Alaska is a constituent state of the United States of America. It became the country’s 49th state on January 3, 1959.
The name Alaska came from the Aleut word alaxsxa or alaxsxix̂, both meaning “mainland” or “great land.” Its capital is Juneau, which lies in the southeast, in the “panhandle region.”
Alaska stretched at the extreme northwest of the North American continent. Moreover, the Alaska Peninsula is the largest in the Western Hemisphere.
Due to the 180th meridian that passes through the state’s Aleutian Islands, Alaska’s westernmost part is in the Eastern Hemisphere. This means that Alaska is in both hemispheres.
Alaska is the center of the great circle route connecting North America with Asia by sea and air and has the same distance from most Asia and Europe. That location has made Alaska militarily significant since the Aleutians’ Japanese invasion in 1942 during World War II.
The Beaufort Sea and the Arctic Ocean cove Alaska to the north. To the east, you’ll see Canada’s Yukon Territory and the province of British Columbia. The Pacific Ocean covers the states to the south and the Bering Strait to the west. And in the northwest, you’ll find the Chukchi Sea.
Alaska’s eastern border with Canada is about 1,538 miles or 2,475 kilometers long. It’s more than one-third the length of the entire U.S. boundary with Canada!
The country’s western maritime boundary, separating the waters of the United States and Russia, was created in the Treaty of Cession of 1867. Also stated in the treaty is the transfer of Alaska from Russia to the United States.
The roughly 1,000-miles or 1,600-km de facto boundary stretched through the Chukchi Sea and the Bering Strait. It crosses between Alaska’s St. Lawrence Island and Russia’s Chukchi Peninsula. The border also crosses between Attu Island, the westernmost island of the Alaskan Aleutian chain, and the Russian Komandor Islands.
The boundary creates a patch of international waters, known as the “Doughnut Hole,” in the Bering Sea.
You can see the Little Diomede Island for the extreme western end of the state’s Seward Peninsula. It is part of Alaska and situated in the Bering Strait, only 2.5 miles from Russian-owned Big Diomede Island.
Aside from its mainland peninsula, the state consists of about 15,000 square miles of fjords and inlets. It also boasts about 34,000 miles of the indented tidal coastline. Also, most of the continental shelf of the United States lies along the coast of Alaska.
In the Alaska Range north of Anchorage is Denali, now Mount McKinley, 20,310 feet high. It is considered the highest peak in North America. Nearly one-third of the state is situated within the Arctic Circle, and about four-fifths of Alaska is covered by permafrost.
The vast treeless Arctic plains of Alaska makes up about half of the state’s surface area. The southern coast and the panhandle at sea level are entirely temperate regions. However, in those and the adjoining Canadian areas, lies the world’s most extensive plain of glacial ice outside Greenland and Antarctica.
Enveloping the south’s state is one of Earth’s most-active earthquake belts, the circum-Pacific seismic belt. Alaska has more than 130 active volcanoes, mostly on the Aleutian Islands and the neighboring Alaska Peninsula. The Alaska earthquake of 1964 was one of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded in the United States.
Indeed, Alaska has a great area and a great variety of physical characteristics.
The Northern Region
Arctic Alaska’s remote geography guarantees an immaculate expanse of pristine landscape and cultural experiences you can explore.
This Far North region is sparsely populated, and the majority of the residents are the resident caribou, bears, and marine wildlife.
You can do a lot of things in this region.
You can go on an unforgettable hiking trip at the Gates of the Arctic National Park. Discover the history, traditions, and culture of Native Alaskans in Barrow. You can even cross the mythical Arctic Circle.
Lastly, you can see the Northern Lights and lose yourself in stunning landscapes and create an adventure you’ll never forget.
Alaska’s far north will leave you with lifetime memories and an incredibly unique adventure to share with your family and friends.
The Interior of Alaska
You’ll find one of the most beautifully distinct vacation spots you can imagine in the land of snow-capped peaks, endless plains of tundra, and natural wonders.
Surrounded by picturesque nature, braided glacial rivers, and an array of wilderness, Denali National Park and Interior Alaska are the state’s heartland.
Explore the wonder of Denali National Park for an essential Alaskan outdoor adventure like no other. You can also watch moose, grizzly bears, and caribou roam free. Celebrate the story and culture of Alaska’s gold miners, Athabascan Indians, and trappers.
Witness the Northern Lights’ natural phenomena in Fairbanks or get inspiration from the small towns like Talkeetna.
From Alaska’s largest city, Anchorage, to the Kenai Fjords’ rugged beauty, the stunning diversity within this region is endless.
Here are some of the things that you can do at the Southcentral Alaska:
- Explore the neighboring wildlife of Seward
- Indulge in the surrounding beauty of Valdez at the edge of Prince William Sound
- Explore the icy expanse of Portage Glacier
- Discover the excellent fishing opportunities of Cooper Landing.
Whether you’re looking for a blooming eclectic arts scene in Homer or a massive stretch of natural wilderness in Wrangell-St. Elias, you’ll find endless opportunities for adventure here.
Spend your nights relaxing and enjoying authentic gourmet dining at Seward Windsong Lodge and Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge. Fill your days with a Kenai Fjords tour that takes you through waters boasting with whales and wildlife of all kinds in one of the world’s most spectacular settings.
Visit Anchorage, the gateway to the high mountain peaks, mighty glaciers, diverse wildlife, and wide-open ocean views.
The Southwest Region
On the southwestern coast of Alaska, Katmai and Lake Clark National Park and Preserves are the best choices for viewing the magnificent brown bears. This is where they forage while the river salmon run an incredible display.
The Katmai National Park and Lake Clark National Park boasts magnificent, well-carved peaks of the Alaska and Aleutian mountain ranges.
They also have glacier-clad volcanoes, vast wilderness, verdant tundra, and ribbons of meandering rivers.
Alaska’s Inside Passages
From stunning glaciers and waterways to nostalgic Gold Rush towns, visitors have a wealth of sights and scenes to discover.
It’s hard to miss the incredible icy grandeur of glaciers and icebergs or stellar whale watching spectacles in Glacier Bay National Park and Juneau.
Head to the forested hills of Ketchikan and be amazed by the high totem poles of the Native Indians or cast your line in one of the finest salmon fisheries.
Travel back in time to the antiquated Gold Rush days in the city of Skagway. This is where the frontier spirit still runs through the veins of the costume-clad locals and boardwalk-fronted shops.
Wander through the gallant town of Sitka. Here, the Russian influence is present in its stunning dome architecture and the fine art of dance.
However, they are inaccessible by the road system. Thus, the best way to discover the wonderful oceanside communities of Southeast Alaska is through an Alaskan cruise.
With rivers to raft, glaciers to look over, and mountains to climb, and a family of bears to photograph, Alaska is the ultimate wilderness. From the moment you arrive, the magnificent, unspoiled beauty of the USA’s 49th state is overwhelming.