The Alaska Range: A Majestic Mountain Range in the Wild Wild Alaska
Wild Alaska

Running across in the heart of the untamed Alaskan wilderness, the Alaska Range is a majestic mountain range renowned for its rugged beauty and untamed landscapes. This colossal chain of peaks stretches over 600 miles across the state of Alaska, leaving an indelible mark on all who venture into its midst. With a rich tapestry of natural wonders, from towering mountains to sprawling glaciers, it’s no wonder that the Alaska Range is a top destination for outdoor enthusiasts and adventurers.

From the Alaska-Canada boundary to the Alaska Peninsula, the 600-mile-long Alaska Range is an arc of mountains. The midsection of the range, which is included inside Denali National Park and Preserve and is a wide area of towering peaks and massive glaciers, is where the range is highest. Scientists are just now starting to put together the mysterious past of Denali, a place of immense geologic activity and complexity. It contains some of the oldest rocks in Alaska, remains of extinct animals that were washed up from the ocean’s depths, newly formed rocks created by the Earth’s internal fire, and rock formations that were transported there from thousands of miles away.

As one of the most significant mountain ranges in North America, the Alaska Range is home to some of the continent’s tallest summits, including the towering Denali, which rises to an awe-inspiring height of 20,310 feet, making it the highest peak in North America. The surrounding landscape is equally breathtaking, with expansive tundras, pristine lakes, and abundant wildlife that roams freely in this vast and remote wilderness.

Visiting the Alaska Range is an opportunity to immerse yourself in the essence of true wilderness. Here, you can hike through unspoiled terrain, witness incredible natural phenomena, and experience the solitude of the great outdoors in its purest form.

The range experiences perpetual winter due to its height and distance from the equator, and heavy snows compress to create glaciers, which are constantly eroding rivers of ice that continue to grind away at the still-rising summits. Even if it did not contain the highest peak in North America, it would still be regarded as one of the great geologic spectacles in the world.

One of the planet’s most remarkable features is Denali. It is the tallest mountain on the continent and the pinnacle of the Alaska Range at 20,310 feet. Soaring three and a half miles vertically above its base, it surpasses Mt. Everest by one mile in height from base to peak.

Denali’s base is around 2,000 feet above sea level, and it rises to a peak elevation of 20,310 feet over a distance of three and a half miles. At 14,028 feet, Everest’s base is a plain, while its highest point is 29,028 feet.

Wild Alaska: Exploring the Last Frontier

If you’re an adventurer at heart, the wild landscapes of Alaska beckon with the promise of awe-inspiring journeys. Known as “The Last Frontier,” Alaska is a vast and untamed wilderness that harbors some of the most magnificent natural wonders on Earth. From its frigid Arctic regions in the north to the temperate rainforests of the southeast, Alaska is a land of diversity, pristine beauty, and boundless opportunities for exploration.

One of the primary reasons many travelers flock to Alaska is its pristine and unspoiled nature. The state boasts an astonishing array of national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and protected areas where you can witness some of the planet’s most incredible flora and fauna. Grizzly bears roam in their natural habitat, pods of orca whales glide through frigid waters, and bald eagles soar above ancient forests.

Alaska’s diverse geography also makes it a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. You can embark on adventures like kayaking among glaciers, hiking across sweeping tundras, or watching the Northern Lights dance across the Arctic sky. The state’s vast wilderness is an ideal backdrop for exploration, from the jagged peaks of the Alaska Range to the pristine wilderness of the Tongass National Forest.

In this article, we’ll delve into the unique and enchanting aspects of the Alaska Range and explore the wild heart of Alaska. Whether you’re planning a visit to these incredible destinations or simply seeking inspiration for your next adventure, Alaska offers an unparalleled experience in the heart of the wild.

