Experience the lifestyle of Alaska’s most famous resident a la “Sarah Palin’s Alaska”
NOTE: In 2015 President Barack Obama officially renamed Mount McKinley to its Athabascan given name, Denali, meaning "the High One."
Love her or hate her, there’s no question TLC’s show about Sarah Palin’s life and family shows off Alaska at its picturesque best. The one-season wonder on TLC included some of the most exciting and visitor-friendly depictions of rugged Last Frontier experiences, many of which are tailor-made for families. During its eight episodes, viewers saw the Palins fishing, bear viewing, mountain climbing, flightseeing and otherwise enjoying Alaska’s great outdoors.
Want to experience “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” as seen on TLC? These five experiences are a must for visitors:
- Experience Alaska’s historic mining towns – America got a glimpse of Alaska’s gold rush history and what it’s like to pan for gold on “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” but Alaska’s mining history extends way beyond that. In just one year, 1897-98, more than 60,000 adventurers made their way north to the rich gold fields of the Klondike. Today, Juneau, Nome, Fairbanks, Sitka and many other communities have remnants of a gold mining past and visitors can still pan for gold and explore historical sites that capture life in what was once a booming, brawling frontier.
- Bear viewing – Alaska is home to thousands of brown, black and polar bears. Several designated bear viewing areas statewide offer visitors an opportunity to see them up close (and safely) at carefully managed sites. Some of the most popular include Anan Bear Observatory near Wrangell; Admiralty Island National Monument near Juneau; Fish Creek Wildlife Observation Site near Hyder; Kodiak Island; Katmai National Park and Preserve; and Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. Options for bear viewing at these locations range from day tours to multi-day backcountry experiences. For more on bear viewing in Alaska, click here.
- Learn to mush your own dog team – Follow in Sarah Palin’s footsteps by going dog mushing on a glacier. Dog mushing is Alaska’s official state sport, with roots that go back 4,000 years. These days, numerous professional mushers pay the bills by running tours in the summer months while generating interest and enthusiasm for the sport among visitors. Dog mushing experiences range from short kennel tours to the opportunity to be transported by helicopter to the top of a glacier for a ride across the ice. In winter, there are even options for training with an established musher for a week or more. To learn more about dog mushing, click here.
- Reel in a trophy fish – For the Palins, nothing says mother-daughter bonding like fishing. A multitude of fishing lodges, guides and charter services can be found across the state, whether you want to find a secluded fishing hole or cast a line into the depths of the ocean. Alaska’s most well known species include halibut, cod, trout, arctic char and five varieties of salmon. Whether you prefer fly fishing or deep-water ocean fishing, there are options in nearly every community in Alaska. Some communities even incentivize sport fishing with competitive derbies that offer hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of cash and prizes to winners. For more information on fishing in Alaska, click here.
- Conquer Mount McKinley – At 20,320 feet, conquering Mount McKinley, North America’s tallest peak, is a mighty feat. Even Sarah Palin struggled to overcome her fear of heights in the TLC episode where she and her husband, Todd, go mountaineering on Mount McKinley (also known as Denali). For beginners, a Denali flightseeing/hiking package is the best way to start, and is available out of the mountain-climbing hub of Talkeetna. Located just 90 miles north of Anchorage, Talkeetna is the starting point for most climbers who scale Mount McKinley, and an abundance of flight services also offer tours that range from a basic circumnavigation of the peak to landing at base camp and trekking around on glaciers nestled into the uppermost reaches of the mountain. To learn more about Talkeetna and Mount McKinley, click here.