the massive scale of this remote national park, the largest in the country and home to nine of its 16 highest mountains. Another good reason for visiting Fairbanks, AK! Located between the stormy north Pacific Ocean and the even stormier Bering Sea, the Katmai region is often a battleground between weather systems. Protected Alaskan spaces for generations to enjoy. Visitors to the park should be PROFICIENT in outdoor survival skills, and be prepared to care for their own life and their partner(s) if an emergency arises. The climate of Gates of the Arctic National Park is generally classified as arctic and sub-arctic, with exceptionally cold winters, relatively mild summers, low annual precipitation, and generally high winds. They most certainly are. I’m a bit confused on ALL of the National Park website of Alaska. Lake Clark is the ultimate escapade if you want to be one with foraging bears, running salmon, craggy mountains, and steaming volcanoes – all reflecting in the glistening turquoise lakes. Video library of National Parks and Monuments in Alaska. Had I tried to book it only 3-4 months in advance, there would have been nothing available for under $400. Parks to visit: 8 Duration of journey: Month of August, 2017 (yep, we’re planning way ahead). By far, the most popular activity is the drive along the park road. Summer daytime temperatures range from the mid-40s to the low-70s (Fahrenheit). Think Alaska. Unless you can budget for a special excursion, you’ll only be able to visit these parks: That doesn’t mean the other parks aren’t worth a visit! Expert RVers visited 230 RV Parks in Alaska. With 16 hours of driving time, allocate a couple of days for the trip. Together with three adjoining parks—Southeast Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park, British Columbia’s Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Park and Yukon’s Kluane National Park—it’s been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The only thing is, the park road will be closed and the place will be covered in deep snow. Most people view the park from onboard a ship. Denali. Now that we have our priorities set, let’s go explore the parks together! I did check. Have you visited any of these Alaska National Parks? The park’s headquarters is in King Salmon, about 290 air miles southwest of Anchorage. Alaska Tour & Travel uses cookies to track your trip selections and favorites. Most cruise lines from the Lower 48 or from Canada go through Glacier Bay. NPLibrary Home ALASKA. You can literally see global warming in action here as there are signs along the trail that indicate where the glacier ice was in past years. Learn More >, Championed by the famed conservationist John Muir, this southeast Alaskan national park is as known for its glaciers as it is for abundant whale watching opportunities. Snow can fall any month of the year, so be prepared for chilly weather even in summer. So, if you wanted to visit during wintertime (sledding?) Read up and come prepared. Gates of the Arctic encompasses 8.5 million acres of largely unexplored lands north of the Arctic Circle. Once in Kotzebue or Bettles, you must fly to the park with authorized air taxis. Nuance Travel Academy. Book your room as early as you can as the more affordable places fill up fast! This is where tens of thousands of people start hiking a staggering 600-mile trek to get to the goldfields in the Yukon in the late 19th century. It’s a sight worthy of any professional nature photographer’s attention and indeed, pretty much reserved for those. Average temperatures May through September range from 60 F to 47 F. Average temperatures October through April range from 38 F to 28 F. So far, we’ve covered those parks that are accessible by car from anywhere in Alaska or even the Lower 48 (if you’re willing to drive to Alaska, as we did). Most visitors access the park by air taxi and a few brave souls hike in from the Dalton Highway or from the village of Anaktuvuk Pass. The 3.3-million acre Glacier Bay National Park has stunning glaciers, dynamic mountains, pristine coastlines, and cold rainforests. I would really appreciate if you can pin images from this post on Pinterest and prepared a few special ones for that purpose –. The weather is influenced by many different systems and can change rapidly. I discussed the pros and cons of the shuttle vs. bus options in my post about visiting Denali National Park. Even there – you can get water at Eielson Visitor Center and that’s about it. Remember that you’re on your own here. We’ll kick off the list with the more popular ones mentioned above and then cover the other four as well. It wasn’t easy but very rewarding and they brought back awesome photos of the icefield. ), You can read our own Denali trip report here, Kenai Fjords cruise and you can see the videos of the glacier calving in my trip report, my detailed post about the Kenai Fjords cruise report, my post about things to do in Seward, Alaska, Read more tips for the Kenai Fjords glacier cruise here, visit to nearby Whitehorse, the capital of the Canadian Yukon, What’s the cost of a trip to Alaska (including 11 budgeting tips), whale and glacier watching while visiting Kenai National Park, 25 Alaska Travel Tips That Will Make Your Trip a Success, Visiting Fairbanks, Alaska (Including a List of 11 Fun Things to Do), Salt Point State Park, CA – A Visitor’s Guide, Red Rock State Park, Arizona – A Visitor’s Guide, Flathead Lake State Park, Montana – A Visitor’s Guide, 7 Fantastic Things To Do In Bozeman, Montana, Palomar Mountain State Park, CA – A Visitor’s Guide, 16 Awesome Things To Do In Great Falls, Montana, Big Basin Redwoods State Park, CA – A Visitor’s Guide, Montaña de Oro State Park, CA – A Visitor’s Guide, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, CA – A Visitor’s Guide, Natural Bridges State Beach, CA – A Visitor’s Guide, 7 Awesome Things To Do In Whitefish, Montana, Red Rock State Park, CA – A Visitor’s Guide, Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, CA – A Visitor’s Guide, 23 Best Things To Do In And Around Missoula, Montana, Crystal Cove State Park, CA – A Visitor’s Guide, Castle Rock State Park, CA – A Visitor’s Guide, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, FL – A Visitor’s Guide, 2 Weeks In The United States [5 Sample Itineraries], 21 Stunning Lake Tahoe Pictures [Bucket List Destination Photo Tour], Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, Take the drive along the park road for the amazing views (and wildlife), Fly over the park for amazing views of Denali mountain, Last – but not least – climb the mountain! In order to see the majestic snow-capped tallest peak in North America, you have to get at least to Eielson Visitor Center located at mile 66. Denali Park’s headquarters is located... 