Despite being on the northwestern end of the continent, there are several stunning national parks in Alaska. Being the least densely populated state in America also helped preserve and protect these areas. However, when people mention Alaskan national parks, the larger-than-life peaks of Denali and rushing rivers of Glacier Bay come into mind. Although these are undisputed attractions in Alaska, the state also offers other parks, preserves, and monuments worth seeing.\r\nFor adventurers and lovers of the wilderness, a visit to the so-called Last Frontier is a must. Boasting miles and miles of rugged landscapes and wilderness, here\u2019s a list of the best Alaskan national parks!\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\nHow Many National Parks Are in Alaska?\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by Brad Stallcup on Unsplash\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThere are eight national parks in Alaska, including the largest in the whole United States, Wrangell\u2013St. Elias National Park and Preserve. In addition, six of the said national parks are also paired with a national preserve. As compared with a national park, a national preserve protects certain natural resources. Additionally, hunting, fishing, and extraction of minerals and fuels are permitted at a national preserve as long as they are done in accordance with regulations.\r\nAside from national parks and preserves, Alaska also has several national monuments. A national monument, on the other hand, protects at least one significant resource. National monuments are also relatively smaller as compared to a national park or a preserve and lack different attractions.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\nBest National Parks in Alaska\r\n1. Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by 12019 on Pixabay\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nEntrance fees: None\r\nBest Time to Visit: May to mid-September\r\nGlacier Bay National Park and Preserve is easily one of the most recognizable national parks in America. Despite it being accessible only by air travel, the park attracts plenty of visitors and amassed an annual visitor count of more than 500,000 in 2018. And with over 3 million acres of land, the national park offers anything and everything: fjords, coastlines, forests, and its trademark glaciers. Glacier Bay National Park and Reserve is also a wilderness sanctuary, home to a variety of land and marine animals. \r\nThings to Do:\r\n\r\n\tSee the Grinnell Glacier\r\n\tHike along Iceberg Lake Trail\r\n\tVisit Lake McDonald\r\n\tWalk through the Going-to-the-Sun Road\r\n\tCamp overnight\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n2. Denali National Park and Preserve\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by 12019 on Pixabay\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nEntrance fees: 15 USD per person valid for a week\r\nBest Time to Visit: All-year-round\r\nDenali National Park and Preserve is one of the best national parks in Alaska in terms of accessibility. Unlike other parks and preserves, Denali is located on a road system, making it easy for travelers to get to the park via buses or park shuttles. The park\u2019s crowning glory is Mount Denali, the highest peak in all of America. Additionally, the 6 million-hectare park is every adventurer\u2019s playground and a popular spot for car camping. From spring to winter, Denali National Park and Preserve offers a wide variety of outdoor activities.\r\nThings to Do:\r\n\r\n\tSee different species of animals\r\n\tHike different trails\r\n\tJoin bus tours around the park\r\n\tGo on a photo walk and take pictures of Mount Denali\r\n\tMeet the sled dogs of Denali\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n3. Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by Paxson Woelber on Flickr\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nEntrance fees: None\r\nBest Time to Visit: May to September\r\nTrue to its name, Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve lies north of the Arctic Circle and is the country\u2019s northernmost national park. It is also the second-largest, with its size almost the same as Belgium! The park is the perfect exemplification of wilderness, with no established campsites, no road access, and no trails. That being said, authorities advise that all visitors should be proficient in outdoor survival skills. However, despite its remote environment, visitors can enjoy different activities in the park and the wildlife shouldn\u2019t be missed.\r\nThings to Do:\r\n\r\n\tHead to the skies and go on a flightseeing tour of the park\r\n\tFind caribou antlers, foxes, and other animals\r\n\tKayaking or canoeing\r\n\tSee the Aurora Borealis at night\r\n\tGo off-trail hiking\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n4. Wrangell\u2013St. Elias National Park and Preserve\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by scott1346 on Flickr\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nEntrance fees: None\r\nBest Time to Visit: Mid-May to Mid-September\r\nBoasting more than 13 million acres of land (that\u2019s equal to six Yellowstone National Parks!), Wrangell\u2013St. Elias National Park and Preserve is the largest national park in America. It combines historical and natural wonders, and visitors can find an abundance of mountains, glaciers, and mining sites here. Given its massive land area, visitors can enjoy the beauty of this national park. Whether you\u2019re a first-time visitor, or an adventurer at heart, Wrangell\u2013St. Elias National Park and Preserve is one of the best national parks in Alaska you can visit.