Yukon - Charley Rivers National Preserve

Tools for Planning Your Alaska Adventure

March 15, 2011, 1:30 pm

A trip to Alaska in summertime is a true escape. Alaska’s parks are as varied as they are vast, and each is worthy of exploration. The national parks in Alaska represent both the great sweep of American history and her natural abundance: artifacts of the earliest North Americans; the Russian colonial period; the quest for adventure and gold at Klondike Gold Rush; bears, salmon, moose, Dall sheep, caribou and eagles; and the awe-inspiring mountains and tundra.

Summer is the most popular time to visit Alaska, when most park services and activities are possible, and is when access into the parks is easiest. Schedule a trip between mid-May and mid-September to make the most of your time in the state.

There are many ways to visit Alaska’s parks. Board a boat tour at Glacier Bay or Kenai Fjords and marvel at worlds carved by ice and the wildlife now hugging the park shores. Cast a line in a park such as Katmai or Lake Clark. Hop on one of the popular bus tours at Denali or use the shuttle buses to craft your own trip. Step out on a hike on one of the well-maintained paths in the entrance areas of several parks, or explore the vast wildness that awaits in the backcountry of Alaska’s parks.

You can get around Alaska by land, air or sea, and we recommend using a little of each mode of transportation. Driving, hopping aboard a tour bus, or taking the Alaska Railroad are great ways to explore on land, while connecting flights will deliver you to more remote areas of the state and flightseeing trips will give you a spectacular view of the parks from above. Finally, you can choose to explore the state by cruise, travel from point to point by ferry, or set out on a whalewatching or sightseeing day trip.

Build your own personalized Alaska trip using these great resources:

National Park Service in Alaska: For information about Alaska’s national parks and public lands.

Alaska Geographic: For trip planning resources, including free, downloadable park brochures.

Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air: For travel to and within Alaska.

ARAMARK Parks and Destinations: For lodging and tours in and around Denali and Glacier Bay.

Alaska Wildland Adventures: For small group tours and vacation packages.

Princess Tours: For lodging and tours near Alaska’s national parks.

Alaska Railroad: For traveling across the state by train.

Gray Line Alaska: For multi-day tours or day trips.

USGS Store: For a National Parks Pass -- if you plan on visiting more than three national parks or public lands that charge entrance fees.

And of course, don’t forget to pick up one of our little, green Oh, Ranger! guides to Alaska’s National Parks enhance your visit.

Image: Bear in Denali National Park & Preserve. Credit: ARAMARK Parks and Destinations.