49 Incredible Facts About Alaska, the Last Frontier State

by | 18 Jan 2024

Welcome to Alaska, a land of rugged wilderness and landscapes untamed. As much of the state is still left unexplored, it has earned the nickname of “The Last Frontier”. From jagged mountain ranges to dramatic glaciers, nature reigns supreme here, and man holds no dominion. This makes Alaska the dream destination for any budding explorer or nature enthusiast. This untamed wilderness holds many secrets, but allow us to help you navigate these lands with what we do know: 49 Alaska facts to pique your curiosity and inspire your next trip to the Last Frontier.

Explore the Last Frontier on our 7-day Alaska adventure: Jewels of Alaska

Geography and History

1. Alaska is the largest US state, covering over 665,000 square miles

That makes it larger than the next three largest states (Texas, California, Montana) combined. If Alaska were an independent country, it would be the 18th largest in the world.

An Alaskan landscape: a river and forest in the foreground, backdropped by a colossal mountain range

2. Almost one-third of Alaska’s land is in the Arctic Circle

3. It is home to the 17 tallest mountains in the United States

4. Alaska’s Mount Denali is North America’s highest point at 6,190 meters (20,310 feet)

5. There are eight national parks in Alaska

These are Denali, Gates of the Artic, Glacier Bay, Katmai, Kenai Fjords, Kobuk Valley, Lake Clark and Wrangell-St. Elias.

6. Alaska has more coastline than the entire contiguous United States combined

7. It is estimated that it has over 100,000 glaciers

It’s thought that about 3% of Alaska is covered by glaciers. That’s a lot of ice, when you consider how large Alaska is.

Glacier field in Alaska

8. There are more active glaciers and ice fields in Alaska than in the rest of the inhabited world

9. There are over 3 million lakes in Alaska

10. Alaska’s largest lake is Lake Iliamna

At 77 miles long, the lake is as wide as the state of Connecticut.

11. Alaska is 14.2% water

With more than 3,000 rivers and 3 million lakes, it’s no surprise that Alaska is thought to have 94,743 square miles of water area.

12. The United State’s two largest forests are in Alaska

The Chugach forest covers 4.8 million acres, while the mighty Tongass forest spans an inconceivable 16.8 million acres.



Alaska once belonged to Russia

13. Alaska has more than 100 volcanoes, and some are still active, such as Mount Redoubt and Mount Spurr

14. Alaska has the highest percentage of public lands of any U.S. state

15. Much of Alaska is only accessible by air or water

16. Juneau is the only state capital that is inaccessible by road

17. Alaska has the lowest population density of any US state

There’s only one person per square mile. If this were applied to Manhattan, New York, there would be only 16 people living on the island.

18. The four largest cities in the United States are in Alaska

Sitka, Juneau, Wrangell and Anchorage are the US’s largest cities by area, with Sitka at a massive 2,870 square miles (7,434). This makes it almost four times the size of the state of Rhode Island.

Anchorage, Alaska, by a frozen lake and backdropped by snow-capped mountains

19. The only WWII battle on US soil took place in Alaska

In 1943, Japan invaded the Aleutian Islands. The Battle of Attu took place, lasting from May 11 to May 30.

20. There’s a place in Alaska where the rules of gravity don’t seem to apply

On Upper Huffman Road in Anchorage, you’ll find ‘Gravity Hill’. Here, if you put your car in neutral at the bottom of the hill, it mysteriously rolls up, instead of down.

21. Alaska holds the northernmost, easternmost, and westernmost points in the whole United States

22. Alaska is only 50 miles from Russia

23. Russia once sold Alaska to the U.S. for $7.2 million

Alaska used to be part of Imperial Russia, but they sold it to the US in 1867. The move was lampooned at the time, but the critics soon ate their words when the Klondike Gold Rush happened in 1899, proving the region to be rich with gold deposits.

Birds-eye view of Alaskan landscape - forests and wilderness carved by a winding river

Statehood and culture

24. Alaska was one of the last states to join the US

Alaska only became a US state in 1959, along with Hawaii, making them the 49th and 50th states of America respectively.

25. Alaska’s state flag was designed by a 14-year-old boy

Benny Benson, part of the Alaskan Qawalangin Tribe, was only 14 years old when he won a contest in 1927 to design the flag for Alaska.

Alaska state flag

26. Alaska’s official state flower is the forget-me-not

27. Alaska’s state gem is jade, found in various regions of the state

28. Sitka spruce, the state tree, is one of the world’s largest species of spruce

29. The state fossil is the woolly mammoth, due to the many mammoth remains found in Alaska

30. Alaska has more than 10,000 active pilots

More than 1% of the state’s population have some kind of flying certification. This might be due to the fact that much of Alaska is inaccessible by land.