\r\nThings to Do:\r\n\r\n\tGo on a multi-day backpacking adventure\r\n\tTour Kennecott Copper Mill\r\n\tVisit Liberty Falls\r\n\tEnjoy a drive through McCarthy Road\r\n\tTake a flightseeing tour of the park\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n5. Lake Clark National Park and Preserve\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by Lake Clark National Park & Preserve on Flickr\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nEntrance fees: None\r\nBest Time to Visit: Late July to August\r\nAt Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, different ecosystems meet. It is also home to the Dena\u02bcina people and the world\u2019s largest sockeye salmon fishery. As you explore the park, you\u2019ll find gorgeous lakes, rainforests, volcanoes, snow-capped mountains, and alpine tundra. Lake Clark is also one of the national parks in Alaska not accessible by car, so this is perfect for those who want to avoid crowds whilst enjoying the wilderness.\r\nThings to Do:\r\n\r\n\tGo bear viewing and bird watching\r\n\tKayaking and canoeing at the lakes\r\n\tBoat tour around Lake Clark\r\n\tTry salmon fishing\r\n\tHike around the wilderness\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n6. Kobuk Valley National Park\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by National Park Service, Alaska Region on Flickr\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nEntrance fees: None\r\nBest Time to Visit: Mid-June to late July\r\nKobuk Valley National Park is perhaps one of the most unique national parks in Alaska and in the United States. It is most notable for its otherworldly sand dunes against the boreal forests and tundra fields. Every year, more than 400,000 caribou migrate and swim across the Kobuk River, switching from their winter breeding ground to their summer calving ground. Like other national parks, there are no developed areas, so the park is filled with untouched lands where animals can thrive and live. But nonetheless, it showcases the beauty of Alaska\u2019s wilderness. \r\nThings to Do:\r\n\r\n\tExplore the park on a backpacking trip\r\n\tView the aurora borealis\r\n\tGo skiing in winter\r\n\tFish for salmon, shellfish, and Dolly Varden\r\n\tSee the Great Kobuk Sand Dunes\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n7. Kenai Fjords National Park\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by Daniel Tong on Unsplash\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nEntrance fees: None\r\nBest Time to Visit: May to October \r\nYou don\u2019t have to go all the way to Akershus in Norway to see the fjords as you can see them at Kenai Fjords National Park. In addition, more than 40 glaciers flow from the Harding Icefield all the way to the ocean, a breathtaking yet sobering sight as the shrinking glaciers remind you of the effects of climate change. Kenai Fjords National Park is also home to several sea otters, killer whales, brown and black bears, and other mammals. From Anchorage, the national park is only a few hours away, making it a perfect day trip from the city.\r\nThings to Do:\r\n\r\n\tJoin a boat tour through the fjords\r\n\tTake a tour to Fox Island\r\n\tParticipate in a ranger-led program\r\n\tSee Exit Glacier\r\n\tHike across Harding Icefield Trail\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n8. Katmai National Park and Preserve\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by Katmai National Park and Preserve on Flickr\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nEntrance fees: None\r\nBest Time to Visit: June to mid\/late July\r\nIf you want to see bears in their natural habitat, Katmai National Park and Preserve is one of the best national parks in Alaska to visit. This is also the site of the largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century and you can see remnants of this devastating event at the park. Find an abundance of volcanoes, river flats, and mountains as you explore the park. For hikers, Katmai is also a great place for backcountry hiking and other outdoor activities like fly-fishing, camping, and boating. In addition, to get the best bear-viewing experience, visit in July or September.\r\nThings to Do:\r\n\r\n\tView the bears from Brooks Falls\r\n\tGo backcountry hiking or camping\r\n\tFish for salmon or trout\r\n\tMarvel at the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes\r\n\tPaddle through the park\u2019s lakes and rivers\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n9. Sitka National Historical Park\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by James Crippen on Wikimedia Commons\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nEntrance fees: None\r\nBest Time to Visit: May to mid-September\r\nSitka National Historical Park may be one of the smallest national parks in Alaska, but it packs a lot of history. The park preserves the battle site between Russian fur hunters and the Tlingit people. Along the coastal trail, you can find totem poles which are the replica of the original ones, a reminder of the historic events here. But aside from its native totem poles, Sitka National Historical Park is also known for its coastal rainforests that offer majestic seaside views.