Geographic Facts Of Alaska
Alaska is twice as large as 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 20,237 feet high. Yukon’s Mt. Logan is the highest in Canada at 19,551 feet.
Alaska has 6,640 miles of coastline. Including all of its islands, 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.
Bering Glacier, in coastal south central Alaska, is the largest and longest Glacier in North America. The Bering Glacier complex includes the Bagley Icefield and has an area of 2,250 square miles. It is 118 miles long. The 850-square-mile Malaspina Glacier in southeast Alaska is the largest piedmont glacier in North America, spanning 60 miles across. A piedmont glacier is a steep valley 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 three 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 the Yukon, is the third longest river in the U.S.
The highest highway passes in Alaska are Atigun Pass (4,800 feet) on the Dalton Highway, Maclaren Summit (4,086 feet) on the Denali Highway (Cantwell-Paxson) and Eagle Summit (3,685 feet) along the Steese Highway.
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 Glennallen.
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.