The bright yellow birches of the boreal forest and the rich red tundra make September a beautiful time to visit Alaska. You may have to bundle up and bring your rain jacket, but the crowds are smaller, fewer bugs will annoy you, and your chances of catching the Aurora Borealis increase mid-month. Here are the top three reasons you’ll fall in love with Alaska in September.
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Alaska has a very seasonal economy. The high season lasts only about 120 days, typically mid-May to mid-September. If you’re lucky, you can book a hotel room for 50 percent cheaper than the summer rate if you visit after the high season is over. Plus, many restaurants, outfitters, and guides lower their prices after the summer tourists depart.
If you’re working a seasonal job in Alaska, traveling after your contract is over will set you up for these big savings. After all, for many visitors, Alaska isn’t just another destination to check off on a traveler’s bucket list. It’s the beginning of a lifelong love affair with a very special place.
The aurora borealis is among the best reasons to come to Alaska in September. The incredible natural phenomenon of the aurora borealis, or “Northern Lights,” is only visible in the far northern hemisphere. The natural light show is brightest in the fall and winter months. Nothing can compare with seeing those unearthly colorful lights dancing across the sky for the first time.
Where’s the best place in Alaska to view the Northern Lights? You really can’t go wrong—the aurora is visible from practically everywhere in the state. If you want to experience some true northerner hospitality, though, choose Fairbanks. The view of the Northern Lights is spectacular because the city sits right beneath the bowl of the aurora. It starts to get cooler in Fairbanks in the fall, though, so make sure to pack plenty of layers!
Colorful Fall Leaves
If you want to immerse yourself in autumn beauty, visit Denali National Park when the leaves change. The trees become a sea of oranges, golds, reds, and yellows. All the animals are eating their fill to prepare for a cold winter, and you can spot black bears feasting on the late berries. The snow caps atop the mountains are heavy and impressive, and the park feels its wildest.
Daily train and bus service to Denali from Anchorage and Fairbanks ends mid-September, so you may have to rent a car to get here. Shuttle bus service along the Denali Park Road also ends around this time. Though it makes it a little less accessible, curtailed transit options also mean you won’t see as many tourists. Denali is open for hiking, camping, and backpacking year-round, so why not go when you have the place to yourself?
If Denali doesn’t interest you, two other excellent options for exploring Alaska in September are to take a sightseeing tour along the Alcan Highway or observe the fall leaves and wildlife across the state via Alaska’s many spectacular train tours.
Although many people might choose to visit Alaska in the summer, there are many benefits to visiting in September and other times throughout the year. Whether you decide to visit for a weekend or apply for a seasonal job with us, we hope you have a great time exploring this enchanting land!