How big is alaska?

HotbotBy HotBotUpdated: June 28, 2024

Introduction to Alaska's Size

Alaska, the 49th state of the United States, is renowned for its vast wilderness, diverse ecosystems, and unique geographical features. Often referred to as "The Last Frontier," Alaska's sheer size is one of its most defining characteristics. Understanding the magnitude of Alaska requires a deep dive into its geography, land area, population distribution, and more.

Geographical Dimensions

Alaska is the largest state in the United States by a significant margin. It spans approximately 663,300 square miles (1,717,854 square kilometers), which is more than twice the size of Texas, the second-largest state. If Alaska were a country, it would be the 19th largest in the world, larger than nations like Iran and Mongolia.

Length and Width

From its northernmost point at Point Barrow to its southern tip at the Aleutian Islands, Alaska stretches over 1,400 miles (2,253 kilometers). East to west, the state's width is approximately 2,400 miles (3,862 kilometers), making it wider than the contiguous United States.


Alaska boasts the longest coastline of any U.S. state. Its intricate and rugged coastline stretches over 6,640 miles (10,686 kilometers), including the mainland and its numerous islands. When tidal areas are included, the coastline expands to about 33,904 miles (54,563 kilometers).

Comparative Sizes

To truly grasp how big Alaska is, comparing it to other well-known regions can be enlightening.

Comparison with U.S. States

- Texas: Alaska is more than twice the size of Texas, which is about 268,596 square miles (695,662 square kilometers).

- California: California, the third-largest state, is approximately 163,696 square miles (423,970 square kilometers). Alaska is about four times the size of California.

- Montana: Montana, the fourth-largest state, covers about 147,040 square miles (380,831 square kilometers). Alaska is roughly 4.5 times larger.

Comparison with Countries

- France: France is approximately 248,573 square miles (643,801 square kilometers). Alaska is more than twice its size.

- Germany: Germany's land area is about 137,988 square miles (357,386 square kilometers), making Alaska nearly five times larger.

- United Kingdom: The UK's land area is approximately 93,628 square miles (242,495 square kilometers). Alaska is over seven times larger.

Population Density

Despite its massive size, Alaska's population density is remarkably low. As of the latest estimates, Alaska has a population of around 731,000 people, making it the third least populous state in the U.S.

Population Distribution

The majority of Alaska's population resides in the south-central region, particularly around Anchorage, which is the largest city with a population of approximately 290,000. Other significant population centers include Fairbanks and Juneau, the state capital.

Density Metrics

The overall population density of Alaska is about 1.2 people per square mile (0.46 people per square kilometer), compared to the national average of 87.4 people per square mile (33.7 people per square kilometer). This stark difference highlights the vast, uninhabited wilderness that characterizes much of the state.

Natural Landmarks and Features

The enormity of Alaska is further accentuated by its diverse and stunning natural landmarks.

Mountain Ranges

Alaska is home to some of the highest peaks in North America. The Alaska Range includes Denali (formerly known as Mount McKinley), which is the tallest peak in North America at 20,310 feet (6,190 meters). Other notable ranges include the Brooks Range in the north and the Wrangell-St. Elias Range in the southeast.

National Parks

Alaska features numerous national parks, many of which are among the largest in the United States. Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve is the largest national park in the U.S., covering over 13.2 million acres (53,320 square kilometers). Other significant parks include Denali National Park and Preserve and Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve.

Rivers and Lakes

Alaska's vast network of rivers and lakes contributes to its immense size. The Yukon River, one of the longest rivers in North America, flows through Alaska for about 1,980 miles (3,187 kilometers). Alaska also contains more than three million lakes, including the expansive Iliamna Lake, which is the largest lake in the state.

Climate and Ecological Zones

The size of Alaska encompasses a wide range of climates and ecological zones, from temperate rainforests to arctic tundra.

Climate Zones

- Southeastern Alaska: This region has a maritime climate with mild temperatures and high precipitation, supporting lush temperate rainforests.

- Interior Alaska: Characterized by a continental climate, the interior experiences extreme temperature variations, with hot summers and frigid winters.

- Northern Alaska: The Arctic region has a polar climate, featuring long, harsh winters and short, cool summers.

Ecological Diversity

Alaska's size allows for an incredible diversity of flora and fauna. The state is home to numerous species of mammals, birds, fish, and plants. Notable wildlife includes grizzly bears, moose, caribou, and bald eagles. The state's waters are rich with marine life, including salmon, whales, and seals.

Understanding the true size of Alaska goes beyond mere numbers. It encompasses the vast wilderness, the sparse population, the rich biodiversity, and the diverse climatic regions. Alaska's grandeur and scale are not just a matter of geography but also a testament to the natural beauty and ruggedness that define this extraordinary land.

Related Questions

What is the capital of alaska?

Juneau, the capital city of Alaska, is a unique and intriguing destination, offering a blend of natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant culture. Nestled in the Gastineau Channel and surrounded by towering mountains and the lush Tongass National Forest, Juneau is unlike any other state capital in the United States.

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How far is alaska from russia?

The distance between Alaska and Russia is often a subject of curiosity due to their geographical proximity in the Bering Strait. At their closest point, the two territories are merely 2.4 miles (3.8 kilometers) apart, a distance that can be traversed in a relatively short time given favorable conditions. This narrow divide is located between the Diomede Islands, with Big Diomede belonging to Russia and Little Diomede to the United States.

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How far is russia from alaska?

Russia and Alaska are separated by the Bering Strait, a narrow passage of water that connects the Arctic Ocean with the Bering Sea. The shortest distance between the two countries is approximately 55 miles or 88 kilometers. This narrow passage creates a unique geographical setup where two of the world's largest countries come remarkably close to each other.

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Where is alaska?

Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area, situated in the extreme northwest of the North American continent. It is bordered by Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Pacific Ocean to the south, and Russia is west across the Bering Strait. The state is separated from the contiguous 48 U.S. states by Canada, making it one of the most geographically isolated parts of the country.

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