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11 Most Beautiful Places to See in Alaska

Jamie Delos Reyes

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America’s 49th state and its largest, Alaska, is brimming with unspoiled beauty. Instead of congested cities, you’ll find miles of pristine wilderness the moment you arrive – making it almost impossible to narrow down the most beautiful places to see in Alaska.

Don’t have time to explore every inch of this incomparable state?

In a place overflowing with abundant wildlife, serene ocean vistas, and awe-inspiring mountain crags, here are some beautiful places in Alaska you absolutely should not miss:

1. The Alaska Highway

The Alaska Highway, Alaska
Photo Credits: Silas the Sprinter

Start your adventure into the Last Frontier with a scenic drive through the Alaska Highway, aka the ALCAN. This 1387-mile old road dates back to World War II and stretches from the Delta Junction all the way to British Columbia, Canada.

Driving through the Alaska Highway is like driving through a postcard: lookout at your window at breathtaking terrain, thick forests, and if you’re lucky, some wildlife darting in and out of the foliage.

2. The Arctic Coast

The Arctic Coast, Alaska
Photo Credits: Anchorage Daily News | Ned Rozell

Let Alaska’s rugged tundra take your breath away at the Arctic Coast, where the state’s native communities live peacefully among one of the greatest predators on earth: the polar bear.

Travel just off the mainland on Barter Island, where you’ll find the Inupiaq village of Kaktovik, for a first-row seat to see the rare polar bears. During the summer, these beasts congregate in large groups while waiting for the Beaufort Sea to freeze.

3. Gates of the Arctic National Park Reserve

Gates of the Arctic National Park Reserve, Alaska
Photo Credits: Drink Evolve Trips

One of the most beautiful places to see in Alaska is one of the most untouched landscapes in the nation. The Gates of the Arctic National Park Preserve is dotted with glacier-carved valleys and wild icy rivers covering a landscape as big as the country of Switzerland. Many animals call the preserve home, including more than a hundred bird species.

There is no road access to the park, so prepare for a thrilling adventure by hiking though the Dalton Highway or flying in using air taxis.

4. Denali National Park and Preserve

Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
Photo Credits: Barrett Hedges

One of Alaska’s ultimate showstoppers is Denali National Park and Preserve. The national park covers six million acres of raw Alaskan interior wilderness crowned by Denali, North America’s highest point at 20, 310 ft.

A single, winding road bisects this sanctuary, which is home to a menagerie of caribou, bears, wolves, Dall sheep, and other wildlife. Whether you to go to the park on a ranger-led program or on a park bus ride, one thing’s for sure – you won’t regret your visit to Denali National Park and Preserve, truly one of the most beautiful places to see in Alaska.

5. The Eastern Aleutians

The Eastern Aleutians, Alaska
Photo Credits: Lucia Gulatieri

Go west along the Alaskan Peninsula, and you’ll end up at the windswept and barren Aleutian Islands which lays claim to 27 of the most active volcanoes in America. This desolate landscape will leave you breathless with endless untamed and raw wilderness stretching all the way across Russia. Be prepared to witness smoking volcanic craters, abundant marine and birdlife, and ancient Aleut village sites on your visit.

6. Katmai National Park and Preserve

Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska
Photo Credits: Unsplash | Dana Jones

You can only reach King Salmon, Katmai’s base camp, by plane or ferry. Once you’re there, you’ll feel like you stepped back into a remote, primordial era in the Alaska Peninsula. Trek to the Valley of the Ten Thousand Smokes known for its hardened ash field with thousands of cracks known as fumaroles.

Another must-see attraction at the Katmai National Park and Preserve is Brooks Falls. Get up close and personal with fearsome grizzly bears as they feast on salmon spawn. Finish your tour with photos of the mountain’s snow topped-peaks that tower over the multi-colored volcanic landscape.

7. Coldfoot

Coldfoot, Alaska
Photo Credits: Coldfoot Camp

Don’t underestimate this Dalton Highway truck stop – the town of Coldfoot is perfectly situated in Alaska’s Arctic Circle, right under the world-famous Aurora Belt. Stand under the magnificent Aurora Borealis or northern lights as part of a brilliant night tour from Coldfoot Camp.

8. The Chilkoot Trail

The Chilkoot Trail, Alaska
Photo Credits: Flickr | Henk Binnendijk

Alaska may be one of the most sparsely-populated places in the US, but it’s also steeped in history. Take the 33-mile Chilkoot Trail, which was a key route during the Klondike Gold Rush. The trail is known for historical relics such as tramway boiler, but it’s also one of the most beautiful places to see in Alaska – take your fill of gigantic glaciers, alpine views, suspended river crossings, and coastal rainforest.

9. Kodiak Island

Kodiak Island, Alaska
Photo Credits: Lisa Hupp

Looking for serenity by the sea? Find it at Kodiak Island, nicknamed Alaska’s Emerald Isle. Kodiak Island boasts blooming meadows and coastlines untouched by civilization. The mild coastal climate on the island has produced unique plant species and wetlands, such as the Sitka Spruce forest that’s the only one of its kind on earth.

While you can only get to Kodiak Island by a seaplane or by ferry, don’t mistake it for a ho-hum outpost. Drop by the Abercrombie State Historical Park for some intriguing WWII history, and don’t forget to take photos of the electric green fields and crystal-blue ocean vistas.

10. Tatshenshini-Alsek River

Answer Alaska’s call of the wild and experience the Tatshenshini-Alsek River in all of its untamed glory. Go on a river voyage down the Alsek Lake, which is dammed by spectacular glaciers. Tap the ice with your paddle while you float downriver into the greater Alsek River. Cruise the water alongside gigantic icebergs and heaven-scraping peaks until you reach the Dry Bay. Aside from being one of the most beautiful places to see in Alaska, the ride through the Tatshenshini-Alsek River is also one of the most unforgettable adventures in the world.

11. Glacier Bay National Park

Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska
Photo Credits: Jo Ann Snover

Enter a world bordered by ice when you join the of the Inside Passage cruises that Alaska is famous for. These cruises go through the UNESCO-listed Glacier Bay National Park, site of the regal Margerie Glacier.

Watch in awe as 100-tonne icebergs carve the clear, icy waters. Don’t forget to bring your binoculars – you can often spot mountain goats, bears, and other wildlife during the cruise.

Which of these most beautiful places to see in Alaska would you like to visit first? Plan your trip and see Alaska’s splendid natural wonders for yourself!

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