20 Famous Landmarks In Alaska To Visit

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Alaska is undoubtedly the largest state in America, spanning over 600,00 square miles. Consequently, it comes as no surprise that the landmarks in Alaska bring a feel of history, adventure, and fun.

With its gignormous size and rugged terrain, Alaska is blessed with some breathtaking wonders within its pristine nature. But that is not all; amongst the diverse wildlife and majestic landscape, you will still find plenty of indigenous heritage, dramatic history and interesting culture.

Here are some of the famous landmarks in Alaska that you can visit to experience all that diverse offering. From UNESCO Sites to National Parks, they are among the best Alaska has to offer.


Most Famous Landmark In Alaska

Wildlife, glaciers, history, parklands, and unique culture are some of the top things that Alaska is known for. That diverse terrain attracts millions of visitors yearly.

Glaciers can be seen up close on cruises and day cruises in various places in Alaska, including Glacier Bay, the Kenai Fjords, and Prince William Sound.

These excursions provide an excellent opportunity to see coastal Alaska’s stunning mountain vistas and tidewater glaciers.

Alaska is outstanding, but Denali National Park and Preserve is arguably the most interesting. Here’s what you should know about the landmarks in Alaska. 

Denali National Park

Nestled in the wild heart of Alaska, you will find North America’s tallest peak, Mount Denali. This is probably Denali National Park’s biggest claim to fame. Nevertheless, you will be mistaken to think that it is the only thing this famous Alaskan landmark is known for.

Sprawling over six million acres, Denali National Park is a grand mixture of forest, high alpine ranges and snowy mountains. This makes it a paradise for nature enthusiast and outdoor lovers looking for some action or escape.

While scaling Mount Denali is only for adventurous and experienced, there are countless other activities you can engage in throughout the vast nature and landscape. So fret not if you are more of a regular joe like us.

There are many other trails for more casual trekkers, and the diverse terrain also means an abundance of interesting wildlife. If you are lucky, you might even see some along the way.

In addition, Denali National Park is a year round destination. It is one of the landmarks in Alaska that receives visitor during the winter as the natural landscape are great for winter sports/activities.


Famous Sitka, Alaska Landmarks

Saint Lazaria Wilderness

When it comes to landmarks in Alaska that are filled with wildlife, Saint Lazaria Wilderness is the state’s feathered kingdom! Sitting off the coast of Sitka, this place is a mass of rugged cliffs and surreal landscapes where about half a million seabirds set up their home base.

The wilderness sprawls over two small islands, and it’s a prime nesting spot for birds like puffins, storm-petrels, and kittiwakes. That said, the terrain is super raw and it is really kind of an exploration into the wilderness, with a bunch of squawking going around.

So if you are looking for more of an offbeat adventure, Saint Lazaria Wilderness certainly fits the bill. Definitely keep a safe distance while you admire the wildlife and soak in the serenading sounds of the sea.

Sitka, Alaska

Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall

For a dose of Alaska’s rich history, the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall is an interesting one. While the name might inspire some fancy imagination of a secret gangsta guild among the gaming enthusiasts, it is not particularly that.

The ANB Hall is actually a historic gem that stands tall as a testament to the strength and unity of the indigenous people of Alaska. In fact, it has earned the title of being one of the National Historic Landmarks of Alaska since 1987.

Established in the early 20th century, the Alaska Native Brotherhood and its counterpart, the Alaska Native Sisterhood, aimed at bringing together Native peoples to champion civil rights and promote a sense of unity.

Fighting against racism and for equality, one of big decisions that their efforts contributed to is the ability for Native Americans to acquire full US citizenship.

This hall is like their HQ, where big decisions were made, rights were fought for, and history was penned down. Visually, it’s a charming wooden structure that gives off those “old-school-cool” vibes. The place truly radiates significance, and you will get a newfound appreciation for the rich tapestry of Alaskan history.

