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Inland Alaska: The Wildest Place in America
by Roy Witman © 2009

“Unspoiled.” “Untouched.” “Wilderness.” These are just a few of the words that accurately describe the state of Alaska. While Alaska cruises are one excellent way to see much of what this amazing region has to offer, they typically don't do justice to the magnitude of nature found here. It takes venturing inland to unlock the magic that is truly Alaska.

A full 15 percent of this state is legally designated as wilderness areas. And, because the citizens of Alaska reside primarily in a few compact cities, much of the state is occupied solely by wildlife. It's not desolate; it's natural, filled with intriguing animals of all sorts that live freely in this rugged landscape.

Denali National Park

Denali means “Great One,” and the name fits! Home of Mt. McKinley, the highest peak in North America, this giant stretches over 20,000 feet into the sky. But this isn't the only great sight in the park. Equally as impressive are the glacial landscape and the “Big Five” wildlife inhabitants: grizzly bears, caribou, wolves, Dall sheep and moose.

This park is truly “organic” in that it has been maintained to serve its original residents: the animals. One road moves vehicle traffic in and out of the park to preserve order. Look around. Take a deep breath. “Back to nature” has never been a more appropriate saying than when you're standing in the midst of Denali National Park.

Kluane National Park

One of the largest international land preserves on earth, Kluane National Park has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A frozen tundra; Kluane boasts the highest mountain in Canada - Mt. Logan - as well as some of the largest and thickest glaciers in the world.

With rivers of ice, vast ice fields and massive glaciers, Kluane is typically blanketed with a solid layer of frozen water including glaciers that are up to one mile thick. It is truly like walking into a land before time.

Alaska Railroad

Cruise ships are the best way to visit numerous destinations however, they have one drawback. They do require water in order to operate. Since inland Alaska is far from the ocean's shore, you'll simply need to transfer to another delightful form of transportation: The Alaska Railroad.

Reaching from Seward to Fairbanks, you'll enjoy the view of incredible scenery as you gaze through large picture windows. This form of luxury rail travel is complete with dining car, viewing deck, upper-level dome area, restrooms and comfortable seating.

With multiple tours with varying prices, it's easy to escape to the inland areas of Alaska that you would have otherwise missed.

When you're planning your next Alaska tour, look for cruise lines that offer inland Alaska excursions. You'll experience the wonder and excitement only discovered by those who venture into the depths of this land that is still wild at heart.

Read more about Alaska Cruises.