9 Interesting Facts You Didn't Know About Alaska

On October 18, 1867 the U.S. took possession of Alaska. This huge territory, roughly twice the size of Texas, offers up some amazing outdoor adventure opportunities. From Denali National Park and Preserve, Gates of the Arctic National Park and Kenai Fjords National Park to the sand dunes at Kobuk Valley National Park, Alaska is full of unique adventures.

Alaska Photo by Jim Trodel

In honor of Alaska Day: 9 interesting facts you didn't know about Alaska.



  • In 1867 the U.S. purchased the territory from Russia for $7.2 million. That's a price of less that two cents per acre.

  • The purchase was not popular among the American people. It became known as "Andrew Johnson's Polar Bear Garden" and other names. It wasn't until gold was discovered in 1896 that people embraced the territory.

  • The name Alaska comes from the Aleut word alyeska which means "great land".

  • It's home to 23 national parks, 49 National Historic Landmarks, and 12 threatened or endangered species.

  • Although Alaska has the most land mass of any U.S. state, it has the 47th most population. According to 2013 estimates, Alaska has more residents than North Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming.

  • Alaska has a longer coastline than all the other U.S. states combined.

  • Since some of the Aleutian Islands are located beyond the International Date Line, Alaska is technically the northernmost, easternmost and westernmost state in the union.

  • Of the 20 highest peaks in the United States, 17 are in Alaska.

  • The state has an estimated 100,000 glaciers which means five percent of the state is covered by glaciers.


 Have you ever been to Alaska? Tell us in the comments below.
Andy Hawbaker
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Andy Hawbaker
Andy is a hiker, backpacker, snowboarder and outdoor fanatic. When he isn't exploring the Rocky Mountains, burning marshmallows or scratching his dog behind the ear, he shares his experiences here on the Sierra Trading Post Blog.
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