We all know Alaska is huge, but how big is Alaska? In this article AlaskaExplored will provide you with detailed stats and information on the scale of America’s 49th state. We’ll cover everything from economy, to wildlife diversity, to timezones! Never again will you have to ask the question “How big is Alaska”?
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Together AlaskaExplored has more than twenty five years of experience traveling, working, and exploring in the beautiful, rugged, land. Working in television has taken us all around the world, and no place more than the 49th state. During our time here we’ve documented countless stories from every corner and crevasse of Alaska. We’ve helped showcase the grandeur of this wild place for National Geographic, Discovery, Disney, and Animal Planet. Now we want to share these secrets with you!
AlaskaExplored combines years of firsthand experience with extensive research to deliver YOU with the best knowledge to help you with your own Alaskan journey.
For the past decade I’ve worked in every corner of the 49th state. I’ve seen first hand the scale and magnitude of the great state. It’s hard to quantify with stats and maps, although they certainly help, but you need to see it to feel it. I don’t think I fully appreciated the size of Alaska until I spent most of my adult life getting bounced around the state from job to job like the screen saver DVD logo trying to hit the corner of the tv.
Of course I knew Alaska was big, but I couldn’t wrap my head around it until I traveled it. Just there takes along time, then you have to get to where you’re going within the state, and that takes along time. When I book a job in Alaska the production company usually pays for two days of travel, and we all know corporations don’t like to spend money if they don’t have to. Alaska is so big it forces Micky mouse to cough up a few more bucks, no small deed.
It’s not that Alaska takes up a lot of real estate on the map, it’s how it takes up space. You feel it standing next to a 200 ft tall spruce tree or next to a rushing river carving a canyon out of the side of a mountain. I always appreciate how big Alaska is when I’m flying drones. Every tv show I shoot needs aerials, so it’s safe to say I’ve seen most of the state from the air, and nothing puts the size of Alaska into perspective better. It’s stunning and overwhelming just how big Alaska really is.
How Big Is Alaska?
Alaska, the United States 49th state, is located in the northwest corner of North America and shares a border with Canada. In terms of land area, it is by far America’s BIGGEST state. It’s almost 700,000 square miles in size, making it BIGGER than the combined area of 22 of the 50 states. It’s known for its natural beauty that expands over FIVE different climates, which boast glaciers, fjords, rainforests, rivers, lakes, and multiple mountain ranges that include the highest peak in north America.
The vastness, range, and relative under development of the state has enabled it to maintain the BIGGEST, most abundant wildlife population in America. Polar Bears, Whales, Caribou, Wolves, Sea Otters, and Bald Eagles all call Alaska Home. Many of those animals live in protected areas like National Parks and Wildlife Refuges like ANWAR and Denali National Park. With over 80 million acres of protected lands, Alaska is the BIGGEST when It comes to protected lands and National Parks in America.
It’s not all snow shoeing and bear viewing here. There is serious industry here. On a per capita basis, it has one of the BIGGEST average personal incomes. In 2020 that average was $54,470, bringing it in at 9th out of 50. Alaska is undeniably big, everything about it is big. It’s animals are big, its economy is big, its land mass is big, but it is the big potential for adventure that makes it so special.
Big Alaska Facts
- Acreage: 663,267 square miles.
- Population: 731,545 in 2021 (perhaps the smallest thing about it)
- Visitation: 2 Million per year
- Number of Rhode Islands that could fit in Alaska: 425
- Highest Peak: Denali, at 20,237ft
- Bear Species in Alaska: 3
- Largest city in Alaska: Anchorage
How Many Acres Is Alaska?
Alaska has the most total acreage out of any other state in the United States, with a total area of 425.8 million acres. Out of this vast acreage, 6,640 of it is coastline. Easily making it number 1 in that category. The next closet state is Florida with 1350.
A lot of the lakes and waterways in Alaska aren’t named or mapped, but it is estimated to have over 3 million lakes! That translates to around 28.8 million acres of fresh water! For context, Minnesota brags about being “the land of 10,000” lakes, they have around 15,000. The 49th state has more National Parks and protected lands than any other state. It’s home to eight National Parks and that covers over 32 million acres, or 35 million if you count state parks. But that’s still only a fraction of the story.
Alaska has over 100 million acres of federally protected lands that include National Wildlife Refuges, Parks and Preserves, wild and scenic rivers, conservation areas, and monuments. That’s more than most countries have! Not all of the state is wild landscapes and natural beauty. It’s also home to a huge network of pipelines, including the trans-Alaska pipeline system. The pipeline stretches over 800 miles and runs oil from Utqiaġvik to Valdez.
Alaska Size Comparison
Alaska is BIG, it covers an estimated 663,267 square miles. To put this in perspective, Alaska is about a fifth of the size of the entire contiguous United States. Heres a list of states to compare against Alaska.
- Alaska: 663,267 square miles
- California: 163,696 square miles
- Colorado: 104,093 square miles
- New York: 54,556 square miles
- Massachusetts: 10,554 square miles
In terms of land area on a global scale, the state is larger than all but 18 countries. Here’s a list of Alaska’s size compared to other countries.
- Alaska: 663,267 square miles
- Mexico: 758,449 square miles
- United Kingdom: 93,638 square miles
- Italy: 116,346 square miles
- Austraulia: 2,969,907 square miles
How Big Is Alaska Compared To Texas?