31. It has the highest male-to-female ratio in the United States

About 52% of Alaskans are men – the highest percentage of any state. There are 107 men for every 100 women here.

32. Alaska Natives make up 18% of the state’s population

Native totem pole in Alaska

33. There are 224 federally recognized Alaskan Native tribes

34. The state’s official language is English, but there are also 20 Indigenous languages spoken


35. Alaska means “The Great Land”

The name comes from the Aleut, one of Alaska’s Indigenous people. It can also mean “mainland”, “great country”, or “great land”.

36. There’s a sport called “Alaskan High Kick,” a traditional Native Alaskan game

This game has Indigenous origins, and the objective is to kick a hanging target. However, the player must hold one foot with one hand, balance on the other hand, and then use their remaining leg up to kick the target.

37. Alaska’s official state sport is dog mushing

Indigenous tribes have been using dogs and sleds for transportation and recreation in Alaska for millenium. It is now the state’s national sport, where competitors race their dogsleds.

You may also like: A Guide to Mushing in Alaska


“Alaska” means “The Great Land” in the indigenous Aleut language


38. The Alaskan Malamute is one of the oldest dog breeds in the world

It’s also the official state dog, and has been used for dog mushing by Indigenous tribes up to 3,000 years ago.

39. Alaska’s heroic dogs have statues made after them

The local Alaskan huskies are beloved companions for good reason. As well as aiding transportation and helping manage the harsh environment, the dogs have saved lives too. In 1925, in the village of Nome, some local children became ill with diphtheria. An epidemic was imminent, only preventable if a serum could be somehow transported to the remote village across hundreds of miles of brutal Alaskan wilderness. Coming to the rescue were volunteers and their trusty dogs, who delivered the serum via a gruelling relay across the wilderness. The lead dog Balto, was even immortalized in New York city with a bronze statue in Central Park.

A statue of Balto, the lead dog in the Noma village crisis, in Central Park New York

40. You can find grizzly bears, moose, caribou, wolves, and bald eagles in Alaska, too

You may also like: Six Alaskan Animals You Never Thought You’d See

41. Alaska is home to the largest population of bald eagles in the United States

42. It has the largest bears in the world: the colossal Kodiak bear

Kodiak bears are unique subspecies that live only on the islands of the Kodiak Archipelago. Because of this, they have been isolated from other bear species for 12,000 years. They are the largest bears in the world, standing up to 11 feet tall on their hind legs and weighing up to 1,500 pounds.


a close up shot of a brown bear’s face, with shaggy brown fur

43. There is an estimated one bear to every 21 people in Alaska

44. The state fish is the king salmon

45. The largest salmon ever caught was in Alaska

How does a 97 pound king salmon sound? That’s what Les Anderson found at the end of his line while fishing at the Kenai River, setting the world record in 1985.

The northern lights in Alaska, shining green in the night sky


46. During summer in some parts of Alaska, the sun never sets

Ever heard the phrase ‘Eternal summer’? Well in Alaska, it comes true. Huge swathes of the country are located within the Arctic Circle, so at certain times of the year the sun never falls below the horizon. Giving some parts of the state the nickname, “The Land of the Midnight Sun”. In Utqiaġvik, Alaska’s northernmost city, the sun rises on May 10 and won’t set until August 2. That’s 85 straight days of sun! Because of this, you sometimes find people hiking, fishing, and gardening at all hours of the day (or night?), and locals sometimes lose track of time. Of course, with every yin, there’s a yang. In the depths of winter, the sun also never comes up, leading to months on end of pure darkness. Alaska: a land of extremes. .

47. You can grow zucchinis to be as big as a daschund

Because of Alaska’s long summer days, you can grow incredible oversized vegetables. Locals have been able to produce 35-pound broccoli, 65-pound cantaloupes, and 138-pound cabbages!


48. You can spot the Northern Lights almost year-round

The Northern Lights season in Alaska starts around mid-August and lasts until mid-April, giving you around 240 days to see the spectacle.


49. Alaska has the lowest temperature recorded in the U.S.

At Prospect Creek Camp, within Alaska’s Arctic Circle, it dropped to -80 degrees Farenheit at  in 1971: the coldest temperature recorded in North America.


Inspired to visit Alaska after these curious facts? Explore the Last Frontier up close and personal in comfort and style with our premium 7-day tour: Jewels of Alaska

I'm Jay – born in Italy, raised in South London. Having French sisters and Hungarian ancestors, I've always been fascinated with the world and its cultures, and I carry this curiosity into my writing for Insightful. My favourite destinations I've traveled to so far have been Italy, Peru, France and Brazil.