Alaska, the Last Frontier, holds a compelling allure for those with a sense of adventure. It’s a vast state, rich with history and intertwined with tales of ambition, dreams, and abandonment. While the gorgeous landscape itself might be reason enough to explore, the abandoned places in Alaska scattered across its expanse beckon to urban explorers and history enthusiasts.
These forgotten places, once bustling with life and activity, now stand silent, their stories quietly echoing amidst the hush of the wilderness. Here we delve into ten such eerie, yet fascinating abandoned locations in Alaska, each with its own unique tale to tell.
Note: Many of these locations are in an extremely delicate state. Specifics on locations, such as coordinates or maps, are not given. This is done so purposefully as a barrier to entry to those who may mean harm to these spots. I want to ensure that these abandoned places in Indiana are known about, but stay as vandalism and destruction free as possible. Remember: Take only photos, leave only footprints.
Breakdown: The Top 10 and More
If you have a specific location from the list below that you would like to immediately get more information about, click the links in the list to snap straight to that abandoned places in Alaska location.
- Buckner Building (Whittier)
- Kennecott Mines (Wrangell-St. Elias National Park)
- Uganik Island WWII Barracks (Uganik Island)
- Igloo City Hotel (Cantwell)
- Nike Missile Site Summit (Anchorage)
- Independence Mine State Historical Park (Palmer)
- Amchitka Island (Aleutian Islands)
- White Alice Communications System Site (Aniak)
- Funter Bay Seaplane Base and Cannery (Funter Bay)
- Pedro Dredge (Chicken)
Broaden Your Horizons Beyond Alaska
Are you interested in venturing outside the state of Alaska? Maybe you live close to the state line, or maybe you’re just looking for adventures outside your home state. Whatever the case may be, here are some guides to easy-to-fly-to states that may be helpful in effective urban exploration:
Don’t Forget About Trespassing Laws
It is important when considering abandoned places in Alaska to know the basics of Alaska trespassing laws. Luckily, we have developed a massive guide to trespassing laws in all 50 states. For laws that specifically relate to Alaska, please click here.
Without any further ado, let’s hop into the list of abandoned places!
The Best Abandoned Places in Alaska
Buckner Building (Whittier)
The haunting specter of the Buckner Building in Whittier poses a striking contrast to the picturesque mountain scenery that surrounds it. Constructed in 1953, this massive concrete structure was once a city within a city, complete with apartments, schools, a hospital, shops, and even a bowling alley.
It was intended to house around 1,000 military personnel and their families during the paranoia of the Cold War. But the building was severely damaged in the 1964 earthquake and subsequently abandoned due to high maintenance costs.
Today, nature is slowly reclaiming it, and graffiti artists have turned its crumbling walls into a vast concrete canvas. Located in the town of Whittier, it’s a short drive from Anchorage, making it a somewhat easily accessible spot for urban explorers who are up for a day trip.
Kennecott Mines (Wrangell-St. Elias National Park)
Kennecott Mines stand as silent witnesses to the prosperous copper mining era of the early 1900s. Tucked away in the heart of the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, these mines were once the richest known copper deposit in the world.
The abandoned town of Kennecott, complete with mine buildings, a power plant, and workers’ quarters, offers a glimpse into Alaska’s past. Getting there is part of the adventure – it’s a lengthy but scenic drive from Anchorage to Chitina, followed by a rugged 60-mile journey on the McCarthy Road.
Upon arrival, you’ll find that the remote location has preserved much of the town’s original character, making it an ideal exploration site.
Uganik Island WWII Barracks (Uganik Island)
Uganik Island, part of the Kodiak Archipelago, hides remnants of a forgotten World War II military post. The abandoned barracks whisper tales of strategic planning, soldiers, and life during a time of global conflict.
Today, the moss-covered structures, against the backdrop of the tranquil Uganik Bay, offer a thought-provoking exploration site. To get there, take a chartered flight from Kodiak to the island, as it’s inaccessible by road. Please remember that the journey requires planning and local knowledge, and respect for the remnants of the past left behind.
Igloo City Hotel (Cantwell)
The Igloo City Hotel is an unusual sight in the sprawling Alaskan wilderness. Resembling a colossal igloo, this ambitious project was started in the 1970s with the hope of attracting tourists. However, it was never completed due to building code issues and eventually was abandoned. Now, the structure, standing four stories tall, has become a curious landmark and a destination for urban explorers.
