Wayne M. Gore - Jun 20, 2011
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Alaska offers magnificent landscape and numerous opportunities for watching the wildlife. You can find more national parks there than in all the U.S. states on the Eastern Seaboard combined. invites you to explore the top national parks of Alaska selected by Matador Trips.

Glacier Bay National Park

Glacier Bay popular among visitors for its magnificent glaciers is mostly accessed by the sea. Cruise ships, tour boats or private pleasure boats bring tourists to admire the stunning landscape and to watch orcas. Kayak tours are also on offer there. Gustavus, the nearest town, is the usual starting point.

Denali National Park

Denali National Park is the highlight of any visit in Alaska. It is there where you can find the tallest mountain in North America, Mt. McKinley. Since cars are not allowed to enter Denali, visitors can choose one of the bus tours organized in the park. Adventurers, however, prefer individual exploration of the park on foot. Don’t expect to find many designated hiking trails – instead, visitors are encouraged to wander and camp wherever they please.

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park

With its 13 million acres, Wrangell-St. Elias is the largest U.S. park. It is also inscribed on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List together with three adjoining parks. Unlike the other Alaskan parks Wrangell-St. Elias is open to cars and visitors can drive its rough roads. Among the highlights is a small tourism town of McCarthy and a ghost town, Kennicott. The Kennicott copper mill tours are a must. Get ready for an adventurous historic tour of a 13-storey mill built into the side of the mountains above the town.

Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park

Follow in the footsteps of gold-seeking enthusiasts exploring the region in 1898 on a famous route, the Chilkoot Trail. The three-to-four-day hike runs from sea level in the Alaskan panhandle up over the Chilkoot Pass into Canada. The trail is clearly marked and monitored by Parks Canada and NPS rangers. A number of designated campsites are available which, however, need to be reserved well in advance. Similarly the number of hikers allowed over the summit a day is limited and visitors need to obtain the permit.

Gates of the Arctic National Park

Get ready for stunning scenery. The park includes two mountains, Frigid Crags and Boreal Mountain, which frame the Koyukuk River. The massive gateway for visitors floating through is the highlight of the “Gates”. Getting to the park requires some planning though since there is no road access. Visitors either take an air taxi from Bettles, Coldfoot, or Kotzebue, or hike in from the Dalton Highway.

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