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Alaska from every direction

Alaska’s a big state, and exploring every corner is no small feat. Even the most seasoned sourdough knows it could take a few lifetimes before you’ve really seen it all. The distance between the state’s northernmost town, Barrow, and Ketchikan, one of the state’s southernmost communities is over 1,300 air miles – a distance longer than many entire countries. Some further details on the four “corners” of Alaska will illustrate just how expansive the Last Frontier really is!

North: Barrow, Alaska, sits at the top of the world, over 300 miles above the Arctic Circle and right on the shores of the Arctic Ocean. Naturally, it’s also the northernmost town in the entire United States. The population holds at a just over 4,000 people and the climate is cold and dry. Though thinking of the country’s northernmost town might bring to mind snow-swept imagery, Barrow actually doesn’t receive much snow in the winter, and is considered more of a desert climate. On winter solstice, the darkest day of the year, Alaska’s Far North region only sees about three hours of twilight. In the summertime, the average high temperature rarely cracks 50 degrees Fahrenheit. However, visit in the summer and you’ll be treated to 24 hours of daylight – an experience of the midnight sun you’ll never forget!

South: Compared to the Far North region of the state, Alaska’s most southern area, known as Southeast Alaska or Alaska’s Inside Passage, is a whole different world. The climate in this region is much more mild and is home to Alaska’s very own rainforest, the Tongass National Forest. The area of Southeast Alaska is often referred to as “the panhandle” of Alaska and it extends adjacent to Canada’s British Columbia. This region is made up of an extensive amount of islands, and most communities here, including the capital city of Juneau, are only accessible by airplane or boat. One of the furthest south communities in the state is Ketchikan, the fifth-most populated city in Alaska. The average January temperature in Ketchikan is around 33 degrees Fahrenheit, and in the summer months the temperature generally hovers around the mid-sixties.

East/West: Since Alaska’s Aleutian Islands extend past the meridian that separates the western and eastern hemispheres of the globe, what would otherwise be the farthest west point of the state is actually the farthest east. There are about 12 islands in the chain that sit past this invisible line, making Alaska both the farthest west and the farthest east state in the country. The easternmost point of the state is Semisopochnoi Island, or Unyax in Aleut. Though uninhabited by humans, it’s a critical nesting ground for many different species of birds. Because of the meridian, the westernmost point of Alaska is Cape Wrangell, located on Attu Island in the Aleutian Chain. The climate of the Aleutian Islands is similar to Southeast in precipitation levels but much cooler as the islands extend far out into the ocean.

There’s more than 600,000 square miles of land to explore in between these points – get started planning your next big Alaska adventure!

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