Historical Sites

Alaska Native, Russian, WWII & Gold Rush Historic Landmarks

The story of Alaska’s unique history is practically as enormous as the state’s many ecosystems, climates, geology and typography. It begins at least 10,000 years ago and is told orally, visually and physically at the many historic sites around the state.

Alaska is home to dozens of National Historic Landmark sites, National Historic Sites, National Historic Parks, National Monuments and hundreds of properties recognized by the National Register of Historic Places. There are also four Alaska state parks (Chugach, Denali, Kachemak and Wood-Tikchik), two National Parks (Kenai Fjords and Kobuk Valley), seven National Park and Preserves (Denali, Lake Clark, Glacier Bay, Katmai, Wrangell – St Elias, Gates of the Arctic, Noatak), two National Forests (Chugach and Tongass), and twenty three national wildlife refuges. Now that’s a lot of history and ground to cover!

Thousands of archaeological sites, some dating back more than 10,000 years, provide visitors with insights and evidence of the earliest humans and animals that roamed in Alaska. While sometimes a bit difficult to access, you can learn more about them at Bureau of Land Management district offices in Anchorage and Fairbanks. Visiting Alaska’s historical sites can provide visitors with education, understanding and an appreciation for the rich tapestry of Alaska’s past as well as a deeper connection to the state as a part of Alaska’s living legacy.

Alaska Native culture can be experienced in communities across the state. Start your exploration by visiting the Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage and then try the Alaska cultural centers and museums in Barrow, Nome, Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan and Sitka.

Sitka was the capital of Alaska during the Russian era. Fueled by fur and religion, Russian exploration of Alaska began in the last 1790’s and early 1800’s. Russian people and influences soon spanned the state, from the Aleutian Islands to Juneau. Today, you can still see and explore aged Russian architecture as well as meet people practicing Russian Orthodox religion.

One of Alaska’s most compelling and charismatic eras was during the Alaska Gold Rush, beginning in the late 1890’s. Today, artifacts and remnants can be found in historic hot spots like Skagway, Fairbanks, Hope, Eagle, Nome and McCarthy-Kennecott. You can even do a little mining of your own at historical stops in Fairbanks, Girdwood and Skagway.

Alaska played a critical, yet little known, role in World War II as a strategic location to fend off Japanese soldiers in the 1930’s. Discover this via museums, artifacts and bunkers galore in the Aleutian Islands, around Kodiak Island, and even as far east as Seward and Sitka. Some of Alaska’s most important infrastructure used today was developed during this time.

Alaska has a long history of oil exploration and discovery, but the big Alaska oil boom arrived in 1968 when oil was discovered on Alaska’s North Slope. Within 10 years, the Trans Alaska Pipeline System was built and carrying oil 800 miles from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez. The Alaska pipeline is still in use today and can be visited in Fairbanks and seen in many stops along its route.

Discovering Alaska’s history will delight and amaze you!

Choose from 43 tours related to

Duration: Day Tour
Starting at: $165 / per person

On this Anchorage day trip, join a small-group tour for a drive on the Glenn Highway Scenic Byway, passing farmland that grows record breaking produce on your way to the Talkeetna... Read more.

Duration: 15 Days
Starting at: $3209 / per person

This self-drive tour takes you from Anchorage to Talkeetna, Denali, Fairbanks, Kennicott, Seward and Homer. This ultimate “All Alaska” driving tour provides you with a... Read more.

Fully guided cruise and land tour
Duration: 12 Days
Starting at: $2599 / per person

Your experienced Alaska guide will help make your “Gold Rush and Glacier Bay” vacation smooth and enjoyable as you experience the attractions of Alaska and Canada’s... Read more.

Escorted Tour
Duration: 6 Days
Starting at: $1489 / per person

The Alaska Explorer Tour is a one-way, guided group bus tour, ideal for a pre-cruise adventure in Alaska. In addition to expert commentary by your tour leader, in Fairbanks, a visit... Read more.

Duration: 12 Days
Starting at: $2839 / per person

This tour is a great adventure! Ride the Alaska Railroad, explore Denali National Park, search for gold, meet a sled dog team and much more! This “Circle Alaska” adventure... Read more.

Escorted Tour
Duration: 8 Days
Starting at: $2529 / per person

The Alaska National Parks tour is a guided Alaska group tour by bus and by railroad featuring two amazing iconic parks: Denali National Park and Kenai Fjords National Park! This land... Read more.

Duration: 9 Days
Starting at: $2689 / per person

Designed for rail enthusiasts, this program includes Anchorage to Seward, Talkeetna, Denali and Fairbanks. From the majestic waters of Kenai Fjords National Park to Alaska’s... Read more.

Duration: 11 Days
Starting at: $3299 / per person

See all the best places: Anchorage, Seward, Kenai Fjords National Park, Denali National Park, Talkeetna and Fairbanks in a relaxed pace. Sit back and enjoy the scenery as you travel... Read more.