To visit, head north from Anchorage on the Parks Highway; you’ll find this distinctive structure about 22 miles south of Cantwell. The hotel’s unique architecture and haunting emptiness offer an eerie yet captivating sight.
Nike Missile Site Summit (Anchorage)
A stark reminder of the Cold War era, the Nike Missile Site Summit sits abandoned on a mountain ridge overlooking Anchorage. In operation from 1959 to 1979, it was one of several Alaskan sites armed with anti-aircraft missiles designed to protect against potential Soviet attacks. Today, the rusted remains of the launch sites, control area, and barracks offer a fascinating glimpse into this tense period of history.
To reach the site, take the Arctic Valley Road from Anchorage towards the Alpenglow Ski Area. It’s a short hike from the parking area to the summit. Note that the site is only open for guided tours during the summer.
Independence Mine State Historical Park (Palmer)
The Independence Mine State Historical Park in the beautiful Hatcher Pass offers a journey back in time to the gold rush era. The mine was once a bustling center of activity, with nearly 200 miners extracting gold from the rich veins hidden within the mountains. But after the mine closed in the mid-1950s, the buildings were left to the elements. Now, the park offers self-guided tours through the manager’s house, bunkhouses, and the mine entrance.
To get there, drive north from Anchorage to Palmer and follow the Fishhook-Willow Road to the Hatcher Pass. The abandoned site against the breathtaking mountain scenery makes it a must-visit spot for urban explorers and history enthusiasts alike.
Amchitka Island (Aleutian Islands)
Amchitka Island, located in the remote Aleutian Islands chain, was the site of three underground nuclear tests conducted by the United States between 1965 and 1971. The tests rendered the island uninhabitable, leading to its abandonment. Today, the deserted island, punctuated by the occasional remains of its military past, is a stark testament to the power and perils of nuclear energy.
Getting to the island is no small task, involving a flight to Adak Island, the southernmost community in Alaska, followed by a boat journey to Amchitka. Due to the island’s hazardous history and its remote location, any exploration should be undertaken with caution and proper preparation.
White Alice Communications System Site (Aniak)
The White Alice Communications System Site in Aniak harkens back to the Cold War era, a time marked by heightened global tensions and rapid technological advancements. This relay site was part of a larger network designed to provide long-distance communication capabilities across Alaska. Today, the abandoned site, with its iconic tropospheric antennas still reaching skyward, offers a unique exploration opportunity.
The town of Aniak is accessible by a commercial flight from Anchorage, and from there, the site is a short drive away. The large antennas create an eerie and haunting silhouette against the wilderness, making for an unforgettable sight.
Funter Bay Seaplane Base and Cannery (Funter Bay)
The Funter Bay Seaplane Base and Cannery serve as a compelling glimpse into Alaska’s history. The cannery, established in the early 20th century, was once a hub of economic activity. Meanwhile, the seaplane base played an essential role in transportation, given Alaska’s vast, rugged landscape and sparse road networks.
Today, the deserted structures, docks, and remnants of seaplanes create a captivating sight for urban explorers. Funter Bay is located on Admiralty Island and is accessible by boat or floatplane from Juneau. As you explore, the haunting quiet of the bay and the dilapidated structures offer a profound contrast to the area’s natural beauty.
Pedro Dredge (Chicken)
The Pedro Dredge in the small town of Chicken is a tangible relic of Alaska’s thriving gold mining history. Operational from 1938 to 1959, this massive machine excavated creek beds in the quest for gold. Today, the dredge is part of the Chicken Gold Camp & Outpost, while the surrounding area remains largely abandoned.
Chicken is a remote town accessible by road from both Fairbanks and Tok. As you journey to the dredge, you’ll traverse the picturesque Taylor Highway, offering a stunning preview of Alaska’s wilderness. Once there, the Pedro Dredge and the deserted mining structures provide an intriguing exploration site, rich with echoes of a bustling past.
Our Final Thoughts on Abandoned Places in Alaska
Those who are into urban exploration in the Alaska area should get comfortable with Alaska trespassing laws. Luckily, we have developed a massive guide to trespassing laws in all 50 states. For laws that specifically relate to Alaska, please click here.
For more about obtaining permission to explore abandoned places, check out our guide Explore Abandoned Buildings: How To Get Permission. Finally, if you are wanting to find more abandoned places in Indiana, check out my resource How To Find Abandoned Places With Google Maps.
- John Bourscheid, Killer Urbex