Adventure And Alaska Go Hand In Hand
Where else can you hike an ice-age glacier, skim over the wilderness in a bush plane, watch a massive brown bear snag a salmon from a waterfall or explore millions of acres of pristine parklands?
And don’t forget the water sports: Alaska’s many famous rivers, lakes and protected coastal waters offer adventures that range from whitewater raft-ing (mild to wild), kayaking through fields of icebergs and glacier-carved fjords or snorkeling the near-coast waters.
Alaska’s raw, beautiful and unrelenting terrain teems with opportunities for back country experiences unlike anything else in the world—and there’s a trip to suit every ability level. Not too comfortable with the great outdoors but still want a little adventure? Day excursions and guided tours allow you to discover the Alaska wilderness during the day and still sleep in a comfortable bed at night.
All that untouched, wild land makes Alaska the quintessential year-round destination for ecotourism: visitors seeking a more personal connection with nature, culture and wilderness. In doing so, the focus is on leaving little or no impact during your visit so that future Alaska visitors can enjoy the same beauty and quality of adventure experiences.
Alaska is full of outdoor adventures, from the mild to the wild. Picnic near an Ice Age glacier or raft a raging river. Experience gold rush excitement aboard a sternwheeler or try your hand fishing for Alaska’s world-class halibut and salmon.
Skim the wilderness in a “bush” plane or helicopter. Or take a flight-seeing trip over some of the most breathtaking mountains in North America. Drive for miles beside a turquoise glacier-fed river.
Alaska has some of the most incredible scenery to be found in the United States. In order to enjoy all Alaska has to offer, visitors must get out and experience it for themselves.
With an amazing trail system that snakes through most major communities, Alaska has a trail for all abilities – from accessible nature paths to mountain hikes that are physically challenging. Cyclists, joggers and walkers will discover endless possibilities at their feet. Long-distance riders can use the highways – which vary in road surface and shoulder width.
No doubt: Getting to see a majestic black bear snatching salmon from an Alaska stream is the memory of a lifetime. But as iconic as these massive land predators are, they’re just the start of what Alaska has to offer. Keep your eyes peeled for soaring bald eagles, colorful puffins, stately sandhill cranes, shy black bears, acrobatic humpback whales and of course the regal, knobby-kneed moose, the largest member of the deer family.
Other types of wildlife are less common, but all the more exciting for their rarity. Alaska’s broad, uninterrupted swaths of wilderness are home to animals like lynx and wolves that are usually so shy, even locals are thrilled to catch a quick glimpse.
And don’t forget about the smaller animals: From wood frogs with antifreeze in their veins to the tiny collared pika, which spends its summer harvesting piles of hay to be used as food during the winter, Alaska’s smallest year-round inhabitants have made astonishing adaptations to living in this northern climate.
Some of Alaska’s best wildlife sights are seasonal: Every spring, locals and visitors alike crowd onto day cruises in hopes of seeing gray whales migrating to their feeding grounds in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas. And if you travel to the state’s northern reaches, you might be lucky enough to see caribou traveling in herds so large, they blot out the horizon.
Needless to say, make sure you bring a pair of binoculars and a good camera. You won’t want to miss making a single photograph or memory on your Alaska wildlife watching tours.
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