#62 best destination in the world

Denali, Denali National Park and Preserve

  • Highest mountain peak in North America, and the third most prominent and third most isolated peak on Earth, after Mount Everest and Aconcagua
  • The Koyukon people who inhabit the area around the mountain have referred to the peak as “Denali” for centuries
  • In 1896, a gold prospector named it “Mount McKinley” in support of then-presidential candidate William McKinley
  • In 2015, 40 years after Alaska had done so, the United States Department of the Interior announced the change of the official name of the mountain to Denali
  • The first verifiable ascent to Denali’s summit was achieved in 1913

Exit Glacier, Kenai Fjords National Park

  • Glacier derived from the Harding Icefield in Kenai Fjords National Park
  • It is a visible indicator of glacial recession due to climate change
  • Exit Glacier retreated approximately 187 feet from 2013 to 2014 and park scientists continue to monitor and record the glacier’s accelerating recession
  • It received its name for serving as the exit for the first recorded crossing of the Harding Icefield in 1968

Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau

  • Glacier about 13.6 miles long, located 12 miles from Juneau
  • Glacier that has retreated 1.75 miles since 1929, when Mendenhall Lake was created, and over 2.5 miles since 1500
  • The glacier will continue to retreat in the foreseeable future

Arrigetch Peaks, Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve

  • Cluster of rugged granite spires in the Endicott Mountains
  • The name Arrigetch means ‘fingers of the outstretched hand’ in the Inupiat language
  • The earliest recorded Geological Survey of the area was in 1911
  • An American climbing party led by Brownell Bergen completed the first successful rock climbing expedition to the peaks in 1964
  • The peaks have been visited by a number of rock climbing expeditions since then
  • A hard trail to hike, which could have a significant elevation gain and be long distance, or have some terrain that makes it challenging

Mount Fairweather, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve

  • Mountain that lies within Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve
  • The mountain was named in 1778, by Captain James Cook, for the unusually good weather encountered at the time
  • Fairweather was first climbed in 1931

Brooks Falls, Katmai National Park and Preserve

  • Waterfall located within Katmai National Park and Preserve
  • The falls are famous for watching salmon leap over the 6 foot falls to get to their Brooks Lake spawning grounds
  • Consequently, large populations of brown bears, also called grizzly bears, are attracted to feed on the spawning salmon
  • Brown bears usually congregate at the falls in July through early September

Hubbard Glacier, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve

  • Glacier located in Wrangell–St. Elias National Park and Preserve
  • It takes about 400 years for ice to traverse the length of the glacier, meaning that the ice at the foot of the glacier is about 400 years old
  • The glacier routinely calves off icebergs the size of a ten-story building
  • Where the glacier meets the bay, most of the ice is below the waterline, and newly calved icebergs can shoot up quite dramatically
  • The only way to see the Hubbard Glacier is to visit Yakutat, and several cruise ship companies include the Hubbard Glacier on their Alaska cruise itineraries

Mount Redoubt, Lake Clark National Park and Preserve

  • Active stratovolcano in the largely volcanic Aleutian Range
  • Located in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve
  • Active for millennia, Mount Redoubt has erupted four times since it was first observed: in 1902, 1966, 1989 and 2009
  • The eruption in 1989 spewed volcanic ash to a height of 45,000 ft and caught KLM Flight 867, a Boeing 747 aircraft, in its plume
  • After the plane descended, the pilots restarted the engines and landed the plane safely at Anchorage

Great Kobuk Sand Dunes, Kobuk Valley National Park

  • Remnants of dune fields that covered as many as 200,000 acres immediately after the retreat of Pleistocene glaciation
  • A combination of outwash deposits from the glaciers and strong winds created the field, which is now mostly covered by forest and tundra
  • In present times the active dune fields cover about 20,500 acres
  • The Great Kobuk Sand Dunes comprise the largest active Arctic dune field in North America
  • A hard trail to hike, which could have a significant elevation gain and be long distance, or have some terrain that makes it challenging

Anchorage Museum

  • Large art, history, ethnography, ecology and science museum
  • The museum is dedicated to studying and exploring the land, peoples, art and history of Alaska
  • Gives insight into the lifestyles of Alaska’s Native peoples, exploration and settlement by the Russians, the gold rush era, World War II and statehood in 1959

Aurora Borealis, Fairbanks

  • Natural light display in Earth’s sky, predominantly seen in high-latitude regions, around the Arctic and Antarctic
  • Auroras display dynamic patterns of brilliant lights that appear as curtains, rays, spirals, or dynamic flickers covering the entire sky
  • Auroras are the result of disturbances in the magnetosphere caused by the solar wind
  • Most of the planets in the Solar System, some natural satellites, brown dwarfs, and even comets also host auroras