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Dog Sledding, Glacier Trekking and More: Must-Try Experiences in Alaska

by Angelique Platas

Jan 29, 2020

Steve Allen | Dreamstime.com

Listicles

Alaska may be the nation’s last frontier, but don’t let the vast wilderness, merciless landscape and incredible wildlife scare you off; there are more than a few experiences everyone should try on your family expedition.

 

Wild Beauty Spotting in Denali National Park

Visiting Denali National Park can actually cross a few must-dos from your list. Seeing wildlife like moose, wolves and bears (to name a few) in this 6 million-acre park is actually quite common, and you’ll get all your steps in exploring the expansive park’s rugged terrain. Take advantage of the shuttle services to see even more of the park than your feet will allow.

 

Beyond wandering wildlife, this park also offers some incredible natural beauty and breathtaking sites, including Denali (meaning the great one), the highest mountain in North America. Sitting at the center of the park, this peak stretches more than 20,000 feet high.

 

Dog Sledding 

A little obvious, but for good reason: Dog sledding in Alaska is an absolute must. Take part in Alaska’s official sport, hence the incredible popularity of the Iditarod in March. Novice sledders and wannabe pack leaders can go to “camp,” led by veteran mushers, at Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau and follow an impressive team of Alaskan huskies across the pearl-surfaced glacier. You’ll even get the opportunity to see sled dogs in training, or, as we like to call them, puppies.

Dog Sledding in Alaska. Photo: Adfoto | Dreamstime.com

 

Glacier Trekking

With more than 100,000 glaciers within its borders, Alaska is the place to be when it comes to getting an up-close glacial view. The Hubbard Glacier alone draws adventure-seeking travelers and environmentalists, as the majestic peaked ice flows for 90 miles before touching the sea in Disenchantment Bay — a truly breathtaking experience and awe-inspiring for all ages.

 

Gold Panning and Cultural Immersion

Alaska is deceivingly diverse. The land once belonged solely to Inuit tribes, Eskimos and Alaskan natives long before the United States caught gold rush fever and moved on up. Visit the region’s many cities built on gold panning, like Fairbanks, Hope, Juneau and Girdwood, and feel like a real pioneer family with the kids.

 

A blend of cultures still exist throughout Alaska, such as in Ketchikan where the Tlingit people made their mark. Visit the Saxman Native Village and Totem Bight State Park, or head to Anchorage for the interactive Alaska Native Heritage Center for an immersive experience and education on Alaska’s origins.

 

See the Northern Lights

 Seeing the aurora borealis in any night sky with the family is going to be an amazing experience, but the conditions in Alaska are essentially perfect. Watch the colors dance against the pitch-black sky, littered with stars mid-August–April.

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