Alaska has always been the cold, cold country out near the North Pole. So many people think that there is only one season out there, but actually, the country also sees the bright side of the sun at times. Alaska is one of the largest countries in the world. And with such a huge country, it’s highly impossible not to find some great place to go to. There are a lot of tourists who fly out to Alaska to see what this country has to offer.
With incredible wildlife, icebergs, forests, glaciers and jaw-dropping scenery, Alaska is a brilliant place to visit if you want to see nature at its best. Known as “The Great Land”, Alaska is the largest state in the U.S. and also the least densely populated. It was owned by the Russians until 1867, when it was purchased by the United States for $7.2 million.
Since much of Alaska is inaccessible by road, the best way to explore the Alaska is by taking an Alaska cruise or alternatively traveling by plane. Cruise lines tend to operate week-long return or one-way cruises from Seattle or Vancouver through Alaskan waters, with cruise ships stopping at ports such as Victoria, Prince Rupert, Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway. Visiting Alaska is bound to be an unforgettable experience and a brilliant opportunity to encounter true natural beauty.
Here are the top reasons to visit Alaska:
Despite its status as Alaska’s state capital, no American city is more isolated than Juneau, and at more than 5,000 square miles, no American city is larger (the state of Delaware is smaller than Juneau; by some measures, Juneau is the third largest city in the world). The only state capital not connected to the Interstate Highway System, Juneau squeezes onto a tidal flat between the Gastineau Channel and the 30 mountaintop glaciers of the Juneau Icefield.
Two of those glaciers—the Mendenhall Glacier and the Lemon Creek Glacier—can be viewed from the local roads around Juneau. The nearby Treadwell Gold Mine was once the world’s largest, and its riches spurred the Juneau Gold Rush. Today, only 30,000 Alaskans call Juneau home, but their city’s natural charms make Juneau an oft-overlooked gem.
First discovered in 1794, Glacier Bay is home to sixteen glaciers and part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors to Glacier Bay will behold rivers of ice cascading from rugged mountain peaks to the sea, their icebergs calving into the sea with an ear-splitting crack!
Glacier Bay’s mountains of ice and snow have been studied intensely ever since famed naturalist John Muir built a cabin on the glacier that bears his name, and scientists have observed rapid changes in the glaciers’ width and depth. No one is quite sure what the effects of global warming may be, but Glacier Bay offers both a fascinating glimpse of what may come and a stark reminder of the delicate balance of nature.
Geological processes can take eons, but sometimes they happen much more quickly. That’s what happened at the Hubbard Glacier over the course of several months in 2002. Over the last few centuries, the Hubbard Glacier has been choking off the inlet connecting Russell Fjord to Disenchantment Bay. In May 2002, scientists noticed that the glacier’s ice was squeezing the connection between the fjord and the bay down to nothing; by July, the process was complete, with Russell Fjord temporarily renamed Russell Lake.
Over the next ten weeks, the waters of Russell Lake rose an astonishing 61 feet, placing unimaginable pressure on the ice dam. Finally, in August, the natural ice dam burst in one of the largest such floods known to man. You probably won’t see a similar once-in-a-millennium event during your tour, but you will almost certainly see icebergs calving off Hubbard Glacier—ten-story-tall icebergs routinely surface in Disenchantment Bay, where Hubbard Glacier’s six-mile-long face descends beneath the waves.
White water rafting, sea kayaking, fishing, climbing, mountaineering, dog sledding and panning for gold in the Last Chance Basin are just some of the exciting activities you can do in Alaska. If you’re up to it, you can hike the Harding Ice Field, which is an icefield in the Kenai mountains that covers an area of over 300 square miles. Alternatively you can take a flight in a seaplane for an aerial view over the Misty Fjords, or ride the White Pass and Yukon Route scenic railroad.
The Northern Lights
The Northern Lights, also called the Aurora Borealis, is a natural phenomenon where the sky is lit up in a magnificent display of different colours. The Northern Lights can be seen anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere above 60 degrees north latitude, and the best place in Alaska for viewing them is Fairbanks. Although the ideal time to catch a glimpse of this spectacular light show is during the dead of winter, there is still a chance of seeing the Aurora Borealis all year round.