Anchorage, South-Central Alaska, USA.
Anchorage is the tourist's main entry point to Alaska. Not the prettiest city or culturally fascinating, but it features a couple of good museums, an Arctic zoo and is a convenient transit point and/or base for exploration. Car rentals, tours, buses and trains can all be organised from here.
Buses: Fairbanks is a nine hour bus ride from Anchorage, Denali five hours.
Trains: Alaska Railroad is pricey but spectacular and takes 12 hours to Fairbanks, eight to Denali.
Distances in miles: Seward 126; Homer 226; Fairbanks 358; Dawson City (Canada) 494; Haines 775; Skagway 832; Seattle 2234.
Anchorage at 10pm, summertime, looking the other way.
Fairbanks in November, -35C (-30F) and the thermometer is still falling...
Fairbanks is a widespread but low-rise city
at the northern end of the Alaskan Highway; it can get down to -70C (-60F) in winter but zooms up as far as 32C (90F) in summer.
Tours to the Alaska's Northern region often leave from here.
Distances in miles: Seward 484; Homer 584; Anchorage 358; Dawson City (Canada) 379; Haines 653; Skagway 710; Seattle 2121.
Juneau city, South-East Alaska, USA
Juneau is Alaska's beautifully located state capital, surrounded by peaks, glaciers, rainforest, fjords and with an interesting old town.
This is the perfect jumping-off point for warm cruises or icy walks around Glacier Bay or Mendenhall Glacier, bear-watching on Admiralty Island or nearby hikes and canoeing, fishing, rafting, biking just about everywhere. There are over 90 hiking trails around Juneau. Cruise ships frequently visit.
Sitka, South-East Alaska. Primary activities are sport fishing, culture tours, biking and hiking.
Sitka on Baranof Island (flight), a charming, historic town with a Russian cathedral, castle and other relics left over from Russian colonial days.
Sitka National Historic Park combines native and Russian history with Tlingit Totem Poles and Russian artifacts while whale watching is possible from the city park, especially during the fall, or take a wildlife cruise for close-up action.
Other than whale-watching primary activities are sport fishing, culture tours, biking and hiking.
A glorious day from Sitka on an Alaska Marine Highway System ferry through the fjords gets you to **Juneau, with nearby icefield, the Mendenhall Glacier and some superb hiking trails.
Thomsen Harbor, Sitka, after a storm.
Haines, South-East Alaska. Click to return to Alaska Pictures
Haines, tightly girdled by water, glaciers and mountains, makes an excellent hiking, biking, fishing, kayaking, climbing and wildlife-spotting base (especially Black and Brown bears in the Chilkoot area mid-June-September, whales, moose and eagles).
In addition Haines is the major hub to/from Alaska's Yukon or Interior via the Alaska Highway and from Juneau and Sitka by ferry.
By road Haines to Skagway is 359 miles, to Dawson City 498 miles, to Fairbanks 653 miles, to Anchorage 775 miles, to Seattle 1774 miles .
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