September can bring beautiful, mild days, perfect for long drives or short hikes in the mountains – plus: no mosquitos! The leaves on blueberry bushes are bright red, and birch trees slide into a majestic yellow that stands out in stark contrast to the dark green of the spruce.
Thanks to Sherman’s Travel here are 5 great reasons to visit Alaska in the Fall.
Sherman’s Travel has 5 great reasons to visit Alaska in Fall.
1. The rates are much cheaper. As the calendar makes its way through August and turns to September, the bottom falls out of the demand, and the supply is suddenly in your favor. Whether in a major hub like Anchorage or a more remote location like McCarthy, room rates decrease drastically as the summer season comes to a close. For example, the same room at Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage — the base camp for adventures to the Talkeetna Mountains and Denali National Park — can be over $100 cheaper (per night!) in September or October as compared to June or July.
2. Locals travel in the fall, so there are fewer crowds. As crowds dissipate and prices drop, locals take the opportunity to hit the road themselves. Seasonal workers — honorary locals — scramble to fit in a few last adventures before heading back to the cold weather. In other words, as a traveler, you’re much more likely to encounter a group of locals in the National Parks, fjords, and glaciers than you are, say, tour buses.
3. You can the Northern Lights without shoving through tons of people. Fall in Alaska brings about a significant change that’s often overlooked, or perhaps looked upon negatively. During the summer, Alaska receives nearly 24 hours of daylight, and in the winter, the opposite is true — darkness sets in. Once fall arrives, locals are beginning to see the stars for the first time in months. While hardcore Northern Lights enthusiasts of the Northern Lights may wait until later in the year (when there are more hours of darkness), casual crusaders might find compromise in a late September or October hunt. It’s not as cold and the days aren’t as dark, so your trip can be about much more than the hunt for the Lights.
4. There’s amazing foliage. Sure, trees are turning everywhere but there’s another kind of fall in Alaska: a vivid display that takes place on the ground. The wilderness here is full of open tundra, many without trees. In these valleys and high alpine areas, the ecosystem exists entirely on the ground in the form of riverside mosses, berry patches, and rough foliage, which undergoes a colorful change beginning in September. Blueberries ripen, moss glows vivid green, and underbrush flashes autumn colors. It’s truly a sight to be seen.
5. The weather is beautiful. The sun’s low angle during the fall creates a soft light and an alpine glow on the mountains that’s just jaw-dropping. Because of this, you’ll be able to see the mountains in a different light than any other time of year. It doesn’t typically snow at lower elevations this time of year, but it will snow overnight on the tops of the peaks, creating a best of both worlds: beautiful contrasts between the fall tundra and the white-capped mountains, your feet dry but the views — and pictures — greatly dramatized.
TOP FALL IDEAS IN ANCHORAGE
Also thanks to, Visit Anchorage Alaska, they have 10 Top Fall Ideas in Anchorage in Autumn.
1. Northern Lights Viewing
By the time September rolls around, true night skies have returned to Anchorage and that means the northern lights, also known as the aurora borealis, can be viewed again. You don’t have to go far to increase your chances to see the aurora and its vibrant displays.
2. Glacier Day Cruises
Score a front row seat with great views of glaciers. You might also spy otters, birds, seals, and whales. Through the end of September and into the first weeks of October, one of the most popular Alaska activities is a glacier and wildlife cruise of Kenai Fjords National Park or Prince William Sound.
3. Ride the Rails
The Alaska Railroad offers year-round service. Hop a train to Fairbanks for fantastic views of the changing fall colors and maybe even a clear shot of Denali. Or take a day trip up to scenic Hurricane on one of the last whistle stop trains in America.
4. Changing Colors
You’ll see bright reds, glowing yellows and rusty oranges during a typical autumn day in Anchorage. Grab the camera and be prepared, you never know when you’ll find a moose filling up on fall delicacies or a flock of birds heading out for warmer southern climates. Anchorage hiking trails range from easy walks to almost technical climbs. But the journey is worth it when you see the stark contrast between the colorful leaves and berries and the mountaintops covered in a dusting of fresh snow.
5. Events Galore
The activity never stops in Anchorage, no matter the interest. Celebrate Oktoberfest by grabbing a brat, pretzel, and pint of beer before sitting down to listen to traditional music. Or relish one more dose of downhill biking at Alyeska Resort.
6. Fish On!
Fall is a great time to fish! With fewer fishermen, beautiful fall colors and crisp days, time will fly by as you cast for rainbow trout, Dolly Varden, grayling, steelhead and silver salmon. You don’t even need to bring your gear or worry about where to go; guide services for individuals or groups can hook you up with the best fishing spots.
The snow typically doesn’t fly in this part of Alaska until November, but mushers and their teams are already on the trail. A visit to a kennel meets meeting the friendly furry athletes, learning the art of managing an enthusiastic team, and might entail a training run using a wheeled cart or ATV.
8.See a Show
With world-renowned musicians and Broadway hits as well as local theater and dance troupes, Anchorage is Alaska’s prime spot for entertainment. The performing arts community offers something for everyone. Get cultural with performances of “The Little Mermaid” or Rossini’s “Barber of Seville” this fall. Catch your favorite artists as they tour the West, or catch a locally produced show in an intimate playhouse. Before (or after) the show, stop in to a local restaurant serving up regional specialties such as halibut, salmon, or shrimp.
9. Hit the Trails
Lace up those running shoes and take a jog through beautiful scenery! Dozens of fall runs are held around Anchorage, and mild temperatures will keep you cool mile after mile. Whether you’re looking for some fun or going for a personal record, you’ll find a long list of races to join, from the Oktoberfest run, to Climbathon to the Zombie Half.
10. Museum Shows
The Anchorage Museum showcases artful Alaskans and Arctic subjects this fall: Sami artist Aslaug Magdalena Juliussen gets an Anchorage exhibition, organized in collaboration with the Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum in Norway. The works reflect on her life in Northern Norway and everyday experiences with the Arctic landscape. Learn about the shifting representation of indigenous people in media, or celebrate salmon culture in Alaska with special exhibitions extended through the fall. October’s Design Week brings together acclaimed designers, leading local design for thought-provoking discussions. While November’s Wilderness Week is packed with wild talks, activities and workshops on Alaska’s natural places.
I hope you enjoyed this little adventure as much as I did! Email me, comment here, or leave me a message on my podcast with any comments questions, or requests! Our email and podcast are:
Start warm, stay safe & God Bless!