The state of Alaska is considered by many to be one of the last remaining territories where true outdoor exploration and adventure is still possible. As the Alaskan state nickname suggests, the 49th member of the union may indeed be The Last Frontier when it comes to experiencing pristine natural beauty in a completely open setting. Even with the discovery of gold and the ensuing rush that brought hoards of fortune-seeking miners to the Alaskan territory in the late 1800s through the early 1900s, the environment has remained relatively preserved and untouched when compared to other states.
Because of this, Alaska is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and adventurous travelers from all over the world. The large expanses of undeveloped space and abundance of government protected land and national parks provide a multitude of wildlife sightseeing and outdoor adventure opportunities.
Below we take a closer at five of Alaska’s most popular outdoor activities for those considering a visit or moving to Alaska.
The same geographical and ecological specifics that make commercial fishing a major part of Alaska’s economy also draw thousands of avid fishermen to the state each year. Recreational fishing is one of the most common outdoor activities in Alaska and it isn’t hard to understand why. Alaska boasts over 40,000 miles of coastline and a dizzying collection of lakes, streams, and rivers, providing homes to innumerable species of aquatic wildlife such as halibut, salmon, crab, lobster, trout, ling cod, and countless others. Anglers and fly fishermen hoping to reel in a large salmon are advised to head to Alaska between May and October, where excellent weather coincides with the annual run of multiple salmon species, including king salmon, sockeye, and coho.
Alaska’s breathtaking scenery makes backcountry hiking and glacier trekking very popular with visitors and residents alike. The summer months in Alaska are especially popular with hikers who enjoy pleasant weather along East Fork Trail and Tulchina Falls, the Bold Ridge Trail, and Ship Lake Valley. Hiking and trekking are also popular activities in winter, especially among the many glaciers, like Laughton and Mendenhall. For first-time visitors looking to hike or trek in Alaska, it’s usually a good idea to enlist the services of a guided trekking company.
Canoeing, Kayaking, and River Rafting
There are over 3 million lakes and 3,000 rivers across Alaska—more than enough to satisfy even the most die-hard kayaker, canoer, or river rafter. Sea-kayaking tours are especially popular. Some of the popular sea-kayaking spots include the Kenai Fjords, Bear Glacier, Aialik Bay, Prince William Sound, and Glacier Bay. For those seeking a bit of a thrill on the water, white water rafting expeditions down the Nenana River, which flows through Denali National Park, is a wonderful adventure.
Skiing and Snowboarding
The most popular place for skiing and snowboarding in Alaska is Mount Aleyska, which is located about 40 miles south of Anchorage. The resort at Mt. Aleyska has 1,400 acres of skiable terrain, and the area receives nearly 17 meters of snowfall each year. In addition to Aleyska Ski Resort, many other resort options exist for skiers and snowboarders looking to avoid crowds and venture off the beaten path. As some of these resorts and mountain runs are difficult to access, heliskiing and snowcat skiing have become an integral part of the Alaskan skiing and snowboarding experience.
Big game hunting in Alaska is serious stuff, and outdoorsmen from all over looking to secure a keeper for the mantel go north in search of caribou, moose, wolves, elk, and various types of bears. Grizzly bear hunting is especially popular, giving hunters the opportunity to track one of nature’s largest and most formidable creatures. Highly trained guides and wilderness experts are usually hired to lead hunting expeditions in Alaska, and all guides and operators must strictly adhere to the hunting, trapping, and shooting regulations outlined by the Alaska Department of Fishing and Game.
If you’re considering a move to Alaska, the abundance of unmatched outdoor experiences is sure to help you make your choice! When it comes time to pack your boxes and follow the North Star, Royal Alaskan Movers is here to help you move safely and comfortably into your new life in The Last Frontier.