Logo bar of the Alaska Public Lands Information Centers which are located in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Tok and Ketchikan
Northern Lights weaving their way over silhouetted black spruce. Mountains visible dimly on the horizon.
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Sightseeing Frequently Asked Questions

With 663,300 square miles, 6 main cultural regions and 20 main ecological regions, travel in the Great Land poses challenges different than anywhere else on earth. Specialized know-how is required in order to travel safely and conquer your Alaska to-do list.

  • Clothing
  • Transportation
  • Accommodations
  • Trip planning
  • Photography tips

Enjoy your adventures!
View more on the official Alaska National Park Service Youtube Channel


Downtown Anchorage moose
Moose at 13th Ave and I St, 1/2 mile from downtown Anchorage

Moose live in the city limits of Anchorage; where are the hot spots to go to see these urban moose?

Every once in a while one of these big game animals makes its way into downtown Anchorage. You may have better luck going to some of the places that are on the outskirts of town, like Kincaid Park, Far North Bicentennial Park, Hillside Trail System or south by Potters Marsh. If you are out biking or running on trails make sure to always be prepared for an animal encounter! Moose have been known to chase after pedestrians, so wait for the coast to be clear and move past slowly and cautiously. 

Eagle Shoup Trail Valdez
Bald Eagle at Shoup Trail, Valdez

Where can we go to bird watch?

Westchester Lagoon is a great and easily accessible area that is located in downtown Anchorage. Take a short drive south of Anchorage to Potters Marsh and walk along the boardwalk that extends into a portion on the marsh to watch the many nesting birds. And if you are going to be visiting between late August and early September you can go and witness thousands of Sandhill Cranes at Creamer's Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge in Fairbanks.

Salmon under the Ship Creek viewing bridge at the old power station

Where can we go to see salmon?

During the summer months salmon swim upstream in many of the rivers in Alaska. There are a few places, such as the salmon viewing bridge in downtown Anchorage above Ship Creek or the viewing dock on the Potters Marsh boardwalk, that have structures to stand on and watch the fish. Also in Anchorage is the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's William Hernandez Sport Fish Hatchery at 941 N Reese Blvd, where visitors are welcome 7 days a week.

Mount McKinley from parking lot near Point Woronzof in Anchorage

Can we see Mount McKinley from Anchorage?

Yes, on a very clear day, you can see Mount McKinley, which the Koyukon Athabaskan people refer to as Denali (The Great One), all the way from Anchorage. The distance between Mount McKinley and Anchorage is approximately 130 miles by air and approximately 225 miles by car. It is best to get up high, like on the top level of any of the parking garages in downtown Anchorage or a top floor of one of the many hotels. If you are on the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, you should be able to see Mount McKinley at Point Woronzof, Eathquake Park, and Resolution Park but, again, only if the day is very clear.

For more interesting facts about Denali National Park, visit their official website at

family pointing
Visitors looking for Dall sheep at a parking area 30 miles south of Anchorage

Along the Seward Highway people were looking up at the cliffs with binoculars; what were they looking at?

During the summer months, Dall sheep can be frequently seen grazing on the steep cliffs along the Seward Highway. Dall Sheep choose these precarious locations as a way to avoid predation when their white coats no longer blend in with a snowy background. 

Click here to learn all about Dall Sheep

NOAA aurora 381X286
Daylight in Alaska keeps the visible Aurora to the East and out of sight

Can we see the Northern Lights/Aurora Borealis in the summer?

The answer, at least from mid June to mid August, is no because the extended hours of daylight make it impossible to see them. The best time of year is to see the lights is during the winter months when it gets completely dark at night. If the atmospheric conditions are right, the Northern Lights can be seen as far away as Chicago, but your chances of seeing them improve as you go further north. 

The Aurora Forecast for Alaska can be viewed at

First year black bear cubs
First year black bear cubs

Where can I go to be guaranteed to see animals?

The Alaska Zoo in Anchorage, Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center south on the Seward Highway at about mile 47 (just before the Portage Glacier road turnoff) and the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward are great places where you can see Alaskan animals from a safe distance, or you can visit the Anchorage Public Lands Information Center for animal presentations and demonstrations. 

A group of people dressed in heavy winter gear stand behind a team of eight dogs attached to a dog sled. The landscape is pristine and white with craggy mountains in the distance. Did You Know?
Archaeological evidence suggests the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge was part of the route traveled by Siberian hunters from Asia to America over 10,000 years ago. The resident Alaskan Gwich'in and Koyukon Athabascan Natives are related to the Apache and Navajo tribes of the Southwest.