Updated: Apr 14
With staggering mountain peaks, enormous wildlife, and remote wilderness lodges – Alaska offers jaw-dropping experiences that every traveler should have on their bucket list. For my family, a cruise gave us a wonderful introduction to our 50th state, but I still dream of driving my RV up from the lower 48th for several months of exploring. Here are some of the items on my bucket list that you might want to include on yours.
Flightseeing over Denali National Park & Preserve
One of the best ways to experience Denali is by air, soaring hundreds of feet over the diverse landscape. Take in everything from rolling meadows and fields of flowers to jagged peaks and glaciers. If you do take to the skies, keep your eyes peeled for moose, wolves, and Dall sheep.
Fancy an adventure? Your trained bush pilot can gently land on a glacier, in a meadow, or riverside for a picnic, giving you anything from impromptu fishing trip to a private hiking experience.
Cruising the Kenai Fjords
Rising from the water like something out of a science fiction movie, the tall moss-covered fjords and narrow rocky outcrops dot the waterways of the Kenai Fjords National Park. This national park contains the Harding Icefield, its outflowing glaciers, as well as coastal fjords and islands. Home to animals on land and sea, visitors to this region may spot black or brown bears, moose, gray wolf, or even porcupine.
Touring this region by boat is truly magnificent, and provides visitors with a unique vantage point with which to explore Alaska. During a boat tour of the Kenai Fjords, passengers may spot seals, Steller sea lions, orca, gray whales, humpback whales, or even harbor porpoise. If visitors are really lucky, they’ll get to witness glaciers calving, as pieces of ice crumble from the massive glaciers into the frigid waters below.
Dogsledding Across an Icefield
Dogsledding is embedded deep in Alaskan history, with the famed Iditarod race created to preserve and promote sled dog culture in Alaska.
Today, visitors to Alaska don’t have to compete in a grueling race across the great state, they can simply board a helicopter and touch down on the Juneau Icefield, where a team of friendly pups will be waiting. Expect kisses, cuddles, and an enthusiastic jaunt across the ice field by a team of friendly (and furry) locals. This is an experience you (and any young travelers) will never forget.
Watch Bears Catch Salmon
The best place to see bears is at Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park. The salmon run starts toward the end of June through July and bears flock to the river for a feast. In addition to the bears, bald eagles swoop to catch what the bears miss. Before your adventure, rangers provide mandatory training in bear etiquette to ensure everyone's safety.
Ride the Alaskan Railway
The Coastal Classic from Anchorage to Seward has been named one of the most beautiful train rides in America. The train winds through beautiful mountains and breathtaking glaciers. Wildlife is also abundant along the route.
Contact me when you are ready to check experiences off of your Alaska bucket list.