Stories from Alaska

An insider's journey through Alaska's best kept secrets

Our Top 25 Fun Facts About Alaska

There are literally hundreds of fun facts about Alaska, America’s 49th state, but we’ve whittled down that list of Alaska trivia to our top 25:

#1: On October 18, 1867 Alaska officially became the property of the United States. Many Americans called the purchase of the land from Russia at 2 cents an acre “Seward’s Folly.”

#2: Alaska’s Constitution was adopted in 1956 and became effective in 1959 making it the 49th state.

#3: Alaska is the United States’ largest state, over twice the size of Texas, at 1400 miles north to south and 2,700 miles east to west.

#4: Alaska officially boasts the lowest population density in the nation.

#5: 17 of the 20 highest peaks in the United States are located in Alaska. But can you name all 17?

Denali National Park scenery in Fall

#6: In 1943, during World War II, Japan invaded the Aleutian Islands, which started the One Thousand Mile War, the first battle fought on American soil since the Civil War.

#7: The Trans-Alaska Pipeline moves up to 88,000 barrels of oil per hour on its 800 mile journey through Alaska to Valdez.

#8: Alaska’s fishing and seafood industry is the state’s largest private-industry employer.

#9: Alaska has five species of salmon; King, Coho, Sockeye, Chum, and Pink.

#10: The Alaskan moose is the largest member of the deer family.

#11: A Reindeer is a domesticated Caribou.

#12: Unlike other members of the deer family, both male and female caribou grow antlers.

#13: In 1926, a youngster, 13-year-old Bennie Benson from Cognac, Alaska designed the state’s flag.

#14: Nearly one-third of Alaska lies within the Arctic Circle.

#15: The Tongass National Forest is the largest national forest in the United States.

#16: Alaska Polar Bears are considered a marine mammal and are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

#17: Great White Sharks have been found in Southeast Alaskan waters.

#18: The wood frog, Rana sylvatica, can be found living in Alaska north of the Arctic Circle.

#19: The spread of a bull moose’s antlers can exceed six feet in breadth.

#20: Moose can trot as fast as 35 miles per hour (56 km per hour).

#21: The Lynx is the only cat native to Alaska.

#22: Despite the name, Musk Ox are not a type of ox, but are more closely related to sheep and goats.

Musk Ox roam wild in Nome and other parts of northwestern Alaska

#23: Alaskan musk-ox were hunted to extinction by hunters in 1865. They have since been reintroduced and their numbers are increasing.

#24: The Arctic Tern is known to travel as far away as Antarctica each year.

#25: Fireweed is unusual that it blooms from the bottom up. When the top blooms, it signals the end of summer.