Alaska state parks offer glaciers, history, camping, hiking, wildlife viewing – and that’s just the beginning. There are opportunities to learn about gold rush history, glacier formation, global climate change and tsunamis. People spend their entire lives in Alaska and never learn about all there is to offer.
I have to tell you that after my 2009 visit to Alaska it is my firm opinion that everyone should go. This is the most stunning area I have ever seen. Be prepared to camp and bring a few provisions. Don’t pass up the opportunity to see the most remote part of the US.
Getting there can be a worthwhile challenge. Visitors can arrive by air, boat or car. Depending on where you arrive in Alaska you may be able to use rail to travel further into the state.
To give you a better picture of Alaska State Parks highlights of 3 parks are listed below. There are many more that I would love to write about but that would take me above the maximum word count. Be sure to visit the Alaska State Park website to see the full list.
Alaksa State Park Highlight #1
Chugach State Park lies just outside of Anchorage. It is the 3rd largest of all US state parks. It is visited almost 1 million times annually.
Chugach State Park (like most of the parks in Alaska) has 2 different schedules for winter and summer reflecting seasonal opportunities for recreation. The Eagle River Visitor Center can be packed during the high volume summer months. Peace and quiet is only a few steps away.
There are 3 campgrounds, public use cabins and open spaces for camping. This is bear, wolf and moose country so be sure to follow appropriate precautions. The rangers at the visitor center will be glad to help if you have any questions.
Hiking is available on both front country and backcountry bushwhacking trails. There are plenty of opportunities to view glaciers, fish or view wildlife. The link above has more details.
Alaska State Park Highlight #2
The Nancy Lake State Recreation Area near Willow is popular among locals and visitors alike. It’s part of the Alaska Canoe Trail System. Most of the public use cabins are only accessible by water. Reservations are required. Cabins are rustic but insulated. Guests are expected to bring all supplies with them that they may need. This includes firewood, linens and drinking water. Pack in pack out is the rule.
Willow, Alaska is the home of the official start of the Iditarod. Mushing is a big part of winter activities at Nancy Lake.
Alaska State Park Highlight #3
If you are looking for a remote state park on the coast Resurrection Bay State Marine Parks may be the place for you. The views are spectacular. When the Japanese occupied Alaska this area became vital protection for Port Seward. Access to the state parks are by boat or air. Visitors will be treated to views of glaciers and wildlife. Bear safety rules apply. All supplies are pack in pack out. Cabins are available. See the website for more details.
AlaskaState Park Website