No matter what you love about Alaska; no matter what you do, how you do it or who you are with, it's ultimately tied with where you are. It's all about Place.
Alaska has the most diverse collection of ecosystems, mountain ranges, watersheds and habitats in the United States. With 6,640 miles of coastline, over 365,000 miles of rivers, over 3 million lakes, over 4400 square miles of arctic tundra, over 16,000 miles of glacier ice and over 35,000 square miles of timbered, coastal rainforest, there is wilderness enough to satisfy even the most jaded adventurer.
This section contains many pages of information on the different regions of the state, together with many pages on our river systems, lakes, mountain ranges, highway systems, towns and villages. If it's about "Place", you'll find it here.
It is possible to spend a lifetime exploring the state and never see the same place twice. As you plan your Alaska outdoors adventure, you need to know what to expect in the region you are visiting. What is the weather like? What are the terrain and vegetation like? What rivers flow through the area? What outdoor recreational opportunities does the area offer? What facilities and commercial services are available? Is the area road-accessible, or is it necessary to hire a pilot and an aircraft to get there? You will find these details and much more in these pages.
Alaska's Regional Boundaries
The state of Alaska is huge, and each area of the state has its own regional distinctives of weather, terrain, access methods and activities. To help you narrow your search, this site divides the state into the same five regions used by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's Division of Wildlife Conservation. However, because each of these five regions is so large, we have divided each one into two pieces, referring to their location by the geographical terms, "North", "South", "East" and "West", with a page for each. You can access these pages via the main site menu. This should make your trip planning efforts much easier.
REGION 1: Southeast Alaska
Southeast Alaska, commonly referred to as the "Panhandle", is composed of a number of largeislands and a strip of coastline that borders British Columbia to the east. The area is roughly 480 miles long and 100 miles wide in places, and is the coastal rainforest of Alaska. Ketchikan is typical of the area, receiving an average of over thirteen feet of rain per year.
Region 1 (panhandle-southern) includes all areas of Southeast Alaska south of the Yakutat / Cordova area.
Region 1 (panhandle-northern) includes the portion of the Panhandle surrounding Yakutat and Cordova.
REGION 2: North Gulf Coast, Kenai Peninsula, and the Kodiak / Afognak Archipelago
Region 2 includes the coastal waters associated with Prince William Sound from the Cordovaarea north and west. It includes the entire Kenai Peninsula, which hosts some of the best road-accessible fishing in the state (the Kenai and Russian rivers, for example), as well as popular jump-off points for saltwater halibut, lingcod, rockfish and salmon fishing out of Valdez, Whittier, Seward, the Deep Creek / Ninilchik area, and Homer. It also includes the storied Kodiak and Afognak islands, famous for brown bears, Sitka blacktailed deer, elk, and some of the best saltwater fishing in the state.
Region 2 (kenai peninsula) includes the North Gulf Coast and the entire Kenai Peninsula.
Region 2 (kodiak / afognak) includes all islands in the Kodiak / Afognak archipelago.
REGION 3: Interior and Eastern Arctic
Alaska's Interior covers a huge land mass ranging from the Canadian border almost to WesternAlaska, and encompasses the eastern third of the Brooks Range. It's an incredibly diverse area, with numerous lakes, rivers, mountains, and forests popular with fishermen, hunters, and other outdoor enthusiasts. The area gets quite warm in the summer, with temperatures ranging all the way up over 100º F. In the winter, this is typically the cold spot, with temps dropping to -65º F and even colder, for days on end. That's cold enough to shatter a plastic trash bag if you shake it outside, or turn a cup of hot water into steam before it hits the ground. This is one of the best places to see the Northern Lights in the winter, with Circle Hot Springs a premium destination.
Region 3 (arctic-eastern) includes all areas of Region 3 east of the George Parks Highway and the Dalton Highway (the "Haul Road")
Region 3 (interior) includes all areas of Region 3 west of the George Parks Highway and the Dalton Highway.
REGION 4: SouthCentral through the Alaska Peninsula and the Aleutians
SouthCentral Alaska contains the population center of the whole state, with the communities ofAnchorage, Palmer, Wasilla, King Salmon, Dillingham, and many others, including the tiny community of Adak. Recreational opportunities abound in this area, with some of the best trophy rainbow trout fishing out in the Bristol Bay watersheds, excellent road-based fishing for all five species of salmon, dolly varden, grayling, lake trout and northern pike, to name a few. Waterfowl hunting is good, as is big-game hunting for moose, caribou, black bear, brown / grizzly bear, and Dall sheep. There are many affordable opportunities for flight-seeing, and great opportunities for snowmachining the back-country in the winter months.
This site divides Region 4 into two sub-regions:
Region 4 (south-central) extends from the Canadian border to the summit ridge of the Western Alaska range.
Region 4 (alaska peninsula) runs from the Alaska Range, through the Lake Iliamna region and Bristol Bay out through the Aleutian Islands.
REGION 5: Arctic and Western Alaska
The Arctic is truly "the land of the midnight sun", with 24 hours of daylight for a good portion of the summer. This region is mostly inaccessible by road, however several airlines serve the villages scattered throughout the area, so access is good. Once you arrive in a village, any of a number of commercial air charter services offer wheel, float plane, or ski plane access to remote locations. Though saltwater fishing opportunities are limited, freshwater fishing is tremendous and several unique species can be had in this area, including the iconnu, or "sheefish", which grow to exceptional size (the current state record is 53lbs.) Hunting opportunities exist for many species, including the unique muskox.
This site divides Region 5 into "north" and "south" sub-regions.
Region 5 (western arctic) encompasses the western Arctic, south through the Seward Peninsula and ending south of Unalakleet at the border of GMU 18.
Region 5 (yukon delta) includes the entirety of GMU 18, which includes the entire Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region.
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Interested in fishing or hunting in Alaska? Camping, hiking or mountain biking? How about boating on Prince William Sound? Or maybe you've never been to Alaska and you need help planning your trip? We provide many of these details on our specific regional pages, however additional details, including practical instruction, are provided in our Activities section.
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