5 National Parks You Must Explore Near Anchorage, AK

As a land of breathtaking landscapes and unparalleled natural beauty, it’s hardly surprising that Alaska is home to several stunning national parks. As the leading provider of guided mountain bike tours from Anchorage, we’ve spent countless hours exploring the great outdoors in our wonderful home city and state.

And because this includes Alaska’s spectacular national parks, we’re perfectly placed to put together this list! Keep scrolling down to find our recommendations for the national parks you must explore near Anchorage, Alaska. And if you have any questions for us in the meantime, please feel free to get in touch.

Stunning mountain range within Denali National Park, Alaska

First Things First – What is a National Park?

Before we dive into the parks themselves, let’s take a moment to understand what makes national parks so special. These protected areas embody Mother Nature’s finest work, showcasing diverse ecosystems, captivating wildlife, and jaw-dropping scenery. 

National parks go beyond state parks in terms of size, significance, and preservation efforts. As a result, they’re are more remote and, in some cases, catching a plane is the only feasible option for a visit. Compare this to Chugach State Park, for example, which is a short 25 mintue drive east of Anchorage and home to our Chugach State Park mountain bike tours.

The federal government manages national parks, keeping them pristine and ensuring their long-term protection for future generations. Alaska’s national parks offer outstanding opportunities for outdoor recreation, including hiking, camping, boating, wildlife viewing, and biking! Now, let’s explore the national parks near Anchorage that should be on every adventurer’s bucket list.

Brown bear fishes for salmon in a river in Katmai National Park

Katmai National Park: Volcanic Vistas and Grizzly Encounters

Just a short flight from Anchorage lies Katmai National Park, home to fiery volcanoes, vibrant wildflowers, and a remarkable abundance of wildlife. Bring your camera and prepare to capture awe-inspiring shots of active geothermal features and stunning landscapes that seem straight out of a fairytale.

But what truly steals the show here are the brown bears. Witness the unforgettable sight of these majestic creatures as they fish for salmon in the pristine rivers. It’s an experience that will leave you in awe of the untamed wilderness that Katmai National Park provides.

Find even more travel inspiration by reading our previous blog The Best National Parks in Alaska for Hiking and Camping.

The glistening Kenai glacier in Kenai Fjords national park

Kenai Fjords National Park: Glaciers and Marine Marvels

Get ready for a truly breathtaking journey as we turn our attention to Kenai Fjords National Park. Here, you can witness the mighty power of glaciers as they calve into the ocean, creating a mesmerizing display of ice and water. Hop aboard a boat tour to explore the park’s icy wonders up close. Keep your eyes peeled for whales, sea lions, puffins, and other marine creatures that call this park their home. 

From majestic humpback whales breaching to adorable sea otters floating on their backs, Kenai Fjords is a wildlife lover’s paradise. Are you unsure what time of year to visit Anchorage? Check out our tips and advice on what to do in Anchorage, Alaska in every season.

Mountains within Denali National Park

Denali National Park: The Great One Beckons

Prepare to be humbled by the towering presence of Denali, North America’s highest peak. Denali National Park is a vast wilderness that stretches as far as the eye can see, with breathtaking vistas, alpine meadows, and serene tundra landscapes.

Pedal along the park’s scenic road, keeping an eye out for moose, caribou, and Dall sheep. Don’t forget to indulge in a panoramic flightseeing tour to witness the grandeur of Denali from above. It’s a jaw-dropping experience that brings you face-to-face with the raw power and beauty of the Alaskan landscape.

Moose wading through a river

Lake Clark National Park: Where Wilderness Meets Adventure

Nestled between the Cook Inlet and the majestic Tordrillo Mountains, this park is a wonderful place to ride along backcountry trails. A visit to Lake Clark allows you to immerse yourself in pristine landscapes of turquoise lakes, cascading waterfalls, and snow-capped peaks. When it comes to wildlife, keep an eye out for grizzly bears, moose, and the elusive coastal wolf. 

With its remote location, rugged terrain, and captivating beauty, Lake Clark is a rewarding national park to explore, hiking, biking, boating, or even in a plane! How sharp are your mountain biking skills? Whether you’re heading to Anchroage’s many amazing city parks and trails, nearby state park, or a combination of both, become a better rider with our mountain bike clinics and lessons in Anchorage.

The stunning sight of Mount St Elias behind an icy bay

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park: A Wonderland of Ice and Mountains

Welcome to the largest national park in the United States! Wrangell-St. Elias National Park covers a staggering 13.2 million acres! This is a vast wilderness filled with towering mountains, sprawling glaciers, and untouched forests. 

As you pass along the park’s scenic roads, you’ll witness the dramatic convergence of the Chugach, Wrangell, and St. Elias mountain ranges. And on lower ground, you can weave through alpine meadows and catch glimpses of wildlife such as Dall sheep and mountain goats.

For the truly adventurous, explore the park’s backcountry trails and discover hidden gems around every bend. If you want to enjoy adventures closer to Anchorage, we think you’ll love our picks for the 10 best trails and hikes in Anchorage.

Start Planning Your Adventure with Our Anchorage Bike Tours!

We hope this list of the national parks you must explore near Anchorage, AK has inspired you to plan the trip of a lifetime! If you’re planning to visit Anchorage soon, Alaska Trail Guides is here to show you the best of our city and the surrounding areas.

Browse our range of guided mountain bike tours from Anchorage to find out more about adventures in Chugach State Park, Kincaid Park, and other incredible places around the city. For more information about any of our Anchorage bike tours, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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