Sitka National Historical Park

Sitka National Historical Park is where history meets Mother Nature in Alaska. This park holds the title of Alaska’s oldest federally designated cultural and historic park. It was established in the early 1900s and subsequently also becomes a National Monument.

The key highlight here has to be the intricate and visually striking totem poles. They’re tall, they’re proud, and they’re a representation of local Tlingit and Haida tales. The park also honor historical events such as the wars between the Russian American Company and the indigenous Tlingit people.

It’s one of the iconic cultural landmarks in Alaska that will offer you a glimpse into the state’s dramatic past before it even became part of the United States.

Sitka National Historical Park also houses the famous Russian Bishop’s House. Built in the 1840s, it’s a throwback to when Sitka was having its “It’s complicated” relationship phase with Russian settlers.

And if you’re more into trees than totems, there are several tranquil trails waiting for you. It’s perfect for contemplative walks and nature photography. The Mount Verstovia trail is arguably the most scenic (depending what kind of views you prefer) but is also more challenging.

Totem Poles in Sitka, Alaska

Castle Hill

Castle Hill might not be a sprawling fortress from a medieval tale, but it played an important role in the storybook of Alaskan history. First off, to set expectation, Castle Hill isn’t so much a “castle” as it is a hill, so don’t be expecting a “Lord of the Rings” kind of grand fortress.

Nevertheless, this elevated land has seen its fair share of dramatic history with different tribes and rulers trying to stake their claim.

In the very early days, the Tlingit people used it as a strategic stronghold. This was until the Russian rolled in and took it over. However, the park’s greatest significance today stems from the fact that Alaska was transferred to the United States in 1867, with the famous Alaska Purchase ceremony.

While you won’t find impressive fortified walls or grand halls here, there’s a quaint park perfect for panoramic selfies and soaking in the surrounding views.

Russian Bishop’s House

Built in the early 1840s, this historic pad once housed Russian Orthodox bishops, priests, and probably a fair amount of incense. After all, Sitka used to be the colonial capital for the Russian Empire.

This cultural Alaskan landmark is one of the few remaining physical reminders of when Alaska had a “Made in Russia” tag, before the U.S. decided to snag it in the ultimate real estate deal.

Architecturally, it’s a delightful mix of logs, heavy timber, and that classic Russian oomph. However, if you’re expecting fancy onion domes like ones in Moscow, keep those expectations in check. It’s more like the subtle, understated cousin of those flashier Russian landmarks.

Nevertheless, the interior is like stepping into a time capsule. The National Park Service has done a stellar job at keeping things authentic. There is also something pretty surreal about seeing Russian artifacts and Orthodox icons in the middle of Alaskan wilderness. Sort of ironic but also unique in its own way.

This is one place to visit to check out some of the architectural vibes that Russia left in Sitka.

Famous Gulf of Alaska Landmarks

Prince William Sound Glacier

Prince William Sound

Situated in the northernmost nook of the Pacific Ocean, Prince William Sound is a labyrinth of fjords, islands, and bays. It’s like Mother Nature’s version of a maze littered with impressive wildlife.

Navigating this watery wonderland feels like flipping through a glossy nature magazine. One moment, you’re ogling at the cascading tidewater glaciers that form into artistic shapes. The next, you’re playing ‘spot the otter’ as these furry floaters sunbathe without a care.

This is easily one of the most popular natural landmarks in Alaska with cruises and tours taking curious and excited travelers to explore the wonders of the region.

For the history buffs, the Sound is more than just pretty views. It’s had its share of headlines, some grand, like the discovery of gold, and some not-so-grand like the Exxon spillage into pristine nature.

If you’re seeking an immersive place where the ocean whispers tales and wildlife reigns supreme, Prince William Sound is your jam. Just remember to dress well so you can soak it all in.

Kayak Island

Tucked away in the Gulf of Alaska, Kayak Island isn’t your typical sun, sand, and coconut cocktail kind of island. After all, this is Alaska! Instead, expect dramatic cliffs, tempestuous waters, and maybe even a playful sea otter or two.

