November 29, 2010
Whether or not you’re a fan of Sarah Palin’s Alaska, the latest pseudo-reality TV show from TLC starring one of Alaska’s most famous residents, it’s easy to admit that the biggest state in the US has some equally major attractions (giant glaciers, for instance!) Here are the must-sees (and must-dos) our IgoUgo travelers recommend. Keep these tips in mind for later in the year, though -- the best months to visit are May through September, when days are long and it’s often light past 10 pm.
Denali National Park & Preserve in Denali Home to Mount McKinley (or by its native name, Mount Denali), the highest mountain in North America, the park is also home to tons of bears, wolves, moose and caribou (all of which were spotted by Milwvon during just three days spent at the park!) Take advantage of the hiking, mountaineering, cross-country skiing, and even snow-mobiling (where allowed) that the park offers.
Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau
The city of Juneau literally has a glacier in its backyard. The nearby Mendenhall Glacier is barely 12 miles from the city -- oh, and it’s about 12 miles long, too. Though Alaska has other glaciers (especially in popular Glacier Bay Basin), akphotograph, a Wasilla native, still calls it a “must-see,” and claims the spectacular views and photo ops never get old. “I travel to Juneau 6 or 7 times a year and always visit Mendenhall Glacier,” he says.
Glacier Bay Basin and National Park Most tourists come to the ice-filled Glacier Bay Basin by major cruise ship companies -- and it’s true that the best way to see the big ice is by boat, says Uncle Tippet. Instead of a major cruise, though, he took a day trip out on a smaller boat, which departed from Barlett Cove (50 miles away from the glaciers). The advantages? “We could get a little closer to the glaciers. And if we saw something really interesting (like bears), the captain stopped the boat to allow us time to look.”
White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad in Skagway Skagway, Alaska is a restored gold rush town, a port city that connects via the famous White Pass & Yukon Route (WPYR) railroad to Whitehorse, the capital of Yukon, Canada. The route is now open solely as a heritage railway with vintage cars -- and IgoUgo members say its rustic charm and magnificent shoreline views are well worth the trip. “Taking a 90-minute scenic tour on this antique train was a highlight of our trip to Alaska and the Yukon,” said dimmzy. “I spent nearly all of my time outside hanging over the wrought-iron railing.”
The Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage If you’re visiting Anchorage, a stop at the Alaska Native Heritage Center -- a place dedicated to the culture and history of Alaska’s 11 major cultural groups -- is well worth your time, says seaotter71. “I toured this with a docent who was most knowledgeable, was obviously proud of her heritage, and shared a lot of personal anecdotes,” he says.
Iditarod Headquarters in Wasilla
Ever dreamed of skimming through an icy wilderness on a low sled, shouting “mush!” to your team of dogs? MilwVon recommends a stop at the Iditarod race trail headquarters as the place to get a taste of this Alaskan experience -- and a way to learn about the annual Iditarod Sled Dog Race, the most popular sporting event in Alaska.
Of course, these are just a few places in the Alaskan wilderness that our travelers have been -- where else would you want to explore there?
More Adventures in Alaska on IgoUgo
Animals in Prince William Sound
The Best Hotels in Alaska
Eating in Alaska
Photos of Alaska
Posted by SpecialK3883 (Kelly L. Phillips)