Photo Essay: 88 Incredible Pictures of Alaska Life and Scenery!


Looking for some pictures of Alaska that show what’s it like to live or vacation there? This series of images captures everything, from the most mundane aspects of everyday life (hiking pants and ATVs) to the most exciting outdoor adventures (whale-watching and glacier hiking!)

35 things you didn’t know about Alaska
Welcome to Talkeetna, the kooky Alaskan town with a feline mayor
The unforgettable experience of flightseeing and landing on a glacier
Seeing killer whales in Kenai Fjords National Park? Check.

Scroll down for 88 more photos of this awesome state!

Photo Essay: Pictures of Alaska

It wasn’t all glaciers and bears in Alaska. This roadside fireworks stand was impossible to miss. Groovy!


This van was a permanent part of the fireworks parking lot. I would kill to own it.

This love van might be the best of all my pictures from Alaska.

You know you’re in a rural community when your mailbox is one of a dozen at the end of a long street. Imagine living there. “Hey honey, I’m gonna drive over and check the mail…”


You’ve probably seen those toy log cabin houses. Have you ever seen one next to a real log cabin house? My mind was blown.

real log cabin + toy log cabin house

Moose droppings are typically perfectly round and solid, which makes them perfect to turn into souvenirs available for purchase at the local Walmart.

There’s moose dropping earrings, Christmas tree ornaments, potpourri, and swizzle sticks.


There’s never any doubt about what to wear in Alaska. It’s all hiking pants, all the time!

hiking pants

Seward is a huge fishing town. Let’s play the Sesame Street game. Which one of these things is not like the others?


“There are two seasons in Alaska. Winter and construction.”


Sea planes. They can land planes on anything in Alaska.


We passed this Senor Taco in Wasilla several times. I wanted to check it out because of its stupidly simple name.


I heard Sarah Palin’s name only a couple of times during the entire week, mostly from tourists who wanted their Sarah merch.

She’s not a big seller anymore, apparently, but this gift shop had “PALIN” and “ICRUSSIA” among its vanity license plates.


My first sighting ever of a plate from the Yukon province in Canada.


Everything was so pretty flying into Anchorage.


The main theme in the airport was “geese.”


ATVs and snow machines are among the popular ways to travel in Alaska. I spotted this line of ATVs in Talkeetna.

pictures of alaska atvs

Evidently Talkeetna isn’t serious about enforcing its no camping policy.

overnight camping talkeetna

Everyone loves to visit the North Pole post office, home of Santa Claus!


Everything in the town of North Pole has a Christmas theme. The McDonald’s and Wendy’s use candy canes in their design. Even a welding company gets into the spirit.

Universal Welding, North Pole, Alaska

You knew there had to be a giant Santa in North Pole, right?

giant santa north pole

A bear sculpture carving at the Ice Museum in Fairbanks.


Images of Outdoor Life

There’s not much of a runway for a plane to land on the glacier.


I’m very lucky to be in a place like this.

pictures of alaska air taxi

Another shot of Mt. McKinley (Denali), the highest peak in North America.


A closer shot of the beautiful aqua ponds from the bush plane.

aqua-ponds denali national park

Even the small mountains look majestic from an airplane.


Glaciers beneath the wing of the plane.


You can almost see this glacier moving as it falls over the side of a mountain.


The end of a glacier as it melts into a pool. This is one of my favorite pictures of Alaska.


Thank goodness I saw Mt. Denali from the air, because I had no luck seeing it from land. Roadside pullouts taunted me by showing what the mountain would look like if it weren’t so cloudy.


Driving in Alaska can offer some amazing mountain views. But it also offers huge stretches where the land looks like this for miles and miles at a time. Nothing but a two-lane road, some trees and some monotony.


Often it was several hours’ drive to get from one city to the next. Alaska has fortunately set up roadside restrooms all throughout the state for those times when nature calls.


Extreme close-ups of a black bear at an animal sanctuary south of Anchorage. You can visit the sanctuary on your own, or with a tour from Anchorage.


Bald eagles are no big deal here. They sit in trees on the side of the road.


Yep, just a common everyday sight.


I like the idea that trees are still standing 50 years after they died.


