Watch the sunset from a secluded cove. Skim the ocean in a kayak. Touch an ancient glacier. Listen to native rhythms. Soar above mountain tops on a flightseeing tour. Alaska is yours to discover. Yours to experience.
Somewhere in Alaska there's a place you'll remember for the rest of your life. A friend you haven't met. A dream that's about to come true.
Alaska is full of outdoor adventure, from the mild to the wild. Raft a graceful river, or picnic near an Ice Age glacier. Skim the wilderness in a sturdy bush plane or helicopter, or drive for miles beside a turquoise river. Experience gold rush excitement aboard a reproduction sternwheeler, or try your hand fishing for Alaska's famous halibut and salmon.
Whatever you do, the experience is one you'll never forget.
Alaska has trails for every ability, from accessible nature paths, to mountain hikes that are physically challenging. Cyclists, joggers, and walkers will discover that major communities have paved trails. Long-distance riders can use the highways, which vary in road surface and shoulder width. Kayak and canoe enthusiasts will enjoy Alaska's many rivers, streams, lakes, and protected coastal waters.
Federal and state campgrounds are available in Alaska. Some have electrical hookups and dumping stations. For reservations and fee information call Alaska State Parks at (907)762-2617 or the Alaska Public Lands Information Center at (907)271-2737. Privately operated campgrounds are also available.
Out-of-town adventures include charter fishing trips, sightseeing cruises, and flightseeing tours. The railroad can take you in comfort through some of the world's most spectacular scenery. A visit to outlying communities will introduce you to activities as varied as the Eskimo blanket toss or bird watching.
In towns and cities you'll find cultural museums, and restaurants serving everything from fresh halibut to flavorful caribou stew. Visitor centers can guide you to local attractions and special events.
Wherever you go, you'll find unique Alaskan products and crafts, including gold nugget jewelry and items carved from ivory and jade; handmade clothing and toys; collector's items made from skin, fur, or bone; woven baskets of beach grass, bark, and baleen; Alaskan delicacies such as canned or smoked salmon, wild berry products, and reindeer sausage; Native seal oil candles, beaded mittens, fur mukluks, and miniature hand-carved totem poles. Look for the "Made in Alaska" logo, which indicates an item genuinely manufactured in Alaska, and the silver hand logo that identifies Native Alaskan handicrafts.
Hand-crafted items, made of walrus ivory and other by-products of subsistence hunting, provide an income source for Native Alaskan artisans and a valuable investment for the buyer. Some wildlife products may not be transported through customs without special permits. Visitors are advised to mail these souvenirs home to avoid confusion at the border. For specific regulations, contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, (907)786-3311. For further customs information, write U.S. Customs Service, 1301 Constitution NW, Washington, DC20229.
There are many established companies that can help you enjoy your Alaska experience. Companies offer a wide range of activities, from day trips to extended tours - there is something for everyone. Wilderness adventures can vary from short, guided hikes to rugged, backcountry treks. Tour operators cater to both novices and experts.
Leave all the arrangements to a tour company or pick and choose for yourself. Even independent travelers often find it useful to include guided trips in their private itineraries.
Alaska offers some of the most spectacular fishing in the world. It can be as easy as pulling to the side of the road and making a cast. Or you can charter a boat to reel in one of Alaska's enormous halibut. Fly-in fishing, boat charters, luxury wilderness lodges, and fish camps offer a wilderness experience for adventurous anglers.
Rivers, lakes, and streams throughout the state offer the chance to hook trout, such as rainbows, cutthroat, and steelhead, or other challenging game fish such as arctic grayling and sheefish.
In all, more than 430 fish species inhabit Alaska's salt and fresh waters, including five species of Pacific salmon: King (Chinook), red (sockeye), pink (humpback), silver (coho), and chum (dog).
From smaller fish, like the feisty and beautiful Dolly Varden, to Alaska's famous King salmon, Alaska is an angler's paradise. You could even come away with a world record; The Alaska record for King salmon was set by a fish weighing over 97 pounds. But before you drop that line in the water, be sure you know the regulations.
A complete guide to fresh water and saltwater fisheries is available by sending a check or money order for $9.50 to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Division of Sport Fish. For a list of specialized publications, write to the address at the end of this page.
Sportfishing licenses for nonresidents are $10 for one day, $15 for three days, $30 for 14 days, and $50 for an annual license. Special permits are required for King salmon, with nonresident fees of $10 for one day, $15 for three days, and $35 for 14 days or an annual license. Nonresident military personnel stationed in Alaska qualify for a $20 annual license. Sportfishing licenses are available at sporting goods stores or by mail.
Hunting in Alaska is a premier experience, in a hunting environment that is unique in the world. For many Alaska residents, hunting for food is a vital part of lifestyles emphasizing self-sufficiency and sustainable use. Wildlife is abundant in Alaska and populations are scientifically managed to ensure they remain healthy. Alaska is famous for its huge moose, vast caribou herds, great brown bears, Dall sheep, mountain goats, and Sitka black-tailed deer. To preserve this exceptional environment for the use of future generations, regulations are strictly enforced. If you plan to hunt during your trip to Alaska, please be sure you understand all guidelines before you arrive.
Alaska's hunting regulations are available from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Division of Wildlife Conservation. Licenses can be obtained by mail from the Licensing Division or from Alaska sporting goods stores and other authorized vendors. See addresses below. The basic nonresident hunting license costs $85; there are additional fees for big game tags. A complete list of registered Alaska guides/outfitters is available for $5 from the Department of Commerce and Economic Development, Division of Occupational Licensing, P.O.Box 110806, Juneau, Alaska 99811-0806. Payment must accompany your request.
For further information, contact the Division of Sport fish or division of Wildlife Conservation, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, P.O.Box 25526, Juneau, Alaska 99802-5526; (907)465-2376. Request regulations for the area you want to fish or hunt. For fishing or hunting licenses, write to Licensing Division, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, P.O.Box 25525, Juneau, Alaska 99802-5525.
Eco-tourism is environmentally responsible travel to experience the natural areas and culture of a region, while promoting conservation and economically contributing to local communities. Alaska is a prime destination for eco-tourists seeking a more personal connection with nature, wilderness, and local people.
Since eco-tourism should leave little or no trace of your visit, avoid littering, limit campfires, and leave flowers for others to enjoy. Remember to take your time. Get out and walk rather than driving. Breathe in the scents of spruce and wildflowers. Look at the way the past has shaped the geography and history of this land.
Watch wildlife from a distance so that animals know they are safe. Many o Alaska's animals can become dangerous if they feel threatened, so use binoculars or a telephoto lens if you want to take a closer look.
Talk to the locals. You'll discover a lot about Alaska's diverse cultures. Many Alaskans still live off the land as their ancestors did. Understanding their views and way of interacting with the environment can enrich your visit.
Be considerate of local community life. Remember that your economic contributions to a community encourage local people to provide special services for visitors and to protect the environment for your pleasure.
If you want a local guide, choose a company that's right for you. Ask about what you'll see, methods of travel, educational opportunities, your guide's training, local environmental organizations the company supports and how you can contribute.
Whatever you want to see and do in Alaska, it's best to plan ahead and learn about special requirements that may apply to some wilderness areas. Travel restrictions often exist to protect the land and enhance every visitor's experience of Alaska's natural beauty.
For more information, contact area Convention and Visitor Bureaus, and the following resources:Alaska's Natural History Association