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Local, State & National Parks

For those with a passion for the outdoors, Alaska’s local, state and national parks are unparalled. Whether you are planning a back country expedition, ice fishing in a local lake or hiking a nearby trail, the parks offer authentic experiences that excite the senses and engage the mind. It’s hard to go wrong with so many splendors to explore.

Local

The Fairbanks area has an abundance of local parks that are within easy reach. Swim, picnic or go boating at Tanana Lakes Recreation Area. Play some ball at Growden Park, go on a hike at Birch Hill Recreation Area or play volleyball or horse shoes at Chena River Wayside. You can even take your pup for a walk at the Fairbanks Dog Park. 

State

There are outstanding, accessible, enormous state parks in Alaska’s Interior. State parks offer picturesque cabins and ice fishing huts for a small fee in various locations near Fairbanks allowing visitors a portal into authentic Alaskan experiences. Rent a cabin, fire up a wood stove, embrace the midnight sun, or see millions of stars and perhaps the northern lights. Search for beautiful flora and fauna and simply enjoy being in nature. Some of the state parks include the Chena River State Recreation Area, Harding Lake State Recreation Area, Delta Junction Area State Park and Lower Chatanika State Recreation Area. State recreational areas offer fishing, camping, hiking, volleyball, baseball and a variety of water sports. Some state parks tell stories about the area’s gold rush past and assist in the preservation of gold rush era artifacts. 

National

The National Park Service celebrated 100 years in 2016 with a FIND YOUR PARK theme. In addition to the legendary Denali National Park and Preserve, there are a handful of other glorious national parks in the Interior and Arctic regions. The parks are mostly vast and essentially untouched wilderness with few or no roads, trails or established campsites. For those visitors who don’t have the time or the backcountry skills to mount an expedition into the parks, there are other options. Local air taxis provide flightseeing trips and outfitters guide day trips or overnight campouts to remote locations. Hike through Alaska’s ultimate wilderness or float a remote river. See caribou cross a northern valley, fish a serene alpine lake or simply listen to the call of the wild.


National Parks in Interior and Arctic Alaska:

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is home to a profusion of Arctic flora and fauna. Known for its natural beauty, National Park Service Biologist Lowell Sumner said of the refuge, “Here still survives one of Planet Earth's own works of art.” 

Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve
Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve
The Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve is 8.4 million acres of pristine beauty. Sometimes called Alaska’s ultimate wilderness, the park bridges the area between the Brooks Range and the Arctic plains. There are no roads into the park but it can be accessed via small airplanes, floatplanes and hiking trails.
Kobuk river Caribou swimming
Kobuk Valley National Park
The Kobuk Valley National Park is renowned for caribou and sand dunes. A half a million caribou migrate through the park yearly and hoof prints can be seen crisscrossing the dunes that cover much of the southern area of the Kobuk Valley. The sand was created by the grinding action of ancient glaciers and over time has been carried to the Kobuk Valley by both wind and water.
Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve
Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve
The Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve offers bar-none river expeditions on both the Yukon and Charley rivers. A trip tailored for experienced outdoorsmen with untouched landscapes, historic mining sites and wildlife that make the expedition extraordinary.
Noatak National Preserve
Noatak National Preserve
The Noatak National Preserve is a pristine river valley rimmed by mountains and is notable for an abundance of Arctic plants and animals. The Noatak River is classified as a national wild and scenic river and offers float-trip opportunities extending from the Brooks Range to the tidewater of the Chukchi Sea.
Mt. Blackburn and the Wrangell Mountains
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve
The exquisite Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve at 13.2 million acres is the largest National Park in America. Four major mountain ranges and nine of North America’s sixteen highest peaks can be found within the spectacular park. In the 1930s, copper mines were established and the beautiful and charming towns of McCarthy and Kennicott were founded, making the park accessible.

Surrounded by wilderness the outdoor adventure lover can kayak, canoe, hike, fish and camp in the Fairbanks area and in the winter add to that dog sledding, snowmobiling and snowshoeing too.

-Rita Cook,
Huffington Post
Golden Heart Alaskan
Sheryl Maree Reily
Sheryl Maree Reily
Golden Heart Alaskan

There was this moment when I realized some of my most contented times are spent outdoors. Now I take every opportunity I can to be present in the physical landscape. My career as an artist gives me access to remote wilderness areas. In less than two hours I can be in Denali to the south or the Gates of the Arctic to the north. Whether you visit or live in Alaska, you should take a moment to explore the landscape and peoples around Fairbanks—it is real and raw, commanding and inspirational, it’s why we all come here and it's like nothing else.

-Sheryl Maree Reily,
Fairbanks artist