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Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve

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The central feature of the Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve is the volcanic Aniakchak Caldera created by the collapse of the central part of a volcano which covers 10 square miles. This collapse took place sometime after the last glaciation. Later activity built a cone, Vent Mountain, Inside the caldera. Aniakchak last erupted in 1911. The caldera's Surprise Lake, heated by hot springs, cascades through a 1,500-foot rift in the crater wall. Such volcanic features as lava flows, cinder cones, and explosion pits can be seen here, along with hardy pioneer plant communities inching life into a silent moonscape.

Wildlife include occasional caribou, grizzly bears, and eagles. Sockeye salmon spawn in Surprise Lake and the Aniakchak River, which originates from the lake. Fish from this watershed are recognizable by the flavor of soda and iron characteristic of the caldera's mineral-laden outflow.


This is one of the most remote of Alaska's national park areas, and weather on the Alaska Peninsula can be severe at all seasons. Scheduled air service puts you within charter flight distance via King Salmon or Port Heiden. Floatplanes can land on Surprise Lake.

Approximate Size

Nearly 600,000 acres

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