Woman looking at Exit Glacier, Harding Ice Field, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska
Woman looking at Exit Glacier, Harding Ice Field, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska

The Most Instagrammable Places In Alaska

By Amanda Mesa | Published on March 22, 2022

If you're looking for a destination with captivating natural beauty, Alaska has it in spades. From the quaint, colorful shops that line Juneau's waterfront to Ketchikan's misty emerald forests and Sitka's majestic, glacier-carved fjords, few places can compete with the raw, rugged backdrops you'll find when you venture into America's Last Frontier.

5 Of The Prettiest Places In Alaska To Take Photos

Most savvy vacation travelers will tell you the best way to visit the most Instagrammable places in Alaska are via cruise; as many of its prettiest places and photogenic sites can only be reached by air or sea. What's more, a cruise to Alaska makes it convenient to snap that perfect shot, since so many itineraries include cruising along spectacular fjords or past calving glaciers.

Already starting to picture yourself posing for the ultimate photo amidst ancient green spruces and towering, snow-capped peaks? We've put together a list of five of the most Instagrammable spots to reveal some of the prettiest places in Alaska, along with tips for how to reach each one and what equipment to bring with you.

1. The Harding Ice Field — Kenai Fjords National Park

Encompassing nearly 700,000 acres of wild, natural beauty southwest of Seward, Kenai Fjords National Parks is one of the best places to take pictures when you are visiting Alaska. You'll find all kinds of unique photo opportunities here, but one of our favorites is the Harding Icefield. The best way to reach it is by following the Harding Icefield Trail, an 8.2-mile hike that begins at the Exit Glacier area. The trail climbs through lush forests dotted with tranquil meadows before yielding spectacular views of the icefield — a sprawling blanket of snow that stretches all the way to the horizon line.

The trail takes about six to eight hours to complete, and the last stretch rises to an elevation of 3,512 feet. If you don't feel up to hiking all the way out to the icefield, don't worry. Even a one-mile ramble along this trail offers plenty of lovely scenery worth capturing.

2. Sitka National Historic Park

If you're planning an Alaska cruise, try to find an itinerary that includes a stop in Sitka. This lovely northern port is home to lots of scenic trails and ancient evergreen forests, but one of its most photo-worthy sites is Sitka National Historic Park. Commemorating Tlingit and Russian history in Alaska, it was formerly known as Totem Park because of its vast collection of totem poles. During your visit, stroll along two miles of pathways that wind among giant Sitka spruce trees. You'll spot colorful, masterfully carved totem poles along the way. Though many of them are replicas of the centuries-old originals (now stored away for protection against the elements), their beauty and cultural significance make them well worth scoping out.

3. Tracy Arm Fjord

One of the great benefits of taking a cruise to Alaska is that you'll sail past some of the region's most impressive photo opps — like Tracy Arm Fjord. Some cruise itineraries sail along this magnificent stretch of dazzling scenery, known for its calm, sapphire waters, glistening icebergs, and rugged mountains that flank either side of the channel. You don't need to hit a trail or go out of your way at all to capture the fjord's impressive beauty — just hit the ship's top deck for breathtaking panoramic views.

4. Mount Roberts Tramway

The Mount Roberts Tramway is arguably the most iconic attraction in Juneau. It's the region's only aerial tramway and one of the world's most vertical tramways. Visitors line up to take these bright red gondolas 1,800 feet up through misty forests to the Mountain House, where you can take in jaw-dropping views of the Chilkat Mountains, Douglas Island, the Silverbow Basin and the Gastineau Channel. No matter which direction you face, you'll find vistas worth savoring — and snapping photos of. Like Tracy Arm Fjord, one of the best things about this spot is that it requires very little physical effort to reach. Just hop into a gondola and enjoy the ride to the summit.

5. Nooya Lake — Misty Fjords National Monument

If your travels bring you to Ketchikan, do not miss Misty Fjords National Monument. It's hands down one of the most Instagrammable places in Alaska. If you have the time, take a boat or flightseeing tour that stops at Nooya Lake. Accessible only by water or air, it's a true stunner. The water is so still it reflects a mirror image of the snow-capped peaks that rise up around it. And beyond the incredible pictures you'll get here, the total tranquility of the area will leave an equally long-lasting impression.

What Camera To Bring On Your Quest For The Most Instagrammable Spots In Alaska

You now know five of the prettiest places in Alaska to take photos get that perfect shot for Instagram, but there are so many beautiful spots to discover from Juneau to Fairbanks. You don't need much more than a smartphone with a good camera to capture great photos when you visit Alaska, thanks to long days and great natural lighting. That said, there are a few essentials that will make for a more comfortable adventure.

  • Good hiking shoes: If you visit Alaska in the summer, you won't encounter snow on most lower-altitude trails, but a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or boots are necessary. Terrain can be rough and uneven, and paved roads are rare outside of city centers.

  • Waterproof gear: Light drizzles are common in Alaska even in the summer, so pack a raincoat and a waterproof bag for your smartphone or camera.

  • A lightweight, foldable tripod: Bringing a collapsible tripod that's easy to carry around and stow in a backpack is always a good idea. If you are wondering, do I need a tripod, remember it lets you snap full-sized shots and group photos even in remote locations where there's nobody around to play photographer for you and your travel squad.

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