Alaska is a land of extremes, both in size and beauty. It is the largest state in the United States by far and is home to some of the most spectacular landscapes in the world. But how big is Alaska exactly? Let’s take a look at its size and geography to get a better idea of just how huge this northernmost state truly is.
Table of Contents
- Size of Alaska
- How Big is Texas Compared to the United States?
10 Little-Known Facts about the Size of Alaska
- 1. The Land Area of Alaska is 663,268 Square Miles
- 2. Alaska Is Twice as Big as Texas
- 3. Alaska Has More Land Than All But 29 Countries
- 4. It Has More than 33 Million Acres of Public Land
- 5. It Has More than 3 Million Lakes and Ponds
- 6. It’s Home to 17 of the 20 Highest Peaks in North America
- 7. It Has Over 34 Thousand Miles of Shoreline
- 8. Its Rivers Are Over 5 Thousand Miles Long
- 9. It Has Over 500 Glaciers
- 10. It Has More Area Than California, Montana and Nevada Combined
- How many states can fit in Alaska?
- How long does it take to drive across Alaska?
Size of Alaska
Alaska’s Size by the Numbers
In terms of land area, Alaska is the largest state in the United States, clocking in at 586,412 square miles. To put this into perspective, Alaska is almost twice as large as Texas (which comes in second at 268,596 square miles) and more than three times larger than California (which measures out to 163,696 square miles). In fact, if you combine all of the other states in America (minus Alaska), it still won’t equal the size of this northernmost state.
But this isn’t even taking into account Alaska’s maritime borders. When you add in its territorial waters, Alaska reaches a whopping 1,717,854 square miles—that’s more than twice its land size! This makes Alaska the largest state by far when taking both land and sea into consideration.
Divisions of Alaska
Alaska is divided into two main regions: mainland Alaska and the Aleutian Islands. Mainland Alaska consists of 15 boroughs which were created to serve as local government entities for their respective areas. The boroughs are Anchorage, Bethel, Bristol Bay, Denali, Fairbanks North Star, Haines, Juneau City & Borough, Kenai Peninsula, Ketchikan Gateway, Kodiak Island, Matanuska-Susitna Boroughs, Nome Census Area, North Slope Boroughs, Southeast Fairbanks Census Area and Yakutat City & Borough. Each borough has its own laws and regulations regarding land use and development.
The Aleutian Islands are a chain of volcanic islands that stretch from the Alaskan Peninsula westward towards Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula. This archipelago consists of 14 main islands that are divided among four main groups: Rat Islands (Attu and Kiska), Near Islands (Agattu and Amchitka), Fox Islands (Umnak and Unalaska) and Andreanof Islands (Adak and Amlia). The islands are home to unique wildlife such as seabirds, sea lions, whales and seals as well as diverse plant life.
Alaska has a rugged terrain with numerous rivers, mountains, glaciers and coastlines that stretch for thousands of miles across the landscape. The highest point in Alaska is Mount McKinley (or Denali) which stands at 20,310 feet above sea level while its lowest point is sea level along its Pacific coastline.
In addition to its stunning mountain ranges—including the Brooks Range—there are also numerous glaciers located throughout the state including Columbia Glacier near Valdez and Bering Glacier near Cordova.
Alaska also has an extensive coastline with over 33 thousand miles worth of shoreline that stretches from Canada’s Yukon Territory all the way down to Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula.
This coastline contains numerous bays such as Prince William Sound—which is home to one of America’s largest ice fields—as well as fjords like College Fjord which was named after Harvard University scientists who explored it in 1899.
How Big is Texas Compared to the United States?
Alaska is the largest state in the United States and is often referred to as “The Last Frontier.” It is also the least densely populated state in the nation, with a population of just 738,432 people. Despite its size and population, many people don’t know just how big Alaska is compared to other states in the U.S. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the size of Alaska and discuss how it compares to other states.
To get an idea of just how big Alaska is, let’s compare it to some of the other states in the country. The total area of Alaska is 663,268 square miles, which makes it almost twice as large as Texas (the second-largest state), at 268,596 square miles. California and Montana also pale in comparison to Alaska in terms of size, with both states totaling only around 150,000 square miles each.
However, when compared to all 50 states combined, Alaska’s size shrinks significantly. The entire United States covers an estimated 3.8 million square miles, making Alaska’s total area only about 17 percent of the total land area of the United States. This means that Alaska is only about one-sixth the size of the continental United States.
