The South West

Alaska’s South West region includes the Aleutian Islands, the Yukon and Kuskokwim River Deltas, making it a popular spot for luxury holidays. The area is particularly popular amongst those wishing to photograph the birds and brown bears. The area has two National Parks, The Katmai and the Lake Clark National Park. Both are excellent for wildlife and have an abundance of interesting flora and fauna. On our Alaskan tours the properties we use are always remote and exclusive to allow you to explore undisturbed.

Part of the South West region is made up of the Pacific’s ring of fire which is a major area of the basin of the Pacific Ocean and therefore the area has an ample supply of volcanoes. The Katmai National Park is just over 4 million acres and is renowned for its fishing in the Brook Falls, which has a natural supply of wild salmon. This in turn attracted the brown bears which now call this area home and give a unique spectacle to visitors, especially when the salmon run is happening – usually mid June-mid August. It is believed to be the largest population of protected brown bears in North America with numbers reported to be in excess of 2000. The park is also home to the valley of ten thousand smokes which is an area of lava flows and ash formations caused by a historic volcanic eruption. The park is only accessible via air from Anchorage and gives a truly remote and wild experience to those who visit.

The South Central area of Alaska is where over half of the States population live and is one of the most popular areas to visit on any luxury holiday here. This is largely due to its beautiful landscapes, fantastic fishing and access to many of Alaska’s National Parks and glaciers. The area also includes the Kenai Peninsula which is world renowned for its wild coastline, mountains and glaciers. It is also home to the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park which has 9 of the country’s 16 tallest mountains and is the largest national park in America at 13.2 million acres. It is also included in the International Biosphere Reserve and is a registered UNESCO World Heritage Site. The area is home to Hubbard Glacier which is the largest glacier in North America at 76 miles long and 7 miles wide. On the wildlife front the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park offers a diverse range from 240 different species of birds and 54 different species of mammals including beavers, bisons and bears.

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Fishing in Alaska is large part of the tradition here. It offers some of the best freshwater, saltwater and fly fishing in the world.  It also offers the unique experience of ice fishing. There are thought to be 627 different species living in the Alaskan waters including Salmon, Trout, Arctic Char and Dolly Varden. The South West region offers the perfect place to get to grips with these and it remains a highly regarded fishing area on both a regional and national level.

The city of King Salmon is also in the South West region and is considered to be one of the best places in the state to view grizzly bears in the wild. The place itself has been used a military base and sits on in a unique position on the north bank of the Naknek River and therefore acts as the ideal place to start adventures into the wilderness.

The area of Bristol Bay covers more than 40,000 square miles and is pristine wild country of tundras and wetlands. It is also home to the World’s largest source of red salmon as they are enticed to the area due to its ample spawning streams that flow into the nearby rivers and bays. The areas fish are also completely wild and it’s worth noting that there are no hatcheries there at all. It is completely natural. The area offers visitors endless activities however the most popular in the bay is skiing in the Winter and fishing in the Summer. There are also a number of cultural events all year round. The area is considered to be one the most valuable salmon fisheries in the world.

The Kenai Peninsula as mentioned above is of real merit to this part of Alaska. It covers 9000 sq miles and juts off southern Alaska. The area has ample activities to offer from birding, glacier and wildlife tours, kayaking, museum and cultural tours. Within the Kenai Peninsula there are various towns. One of the most notable is Homer which is a major fishing destination. There is also Seward which is the gateway to Kenai Fjords and the vast Harding Icefield. The Icefield is a vast expanse which covers 300 square miles and includes over 40 glaciers of all different types. Of the notable glaciers it is believed that Exit Glacier is the most accessible. The peninsula is also home to the Copper River Delta conservation area which is a world renowned and critical wetland which makes for a crucial stop for migrating birds.

This region is also home to Anchorage which is the largest city in this state and has a population of just under 300,000. The city is a truly unique and within the surrounding area offers glaciers, National Parks and the serene waters of the Cook Inlet which includes the wonder the is the Chugach Mountains. These mountains offer a dramatic skyline to the city and are Alaska’s most accessible glimpse into the wilderness. It is also famed for its moose of which there are an estimated 1200 which have made the city and surrounding area home. There is also plenty to enjoy from a cultural point of view and the city is home to the Alaska Native Heritage Centre which is an educational facility highlighting the traditions which the state has to offer. It was opened in 1999 and shows the heritage of Alaska’s 11 major cultural groups. The city also has a range of good restaurants which make the most of the fresh seafood and fish but also the game meat which the area has to offer. One of these is the Kincaid Grill which was opened in 2003 by head chef Al Levinsohn. The idea was to offer a fine dining experience made from traditional food and given a modern and fresh twist. It is often referred to as being one of the leading restaurants in Alaska.

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