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Don’t Hibernate Yet! Top 10 Outdoor Fall Activities in Alaska

by ATJ Posted in I ♥ Alaska |
Alaska Fall Activities

This photo by Lake Clark NPS is used under Creative Commons License

From fantastic wildlife viewing to soaking up spectacular colors to enjoying unique events, Alaska enjoys an abundance of amazing fall activities. Don’t let the mere thought of winter stifle your thirst for adventure. Quench this thirst as you take advantage of Alaska’s fall season with these 10 amazing outdoor treats.

1.  Moose, Caribou and Bears, Oh My!

Fall means many of Alaska’s large mammals are in full-time gorge mode as they prepare for the winter months. These mammals trek their way into lower elevations seeking berries, fish and other tasty morsels. If you love viewing animals, fall means terrific sightings in just about all of Alaska’s habitats.

2.  Soak Up the Colors

Alaska’s brilliant fall foliage begins to take form around Labor Day. A fall visit means you’ll see colorful hardwoods, yellow and orange aspens, and deep crimson colors from smaller vegetation.

3.  Visit Denali

Alaska’s Denali National Park encompasses six million acres that promise nothing but fun. The park is teeming with tourists all summer long. Fall, however, sees a significant drop in visitors. This means you’ll have greater access to campgrounds and hiking trails. Plus, clear fall skies will mean unobstructed views of Mount McKinley!

4.  Fish On!

September enjoys remarkable salmon fishing in Alaska.  Silver salmon are heavily abundant in early fall as they take part in a late run up the Kenai River. Pull on your waders, grab your pole and join the locals in some of the best salmon rivers in the world.

5.  Drive the Dalton

The infamous Dalton Highway travels north from Fairbanks to the Arctic Circle and over the Atigun Pass.  Beginning in fall, thousands of caribou migrate through the area in which the Dalton stretches.  In October, motorists will be treated to fantastic sightings of arctic foxes and snowy owls.

6.  Birding in Wrangell

Visit the town of Wrangell on Wrangell Island for pristine bird watching.  Fall means thousands of migrating snow geese, ducks, and sand hill cranes visit the area.  The abundance of waterfowl provides beautiful sights and amazing photo opportunities.  For extra adventure, visit Wrangell during Halloween and make sure you get yourself to the Totem Bar.  The establishment holds a fun-filled costume party with some of the most creative ensembles you may ever see.

7.  Spot the Aurora Borealis

Clear fall nights in Alaska, especially in September, provide superb viewing of the Aurora Borealis.  Northern light viewing is perhaps most dramatic in and around Fairbanks.

8.  View Whales in Sitka

Fall treks to Alaska’s Inside Passage should certainly include a visit to Sitka.  Visitors to this sea-side community are more than likely to view migrating humpback whales.  The whales are most prevalent between mid-September through mid-January.

9.  Enjoy Eagles in Haines

Visit the charming town of Haines in November for its annual Alaska Bald Eagle Festival.  The timing of this event coincides with a convergence of bald eagles that swarm to the area to feast upon slow moving salmon.  The salmon also mean that not only eagles converge, but bears are prevalent as well.  Just bring a chair and enjoy top-notch grizzly viewing…free of charge.

10.  Experience “Real” Alaska

Fall in Alaska means tourist season has finally come to an end.  Shops and towns return to their “normal” affairs.  Local residents become more prevalent.  A visit to Alaska during this time means you have a chance to experience the “real” Alaska.  That is, an Alaska untarnished by crowds, RVs and sightseers.

Alaska’s beauty is not isolated to particular months or seasons.  It’s visible year-round.  We shouldn’t have to remind you that this includes the fall.  Numerous outdoor activities await you.  Unique and exciting events await you.  A “real” state awaits your presence.         

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