A wide range of trips throughout Southcentral Alaska.
Anchorage: 41°/53°/Mostly sunny
Fairbanks: 31°/63°/Mostly sunny
Juneau: 39°/62°/Partly sunny
Alaska can be divided into five broad regions.
In this area above the Arctic Circle people depend on the land and its many resources.
See America's northernmost rain forest or a humpback whale.
This area is home to the country's busiest fishing port.
This vast area is alive with gold mining and plenty of outdoor activities.
Also known as Alaska's Panhandle, the area is filled with forests, glaciers and hiking trails.
Salmon, gold and tourism in a land of prehistory, bears and volcanoes
Western Alaska is a crossroads of continents, where North American and Asian cultures meet and sometimes collide.
Western Alaska -- from the coast of the Bering Sea and Pacific Ocean inland to a line from Kodiak Island north to the Arctic Circle -- has for millennia been the home of Inupiat, Yupik, Aleuts and Athabascans.
Anthropologists seem to agree that the first North Americans either walked across the now-submerged Bering Land Bridge or boated across what is now a 55-mile gap about 13,000 years ago and then spread across Alaska and down the continent.
In the Alaska Peninsula and the Aleutian Islands, volcanoes and daily earthquakes remind everyone that Mother Earth is alive and kicking.
Other large land mammals include moose, caribou and wolves. At sea, watch for humpback, gray and killer whales, as well as sea lions, seals and sea otters.
Nine national wildlife refuges in Western Alaska provide nesting grounds for millions of migratory birds.
Western Alaska was made for people who love outdoor activities.
Kayakers and rafters savor Western Alaska's nine national wild and scenic rivers. Wood-Tikchik State Park, near Dillingham, is the state's largest state park. Remote Aniakchak National Monument, which has a fine rafting river, is the country's least visited national park.
Anglers pursue enormous rainbow trout and fish for salmon in Kodiak and Bristol Bay-area streams thick with kings, silvers and reds. The state record halibut, a 459-pounder on display at the Anchorage airport's north terminal, came from Unalaska. Hunters match wits with bears, moose and caribou.
Katmai National Park < Park has its bear-watching deck overlooking the Brooks River, as well as bus tours and hiking in the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, the ashy residue of the 1912 enormous explosion of Mount Katmai, or Novarupta.
Lake Clark National Park invites explorers to follow its trails, on both land and waterway.
Kodiak (population 6,544), a Gulf of Alaska island that is America's second largest island, has a long history of Russian settlement (they came for sea otter furs). Visit Alaska's oldest building here, as well as a rocket-launching spaceport.
Unalaska / Dutch Harbor (4,051), in the near Aleutian Islands, is the country's busiest fishing port. It was bombed by the Japanese in World War II. The Museum of the Aleutians has valuable exhibits. Fishing boats focus on crab and pollock.
Nome (3,493) was created a century ago in a famous gold rush, and gold is still mined near town. In fact, you can pan for gleaming flakes of gold on the sandy Norton Sound beach east of town. The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race ends here each year in mid-March.
Hotels and B&Bs are available in the region's larger towns, such as Kodiak, Nome, Unalaska, Bethel and Dillingham. Wilderness fishing and hunting lodges are plentiful.
Southwestern Alaska's climate is famous, a stew of fog, rain and wind created by the collision of cold and warm currents in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea. Inland weather is drier, but the temperatures away from the water are more extreme. The nicest weather comes in early summer.
May, June and July often have the best combination of dry skies and warmth (July high temperatures in the low 60s). Kodiak and Unalaska, however, still get several inches of rain during those months. Nome is a lot drier, with temperatures reaching the midteens in March and mid-60s in July.
Transportation in Western Alaska is often by air, because there are no roads between towns. Alaska Airlines and regional airlines such as Pen Air and Era Aviation serve the larger towns, and smaller carriers fly into the villages. Air taxis can be hired for trips into remote areas, as well as for flights from Anchorage, Kenai and Homer into Katmai National Park.
The state ferry Tustumena docks at Kodiak and Port Lions (on Kodiak Island) and once a month heads west along the Aleutians to Dutch Harbor.