Aniakchak National Monument – Alaska

Extreme volcanic natural landscapes

According to ehuacom, the Aniakchak National Monument was designated in 1978 with a size of 555 km². The status of National Monument (Preserve) was established in 1980 to; the protected area was expanded to a size of 1,885 km². Hunting is permitted within the National Preserve, subject to conditions. Aniakchak National Monument & Preserve is located in the mid-peninsula of the Aleutian mountain range, around Aniakchak Volcano. The area is managed by the US National Park Service. As I said, visitors rarely come to this area due to the lack of infrastructure. From time to time, rafting fans come to the area to practice their recreational sport on the Aniakchak River in the Alaskan wilderness.

Cloud covered mountains and a glacier

Lone National Monument with extinct volcano

Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve is located in the US state of Alaska. The Aniakchak National Monument does not have many visitors, the weather is usually too bad there. The main area of ​​the reserve includes an extinct volcanic crater nearly 10 kilometers in diameter and a few hundred meters deep. The extinct volcano lies along the world’s active volcanic ring “Ring of Fire “. The caldera in its current dimensions was formed about 3,500 years ago. The area was declared a National Monument to recognize the geological importance of the caldera.

Attempted economic exploitation in Alaska

After the area became part of the United States, the fishing and canning industry came to the area after Alaska. The rich offer of nature was now used economically. This industrialization took place quite ruthlessly in many parts of Alaska. In the Aniakchak area, too, the life and culture of the indigenous people was not really taken into account.

Volcanoes and mountains non-stop

This chain-shaped mountain range in Alaska is known as the ” Aleutian chain “. One volcano follows the other on a long peninsula. The chain of volcanoes begins at Lake Chakachamna, over 100 km west of Anchorage, and extends to Unimak Island in the Aleutian Islands. The northern part of the mountain range is called the Chigmit Mountains. There the Alaska mountain range joins the Aleutian mountain range. The entire area of ​​the Aleutians has practically no infrastructure and can only be accessed by plane or ship.

Glacier mountains in Alaska

Aniakchak – original nature

The area of ​​the Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve has a pristine nature, an original flora and fauna to offer. But there are also predators in the area, such as bears. If you prepare well for your stay in this area, you will experience a natural paradise. Otherwise, you should think twice before visiting the Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve.

Good living conditions

Researchers found that people in this area lived on hunting, fishing, and berries, as well as shellfish. This rich food supply allowed the population to grow rapidly.

Traces of human habitation

When scientists and researchers studied the region, it was found that the area of ​​Aniakchak National Monument also has a very ancient cultural history. Archaeologically significant finds of a settlement from about 2,000 years ago were found in the immediate vicinity, about 1,500 years after the great Aniakchak caldera was formed. The area was probably inhabited before the great eruption, but the eruption destroyed all life and made this area a dead zone for a long time.

Mountains of the Aleutian mountain range (elevations in meters)

  • Mount Iliamna – Chigmit Mountains – 3,054
  • Double Peak – Chigmit Mountains – 2,078
  • Mount Shishaldin – Unimak Island – 2,857
  • Isanotski Peaks – Unimak Island – 2,446
  • Pogromni – Unimak Island – 2,002
  • Mount Pavlof – 2,715
  • Mount Veniaminof – 2,508
  • Mount Douglas – 2,153
  • Mount Katmai – 2,047
  • Mount Denison – 2,318
  • Mount Chiginagak – 2,134
  • Mount Aniakchak -1,341

Haines Highway in Alaska

In the kingdom of the bald eagle

The Haines Highway winds through Canada’s Yukon Territory and ends in southern Alaska. The road connects the towns of Haines – USA with Haines Junction in Canada. The Haines Highway follows the course of the Chilkat River to the northwest. At the upper reaches of the Chilkat River, the trail leaves the river course, the border with Canada ( British Columbia province) crossing, heading north. Only the Haines Highway from Haines – USA to the Canadian border is described here. The length of the Haines Highway is 235 km. In Canada, as Haines Road, the road passes Duff Lake, Dezadeash Lake, and Kathleen Lake before finally joining the Alaska Highway at Haines Junction. West of Haines Junction is Canada’s Kluane National Park.

Small town of Haines on the Chilkat Peninsula in Alaska

From dirt track to highway

What is now the Haines Highway was once a trail used by the Chilkat Native Americans (Tlingit Natives) to their hunting grounds. During the Alaska Gold Rush in the 19th century, what is now the Haines Highway was used to connect to the Klondike Goldfields. Back then, the loads were transported with pack donkeys. In the mid-20th century, the trail was upgraded to the highway for use by the US Army. Along the Chilkat River, the Haines Highway is lined with native coastal rainforest. The beautiful Chilkoot Barracks, also known as “Fort William H. Seward”, belong to the Haines settlement.

Fish Wheels and Grizzlies

Rare animals such as grizzlies, brown bears, Dall sheep and many rare bird species can be found in the extended Haines Highway region. The “Fish Wheels” can be seen in the Chilkat River on the Haines Highway in the fall. The Fish Wheels are a simple but very effective device for catching the migrating salmon. In order not to endanger the salmon population, the Fish Wheels may only be operated by the locals.

Bald Eagle on the Haines Highway in Alaska

Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve

Along the Haines Highway there are always beautiful, dreamlike views to be discovered. A real highlight on the Haines Highway is the “Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve”. The protected area has a size of about 200 km². It protects the largest permanent population of Bald Eagles in the world (up to 400 individuals). The eagles roost in the cottonwood trees along the Haines Highway. During migration, when the salmon spawn in autumn, the number of bald eagles present increases to 3,000 – 4,000 specimens.

Beyond the tree line

On the Canadian side, Haines Road continues through the St. Elias Mountains. The forest retreats there. The landscape changes into an alpine tundra landscape.

Aniakchak National Monument - Alaska