Do not trespass on the Alaska Railroad!

alaska railroad trespassing

Playing on the tracks isn’t trespassing, is it?

play railroad tracks

Stores in small towns have to be everything to everyone. So they serve up liquor, tshirts, and panties.

liquor store

Even in Anchorage, businesses seemed to be into diversifying their inventory. Pablo’s bicycle rental shop inexplicably also offered gourmet sausages. You go, Pablo.

pablos bicycle rentals anchorage

The blinding white of Matanuska Glacier as seen from the road.

matanuska glacier

Matanuska is a lot more fun up close, as a lot of folks found out by hiking on it.


Sometimes I can be found in corridors inside glaciers.

glacier corridor

Passengers look out the window during the whale-watching cruise.

cruise ship from inside

A different look at a killer whale from a distance. The dorsal fin looks pretty cool sticking up out of the water.


I mentioned that the common murres often stuff themselves and are unable to fly back to their homes in the cracks of the mountains. Here’s a shot of two murres skipping along the water having trouble attaining lift off.


One of the cruise staffers used a net to snatch up a piece of glacial ice and bring it onboard for the guests to touch.

grabbing ice

Check it out – one of these sea lions is inked! He seems to have letters written on his body. I wonder if he was marked by scientists for research purposes.


When I put together the whale-watching post, I totally forgot we saw otters too. Here they are.


The mountains dwarf this cruise ship in the distance.


Looking out the back of the cruise ship.


Other Pics of Alaska Stuff

Back in Anchorage, I found a vendor selling adorable Eskimo ornaments.


A live display of traditional games at the Alaska Native Heritage Center.


An Eskimo statue in Anchorage. There are a bunch of interesting murals, statues, and monuments in downtown Anchorage.


Totem poles in downtown Anchorage. (Note: For those interested in the history and meaning of totem poles, see our article about the Stanley Park totem poles in Vancouver.)


This was one of the more moving sights in Alaska. An older gentleman, possibly homeless, got emotional as he paid homage to this military statue on the 4th of July.


Kids race cars during the 4th of July celebration, one of the cool festivals in Anchorage.

kids race cars

They wanted to win those inflatable Spiderman figurines bad!

spiderman balloons

This kid seemed less than enthused about being dangled in the air via bungee harness. “Get me out of here!”

bungee kid

Learn your Native American history at Wrangell-St. Elias, the largest national park in America.

native american language groups

Welcome to Denali National Park. Now pay up.


Another look at the thirsty moose that welcomed me to the park.


The only wolf I saw was the fake one on display.


Arriving to Savage River Campground.


The moose droppings were all over the campground. I could have made my own swizzle sticks.


On top of the world on some rocks above the Savage River.


A view of the Savage River at mile 14, the farthest you’re allowed to drive into the park.


To go beyond that, you need to catch a seat on one of the shuttle buses.


Some of my fellow tourists/campers took photos when the bus stopped for a break.


Never stop at the end of the maintained trail. That’s a great life lesson.


This is what I imagined backcountry camping in Denali would look like! Look at that wide open landscape.


Instead, we ended up pitching our tent in a high-elevation location up on a hillside.

I mentioned in an earlier post that it got so cold overnight that our tent zipper froze and the rain actually turned to ice. Here’s evidence.

ice on tent

At least all the precipitation ultimately resulted in a rainbow.

denali-rainbow alaska images

The water rushes past as we hike to our camping spot.

riverbed pictures of alaska

The same riverbed as seen from way above on the hill.


The view from our tent. Not bad.

tent-crop alaska pics

Alaskan plants have to be tough to grow in these conditions.




The squirrel surrounded by happy flowers.


You may have seen bears in the wild. You may have seen bear tracks. But have you ever seen the feet that make those tracks?

A sleepy grizzly bear gave us a chance to see its feet as it settled in to catch some ZZZs.

Grizzly bear feet

Another shot of the dall sheep that came over to greet our bus.


Our friend the marmot peeking out of his hole. Marmots are underappreciated animals in Denali National Park.


The road in Denali is extremely narrow in places, and going around some of the bends in the mountains was kinda scary, because these bus drivers did not slow down.


Even after leaving Denali, the moose and caribou crossing signs were everywhere.


This moose decided to chill by the side of the road for a while.

moose alaska

A portion of the Alaska pipeline cutting through the mountains. Built in the 1970s, the pipeline is a staggering 800 miles long.


A tank at Fort Greely, a missile-launching site 100 miles south of Fairbanks.


Woohoo, Alaska was awesome!

yay plane

Thinking about going to Alaska yourself? Check out the definitive guide to budgeting for a trip to Alaska.

Hope you enjoyed these pictures of Alaska. Here are some tips to get your own Alaska shots.

88 incredible photos from Alaska