Alaska : Things to do : Adventure Tourism / Activities
Sea KayakingA weather-dependent sport, sea kayaking requires an adventurous spirit and strong arms for paddling. Sea kayaking is a great way to explore the spectacular glacier-carved shores of Prince William Sound. Kenai Fjords National Park is also a favorite among sea kayakers. You can witness the awesome power of calving glaciers up close!
Glacier TrekkingWith an estimated 100,000 glaciers, Alaska is the place for glacier trekking. Trekking on the blue ice is a great way to experience the wonders of a glacier - exploring crevasses, towering ice formations and hidden lakes. The most popular glaciers are the Matanuska Glacier and the Mendenhall Glacier.
The Matanuska Glacier, a stable 27-mile long river of ice, is one of Alaska's most accessible glaciers with a 4-mile wide terminus (end of glacier) almost to the Glenn Highway.
Mendenhall Glacier is about 12 miles long located about 12 miles from downtown Juneau. Mendenhall glacial terminus currently has limited crevassing, a negative glacier mass balance, and is retreating.
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Ice ClimbingAlaska is ice climbers' paradise. From novice to expert climbers there is a climb to satisfy all. The rugged terrains of North Alaska are for the more adventurous climbers whereas Southeast or Panhandle ice climbs are temperamental as the weather is "warmer". Alaska hosts an Annual ice climbing festival in February. There are also regional ice climbing festival like Matanuska Ice Climbing Festival that usually takes place in September and Valdez Ice Climbing Festival in early spring (May-June).
Southcentral Alaska, is the most populated and the most explored region in Alaska. There are several well known climbs here. Some of the more popular ones are - Chitina River, Nabesna River, Valdez, Matanuska River, Kenai Peninsula, and rivers in Anchorage.
Delta River and Nenana River are the two well-known climbs in Interior Alaska. The routes are accessible off either the Parks Highway or Richardson Highway and approach time can vary from 10 minutes to many hours in this Alaskan backcountry.
Southwest Alaska is not a popular ice climbing destination as most of it is not accessible by road. Access is mostly by bush plane and you may require backcountry skills in Kodiak island where there are tough but exhilarating climbs.
Northern Alaska offers climbs for the very committed. Sukakpak Peak and Dillon Mountain ice climbs offer an alpine climbing experience. You must be well prepared to venture on these climbs. Check out www.alaskaiceclimbing.com for details regarding these climbs.
Whitewater RaftingThere are over 3000 rivers in Alaska. The crystal clear water crashing in the canyons is the perfect setting for class III to class V whitewater rafting.
Alsek and Tatshenshini Rivers are ranked no.1 in Top 10 white-water rafting adventures in the World by National Geographic.
Sixmile Creek in Chugach National Forest is a whitewater rafting paradise offering the highest difficulty level (class IV and V).
You could visit these two weblinks for additional information on Six Mile Rafting and Tatshenshine River Rafting.
Fly-In AdventuresGiven the rugged Alaskan terrain, back country bush planes are the best when it comes to accessing outdoors activity areas. From a daytrip of wildlife viewing, a week-long fishing trip, to flightseeing these charter flights are customized to cater to your needs. You can choose to be dropped off at one location and picked up one week later at another location. There are park service cabins available at some locations. There are several charter flight companies you could choose from. Outdoorsdirectory.com has a good listing of air taxi operators in Alaska.
FishingBe it fly-in fishing or saltwater fishing, Alaska's fertile waters offer some of the best fishing experiences. Salmons, both freshwater and seawater, are obviously the most popular. Cods, halibuts, and rainbow trouts also give keen fishermen unforgettable moments.
For fly-in fishing, Far North and Interior regions are the best. They are spectacular with serendipitous tranquility that is sought after by anglers.
Southern regions are more popular. Many visitors try their hands at salmon runs and steelhead runs to earn bragging rights!
To get more information or to plan a fishing trip, check http://www.bestalaskafishingtrips.com.
Dog Sledding / Dog Mushing
Sled dog racing comes from the centuries-old tradition where dog-pulled sleds were the primary form of transportation through most of Alaska. Dog mushing was designated the official state sport of Alaska in 1972 and the Alaskan Malamute was named the official state dog in April 2010.
Today, dog mushing is a thriving industry. http://www.welcometoalaska.com/dogsledding.htm provides information on several adventure sports tour outfits that offer "soft-adventure" dogsledding trips and tougher courses for those who want a more Alaskan experience. Then, of course, there is the biggest one of them all - the Iditarod.
Iditarod It has been called the "Last Great Race on Earth". Take 1150 miles of dense forest, jagged mountain ranges, frozen river, eerie tundra, and several miles of windswept coastline. To this add sub, sub, sub-zero temperatures, blinding winds, complete darkness for hours. Then throw in mushers and dog sled teams. Voila! there is your Iditarod.
This is not merely a race, but a salute to the spirit of Alaska. The Iditarod Trail, now a National Historic Trail, had its beginnings as a mail and supply route from Seward through mining camps to Nome. Mail and supplies went in. Gold came out. All via dog sled.
In 1925, Nome was stricken by the diphtheria epidemic and serum had to be brought in. Mushers and their hardy dog teams saved the day traversing part of the Iditarod trail.
Today, it is a race where people from diverse backgrounds pit themselves against untamed Alaska. Each team of 12 to 16 dogs and their musher has to cover over 1150 miles of treacherous terrain from Anchorage to Nome in 10 to 17 days in this ultimate test of endurance.
To know more go to www.iditarod.com