That said, the island’s name has nothing to do with the activities. You don’t really want to be kayaking around here with all that turbulent conditions. “Kayak Island” got its name from Lt. Sarychev who felt that the shape of the Island resembled that of skin canoes.

The rugged and raw landscape alongside a gloomy weather day actually makes for a really dramatic set. A standout feature of the Island is Cape Saint Elias, where you will find the pointy Pinnacle Rock. There is also a lighthouse here that help to navigate the tricky surrounding waters.

Historically, Kayak Island is also believed to be where Georg Wilhelm Steller first set foot on Alaskan soil way back in 1741. That made him one of the first Europeans to visit Alaska.

Kodiak Island

Nestled deep in the Gulf of Alaska, Kodiak Island has that rugged charm you’d expect from an Alaskan landmark. It’s the kind of place where trees are plenty, wildlife is abundant, and the WiFi? Let’s just say trees don’t make great signal boosters. But who needs WiFi when you’ve got stunning wild vistas.

The splendid great outdoors is a paradise for the outdoorsy souls. When hiking around, you’ll probably find yourself taking a thousand photos of the same mountain from different angles or even just because the light is hitting differently. But hey, nobody is judging.

If you fancy yourself an angler, this is the place for you. The waters around Kodiak teem with fish, making it a prime spot for people who have the patience to catch their own food.

However, the highlight of the wildlife kingdom here is not actually the fishes, but rather the famous Kodiak brown bears. These gigantic creatures are majestic and imposing.

If you’re hoping to catch a glimpse, consider guided bear-viewing tours. They’ll give you that safe front-row experience while ensuring you’re not accidentally crashing a bear’s lunchtime.

In addition, Kodiak Island isn’t just all about nature. The Alutiiq heritage is rich and runs deep. You can check out the local museums where they beautifully preserved this important culture. Immerse yourself and learn how the indigenous communities thrived in these often-harsh conditions.

Landscape of Kodiak Island

Famous Anchorage, Alaska landmarks

Alaska Native Heritage Center

The Alaska Native Heritage Center (ANHC) in Anchorage is where you’ll get an authentic, hands-on glimpse into the traditions, lifestyles, and art of Alaska’s indigenous folks. It is is among the most important landmarks in Alaska.

Spanning across a lovely lakeside campus, the center is dotted with some actual-size traditional dwellings. They are like ‘life-sized dollhouses’ offering a look into how the OG Alaskans lived. From the semi-subterranean home of the Inupiaq and Yup’ik people to the Athabascan log cabin, it’s eye-opening and fun to hop around the different structures.

While the big exhibits are obvious, don’t miss out on the smaller yet equally interesting displays. The center boasts a mesmerizing array of native artwork. From intricate beadwork to soul-stirring masks, it’s a feast for the eyes.

The ANHC even hold events such as native music and dance performances, as well as workshops. So you might even be able to catch some action when visiting at the right time.

One quick tip: don’t leave without chatting with the center’s guides and storytellers. These folks are like living libraries, full of tales, traditions, and tidbits.

Tony Knowles Coastal Trail

Spanning 11 gorgeous miles, this trail starts in downtown Anchorage and stretches all the way to Kincaid Park. With all its stunning beauty, the trail is like a nature-made runway where the models are bikers, joggers, and skaters in all their outdoor gears.

Nevertheless the main highlight come from the surrounding scenery which is a major reason that attracts the outdoor enthusiasts. From the majestic views of Mount Susitna to the Cook Inlet, it’s a nice feast for the eyes. If you get lucky with the weather, you might even catch a glimpse of Mount Denali, North America’s highest peak.

Whether you’re biking, hiking, or just out for a casual saunter with your camera, the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail has a bit of everything. Gentle inclines, forested bits, beach views, and even some handy rest spots for when you realize you’ve been gawking at the landscape more than moving.

