Alaska is larger than Texas, California and Montana combined. Alaska’s 586,412 square miles measure 2,400 miles east to west and 1,420 miles north to south.
Alaska has 19 mountain peaks higher than 14,000 feet. Seventeen of the 20 highest peaks in the United States are in Alaska. Mt. McKinley is the highest peak in North America at 20,320 feet high. Yukon’s Mt. Logan is the highest in Canada at 19,551 feet.
Alaska has 6,640 miles of coastline. Include all its islands and there are more than 33,900 miles of shoreline, which is double the amount in the Lower 48.
Alaska has more than 70 volcanoes, with several erupting recently. Volcanic smoke is often visible to the west of the Kenai Peninsula. Valdez was near the epicenter of North America’s strongest recorded earthquake with a force measuring 9.2 on the Richter Scale that struck on March 27, 1964.
Alaska has about 100,000 glaciers. There are more active glaciers and ice fields in Alaska than the rest of the inhabited world. The 850 square mile Malaspina Glacier in southeast Alaska is the state’s largest and is the largest piedmont glacier in North America, spanning 60 miles across. (A piedmont glacier is a steep valley glacier glacier which has spread out into bulb-like lobes from spilling into flat plains.) Exit Glacier, near Seward, is one of Alaska’s most visited glaciers.
Alaska has more than 3,000 rivers and over 3 million lakes. The 1,000 square mile Lake Iliamna is the largest. The 1,980 mile long Yukon River, which originates near Atlin, British Columbia and flows through Yukon, is the third longest river in the U.S.
The highest highway pass in Alaska is Atigun Pass at 4,800 feet on the Dalton Highway. Maclaren Summit, 4,086 feet on the Denali Highway (Cantwell-Paxson) is the second highest. Eagle Summit, 3,685 feet, on the way to Circle is ranked third.
Most visitors won’t drive over those passes but will cross over the fourth highest pass, Eureka Summit, 3,322 feet, which is on the Glenn Highway between Anchorage and Glenallen.
Summit Pass, at 4,250 feet, is the highest on the Alaska Highway and is located 374 miles north of Dawson Creek in British Columbia.