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Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve




Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve
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General Information

Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve
Copyright: - US National Park Service
Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve
Description - Aniakchak is a 6-mile-wide, 2,000 foot deep caldera formed by the collapse of a 7,000 foot mountain. Lying inland in a region of frequent clouds and stormy weather, Aniakchak remained unknown to all but Native inhabitants until the 1920s. Although a dozen calderas stand on the Alaska Peninsula, Aniakchak ranks among the largest. About 3,500 years ago, a dramatic explosion caused the loss of some 3,000 feet of the upper mountain. The remainder of the mountain collapsed, leaving a relatively flat-floored, ash-filled bowl. Since the caldera first formed, many lesser eruptions -- the most recent in 1931 -- have created the small cinder cones, lava flow and explosion pits dotting its floor today.

Recreation - Visitors to Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve can enjoy boating, fishing, hiking hunting and wildlife viewing.

Climate - The climate in this region of Alaska is cool and wet most of the year. Visitors are encouraged to bring rain gear, water proof boots and wool clothing.

Location - Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve lies on the roadless Alaskan Peninsula in the southern region of the state. The crater lies within the volcanically active Aluetian Mountain Range. The preserve contains the Aniakchak Wild River.


Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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Report: Aniakchak Volcano Caldera to the Sea - Peerless Wilds ANIAKCHAK RIVER We begin our trip by flying commercial airliner from Anchorage to the southwestern fishing town of King Salmon. King Salmon is the jumping off point to the seldom visited Aleutian Peninsula and the Aniakchak National Monument. It is in King Salmon that our adventure begins. We load our gear and board floatplanes docked on the banks of the Naknek River. Shortly after take off, we are flying across barren ground tundra and mountains en route to the epic wilderness of Surprise Lake. Surprise Lake lies in the depths of a caldera inside an active volcano. This volcano last erupted in 1931. Back then, this pristine wilderness heaven became a cataclysmic ash scorched Hell. Today however, it is 36 square miles of rebirth. Upon our landing approach, there are often wandering brown bears circling the lakes shoreline, foraging on their favorite seasonal schools of swarming red salmon. Aniakchak Caldera's landscape is like a mysterious environment that time has forgotten. Volcanic features like cinder cones and ash are mixed with newly forming earth and wildflowers, within its 2,000' rim. After touch down on Surprise Lake, our plane pulls up to the beach. We unload our gear, and then launch what will be a totally self-sufficient journey into one of the wildest places in the world. The Aniakchak is a truly unique and remote wilderness waterway offering radically diverse scenery, wildlife, fishing, and whitewater. First, the river runs through volcanic rubble, ripping through a 1,200'- 2,000' high breach or rift in the caldera's walls, identified as The Gates. The Gates can have violent and sudden windstorms (due to a venturi effect) blasting over 100 miles per hour. Second, the river dives the next 15 miles dropping 60'- 75' per mile through volcanic boulder gardens. The final stretch of river mellows out and winds up in white-capped Aniakchak Bay. Along the riverbanks, it is typical to have very close encounters with brown bears fishing for Sockeye (Red Salmon) or feeding on blueberries. (Special note: These encounters can number up to 20-30 bear/day.) Caribou and moose roam the tundra consuming vegetation. There are also opportunities to see smaller game including fox, wolf, eagles, ptarmigan, and waterfowl. Fishing is outstanding for seasonal runs of Sockeye and Dolly Varden Char. The Aniakchak is so remote that even very few, seasoned Alaska adventurers ever get to set foot into this region. For more information contact: Brian Richardson Northern Rim Wilderness Adventures www.northernrim.com


More Information

Contact Information:
Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve, P.O. Box 7 , King Salmon, AK, 99613, Phone: 907-246-3305

Additional Information:
Alaska National Parks and Monuments -
Alaska Travel Region - Southwest -
Alaska's Historic Sites -

Links:
Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve - Official agency website

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