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Alaska National Parks

The Walter Harper Talkeetna Ranger Station
The Walter Harper Talkeetna Ranger Station at Denali

The United States has the good fortune of having an excellent national parks system, dating back over a hundred years. The National Park Service (NPS), with the help of volunteers and park partners, protect nearly 400 places for 331 million visitors every year.

By area, Alaska holds more than half of America’s national park lands. With 17 national park units and 16 national wildlife refuges, the options for visits and vacations are plentiful.

On this website we have included an assortment of photographs, maps, commentary, lodging suggestions, and reviews of the national parks in Alaska.

Overview of the Eight National Parks in Alaska

Alaska is home to eight outstanding national parks. The four most-visited national parks are the ones most accessible from the road system or on a cruise. They have convenient accommodations nearby and well-developed tours that make exploring easier for the casual visitor. Four other parks are more remote, and require air or boat access.

Most Accessible
  • Denali National Park and Preserve - accessible via train from Fairbanks or Anchorage
  • Kenai Fjords National Park - south of Anchorage, access via automobile or train
  • Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve - access via cruise ship, or fly or ferry to Gustavus
  • Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve - 7 hour drive from Anchorage or a 9 hour drive from Fairbanks
More Remote Parks
  • Katmai National Park and Preserve - Float plane from Homer or Anchorage
  • Kobuk Valley National Park - air flight from Kotzebue or Bettles
  • Gates of the Artic National Park & Preserve - 1.5 hour air flight from Fairbanks
  • Lake Clark National Park & Preserve - Float plane from Homer or Anchorage

 

Map of National Parks in Alaska

Map showing the locations of the eight national parks and preserves in Alaska
Map showing the locations of the eight national parks and preserves in Alaska

 

Highlights of the National Parks in Alaska

 

 

List of Other NPS Parks and Preserves in Alaska

Alagnak Wild River
Aleutian Islands World War II National Historic Area
Aniakchak National Monument & Preserve
Bering Land Bridge National Preserve
Cape Krusenstern National Monument
Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park
Noatak National Preserve
Sitka National Historic Park
Yukon - Charley Rivers National Preserve
Alagnak Wild River

 

 

Brown bears at Brooks Falls in Katmai
Brown bears hunting for Sockeye Salmon at the top of Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park and Preserve

 

Visiting National Parks During the COVID-19 Outbreak in 2021

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the national parks of the United States offer wide open spaces, and opportunities for family fun, hiking, fishing, biking, plenty of fresh air and a break from the rigors of Coronavirus Lock Downs.

The National Park Service is closely monitoring and responding to the pandemic. Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local officials, it continues to adapt to changing conditions while maintaining public access at a majority of NPS sites.

As parks transition through phased reopening, park superintendents continue to coordinate with NPS and Department of the Interior (DOI) leadership, states, tribes and local governments, partners, concessionaires, and gateway communities to communicate about public health efforts, CDC best practices, and ways visitors can continue to enjoy the outdoors while recreating responsibly.

More than two thirds of the 419 units of the National Park System are available to visitors. However, some facilities and services may be limited. As operations are changing on a park-by-park basis, we recommend visitors check with individual parks for specific details about their operations, including campgrounds.

So if you are visiting a national park, plan ahead ... some parks, like Rocky Mountain NP, require advance reservations and have limits on the number of visitors allowed in the park. Others do not have all facilities open.

Read more ... National Park Service: Public Health Update

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