First trip to Alaska! Where the heck should I go?

11:24 p.m. on January 12, 2018 (EST)
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I'll be heading to Valdez, Alaska around Mid May for 2-3 months. I'm big into fishing, so this will be a very exciting time for me because of all the salmon runs I'll be in. Beyond fishing, I'm looking for any backpacking trips that can range from 1-4 day trips or great hikes that any of you can recommend. I'll have some crampons that can handle snow travel in the higher elevations during that time, so there shouldn't be many things limiting me. Also if there is anything out there that I absolutely cannot miss, whether it be a hike, lake, or any sort of view you think is worth the time, let me know!

8:04 a.m. on January 13, 2018 (EST)
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5,181 forum posts

I lived in Alaska twice, the first time for 2 years back in October 1977 to December 1979 and then a again the summer/half winter of 2006.

While ocean salmon are caught year round, stream salmon don't start spawning till mid summer.

I spent my summers of 78-79 backpacking in Denali NP, then then still called McKinley NP. And then again for a couple months, I stayed there backpacking in 2006 while working just outside the park. Then in early August I bicycled from Denali to Homer Spit, then back to Seward and took the ferry across to Valdez and then cycled back to Anchorage.

If you have never been there to Alaska before, you are in for a real treat! It is so wild all over Alaska! 

Just north of Valdez is the Copper River and many huge glaciers fields. Plus the Wrangle St Alias NP. very beautiful country.

By far Denali was my favorite place being I spent three summers there. In 78-79 I did nothing but backpack the park for two months both summers.

Be sure also to check out Homer Spit, Anchorage, Fairbanks,etc. Not sure how you are getting around, but the Alaska Railroad is one of the best ways to travel central AK and  if you can  take a bush plane into the interior. More people fly bush planes in AK than automobiles,

Good luck!

11:50 a.m. on January 13, 2018 (EST)
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3,041 forum posts

You can't see it all and you are not going to miss anything.  Just wander around. Alaska has everything.  I love the place. 

5:00 p.m. on January 15, 2018 (EST)
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12 forum posts

Don't forget to stop and get your bear spray before you hit the trail.

Hiking there was a lot different than it is in California, the moose grass gets darn tall and made me so aware that at any time a moose or a bear could charge at me and make me roadkill (trail kill?) -- we were a group of six with multiple bear spray cans and never used them, but we also made tons of noise going along so we didn't startle anything deadly.

I enjoyed staying in public use cabins - a bargain and keeps you from being a bear's plaything.

If I'm ever at a loss for what to do with a bunch of money, I'll totally go back and rent canoes, and do some portaging in the lakes  south of Anchorage -- sounds like a blast.

January 16, 2018
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