Alaska is significantly larger than Texas in terms of total area. Alaska covers around 663,267 square miles and Texas covers around 261,914 square miles. So, Texas could fit inside Alaska more than twice! Alaska stretches over 1,400 miles from east to west, and over 1,400 miles from north to south. It is so large that it covers over 17% of the total land area of the United States. Texas, on the other hand, is approximately 800 miles long from east to west, and approximately 700 miles wide from north to south.
Both states are large in terms of area, but their populations are significantly different. Alaska has a population of just over 730,000, while Texas has a population of nearly 29 million. While both are home to numerous lakes, rivers, and abundant wildlife, Alaska has a larger acreage of protected lands, national parks, wildlife refuges, and preserves. 95% of Texas is privately owned, while over half of Alaska is federally protected.
Alaska’s Size: Climates
I remember working in Alaska and one crew would be stationed in the Southeastern part of the state, while another crew would be working farther north in the interior. Those two crews would be working at the same time, but could have vastly different experiences. Alaska is BIG and it has a wide spectrum of climates.
Most of the state experiences a subarctic or polar climate, characterized by long, cold winters and short, mild summers. Coastal areas, such as Southeast Alaska, experience a maritime climate with relatively mild temperatures throughout the year and high levels of precipitation.
The interior of the state, has an extreme continental climate, with temperatures that can reach as low as -60°F in the winter and as high as 90°F in the summer. Neither are fun temperatures to be making television in.
Alaska’s Size: Wildlife Diversity
How big is Alaska? Well, in wildlife diversity terms, it’s HUGE. From giant grizzly bears and herds of caribou to playful sea otters and even killer whales, Alaska is home to some of the most diverse wildlife species in the world! Alaska’s size and diverse climates have a direct relation to its wildlife diversity. Being the biggest state in the country it boasts sprawling landscapes and many different climate regions which provide a plethora of different habitats for an incredibly wide variety of wildlife.
Alaska’s remote location and lack of human development also play a role in the abundance of wildlife. Vast areas of pristine wilderness provide a safe habitat for wildlife to thrive in their natural environment. The state has more of Bear, Moose, Wolves, Walruses, and Caribou than any other state. It’s not even close, check out these numbers to get an idea of just how big Alaska is.
- Moose: Not only does Alaska have a ton of moose, around 175,000, they’re just a BIG freaking animal. A full grown bull moose can weight up to 1600 pounds.
- Sea Otters: It’s estimated that the sea otter population is now well over 100,000.
- Bear: Alaska boasts 98% of Americas brown bear population! Around 30,000.
- Wolves: Around 2/3 of America’s wolf population live in here, around 10,000.
- Bald Eagles: With a giant wingspan that can get over eight feet, the bald eagle is a BIG bird. Biologist think about 1/3 of America’s bald eagle population live in Alaska! Around 150,00.
- Caribou: Roughly 3/4 of a million Caribou live in the state and the Western Arctic caribou herd or WAH is the largest. It is also one of the largest herds in the world!
Alaska Size: Economy?
The 49th state may be known for its natural beauty and vast size, but thats only half the story. With a land so rich in resources you can be sure that industry has found a way to flourish in it.
The last frontier is home to massive oil and natural gas reserves, and the state’s oil production accounts for about 25% of the total oil produced in the United States. In fact, its Oil industry is so big so successful that in 1976, the state created the Alaska Permanent Fund.
The fund invests a portion of the state’s oil revenue, and the earnings from those investments are used to pay an annual dividend to eligible Alaskan residents. The dividend is intended to provide a share of the state’s natural resource wealth to its citizens.
Eligibility for the dividend is determined by several factors, including residency, age, and length of time spent living in Alaska. The amount of the dividend varies from year to year, depending on the fund’s earnings and other factors.
Some folks have called this a form of socialism, others have disagreed and claimed they deserve it for having to endure the harsh realities of living in such a remote state. Whatever it’s called, it’s BIG! No other state gives away money to its residents, just for living there.
Alaska Is So Big it Has It’s Own Timezone!
You know you’re big when you have your own freaking timezone! The Alaska Time Zone is one hour behiend the West Coast and four behind the East coast.The Uniform Time Act of 1966 established the Alaska Time Zone, but it wasn’t until October of 1983, when Alaska made the switch.
Alaska is so big, it actually uses two timezones! In addition to the Alaska Time zone, parts of the Aleutian Islands and St. Lawrence use the Hawaii-Aleutian standard Time. Which was used to be Bering Standard Time. The story of the Alaska Time Zone is a long and detailed account. Anchorage Daily did a great article about it. Click here if you wanna learn more.
Alaskan King Size Mattress
Fun fact, the king mattress is NOT the biggest mattress out there. In true Alaskan form, the Alaskan King Size mattress is the biggest option available, by a long shot! An Alaskan King is a massive mattress, they measure 9 feet by 9 feet. Just like Alaska, the mattress is significantly larger than the standard king size mattress, which measures to around 6ft by 6.5ft.
You would Alaska, you would. I suppose with days being much shorter during the winter months, they need more time in the bed. In the northern most city of Utqiaġvik, they might not see daylight for 60 days! I wouldn’t get out of bed either.
How Big is Alaska FAQ’s
It is the largest state in the United States by far! It doesn’t compare, nothing comes close. Even Texas could fit inside it, more than twice!
It is larger than a lot of countries! It’s bigger than Germany, France, and the United Kingdom, to name a few.
Despite its large size, it has a relatively small population, with most of its residents concentrated in urban areas such as Anchorage and Juneau. Less than a million people live in the 49th state.
More Alaska Articles
Here’s a list of some more articles you might find helpful. Thanks for stopping by.