10 Little-Known Facts about the Size of Alaska
1. The Land Area of Alaska is 663,268 Square Miles
The land area of Alaska is 663,268 square miles, which makes it larger than all but 18 of the countries in the world. That’s right – Alaska is almost as large as France and Spain combined! This includes all of the state’s islands, including those in the Aleutian chain and the Pribilof Islands.
2. Alaska Is Twice as Big as Texas
Texas may be known for being big, but it has nothing on Alaska! In fact, Alaska is twice as big as Texas, with 663,268 square miles compared to Texas’ 268,820 square miles. That’s almost 400,000 more square miles for Alaskans to explore!
3. Alaska Has More Land Than All But 29 Countries
When it comes to size, Alaska has more land than all but 29 countries in the world. This includes countries like India, France and Mexico. In fact, if Alaska were a country, it would be just slightly smaller than Indonesia!
4. It Has More than 33 Million Acres of Public Land
Alaska boasts 33 million acres of public land – an area larger than any other state in the nation. This includes national parks like Denali National Park and Preserve and Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve as well as national forests like Tongass National Forest and Chugach National Forest. All of these lands are open for exploration and recreation for both residents and visitors alike.
5. It Has More than 3 Million Lakes and Ponds
Alaska has more than 3 million lakes and ponds – far more than any other state in the nation. With its abundance of rivers, streams and wetlands (as well as glacial ice fields) these waters provide many opportunities for fishing and other recreational activities such as boating, kayaking and canoeing. They also provide habitat for a variety of wildlife species such as salmon, moose and bears.
6. It’s Home to 17 of the 20 Highest Peaks in North America
Denali (formerly Mount McKinley) is just one of seventeen peaks over 12000 feet tall that can be found within Alaska’s borders; collectively they are known as the “Alaska Range” or “St Elias Mountains” (named after St Elias National Park). These peaks offer some of North America’s most remarkable hiking experiences – with stunning views of glaciers and wildlife at every turn!
7. It Has Over 34 Thousand Miles of Shoreline
Alaska has over 34 thousand miles of shoreline – more than any other state in the US! This includes both coastal shorelines (which are home to rich marine ecosystems) and freshwater lakeshores (which provide habitat for many species).
8. Its Rivers Are Over 5 Thousand Miles Long
There are over 5 thousand miles of rivers within Alaska’s borders – making it one of the most river-rich states in the US! These rivers provide some incredible whitewater rafting experiences – with class I-V rapids throughout much of the state.
9. It Has Over 500 Glaciers
Alaska has over 500 glaciers – many of which are visible from its roads or accessible by short hikes from its towns or cities! These glaciers provide spectacular views – whether you’re walking beside them or just looking at them from afar.
10. It Has More Area Than California, Montana and Nevada Combined
When you add up all four states (California, Montana, Nevada and Alaska), you find that Alaska has more area than those three states combined! This means that if you want to explore the great outdoors without leaving US soil then Alaska is definitely your best bet!
How many states can fit in Alaska?
For example, let’s assume we are considering 8 individual states for inclusion inside Alaska’s boundaries: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas. Based on their average land area and population density combined with Alaska’s own geography and terrain features (such as mountains and rivers), it is estimated that all 8 of these states could potentially fit inside Alaska’s boundaries without any overlap or overlapping features (such as roads).
How long does it take to drive across Alaska?
The answer to that question depends on your route, the type of vehicle you’re driving, and the weather conditions. The approximate distance from one side of Alaska to the other is 2,400 miles. Depending on the speed limit of the roads you’re traveling on and the amount of stops you make, it can take anywhere between 40-60 hours to make the trip.
Route Options for Driving Across Alaska
When driving across Alaska, there are two main routes you can take; either down the length of the Alaska Highway or up along the coast of Alaska. Each route has its own pros and cons:
The Alaska Highway
The Alaska Highway runs 1,500 miles from Dawson Creek in Canada to Delta Junction in Alaska. This is the most popular route for travelers driving across Alaska as it offers a scenic drive with plenty of opportunities to explore national parks and small towns along the way.
It’s also a relatively safe option with well-maintained roads and plenty of service stations and rest stops.
However, there are some drawbacks to taking this route. The weather can be unpredictable on this highway and it may be closed during certain times of year due to snow or ice. Additionally, there are very few services available once you get past Tok or Delta Junction in Alaska.