\r\nThings to Do:\r\n\r\n\tJoin ranger-led programs and tours\r\n\tDiscover Tlingit culture and art\r\n\tVisit the Russian Bishop's House\r\n\tFollow the Totem Trail\r\n\tWatch The Voices of Sitka, a 12-minute video showing the history of Sitka\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n10. Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by Phillip Stewart on Wikimedia Commons\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nEntrance fees: None, but some trails or campgrounds may have additional fees\r\nBest Time to Visit: Mid-May to September\r\nKlondike Gold Rush National Historical Park showcases the history and legacy of the Klondike Gold Rush. Between 1896 and 1899, more than a hundred thousand prospectors traveled to the goldfields of Klondike. Others instantly became rich while some failed, and it was further immortalized in books, TV series, and movies. The park also offers scenic trails, including the historic Chilkoot Trail, a multi-day hike that follows the trail of the stampeders during the Gold Rush.\r\nThings to Do:\r\n\r\n\tGo on a multi-day backpacking trip through the Chilkoot Trail\r\n\tSee the informative film, Gold Fever: Race to the Klondike\r\n\tVisit the Skagway City Museum\r\n\tDrive across the White Pass Summit\r\n\tHike along its shorter trails\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n11. Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by Katmai National Park and Preserve on Wikimedia Commons\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nEntrance fees: None\r\nBest Time to Visit: May to September\r\nBecause of its relatively remote location, Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve is one of the least visited national parks in Alaska. But that doesn\u2019t mean it\u2019s not worth seeing! The park is a stark reminder that Alaska belongs to the highly active Ring of Fire along with Asian countries like Indonesia and the Philippines. Its highlight is the six-mile wide caldera that formed as a result of a volcanic eruption 3,500 years ago. Despite its barren look, Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve still offer different activities.\r\nThings to Do:\r\n\r\n\tGo river rafting at the Aniakchak River\r\n\tHike to the caldera floor\r\n\tTry sport fishing\r\n\tEnjoy boating or canoeing\r\n\tFeel the thrill of hunting \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n12. Cape Krusenstern National Monument\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by Western Arctic National Parklands on Flickr\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nEntrance fees: None\r\nBest Time to Visit: June to September\r\nVisiting Cape Krusenstern National Monument is perfect for individuals and families looking for endless outdoor activities. The park is centered around Cape Krusenstern, a cape that contains several beaches, swales, ponds, and lakes. Along with the limestone hills, it creates an eerie yet tranquil environment. In summer, the park is dotted with wildflowers that give color to the otherwise plain ridges and hills. Migratory birds also come to the park for nesting, a must-see when visiting Cape Krusenstern National Monument.\r\nThings to Do:\r\n\r\n\tSee the national park on a flightseeing trip\r\n\tGo birdwatching\r\n\tKayak across the waters of the lake\r\n\tOvernight camping\r\n\tTake photos of the flora and fauna\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n13. Noatak National Preserve\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by National Park Service, Alaska Region on Flickr\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nEntrance fees: None\r\nBest Time to Visit: Mid-June to September\r\nEstablished to protect the Noatak River Basin, Noatak National Preserve is one of the best national parks in Alaska for backpackers. It boasts some of the best varieties of flora and fauna in the Arctic. Additionally, experts believe that the river system is one of the last few undeveloped river systems. That being said, enjoy nothing but pure wilderness at the national preserve.\r\nThings to Do:\r\n\r\n\tGo sport hunting or fishing\r\n\tExplore the backcountry \r\n\tSee the wildlife and take pictures\r\n\tJoin different community programs\r\n\tHike in the summer\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n14. Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by National Park Service, Alaska Region on Flickr\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nEntrance fees: None\r\nBest Time to Visit: June\r\nThe Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve aims to preserve two rivers: the Yukon River and the Charley River. Many know the Yukon River for its role during the iconic Klondike Gold Rush, but not many know that the Charley River is a stunning body of water that flows through three different regions. As you float through the river, be mesmerized by the scenery of valleys, floodplains, and spruce trees.