ABOUT ALASKAAlaska is the 49th and largest state in the United States of America. Separated from the rest of the country, (the "lower 48"), by Canada, Alaska lies on the Arctic Circle. It is still the least densely populated state in the union and for a long time was home to the lowest population. America's final frontier is the size of California, Texas and Montana combined, making it huge in comparison to the rest of the states! Alaska is also home to the highest point in North America and all of the top ten highest mountains in the USA. Across the Bering Strait lies the country of Russia and the continent of Asia.
Festivals and Events
Attend the World Ice Art Championships
The World Ice Art Championships is an ice sculpting contest in Fairbanks, Alaska put on by Ice Alaska, a non-profit corporation started in 1989. The contest is the largest of its kind in the world and attended by more than 100 sculptors from 30 different countries every year. The contest also draws tens of thousands of spectators; in 2004, 48,000 people from more than 28 countries passed through the park's gates.
Katmai National Park
Katmai National Monument was created in 1918 to preserve the famed Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, a spectacular forty square mile, 100 to 700 foot deep ash flow deposited by Novarupta Volcano in 1912. A National Park & Preserve since 1980, today Katmai is still famous for volcanoes, but also for brown bears, pristine waterways with abundant fish, remote wilderness, and a rugged coastline."
Camp With Alaska Brown Bears
It’s thrilling to see big browns with no fence or barrier between you and them. At the Great Alaska International Adventure Vacations Bear Camp, you can quietly watch a dozen or more brown bears from a spruce-fringed meadow that lies between Mount Iliamna in Lake Clark National Park & Preserve and Cook Inlet."
Heli-Ski the Chugach Mountains
In the Chugach Mountains, first descents are still routine, and nameless peaks promise more skiable terrain than even the biggest resorts in the Lower 48. Valdez serves as base for five of the seven heli-ski outfits that work the Chugach, but only Points North takes off from Cordova. Its clients gain nearly exclusive access to a 2,000-square-mile (5,180-square-kilometer) chunk of mountains, then retreat to the Points North Orca Adventure Lodge, a converted cannery."
Ascend 250-foot (76-meter) tall spruces smack in the middle of the world’s highest concentration of bald eagles."
The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race
The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is an annual long-distance sled dog race run in early March from Anchorage to Nome. Mushers and a team of 16 dogs, of which at least 6 must be on the towline at the finish line, cover the distance in 9–15 days or more. The Iditarod began in 1973 as an event to test the best sled dog mushers and teams but evolved into today's highly competitive race. The current fastest winning time record was set in 2011 by John Baker with a time of 8 days, 19 hours, 46 minutes, and 39 seconds.
Denali National Park
Alaska is the absolute last wilderness frontier that has been left virtually unexplored and the state that gave us Sarah Palin! Visit Denali National Park with its wildlife and scenic mountains, including Mount McKinley, the highest mountain in the US. Its breathtaking beauty of rugged snowy mountains, forest upon forest of pine trees hugging the lower slopes of these ranges and the complete isolation and loneliness except for wolves, black bears and the odd trapper, leaves the mind boggling.
Standing atop the highest point in North America requires a good bit of luck and a big investment of time. The biggest obstacle on 20,320-foot (6,194-meter) Mount McKinley (or Denali, in native Athabaskan), which is the centerpiece of Alaska’s Denali National Park & Preserve, is the weather."
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve
Alaska’s Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve, the country’s largest national park, operates on an entirely different scale than the Lower 48. Let’s just review the numbers: Six times the size of Yellowstone, it’s home to the country’s largest collection of glaciers and peaks over 16,000 feet (4,879 meters), including nine of the 16 tallest mountains. Parts of the national park are so remote and unexplored that mountains, glaciers, and passes remain unnamed, and only two roads—both gravel—enter it at all."
North America’s most impressive (and most politicized) wildlife spectacle occurs each June in the continent’s northernmost no-man’s-land. That’s when and where the 200,000 caribou of the Porcupine herd culminate their 400-mile (644-kilometer) annual march from the Yukon to the coastal plains of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR)."