2. With six scenic rivers crossing the park, there’s no shortage of breathtaking scenery. The single sight that all visitors crave to see is Mount Denali. The shuttle or bus will take you as far as you want to go – and back. Read all about the daily boat tour here. So here’s the list of actual Alaska National Parks (all of them covered in this post) –. Denali National Park is Alaska's most famous park. This Alaska National Park does NOT contain any roads, trails, or visitor services within park boundaries. If you have the budget for it, a flight over the amazing mountain ranges that form the heart of the park is said to be pretty amazing. Gustavus, AK. Dog sledding is usually available during wintertime. Proudly displaying North America‘s tallest mountain and over six million acres of land, Denali is one of Alaska’s most popular national parks. Just show them the parks pass when you pick up the tickets and they’ll issue the refund to your card right away. Winters are drier and colder. A little after that, the paving ends and a ranger stops all traffic, allowing only park buses/shuttles and those with special permits to continue down the dirt road. There’s exceptional access to five parks in particular. This vast 6 million-acre wilderness also harbors abundant wildlife in a landscape that ranges from lush forests to harsh alpine tundra, with opportunities for: We stayed at the Aurora Denali Lodge and were very pleased with our stay. Surprisingly, there is quite a lot of privately-owned land within the national park area. I would Google to find them specifically. Alaska never had a chance to become overdeveloped or spoiled, as conservation was an early initiative in many of its most beautiful natural attractions. If you need one, that’s fine. That’s when you’ll be able to get the best chance to see the bear fish. Learn More >, Visited by just over 5,000 people annually, Lake Clark National Park is an oasis of wilderness solitude, beautifully diverse landscapes, and a healthy bear population. The park’s coastal backcountry in also largely inaccessible late fall through the early spring due to rough seas. There are park rangers in information stations in the nearby communities of Bettles, Anaktuvuk Pass, and Coldfoot. Several of these parks are so remote you simply can’t take your car and drive there. Taking everything into account, I would say Denali National Park is the one that should be on your Bucket List. Making them either very expensive to explore, or very difficult – or both. “ Our small cruise ship dropped anchor and we explored the area led by a ranger naturalist. Visit the park on a boat tour or explore on a hike from the Exit Glacier Nature Center near Seward. The only road in the area merely connects the tiny town of Gustavus and its airfield to park headquarters at Bartlett Cove (10 miles). Hi Cathy, Fall colors emerge on the alpine tundra in August and in the low valleys in early September. It’s a lovely little town with lots to see. Alaska's National Parks. NPS Photo. The system contains over 120 units spanning over three million acres (one million two hundred thousand hectares), making it far larger than any other state park system in the United States. Kobuk Valley National Park is very remote. The Park Road is still visible in view, even after several miles or hours of hiking, so can typically orient yourself If you want to hike on maintained trails, most of the marked trails in the park are about 2 miles or less in distance and near the park’s entrance. River crossings are necessary for both locations. Unless you’re camping in Wonder Lake (which requires special permits), the only way to get to Eielson is by taking the park shuttle of one of the bus tours. Not much of a problem if you’re driving your own SUV. Remote Aniakchak National Park ... Alaska's # 1 Wildlife and Glacier Cruise. This is the longest post on this blog to date. And now, from this point on, we’re talking about the three large and remoteAlaskan national parks. I enjoyed reading the information that you put out, and thank you for doing so. If you’re taking the cruise bring appropriate clothes. The park itself is open 24-hours a day, although services are limited after-hours (generally after 4 pm in winter or 6 pm in summer). Located on the Alaska Peninsula southwest of Anchorage and north of Katmai National Park, no roads get to Lake Clark National Park. If you’re not an experienced hiker though, you may want to start practicing in a place that’s more welcoming. You can drive to this park from either Anchorage, Fairbanks or even from the border from Canada. This means the climate is surprisingly temperate compared to Alaska. Glacier Bay for the amazing glaciers, icebergs, general scenery and wildlife. Gustavus, AK. Someday! Having visited both, I think the Yukon has much more of a “last frontier” feel to it. Especially if you plan on camping out. 3900 Arctic Blvd, Ste 304 There are no amenities within the park – other than along the road at very specific points. While you can’t drive to this park from anywhere in the Lower 48 or inland Alaska, it’s actually relatively accessible, so I’m mentioning it next on the list. This is a super professional climb so don’t add it to your itinerary (unless you happen to be one), Extreme weather conditions – even during summertime, Lack of communication (there’s zero cell reception in the park itself), Hiking the trails – at least to the Exit Glacier viewpoint, Taking a cruise to see a tidal water glacier. My older son is taking a university degree now so we think a long trip may not be a good option for a while. National Park Service. You can definitely enjoy some hiking in the Savage River area but if you’re visiting Denali, you simply must go on to explore the park. Summer is typically cool and wet, with highs typically in the upper 50s to low 60s, and lows in the 40s. Two National Parks in 1 Week 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. Here you can go camping, backpacking, bear viewing, and so much more! Whew! There are several hotels near the park entrance and they’re usually the more expensive ones. This park is famous for its totem poles and lush vegetation. Visitor Center: 106 Metlakatla Street is open during the summer and winter seasons. The two main activities when visiting Kenai Fjords are –. We did our whale and glacier watching while visiting Kenai National Park and staying in Seward. Alaska’s 4 Most Popular And Accessible Parks Denali National Park. Equally beautiful in an entirely different way, Glacier Bay National Park in Southeast Alaska is the site of one of the fastest glacial changes in recorded history.