Your Visual Guide to Alaska National Parks Map
Alaska is the largest state in the USA and is located in the northeast part of the country. This place is called nature’s very own paradise. This place just gets better, each and every time you visit it. Huge mountains, glaciers, beautiful landscape, coastline – you name it, Alaska has it all. Apart from the breathtaking view, Alaska has quite a diverse wildlife too. You will see grizzly bears in the wild, a variety of fishes during summer and how can we forget of the Eagles? All this diverse wildlife is bound to catch your eye. The fun adventure isn’t limited to daylight only, Alaska’s night gets even prettier with Northern Light which can be seen in Alaska’s Sky. There are options for fun outdoor activities too that can be experienced in Alaska’s national parks like Denali or Glacier Bay. Alaska is the place where nature meets adventure.
How Alaska National Parks Help in Preserving Alaska’s Ecosystem
Alaska is quite famous for its diverse ecosystem and wildlife, credit goes to the multiple numbers of sanctuaries and national parks there. These places help protect the beautiful landscape and diverse wildlife of the place. Preserving the wildlife is so important that the authentic taste of Alaska can be tasted generation after generation.
Alaska National Parks play a vital role in sheltering the ecosystem. Parks like Katamai, Kobuk Vallery, and Denali offer a unique environment that is enjoyable for tourists maintaining a safe space for wildlife too. This way everyone gets benefits.
Alaska National Parks Geography
As mentioned earlier, Alaska is the biggest state of the country that stays cold most of the season—being said that the gigantic area is also one of the reasons for Alaska being one of the most diverse and unique ecosystems on the whole planet. All these are very well represented in the National Parks of Alaska. Alaska has a lot of huge-sized national parks, that attract millions of tourists each year.
Types of Alaska Parks
There are eight (8) major national parks in Alaska. By geographical characteristics, they can be divided into 3 major types, such as – coastal, interior, and arctic.
Coastal parks are the parks where land meets the water, parks that are just beside the ocean. You will find beautiful shorelines in these parks.
Whereas parks that are far away from the ocean are called Interior parks. You’ll see deep forests, mountains, and rivers here.
Parks in the far north can be categorized as arctic parks. These parks tend to be super cold and rich in unique wildlife and plants.
Here is a basic table that will help understand which park falls into which category and why-
|Glacier Bay National Park||Denali National Park and Preserve||Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve|
|Kenai Fjords National Park||Kobuk Valley National Park|
|Lake Clark National Park|
|Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve|
|Katmai National Park and Preserve|
Mapping Alaska’s National Parks
Alaska is a giant place. If you are a tourist or a traveler, chances are you know very little about the places of Alaska. At this point, a detailed map of the National Parks can help you explore all the popular spots. A map will also help you in planning more efficiently saving you a lot of time.
This blog will help you with that!
Top 8 Alaska National Parks with Map
Alaska is a giant wild place full of wonders. Huge national parks are an important part of the state. There are 15 national parks 120 state parks and numerous numbers of sanctuaries for reserving wildlife. Here is a list of must-visit national parks in Alaska.
1. Denali National Park and Preserve
Location: North America’s northwest.
Size: 4,740,911 acres
Denali National Park is located in the middle of Alaska. The huge 4.7 million acres of land offer an immersive experience to tourists. This place is a wildlife enthusiast’s dream as you’ll find vascular plants, glaciers, landslides, and even fossils of the era of the dinosaurs. There are guided tours available for hiking. You can take a bus or bike ride for sightseeing. There are endless options to explore.
The park is open all year round but most of the visitors come here in the Summer. Because in that time, the winter ice and snow get melted and bike or bus commutes become a lot easier compared to winter. One thing to note is that there is only one road that goes through the park, so if you are planning for a bus ride, try to join with groups for better experiences.
2. Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve
Location: North America’s far north.
Size: Over 8,472,506 acres.
Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve is located in the far north of Alaska’s remote side. Like most other national parks this is also huge with a whopping more than 8.4 million acres of land.
This is one of the most remote parks in Alaska, there are hardly any roads, trails, or campsites. Visitors can explore the park however they want but professional assistance is suggested if you’re an adventure rookie. Communication gets super hard as this park is just beside the ocean and Alaska’s cold makes it worse. So come here only if you are looking for extreme adventure. The park contains beautiful mountains like the Arrigetch Peaks and Mount Igikpak. You’ll also see 6 rivers floating across the park.
3. Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve
Location: Southeast Alaska.
Size: Over 3,223,384 acres.
Just beside Alaska’s coast, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is a mixture of glaciers and a lot of marine animals. This park is also part of UNESCO’s World Heritage Site. This park is also a biosphere reserve.
If you are into boating or cruising, Glacier Bay National Park of Alaska is a must-visit. while hanging out in the water You might see humpback whales, sea otters, seals, and a variety of marine animals. Witnessing the calving glaciers and icebergs of the park is a pleasure to your eye.
4. Katmai National Park and Preserve
Location: Southern Alaska.
Size: Over 4,093,077 acres.
Katmai National Park and Preserve is situated in Alaska’s Everlong wilderness. This place is heaven for you if you like both scenic landscapes and various wildlife. The real highlight of the park is the very famous brown bears.
There is also a popular place called Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, which is a volcanic area famous among tourists for exploration. You can hike, camp, go boating, or even watch wildlife and do much more here. Do not forget to enjoy the opportunity to catch fresh salmons from the water of Alaska.
5. Kenai Fjords National Park
Location: Southern Alaska.
Size: Over 669,000 acres.
