Traveling to Alaska is usually a once in a lifetime trip and the choices are limitless when deciding on the adventures you desire. Cruises, buses, and trains clog the numerous travel websites and publications which is good reason why 95% of all visitors choose one or more of these options. However, if you are looking for something different and truly adventurous consider one of Alaska's remote national parks. Our first highlighted NP is our favorite...and for good reason! Here are our Top Ten reasons for visiting this wild wonderland known as Lake Clark National Park.
1. Remote Access = Few People :)
Lake Clark NP (LCNP) is only accessible by plane or boat effectively weeding out most weekend warriors and armchair tourists. Take a look at the numbers. In 2011 over 400,000 people visited Denali NP, 65,000 people toured Wrangle St. Elias and nearly 50,000 visited Katmai. Grand total for LCNP....5,100! In our opinion this is great news! Who wants to travel to Alaska's backcountry just to share it with a bunch of strangers. That is what Yellowstone if for!!
2. No Trails = True Adventure
Okay that is misleading. There is one trail, 2miles long, in the parks' boundaries. The little trail leads to the marvelous Tanalian Falls draining Lake Kontrashibuna and we must say its a trail worth taking. Considering there are over 4 million acres in the park, larger than the state of Connecticut, the opportunity for true adventure is limitless! The list is long: whitewater rafting, river float trips, day hiking, multi-day backpacking, fishing, kayaking, photography, backcountry skiing, glacier exploration, jet boating, helicopter tours, and even scuba diving. All of this with little or no human contact outside of your personal group. Were on earth can you still do that?
3. Dick Proenneke and the Twin Lakes
|Dick Proenneke's Cabin|
His cabin still stands today and is a major attraction to the area. The national park service has preserved his homestead and guided tours are available. Learn how he lived off of the land and coexisted by himself for three decades. Combining a trip to his cabin with a backcountry tour of the area surrounding the Twin Lakes is the best way to appreciate the what drew Dick here over 40 years ago. Read more about Proenneke here
4. Telaquana Trail
The Telaquana Trail is an historic Dena'ina Athabascan route from Telaquana Lake to Kijik Village on Lake Clark. Early western explorers noted that the Inland Dena'ina were expert hikers, and trails connected all major villages in the area to each other and to seasonal camps. src: NPS
The ancient trail, not an actual visible trail, runs over 45 miles through the most beautifully, wild scenery this earth has to offer. Grizzly bears, dall sheep, moose, caribou and eagles are usually all seen while traveling this route. The natives that traveled this route would cover the terrain in three days or less with little to no supplies! The average time for a modern hiker is 6-8 days carrying a 40-50 lbs pack! This landmark is one of Alaska's historical gems and fewer than 20 people a year travel its path.
5. Necola Mountains
The Neacola Mountains are the northernmost subrange of the Aleutian chain in Alaska. The highest peak, Neacola Mountains, stands 9,426 feet and has been climbed only a handful of times. What makes these mountains special is their lack of exploration and footprint of man. Due to their remoteness and rugged terrain, the land is virtually untouched...literally! There are many places where "no man has walked before"! We think this is great considering the domestication of our world! There are many new mountain routes to be explored and tested here. That coupled with the large dall sheep population these mountains offer wonderful opportunities for extreme adventure seekers!
We promise there is a TOP 10....the next five are coming soon!
|Paddling on Lake Kontrashibuna in Lake Clark National Park|
About the Author: Peter Goodwin is a licensed Alaskan guide and experienced adventurer. Born in Homer, AK, his love for nature began in 1992 when he began exploring the backcountry with his uncle, an Alaskan bush pilot. Peter began his guiding career in 1999 and started Alaskan Ventures, an Alaskan adventure travel company, in 2008.