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Alaska's National and State Parks

Story by Alaska

Posted: February 29, 2016

Surrounded by Alaska National Parks and flanked by the vast Chugach Mountains, Anchorage is the perfect starting point for outdoor adventures. See natural treasures, find amazing wildlife, enjoy exciting activities or just enjoy a peaceful natural scene.

Alaska parks are unlike anything else. They hold the most accessible outdoor adventure opportunities, the tallest mountains on the continent, iconic bear viewing locations, amazing whale-watching waters and bird nesting grounds.

Alaska is home to more national park land than the rest of the U.S. put together and five national parks are easily accessible as day trips from Anchorage. Just beyond the city, another natural treasure awaits: the Chugach Mountains

Alaska National Parks

Alaska national parks are show-stopping. The glacier-filled Kenai Fjords National Park is a two and a half hour drive south. Denali National Park holds North America’s tallest peak, Denali, and amazing wildlife. Day trips to Alaska national parks including Lake Clark National Park and Preserve and Katmai National Park are also unforgettable, complete with bear viewing, hiking and fishing. Mighty Wrangell-St. Elias has glaciers larger than Rhode Island, and a gold history runs deep.

The Chugach

One of the best parks isn't a national park and is just a stone’s throw from the city. Just to the east of Anchorage, the Chugach Mountains run across the third-largest state park in the nation and the second largest national forest. It's a stunning backyard for people who live or stay in the city.

Many popular Chugach trailheads are within 20 or 30 minutes of downtown. Amazing views don’t require a big effort. Several short, accessible trails lead to several of the best known spots. The park has dozens of routes suitable for day hikes, mountain biking or weeklong backpacking. Lake kayaking, rafting, ATV trips are among the other amazing ways to explore the park. Campgrounds, public-use cabins and wide-open spaces are primed for camping.

The state park borders the 5.6-million-acre Chugach National Forest. Roughly the size of as the states of Massachusetts and Rhode Island combined, the wooded playground is favorite of outdoor enthusiasts. Popular spots like Portage Glacier and the Alaska Railroad’s Spencer Glacier whistle stop are some of the best entry points for trips into the forest.

Getting Started

Start a park exploration in Anchorage, and base your travels in the center of five iconic Alaska nation parks. You'll also have a vast forest of the Chugach at your doorstep. Whether by road, by rail or by air, Anchorage has the most convenient access. Learn more at