Exploring the Majestic Peaks of the Alaska Range

The Alaska Range, a colossal mountain range that stretches over 600 miles across the state of Alaska, is home to a stunning array of towering peaks and rugged summits. This vast expanse of wilderness features some of the most iconic and awe-inspiring mountains in North America. From the highest peak on the continent to lesser-known gems, the Alaska Range offers a wide variety of mountaineering and outdoor adventures. Here are some of the notable mountains within this magnificent range:

  1. Denali: Dominating the Alaska Range and North America, Denali is the tallest mountain on the continent, with a staggering elevation of 20,310 feet (6,194 meters). It is a bucket-list destination for climbers from around the world, drawing those who seek to conquer its lofty summit.
  2. Mount Foraker: This neighboring peak to Denali is no less impressive. Mount Foraker reaches 17,400 feet (5,304 meters) and offers challenging routes for experienced climbers. Its striking profile adds to the allure of the Alaska Range.
  3. Mount Hunter: Known for its steep and technical climbs, Mount Hunter stands at 14,573 feet (4,442 meters). It’s a formidable peak and a favorite among alpinists for its challenging ascents.
  4. Mount Huntington: With an elevation of 12,240 feet (3,731 meters), Mount Huntington is renowned for its sheer rock faces and ice couloirs. Climbing this peak is a test of technical skill and courage.
  5. Mount Silverthrone: Although not as well-known as some of its neighbors, Mount Silverthrone reaches an impressive height of 13,220 feet (4,030 meters) and offers a remote and challenging mountaineering experience.
  6. Mount Deborah: Rising to 12,339 feet (3,761 meters), Mount Deborah is famous for its challenging and steep climbs, which require a combination of ice, rock, and snow skills.
  7. Mount Hayes: As Alaska’s fourth-highest peak, Mount Hayes stands at 13,832 feet (4,216 meters). This massive mountain offers a variety of routes for those seeking adventure.
  8. Mount Brooks: With its elegant shape, Mount Brooks reaches 11,940 feet (3,639 meters) and is a lesser-visited but striking mountain in the range.

These are just a few of the remarkable peaks in the Alaska Range. Each mountain offers a unique set of challenges and rewards for those who venture into this untamed wilderness. Whether you’re an experienced mountaineer or an aspiring climber, the Alaska Range provides a lifetime’s worth of exploration and adventure.

Exploring the wild wild Alaska with National Geographic

Discover the timeless culture of the region’s indigenous people, iconic animals, and breathtaking coastline landscape over the course of six action-packed days. Discover new experiences like as kayaking into glacially carved fjords, hiking under towering spruce and hemlocks in old-growth rain forests, rafting from a historic Tlingit town, and more with our agile expedition ship serving as our mobile basecamp.


Day 1: Arrival in Sitka, Alaska

  • Arrive in Sitka, Alaska, on Baranof Island’s western coast, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
  • Explore Sitka National Historical Park with towering Tlingit and Haida totem poles.
  • Visit the Alaska Raptor Center for an up-close encounter with Alaska’s birds of prey.
  • Embark on the National Geographic Sea Lion or National Geographic Sea Bird.
  • Dinner on board.

Accommodations: National Geographic Sea Lion or National Geographic Sea Bird

Day 2: Exploring Baranof or Chichagof Island

  • Explore the stunning bays of Baranof or Chichagof Islands, both part of the ancient Tongass National Forest.
  • Encounter diverse wildlife, with Chichagof Island known for its high concentration of brown bears.
  • Kayak or paddleboard along rugged coastlines.
  • Afternoon hike through the temperate rainforest, listening for bald eagles in the towering spruce and hemlock trees.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Icy Strait and the Inian Islands

  • Search for wildlife in the rich waters where the Pacific Ocean meets the Inside Passage.
  • Options include an expedition landing craft cruise among the Inian Islands, home to Steller sea lions.
  • Kayaking in the calm outer waters of Glacier Bay or hiking in the lush temperate rainforest.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Haines

  • Explore Haines, known as the “adventure capital of Alaska.”
  • Hike world-class trails or cycle along a glacial lake.
  • Visit the ancient Tlingit village of Klukwan, enjoy a traditional dance and cultural performance.
  • Embark on a rafting excursion in the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, watching for bald eagles, bears, and moose.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Tracy Arm-Fords Terror Wilderness

  • Wake up in Tracy Arm or Endicott Arm, part of the Tracy Arm–Fords Terror Wilderness.
  • Cruise through the glacially carved fjord.
  • Explore the area by expedition landing craft, get close to Dawes or South Sawyer Glacier.
  • Watch for the dramatic sight of ice breaking off and crashing into the water.
  • Kayak if conditions permit.
  • Farewell dinner on board.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Disembark in Juneau

  • Disembark in Juneau and transfer to the airport for your flight home.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Please note that this itinerary is subject to change based on weather and wildlife sightings.


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