TravelDestinationsNorth America

Alaska Is Essentially One Big Park—And It’s Our Very Best

Here are a few of our favorite things about all it has to offer

A bush plane flies over a glacier deep in Wrangell–St. Elias (Photo: Mint Images/Aurora)
A bush plane flies over a glacier deep in Wrangell–St. Elias

As the country begins to reopen, we'll keep publishing news to help you navigate the state of travel today (like whether travel insurance covers the coronavirus), as well as stories about places for you to put on your bucket list once it's safe to start going more far-flung.

The 49th state has 54 million acres of national parklands, thanks in large part to the Carter administration. But so much green goodness can be overwhelming, so we enlisted the help of John Baston, a guide with Mountain Travel Sobek who has led trips in all eight of Alaska’s national parks. He agreed to a round of rapid-fire word association to pin down what’s great about each one. 

National Parks Centennial

See the complete list of 100 reasons to love the parks (and a few things we'd improve)

Kobuk Valley: Sand dunes
Gates of the Arctic: Backpacking 
Glacier Bay: Kayaking 
​Kenai Fjords: Gulf of Alaska
Lake Clark: Giant lakes 
Wrangell–St. Elias: Enormous 
Denali: Highest mountain 
​Katmai: Bears 

Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.
Contribute to Outside
From Outside Magazine, May 2016
Filed To: AlaskaWrangell-St. Elias National ParkDenali National Park and Preserve
Lead Photo: Mint Images/Aurora
More Travel