Michael Heffernan

The Interior

Alaska literally translates as 'mainland,' but a more poetic etymology would be 'The Land.' And with that in mind, the great Alaskan Interior is, truly, The Land: a vast expanse of boreal forest, alpine tundra and jagged mountains cut by braided rivers and slithering tongues of frost-white glaciers.

Interspersed throughout this region, which is larger than many American states (and small countries), are tiny villages, thriving towns and lonely roadhouses, where a population of trappers, hunters, guides, rangers, teachers, truckers and plain old folk live amid one of the world's great wilderness playgrounds.

The big name in this region is Denali National Park, blessed with the continent’s mightiest mountain, abundant megafauna and easy access. But there's so much more: routes that are destinations in and of themselves, clapboard settlements and a myriad of parks that will redefine your very notion of natural beauty.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout The Interior.