\r\nThings to Do:\r\n\r\n\tFloat through the Yukon River\r\n\tRafting at Charley River\r\n\tSki, mush, or snowmachine in winter\r\n\tTry dog mushing\r\n\tVisit cabins and different historical sites\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n15. Bering Land Bridge National Preserve\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by U.S. Department of the Interior on Flickr\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nEntrance fees: None\r\nBest Time to Visit: May to June\r\nBering Land Bridge National Preserve is one of the important national parks in Alaska. It preserves Bering Land Bridge, a landmass that once connected Asia and North America during the ice age. Today, the national preserve is home to some of the most incredible wildlife. Find different species of plants and flowers, including more than 50 wild berry species. Although fairly remote, you can get to Bering Land Bridge National Preserve by plane from Nome.\r\nThings to Do:\r\n\r\n\tGo wild berry picking\r\n\tExplore the preserve on a snowmobile\r\n\tParticipate in ranger-led programs\r\n\tBirdwatching or wildlife viewing\r\n\tHike or go on a multi-day backpacking tour\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n16. Alagnak Wild River\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by Katmai National Park and Preserve on Flickr\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nEntrance fees: None\r\nBest Time to Visit: June to September\r\nRounding up the list of the best national parks in Alaska is the Alagnak Wild River. It is also a popular location for sport fishing in the state, home to rainbow trout, grayling, king salmon, and other fish species. Due to the abundant source of salmon, it attracts plenty of bears, something visitors should take note of when camping or hiking. You can also find moose, beavers, foxes, otters as you explore the Alagnak Wild River.\r\nThings to Do:\r\n\r\n\tCruise along the river\r\n\tFish for salmon, trout, and other fishes\r\n\tCamp in the wilderness\r\n\tKayak or try whitewater rafting\r\n\tSee the wildlife and take pictures\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\nWhat You Need to Know Before Visiting National Parks in Alaska\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by Wall Boat on Flickr\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n\tMake sure to bring clothing appropriate for the weather. Snow is common in Alaska and some parts have a rainforest climate with many occurrences of rain and fog. In winter, wear heated jackets and heated gloves. Before planning your visit, you can also check the weather forecast in case of possible snowstorms or rainfall.\r\n\tHaving a National Park Pass or a National Parks Senior Pass can help you save money. These passes can grant you free or discounted entry to some national parks.\r\n\tNot all national parks in the state are accessible by road and visiting them can be expensive. Some national parks, reserves, and monuments require air travel, so be sure to research how to travel to these places. You can also book tours through third-party websites for convenience.\r\n\tAlaska national parks include Native lands and villages where locals reside. When visiting, please refrain from taking pictures of these villages. Additionally, visitors should be respectful to those who live in these lands. Remember that you are a guest visiting their territory.\r\n\tIf this will be your first time visiting a national park or monument, don\u2019t be hesitant to approach park rangers or head to the visitor centre. They can give activity suggestions, help you find a campsite, and offer programs and tours you can join.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\nCamping Safety Tips at National Parks in Alaska\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by riya26 on Pixabay\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n\tChoose a campground that is close to your chosen activity. Some campgrounds are strategically located near fishing spots, hiking trails, and popular viewpoints.\r\n\tAlways carry a map, GPS unit, compass, and a satellite phone in case of an emergency.\r\n\tWhen encountering animals, please avoid feeding animals or approaching them for pictures. These animals have little to no encounters with humans so they could act aggressively. If you\u2019re camping with children, make sure that they don\u2019t chase or pick up the animals.\r\n\tIn summer, some campgrounds have a risk of sudden forest fires. Check for any fire regulations or confirm with park rangers or at the visitor centre if there are fire-related advisories at campgrounds.\r\n\tBeware of frost heaves on highways. Pay attention to the orange flags on both sides of the highway as they mark nearby frost-heave areas.\r\n\tWhen cooking, try not to bring or cook food with a strong smell as it can attract animals. Store leftover food in your van and never leave them out when not in use.\r\n\tMosquitoes can be a problem at national parks in Alaska, so don\u2019t forget to bring a mosquito repellent.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nFinal Notes\r\nAlaska is overall a haven for adventurers. The American state offers plenty of ground for camping, hiking, fishing, boating, and more. What's even better is that these national parks in Alaska have significance, whether it was a landmass that connects two continents or the location of historic gold rushes. Although people tend to visit popular national parks like Yosemite National Park or Grand Canyon, the parks in Alaska shouldn\u2019t also be missed!