For those living in the United States mainland, Alaska may seem like a foreign country. Stereotypes of freezing weather, Eskimos, and whales may come to mind when hearing the state name. However, many people agree Alaska is a beautiful place that offers a number of wonderful attractions to the curious traveler.
Denali National Park and Mount McKinley
Denali National Park covers six million acres and has one road in between. The park sees about 400,000 visitors per year, most of which come during the summer season. Wild animals roam freely and there is an abundance of scenery to enjoy.
Some visitors are fond of seeing wild animals roam freely around the park. Some of the animal species seen include grizzly bears, moose, wolves, sheep, and foxes. According to the National Park Service, there are 39 species of mammals and 169 species of birds found in Denali. The park also contains more than 650 species of flowering plants and dinosaur tracks.
One of the most popular attractions in Denali is Mt. McKinley, the highest mountain in North America. It has an elevation of 20,230 feet.
The Hubbard Glacier is the biggest tidewater glacier in not just the United States, but North America as a whole. The glacier is extremely active, so visitors can hear it groan and creak while moving. It also frequently calves huge icebergs into the bay it rests in, which can be an extraordinary sight.
Glacier Bay National Park
Not only does Glacier Bay National Park house spectacular glaciers, but its 3.3 million acres also contain snow-capped mountain ranges, rivers, lakes, and fjords.
Like Denali, tourists often appreciate seeing wildlife roam through the park. Animals spotted in this location include birds, land animals, and marine animals. Killer whales, humpback whales, sea lions, moose, wolves, ducks, and goats are all examples.
According to the National Park service, about 420 species of plants are found in the park. In the summer breeding season, 230 species of birds are found at Glacier Bay. In the summer season, temperatures average between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
So what else is there to do while in Alaska? In various destinations, visitors can enjoy panning for gold, fishing, boating, taking sled dog tours, shopping, and unlimited other activities. Why not relax in an outdoor hot tub, see a movie, go backpacking, or learn about the history of an area? It may be a bit colder there, but it only takes a little bundling up and a sense of adventure to make Alaska a dream vacation destination.
- Some information provided by the National Park Service website.
This article provided by a contributing writer for America By Rail, a provider of various vacation options for an Alaska train tour.
Image courtesy of Flickr user blmiers2.