National Parks Week in Alaska: Two accessible parks for families

This has been a difficult week. It is hard to make sense out of the nonsensical, and during times like these, I find myself heading outdoors to the solace of our Alaska wilderness. There, where life is no less dramatic but far less tragically so on a human level, I seek balance.

It might be perfect then, to embrace National Park Week, April 22-25. Free admission, fewer crowds, and ample opportunity to explore “America’s Best Idea.” Two Alaskan national parks, Denali National Park and Kenai Fjords National park, are great examples of accessibility for springtime recreation. Snow or no snow, kids and parents can find plenty of fun.

Kenai Fjords National Park, located in Seward, is still under a fair bit of snow near the Exit Glacier Visitor Center, but snowshoers, skiers, and hikers can access the beautiful Exit Glacier Road via the Box Canyon Gate (Mile 1.3 of Exit Glacier Rd). There are no services available at this time, so be prepared with warm clothing, food, water, and an understanding of ever-changing weather conditions. Find current conditions HERE.

Young adventurers investigate the Murie Science and Learning Center in Denali National Park.

Denali National Park crews have cleared the park road to the Savage Cabin Gate, around Mile 15 or so. From Park Headquarters to this location lie beautiful views and plenty of accessible snowshoeing and skiing. Don’t forget, too, that HQ during the winter is inside Murie Science and Learning Center, to the right of the entrance area (follow the signs). Plan to spend some time in this excellent facility; you can rent showshoes, take a guided hike, and learn more about your national park.

Win the lottery - drive the entire road!

And, speaking of Denali, the annual Road Lottery begins May 1. For a $10 fee per applicant, you can be one of the lucky few able to drive the park road after the September season ends.

Alaska is home to 17 national parks, spread throughout the vast landscape of the state. From places like Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park in Skagway, to remote Lake Clark National Park, we are blessed to be part of the effort to preserve and promote our public lands. How many have you visited?

Bears may or may not be up and about, so this is a great time to practice your best bear-aware behavior. As we say often; make noise, travel in groups, and carry bear spray!

Don’t forget – you might be able to visit any one of our nation’s national parks if you win the jetBlue/AKontheGO Family Travel Limerick Sweepstakes! Write a limerick centering around the theme of family travel, send it to before April 26, 2013, and that’s it – you’re entered. We’ve received some pretty witty limericks so far, and our esteemed judge is going to have a quite a time picking a winner!





Posted in Denali National Park, Kenai Peninsula, Miscellaneous and tagged , , .