Historical Landmarks In Alaska

Oscar Anderson House

If you plan to see interesting landmarks in Alaska to learn more about life in Anchorage in 1915. Head over to Oscar Anderson House.

As Anchorage’s first wood-frame home, the Oscar Anderson House Museum in Elderberry Park exemplifies Alaskans’ interior design and way of life in the early 1900s.

Oscar Anderson, the initial owner, was a prominent businessman in the early development of Anchorage. Anderson was instrumental in developing several sectors, including meat packing, coal manufacturing, air transportation, and newspaper printing.

The house is lavishly decorated during the first two weekends of December, and tour attendees are served traditional Swedish sweets.

Abandoned Kennicott Mine

Kennicott Mine & Ghost Town

Glacier hoppers departing from Anchorage should stop at one of the fascinating Alaska landmarks. The mine is an abandoned copper mining camp founded in 1903 by the Kennecott Mining Corporation, which ran five mines in the area at the time.

The mining colony quickly grew into a lively village teeming with miners and their families. The mineral boom, however, did not last long, and Kennicott was a ghost town by 1938.

Kennicott is now a famous tourist destination and one of Alaska’s most frequently visited landmarks. As a result, the National Park Service is restoring many historic camp buildings and giving tours of the ones that are safe.

For example, the enormous red mill building, a massive 14-story structure in front of the Kennicott Glacier, provides a postcard-perfect photo opportunity. Tours of the mill are available with an NPS guide to learn about the community and its history.

Fort William H. Seward

Fort William H. Seward, a short distance from Skagway, is an outstanding piece of American history. It deserves its place on the list of famous landmarks in Alaska and is worthy of a visit.

The United States Army built the fort to keep an eye on the rowdy gold miners who rushed to Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush.

Aside from maintaining order, the military post supplied a critical military presence in Alaska during a boundary dispute with Canada.

After the US and the United Kingdom settled the boundary issue in 1903, Fort William H. Seward quickly became the only active Army post in Alaska. This rule lasted from 1925 to 1940.

During World War I, the US Army utilized the relatively new army base for training Alaskan draftees. During WWII, the fort primarily served as a recruitment post.

The Army utilized the relatively new army station to teach Alaskan draftees during World War I. It is among the many Alaska landmarks that the US Army heavily utilized during World War II.

Miner’s Cabin at Crow Creek Mine

Crow Creek Mine

The Crow Creek Mine is one of the oldest landmarks in Alaska. There are hundreds of gold panning spots in Alaska, but very few allow you to work the claim as panhandlers did during the Alaska Gold Rush.

If you want an authentic and fun-filled experience, head to the Gold Rush of Alaska landmarks for a hands-on and interactive trip. Crow Creek is a family-run mine located less than an hour from Anchorage. During a tour of the facilities, you’ll learn how to operate a pan and a creek-side sluice box.

After filling your pockets, take a trip through the 400 acres of spectacular wilderness, including the historic Iditarod Trail, or visit the beautiful outdoor museum that highlights Anchorage’s oldest buildings.

Other Famous Landmarks In Alaska

Totem Bight State Historical Park

Located just north of Ketchikan, this isn’t your typical park with frisbees and picnic baskets. No, siree! Instead, it’s a visual feast of towering totem poles that weave tales of legends, myths, and family crests.

Way back in the day, native clans of the region would carve these towering totems to showcase their ancestry, tales, and maybe even a hint of their spirit animal. But as time went by, some of these magnificent masterpieces faced the wrath of Mother Nature and neglect.

Fortunately, the U.S. Forest Services decided not to give up on them. They hired indigenous carvers to salvage and restore them. And boy, did they deliver.

Now, aside from the Insta-worthy totem poles, there’s even a traditional clan house where you can uncover historic stories about the Alaskan clans. Each totem pole has a story to tell, representing intriguing legends of the past.


