With spectacular sights accessible only by air, Alaska is the ultimate aviation adventure. If you’re dreaming of an epic voyage to the forty-ninth state, here are five can’t-miss locations to add to your bucket list.
Denali, or “The High One,” is a popular location of sightseeing aerial tours. The massive mountain can make its own weather, so use caution when flying downwind. Unlike in the lower forty-eight, it’s generally legal for Part 91 aircraft to land inside Alaska’s National Parks, including parts of Denali. Be sure to follow the National Park Services’ Denali flightseeing procedures to stay safe and limit ground noise.
Soar over the Chugach Mountain Range to get a glimpse at the Knik Glacier, one of the largest glaciers in southcentral Alaska. The breathtaking blue glacier stretches five miles wide and over 25 miles long. If the conditions are right, land on a gravel bar near the toe of the glacier and take a short hike for once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunities.
Witness the wonders of the virtually untouched wilderness at Gates of the Arctic National Park. Here, there are no roads, no trails, and no established campsites — it’s the ultimate destination for discovery and exploration. Keep your eyes peeled for grizzly and black bear, wolf, moose, muskox, and fox. You can fly into the park on your own or take an air taxi from Bettles Airport (PABT).
Known as “Alaska’s playground,” the beautiful, 16,000 square mile Kenai Peninsula is a prime spot for flightseeing, bear viewing, fishing, and more. From the air, you’ll see glaciers, fjords, mountains, and plenty of wildlife from land to sea. Upon landing, the opportunities are endless. Try canoeing or paddleboarding, or get up close and personal with wildlife on a birding or bear-viewing tour.
Explore the largest and busiest floatplane base in the world, where nearly 200 flights take place each day. Don’t have a floatplane? There’s a gravel strip and Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport nearby. Pack a picnic and spend a relaxing day at the lake watching the floatplanes come and go.
Want to learn more about the thrill of flying in Alaska? Check out our Q&A with Deon Mitton, seaplane pilot and aviation photographer.