A wide range of trips throughout Southcentral Alaska.
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The end of summer brings red patches to the tundra vegetation in the valley along Chugach State Park's Rabbit Creek. Ptarmigan Peak is the in the background.
119 parks include historical sites and lots of wilderness
Alaska has 119 state parks spread across Southeast, Southcentral, Interior and Western Alaska.
The parks are divided into these categories: state parks, state recreation sites, state recreation areas, state historical parks, state historic sites, state trails, wilderness parks, state marine parks and preserves.
Some of the parkland is undeveloped, but many of the parks have campgrounds, fishing and picnic tables. The parks are accessible by road, except for marine parks, which require visitors to use boats or airplanes. Western Alaska's Wood-Tikchik and Lake Aleknagik parks, for example, require a flight to Dillingham and then a boat or plane ride to the park.
Fees are charged for most parks. State budgeting has eliminated amenities at some parks; private organizations have picked up the slack in some cases.
The biggest park is Wood-Tikchik State Park, which covers 1.55 million acres of Western Alaska. Other big parks are:
Chugach State Park, east of Anchorage, covers 495,204 acres.
Kachemak Bay State Park and Wilderness Park covers 328,290 acres of the Kenai Peninsula south of Homer.
Denali State Park, south of Denali National Park, holds 320,240 acres.
Chena River State Recreation Area covers 254,080 acres east of Fairbanks.
Other popular parks in Southcentral Alaska include Nancy Lake State Recreation Area near Willow and Independence Mine State Historical Park near Palmer and Wasilla.
Marine parks, accessible by boat and float plane, are popular near Seward and Kodiak and in Prince William Sound.
In Southeast Alaska, Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve near Haines and Totem Bight State Historical Park near Ketchikan capture the region's natural and culture wonders, and parks around Sitka and Juneau also draw many nature lovers. Marine parks are also popular.
In addition to Wood-Tikchik, Western Alaska has a number of parks on Kodiak Island. Many of the Interior's parks are along the Richardson Highway between Fairbanks and Tok.
Several parks have cabins for public rental. They're rustic, with bunks (no mattresses), a table, chair and woodstove. Rental fees run $35 to $50 per night, and visitors should plan on reserving a cabin far ahead of their vacation.