Alaska State Parks
There are over 120 State Parks in Alaska, spanning over 3 million acres. This acreage creates the largest state park network in the United States. This large network of parks was designed to provide outdoor recreation opportunities and conserve and interpret natural, cultural, and historic resources for the use, enjoyment, and welfare of the people. Many of these parks are within or adjacent to National Park Preserves.
State parks require an entry fee at many trail heads of $5 with drop payment stations available. Camping fees vary from park to park. Usage of parks are subject to frequent change due to environmental factors. Keep Alaska wild and be sure to follow park regulations while visiting. Be privy to the ‘Leave No Trace‘ practices so as to ensure the integrity of our highly valued wildlands.
Denali State Park
This park is adjacent to the much larger national park, and offers a couple of wilderness trails that are maintained, giving unparalleled views of the Alaska Range. The park encompasses 325,240 acres. This park provides roadside camping options and is 100 miles from anchorage with easy accessibility. If you are lucky, on clear days the roadside can be a great place for scenic views of the peak of Denali. This park provides views of wildlife in their habitats and a chance to view both the Talkeetna range and the Alaska range. You can enjoy sights from the George Parks Highway, that will take you all the way to Fairbanks if you wish.
Chugach State Park
Located just east of Anchorage, this park encompasses a half million acres of the Chugach Forest. Originally, the park was created to protect the water supply of Anchorage. Eklutna Lake resides here and is the end of the line for the melt from the Eklutna Glacier. This land is easily accessible from the highway and is a close adventure from Anchorage. This park has developed campsites for use and public use cabins by reservation.
You will find yourself looking into lush coniferous forest and explore mountainsides here. This area is bounded by the Chugach range, the Wrangells range, the Alaska range, and the Prince William Sound. The Turnagain Arm lays within the park providing opportunities for hiking, biking, and other recreational activities on developed trail systems. This park provides views of glaciers sitting high in the surrounding mountains that border the coast . Many other natural areas are close by and easily accessible.
Kachemak Bay State Park
This park is the first designated state park in the Alaska system. It is the only wilderness park in the system. There is no road to or in the park, and you must get there by float plane or boat. The park is located in the Cook Inlet on the Southwest side of the Kenai Peninsula. Viewing opportunities are good for bird watching, and the nutritionally rich water attracts whales, and other seaside mammals are plentiful. There are a couple crude campgrounds available for those who crave the wilderness camping experience. Maintained trails help you gain elevation to see over the city of Homer on a clear day and into the surrounding mountains and glaciers. The views are breathtaking and worthy of the ferry ride.
Wood-Tikchik State Park
North of Dillingham in southwest Alaska, this park encompasses over 1.6 million acres. The largest and most remote state park in the United States. This park, once a fur trading center, is now a remote location only accessible by one road from Dillingham. A handful of private lodges exist in the park that you can reserve. You can camp throughout the park, some areas require a permit. Hunting and fishing are allowed within the park, be sure to contact hunting and fishing for permitting and regulations. The Wood River and Nuyakuk River winds through the wild emptying into Bristol Bay. This park is a critical area for spawning salmon and has a vast network of small lakes. Enter this area by foot, river, limited road access, or float plane.
Point Bridge State Park
40 miles north of Juneau this park resides in a rainforest ecosystem. This area is great for exploring trails that roll through sprawling meadows and marshland, finding rocky coastlines. This terrain is lush with diversity of flora and fauna. Moss covers the forest and opens to cloud covered bays to view surrounding mountains and glaciers in the distance. High cliffs on the beaches are perfect bird watching spots to observe migratory coastal birds in their nesting season.
A few public use cabins are available for reservation in the park. Creeks and streams wind through the area and showcase salmon spawning seasons. The trails for the park tend to be boggy and wet. The vast trail system gives designation to both motorized and non-motorized trails. You can even travel into the marsh lands to see a the architecture of large beaver dam. Wildlife is abundant here for optimal sighting events. Sea lions lounge on giant rocks and during the summer months you may even spot humpback whales feeding in the bay. This park offers space for summer activities and is popular for winter skiing activities such as skiing and snowshoeing as well.
Afognak Island State Park
This island park is located northeast of Kodiak Island off the Alaskan Peninsula. Before becoming the 49th state this park was deemed the first conservation area in the United States. Now the state manages and operates this remote area. This island is accessible only by float plane that departs from Kodiak Island. The park operates year round and has two private cabins that are available for reservation for. This island has two lakes that lie within the boundaries. Given the rainforest ecosystem, there is a thick moss that covers the forest and lush greenery that decorates the landscape. Surrounded by various bays, the shorelines are made of rocky beaches, covered in driftwood. From the beaches you can enjoy mountainous views and easy access to coastal recreation. Many people seek out the park due to the close proximity of paramount fresh water and salt water fishing opportunities.