Alaska is a state like no other. Not only is it by far the largest state in the United States, but it also has one of the lowest populations of any state in America. The end result being there is a lot of empty and pristine land in the state.

In fact, around 65% of Alaska is owned and managed by the US federal government as public lands. For those interested in the grand outdoors, there are many reasons why everyone should visit the picturesque state of Alaska.

Size And Scale Of Alaska

Alaska's national parks alone are twice the size of all other national parks in the United States combined. Two-thirds of Alaska is public lands, these are organized into national forests, national parks, and national wildlife refuges.

  • Double: Alaska's National Parks Are Double the Size Of All The other National Parks In The Lower 48
  • Size: Alaska Is Larger Than The Next Three Largest States Combined (Texas, California, and Montana)
  • Population: 736,000 (Third Lowest)
  • Sold: Alaska Was Sold To The US In 1867 For $7.2 Million

Alaska is home to 8 National Parks as well as many other Federal and State public lands. It is the second most national parks of any state (California has 9 national parks, but one is shared with another state).

Alaska's National Parks:

  • Denali National Park
  • Kenai Fjords National Park
  • Wrangell-St Elias National Park
  • Glacier Bay National Park
  • Lake Clark National Park
  • Katmai National Park
  • Gates of the Arctic National Park
  • Kobuk Valley National Park

The national parks in Alaska are huge as they are stunning, but frequently they are difficult to get to. This is often the main problem and the reason why Alaska's parks are often some of the least visited in America.

Related: How To Visit Point Barrow And Utqiaġvik: The Northernmost Points in America

National Parks Accessible By Road

Only three of the eight Alaskan national parks are accessible by road. One can drive to Denali National Park, Kenai Fjords National Park, and Wrangell-St Elias National Park. Denali and Kenai Fjords are much easier to access and are accessible by bus and by train.

  • Accessible by Road: Denali, Kenai Fjords, Wrangell-St Elias
  • Accessible by Train: Denali, Kenai Fjords

Denali Park is bisected by one ribbon of road and is home to North America's tallest peak - the 20,310' Denali. Summiting Denali is not easy but it is rewarding and requires mountaineering expertise. Kenai Fjord is located at the edge of the Kenai Peninsula and is a relic of where the ice age still lingers. It has nearly 40 glaciers flowing out of the Harding Icefield although these are today in retreat due to climate change.

  • Denali: Home Of North America's Tallest Mountain
  • Kenai Fjord: Home of Scores Of Ice Age Glaciers

Of these Wrangell-St Elias is no walk in the park either (pardon the pun), it requires a long drive on a gravel road. Wrangell - St Elias is the same size as Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the country of Switzerland combined. Among many other things, one will see people continuing to live off the land just as they have done for centuries.

  • Wrangell St Elias: A Truly Massive Park but Requires A Long Drive On A Gravel Road

Accessible by Ship/Ferry

Other national parks require other means to access them. Glacier Bay National Park is accessible by cruise ship and ferry (as well as small planes). Glacier Bay includes rugged mountains, dynamic glaciers, temperate rainforest, and deep sheltered fjords. It is part of one of the world's largest international protected areas and is the highlight of Alaska's Inside Passage.

  • Glacier Bay: Iydically To Be Discovered By A Cruise Ship

Related: Alaska Is Better In The Summer, And These Cities Promise The Vacation Of A Lifetime

Largely Inaccessible Without A Float Plane

After these national parks, one has to really get out into the wilderness. Lake Clark National Park, Katmai National Park, Gates of the Arctic National Park, and Kobuk Valley National Park are only accessible by planes - typically a small floatplane that can land on the water.

  • Gate of the Arctic: This is the least visited national park in the United States and not only doesn't have any roads, but it also doesn't have any trails either. This park has remained virtually unchanged.
  • Kobuk Valley: A land of caribou, sand dunes, and more. Half a million caribou migrate through this park.
  • Lake Clark: Boasts steaming volcanoes, salmon runs, foraging bears, turquoise lakes, and local people and culture that still depends on the land and water.
  • Katmai: Protects The volcanically devastated region surrounding Novarupta and the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. It also protects important habitat for salmon and thousands of brown bears

To see the requirements or permits to visit these remote national parks, one should check the National Park Service's website.

Next: This Is The Best Way To Visit Alaska's Beautiful & Remote Aleutian Islands