Taking a coastal route across Alaska is a great way to see some of the most beautiful parts of this state. You can follow US Highway 1 from Juneau in southeast Alaska up to Barrow on the northern coast.
This route takes you through some amazing scenery such as Glacier Bay National Park and stunning views of mountains and ocean along the way.
However, this route does come with some challenges as well. For one thing, it’s much longer than taking the Alaska Highway; it takes around 3 days just to get from Juneau to Anchorage (one third of the way across).
Additionally, there are fewer services available along this route so make sure you stock up on fuel and supplies before heading out.
Time Required for Driving Across Alaska
The time required for driving across Alaska will depend largely on which route you choose and how many stops you make along the way. If you take the Alaska Highway route, you can expect to spend around 40 hours in transit (not including any side trips).
If you take a coastal route up US Highway 1 instead, you’ll need to plan for more time due to more stops along the way; expect around 60 hours total in transit (not including side trips).
Vehicle Requirements for Driving Across Alaska
When planning a trip across Alaska, it’s important to choose a reliable vehicle that can handle both paved roads as well as gravel roads that may present themselves along your chosen route. You should also make sure your vehicle is equipped with all-weather tires as well as emergency supplies like flares, jumper cables, water/food supplies and blankets in case something goes wrong during your journey. Additionally, make sure your vehicle has enough space for all your luggage and supplies; an SUV or pickup truck is best for trips like this one.
Safety Tips for Driving Across Alaska
Driving across such a vast expanse of land can be dangerous if not done with caution and proper preparation. Here are some safety tips for making sure your journey is safe:
- Plan ahead: Make sure you map out your entire trip before departing so that you know exactly where you will be going and what kind of terrain each section presents; familiarize yourself with road closures due to weather or construction ahead of time so that you are prepared if something unexpected happens during your travels.
- Know your limits: Make sure that everyone in your vehicle knows their limits when it comes to driving; if someone gets tired or overwhelmed while driving then have them switch off with another driver or take a break at a rest stop until they feel ready again.
- Watch out for wildlife: Make sure that everyone in your vehicle is aware of animals that may cross their path while driving; watch out for moose or caribou herds crossing highways or other larger animals like bears which could cause significant damage if hit by a vehicle at high speeds.
- Be aware of changing conditions: Weather conditions can change rapidly in remote areas; always check forecasts ahead of time so that you know what kind of weather conditions you may encounter during your journey (such as heavy rain or snow storms). Additionally, keep an eye out for flooding or washouts that may occur after heavy rains or snowmelts which could cause road closures or delays in travel plans.
- Stay connected: Make sure everyone in your vehicle has access to emergency contacts such as family members or roadside assistance services; having access to communication devices like cell phones could help if something were to happen during your travels where help would be needed quickly (such as getting stranded due to mechanical issues).
- Take breaks: Don’t forget to take regular breaks throughout your journey! Taking breaks every few hours will help keep everyone alert while driving and will give everyone an opportunity to rest their eyes after staring at long stretches of road ahead.
- Have fun: Above all else, remember that this is supposed to be an enjoyable experience! Take time out from all those long hours behind the wheel by stopping at interesting attractions along your chosen route or just enjoying nature’s beauty along the way – these are just some of things that make road trips so memorable!
Where To Find Resources Along The Way
If you find yourself needing help while traveling across Alaska there are several resources available throughout the state that could provide assistance depending on what type help is needed:
- Roadside Assistance: Roadside assistance companies such as AAA offer services like tire changes, jump starts and minor repairs which could help if something were go wrong during your travels; contact numbers for these services can usually be found at local gas stations or truck stops throughout most towns/cities in Alaska (just remember that not all places may have cell phone reception so having an emergency contact number written down before leaving home may be helpful).
- State Parks & Attractions: There are numerous state parks scattered throughout both Canada and Alaska which offer camping facilities; these parks usually provide public restrooms with running water which would come in handy if nature calls while traveling through remote parts of either country! Additionally, there are many attractions throughout both Canada & Alaska which could provide an interesting stopover point during travels such as hot springs in British Columbia or dog sledding adventures in Whitehorse Yukon Territory – just make sure each attraction offers adequate safety measures before visiting!
- Local Information Centers: Local information centers are scattered throughout most towns/cities throughout both Canada & Alaska providing helpful information such as maps/directions, current road conditions/closures due to weather/construction etc., advice on local attractions & events happening nearby etc.; these centers should always be consulted when planning any type of travel through either country!
Originally posted 2022-12-25 17:43:34.