Japanese Occupation Site

While the Russian Bishop House is a remnant of Russian history in Alaska, the Japanese Occupation Site on Kiska Island is a reminder of World War II.

Located in the remote Aleutian Islands, Kiska might not be the first place you’d expect an international wartime drama. It seems a bit out of the way – even for a war. And that’s turned out to be kind of true, as the Japanese never really did use the island for anything significant until the US reclaimed it in 1943.

Today, while the soldiers are long gone, their footprint remains. Rusty relics, old bunkers, and remnants of wartime infrastructures dot the landscape, offering a fascinating glimpse into a lesser-known chapter of WWII.

Grizzly bear at Katmai National Park and Preserve

Katmai National Park

Located way out on the Alaska Peninsula, Katmai isn’t your everyday national park. Sure, it’s got the usual suspects: pristine landscapes, breathtaking volcanoes, and a lake that’s like a mirror on a good day. But what makes this place pop up on everyone’s wilderness bingo card? The bears! The fabulous, furry, fish-flipping creatures!

You know those Nat Geo scene where you see that majestic bear trying to grab their share of salmon in the river. This is one of the places that you can catch all that action. The park even has a designated ‘bear cam’ at Brooks River and it can be captivating to watch.

While you can enjoy that at home, there are still many natural landscape in the National Park that is certainly best seen in real life. This is after all one of the most famous landmarks in Alaska for good reason.

Katmai’s volcanic wonders like the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes will surely ignite that spark of adventure for any outdoor lovers.

Hubbard Glacier

Nestled snugly between Yukatat and Disenchantment Bay, Hubbard Glacier is one of the gigantic landmarks of Alaska. It is basically what happens when snow gets serious about sticking around.

Spanning around 76 miles, this colossal hunk of ice is an A-list celebrity within the glacial world. Gazing at the glacier, especially when it’s calving – which is essentially the glacier’s version of dropping the mic – is pure drama.

Picture mammoth chunks of ice, some the size of small buildings, crashing into the sea with a thundering splash. Videographers set up their cameras, patiently waiting to catch that iconic moment.

One of the more unique thing about Hubbard though is that while most glaciers are retreating at an increasingly pace, Hubbard’s a bit of an odd ball rebel. In fact, it’s actually advancing into Disenchantment Bay.

Whether you’re cruising by on a ship, flying overhead, or just chilling by the the coastline, the Hubbard Glacier offers an incredible spectacle.

The famous Hubbard Glacier

Mendenhall Glacier

Right near Juneau, Alaska’s lively capital, lies a frosty gem that’s just jaw dropping even amongst the several glaciers in the region.

Nestled within the Tongass National Forest, this 13-mile long icy marvel is a sight to behold. And while it’s been around for a few millennia, it’s got the charisma of a superstar in its prime.

The best thing is that Mendenhall Glacier is not just meant to be admired visually, but travelers can actually explore it. Don on some crampons and go for a glacier walk. Explore the towering ice walls, deep blue crevasses, and if you listen closely, you might hear the glacier whisper (or rather, creak) its ancient secrets.

The surrounding scenery is actually no less dramatic, despite being overshadowed by this impressive block of ice. The nearby Nugget Falls adds a nice watery soundtrack to the icy views. And if you’re lucky, you might spot a bear or two.


Discovering Landmarks In Alaska

Unleashing the wild, untamed beauty, and rich history, Alaska is truly a treasure trove of wonders. From the icy grandeur of glaciers to the towering totem poles that whisper tales of the past, the “Last Frontier” never fails to amaze.

These are just some of the famous landmarks in Alaska that is bound to weave magic around you. With a nice blend of history and nature, there are many options for creating memorable experiences regardless of your interest.

Make sure to plan sufficient time to check out the state, as this is definitely one that you don’t want to just rush through. Pack some warm layers, a decent camera and most certainly, your adventurous spirit as you discover the best of Alaska!



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Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.


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