Kenai Fjords National Park is a stunning combination of glaciers and diverse marine life. You will get to see Towering mountains, Epic glaciers, and very beautiful trails. One of the most exciting perks you might get to see well visiting the park is Glacier calving. Glacier calving is when the chunks of ice break off and fall into the sea.
Talking of marine life, you might see orcas, sea lions, and cute little puffins. Although the park stays open throughout the year, experiencing it during winter can get a little harder. but if you are someone who loves taking challenges, you should check out the Harding Icefield Trail which is 8.2 miles long, but the views are totally worth it. you could explore the park by taking a boat ride or a flight tour.
6. Kobuk Valley National Park
Location: Northwest Alaska.
Size: Over 1.7 million acres.
Kobuk Valley National Park is an underrated spot That has unique geographical features and ancient cultural heritage. It’s a place where Nature meets cultural history. You will get to see herds of caribou roaming around the park. Not only that, you will get welcomed by sand dunes, rivers, and reflective lakes.
During the summer, you can do many fun things like boating, camping, flightseeing, fishing, etc. If you are into winter activities you can take part in snow machining, skiing, and dog mushing. This park is a must-visit if you are going with your family and children.
7. Lake Clark National Park and Preserve
Location: Southwest Alaska.
Size: Over 4 million acres.
Lake Clark National Park and Preserve is located in the heart of Alaska’s wilderness. It has mountains, coast, and even volcanoes – everything.
You can see big brown bears. You can go for a hike on the Telaquana Trail, or just chill by the crystal-clear waters of Lake Clark. If you plan a trip to the park, you’ll need to take a plane or boat since there aren’t any roads. If hiking is your thing, then they’ve got different options depending on what you’re feeling – you can either set up camp in one spot or go point-to-point on the Tanalian trails.
8. Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve
Location: Southern Alaska.
Size: Over 13 million acres.
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve located in Alaska, is the largest national park in the United States. the park is also home to four major mountain ranges, including nine of the 16 highest peaks in the United States. The Wrangell and St. Elias Ranges have some of the biggest volcanoes and most glaciers in North America. There are so many varieties of animals. You can hike up to mountains, float down rivers, ski on glaciers, or even fly over the whole park.
Activities in Alaska National Parks
Alaska National Parks offer many outdoor, backpacking, and recreational activities for visitors to enjoy.
Wildlife Viewing: Spotting Bears, Wolves, and More
The most exciting part of hiking in Alaska’s national parks is the chance to glimpse wildlife. You must keep your eyes open for one of those grizzly bears, moose, wolves, or bald eagles. Remember always to maintain a safe distance and respect the animals’ space. If you are patient enough, you might just see some of these animals.
Birdwatching in diverse habitats
If you’re into birdwatching, You can walk through forests, wetlands, and grasslands. Keep your eyes open for all sorts of birds in the park. Just ensure you don’t mess with their homes and keep your distance. You might get a glimpse of some rare species of birds too!
Hiking Trails for Everyone
Alaska’s national parks offer backpacking and hiking trails in various places. In Denali, From rookie to professional, there are trails for everyone.. Kenai Fjords has easy paths like Exit Glacier, but also has a comparatively difficult hike place to Harding Icefield. Wrangell-St. Elias offers easy walks to mines.
Glacier Bay offers trails to Bartlett River, Bartlett Cove, and Forest Loop. In Katmai, you can explore Dumpling Mountain, Ten Thousand Smokes Overlook, and Brooks Falls. Always remember to check weather forecasts and essential rules and regulations before going hiking or backpacking.
Navigating the Alaska National Parks on the Map
Having a map on hand is always helpful for navigating any area. You can download a map on your phone or use a physical one. Maps feature clear markings of the various parks, their boundaries, and of course, significant landmarks and trails. Locate your current position and plan your route accordingly. Using the map efficiently you can easily explore Alaska National Parks while staying on track and safe.
FAQs about Alaska National Parks
Here are some answers to the most asked questions that might help you in the adventure.
What is the best way to navigate the Alaska National Parks?
It’s always helpful to have a map on hand while navigating parks in Alaska. Maps have clear markings of various spots and boundaries. You’ll also get information on important landmarks and trails.
Are the Alaska National Parks open year-round?
Yes, the Alaska National Parks are open year-round. Although, some areas may not be accessible at certain times of the year due to weather conditions. Be sure to contact with park officials or check out their respective websites before planning your visit.
Are pets allowed in the park?
Yes, pets are allowed in Alaska’s National Parks, but they must be leashed at all times. One thing to keep in mind is that, like you, your pet might not enjoy the wild adventure. You can take them on roadways or in parking lots only; in no way should your pets be taken on treks, hikes, trails, or off-trails. Be sure to check with park officials before bringing your pet to ensure you follow all park policies and guidelines. And never forget to dispose of any waste to help keep the parks clean and safe. Lastly, always look after your pet and clean up, so that others can enjoy the same park you did.
Guidelines for Encounters With Bears
If you are hiking in the Alaska National Parks, it is important to be aware of grizzly bears. Here are some tips you may follow:
- Make noise while hiking. It will alert bears of your presence. Shout or wear a bell.
- Keep a distance of at least 100 yards from bears.
- If you encounter a bear, stay calm and do not run.
- Do not approach or feed bears. This is dangerous for both you and the bear.
- Always follow park guidelines and regulations regarding bear encounters to ensure the safety of yourself and the bears.
National parks in Alaska offer a fantastic escape from your 9-to-5 job and busy everyday life. From scenic views to diverse wildlife and various activities, you can find everything you need. While visiting, always remember to be mindful of the wildlife, as they also have lives to lead. Ensure you’re following the guidelines provided by the respective parks for your safety.