Alaska is a little different than other states in the U.S. It is the state with the most fallacies about its geography, climate, and way of life. Part of these misconceptions are due to Alaska’s physical location. Alaska does not border any part of the contiguous United States, causing it to appear as though it is a Canadian province rather than a U.S. state. Despite its distance from the rest of the United States, Alaska was the forty-ninth state to be admitted into the Union, right before Hawaii and in succession of Arizona.
On average, Alaska is approximately 1,900 feet above sea level. At its lowest point, Alaska rests at sea level. The highest point of elevation in all of Alaska is the peak of Denali, formerly known as Mount McKinley. Denali sits at an altitude of 20,310 feet above sea level.
When it comes to the state’s most extreme points, officials have made calculations that are as accurate as possible. Determining Alaska’s most extreme points poses a challenge due to the fact that Alaska has multiple islands. Alaska is also surrounded by three major bodies of water. With the Pacific Ocean to the south, the Bering Sea to the southwest, and the Arctic Ocean to the north, almost every Alaskan border is water. Tidal highs and lows cause frequent changes in water levels, making it hard to ensure exact precision.
Though Alaska contains the most western point of all fifty states, it is not the westernmost part of U.S. land. Guam is recognized as United States territory, and it is farther west than Alaska. Point Udall, on the Orote Peninsula, is situated at a latitude of 13°26′51.2″ N and a longitude of 144°37′5.5″ E.
Alaska’s westernmost point is still a debated subject as well. To the west, Alaska’s westernmost point can be found on Amatignak Island, with GPS coordinates of 51°16′7″N and 179°8′55″W. This point is considered the most western point in terms of longitude. However, Alaska actually extends a bit beyond Amatignak Island, to Attu Island.
Some of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands cross into the Eastern Hemisphere, meaning that, technically speaking, Alaska also contains the easternmost point of the United States. Generally speaking though, people consider Maine to be the easternmost part of the United States for the sake of creating less confusion. Saying that the United States stretches from Alaska in the west to Alaska in the east might cause heads to turn.
On a map, Alaska is located at the coordinates of 64.2008° N and 149.4937° W. Alaska is both the northernmost and westernmost state in all of the U.S. As a result, not only does Alaska have its own northernmost and westernmost points, but it also comprises the most northern and western tips of the entire United States. The northernmost point is located in the city of Point Barrow, Alaska, with GPS coordinates of 71°23′20″N and 156°28′45″W. The North Pole is only 1,122 miles north of Point Barrow, showing how close in proximity Alaska is to one of Earth’s rotational axis points.