Gabija is passionate about traveling and writing. In her free time, she likes to read, try out different cuisines, or embark on outdoor adventures.
Alaska is a fascinating place in many aspects. Its abundant nature with vast wilderness attracts visitors from all over the world. Although, there are a few facts they probably miss out on. Here is a list of interesting facts about Alaska you haven't probably heard before!
Alaska, broadly nicknamed "The Last Frontier", is the 49th state of the United States but the only one that is parted from the other states by land. Its name derives from the Aleut word "Aleyska", which means "a great land".
Now let's jump on to the fun facts about Alaska.
1. Alaska is bigger than the next largest states, combined!
When we say Alaska is huge, we mean it's HUGE! At 663,300 square miles, Alaska is by far the largest US state by area. Its total size is larger than the three next largest US states, Texas, California, and Montana, combined! If Alaska were a separate country, it would go on a list of the top twenty biggest countries in the world. And it goes on...
To truly understand how massive Alaska is, it's best to compare it to other countries. Below, you'll find a picture of Alaska's size compared to...
The Landscape between Carcross and Skagway in Alaska
3. Alaska has the State's largest glacier
Matanuska Glacier is the largest glacier in the United States that is accessible by road, and it most definitely deserves a space in your Alaskan itinerary! This amazing Alaskan attraction is worth seeing not only for its size but also for its amazing naturally formed ice formations that showcase deep blue-colored ice.
Matanuska Glacier in Alaska
4. Alaska has the largest forest in the States
Alaska hits the charts again with the largest national forest in the United States. The forest, called Tongass, is located in the capital of Alaska, Juneau. This vast area of 16.7 million acres is considered to be a must-visit site in Alaska. Tongass National Park is home to numerous unique flora and fauna. On a tour, you can encounter such wildlife as beavers, foxes, deer, moose, or even grizzly bears!
Aerial View of Misty Fjords in Ketchikan Alaska Tongass National Forest
5. Alaska was once sold for $7.2 million
Did you know that until October 18, 1867, Alaska belonged to... Russia? Alaska was first visited in 1741 by a Russian expedition led by Vitus Bring. It then stayed in the Russian ownership until it was sold to the United States for $7.2 million, which in today's economy translates to... $55 million.
Denali Range Mt McKinley in Alaska
6. Juneau is the only US capital that is inaccessible by road
As you have probably heard before, most of Alaska is not accessible by road, only by air and sea. And it's not surprising, considering its vast wilderness. What's more surprising is that even its capital, Juneau, is unreachable by car! So, how do you get to Juneau? It's pretty simple - just hop on a plane or take a boat from a neighboring city to the capital!
Alaska Landscape of mountains and Juneau city
7. Dog mushing is the official state sport
Alaska's actual state sport is dog mushing. It involves a horde of pups, a musher, and a sled pulled by the dogs. Dog mushing first appeared as the primary means of transportation in the snowy areas, such as Alaska or Northern Scandinavia. Today, modern vehicles, such as snowmobiles, overtook what used to be dogs' work, but dog sledding is still used for recreation.
Dog mushing in Alaska
8. Most of the year has Northern Lights
Alaska, and particularly the city of Fairbanks, attracts travelers who want to see the incredible Aurora Borealis. The Northern Lights season in Alaska starts around mid-August and lasts until mid-April, which is 240 days with the possibility to see the amazing spectacle in the night's skies. The required conditions for the northern lights show us that the sky needs to be clear, and Fairbanks is perfect for that. The clear and dark skies are guaranteed four out of five nights on average!
Northern Lights near Fairbanks in Alaska
9. The Alaskan Malamute is one of the oldest domesticated dog breeds in the world
The Alaskan Malamute is a sled dog that has been created by Indigenous people around 3,000 years ago. This makes the Alaskan Malamute one of the oldest domesticated dog breeds in the world! Alaskan Malamutes were bred and raised by the Inupiaq people. These dogs were especially appreciated for their strength and hunting abilities that helped people to survive through the winter!
Alaskan Malamute in Alaska
10. Alaska is the land of volcanoes
Alaska is often referred to as "the land of volcanoes" because of its seismic activity. The state has over 130 volcanoes. 90 of them are considered to be active, and the last eruption happened sometime within the last 10,000 years. These active volcanoes can be expected to erupt at any given moment!
Mt Augustine volcano in Alaska
Alaska is a place of exquisite natural beauty with a wilderness so vast that it's more probable to encounter a grizzly bear than a human in some parts! Its ice and snow-covered landscape contrast with erupting volcanoes. Alaska is where the wonderful Northern lights are shining in the night's sky for the bigger portion of the year. So, whatever your traveling taste is, Alaska is something to experience at least once in a lifetime!