Alaska - Best Time?

May 29th, 2004, 08:18 AM
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Alaska - Best Time?

I need sun for photos and my wife wants to avoid time to visit advice would be appreciated....
Robert1109 is offline  
May 29th, 2004, 08:52 AM
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February and March. Days get longer and there are no bugs only ice worms
z is offline  
May 29th, 2004, 02:08 PM
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We were there the first week in August and had absolutely beautiful weather. It actually was 82 degrees a few days. We only had a little rain during one day. Of course, there are no guarantees with weather. The weather in my home town has been very unusual lately!!
schmerl is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2004, 12:13 PM
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My favorite is mid to late August- just great wildlife viewing opportunities.
BudgetQueen is offline  
Jun 6th, 2004, 01:19 PM
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We've visited Alaska three times from the middle of May to early June. Had good weather and no mosquitos. Saw quite a few moose, caribou, bear, eagles. Only place we didn't see any animals was in Denali. Friends of ours who went in August didn't see any. On our Kenai Fjord and Prince William Sound cruises, saw whales, sea otter, and sea lions.
irmgard_schaugg is offline  
Jun 6th, 2004, 04:09 PM
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How bad are the mosquitos by the end of August?
mlw is offline  
Jun 7th, 2004, 09:19 AM
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I've been in the Anchorage/Kenai/Denali/Fairbanks area in mid to late July and the Anchorage/Kenai area in early to mid September and in neither case did I have any problem with bugs. I came prepared with Deet and never needed it.

You'll have a better chance for sunlight in July and August although there can be beautiful, sunny days before or after, as well. You can also get some wonderful photos in the soft light provided by a light overcast and some great moody photos in light rains and fogs.

Have a wonderful trip.
dwooddon is offline  
Jun 7th, 2004, 05:46 PM
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Another vote for May. Statistically more sunny days and fewer rainy days then July or Aug. 18 hours of daylight, no bugs, lots of wildlife and no need for reservations anywhere. That said, the weather and animal sightings are the luck of the draw whenever you go. Alaska truely is amazing - have fun!
Barblab is offline  
Jun 7th, 2004, 08:10 PM
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Another vote for March.
Pat2003 is offline  
Jun 8th, 2004, 12:07 PM
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BUT, in May the road into Denali Park isn't fully open. The shuttles to Eielson don't start until June 1. I find it very hard to believe that the above poster sites 2 cases of NO wildlife in Denali Park???? How far in did you go??? I have gone many times- and there was ALWAYS excellent wildlife opportunities. Binoculars necessary. Perhaps they were only on the Natural History tour??? Big mistake- you do need to get way farther into the park.
BudgetQueen is offline  
Jun 8th, 2004, 12:52 PM
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The OP didn't say where in Alaska, but everyone's assuming he means Southcentral/Interior and not Southeast or some other region (Y/K delta, Arctic, Aleutian chain, Kodiak etc.)

If that's right, then I'd say right after Labor Day up to the 20th of September. Good sun (no guarantees) with lower sun angles hence more relief on the mountains, fall color on (some, not all) tundra areas and in birch forests, the Silvers are still running (most places) and the bulk of the tourists have headed south. Prices go down. Yes, the interior of Denali Park may be inaccessible after the middle of the month, so do it early to be safe. The rest of the Southcentral/Interior area will still be fine, maybe chilly at night, maybe lights in the sky (in the north) and many of the critters will still be looking around for food. IMO it's Alaska at its best.

In Southeast, I'd probably pick earlier in the season rather than later. May/June down there. Bugs are seldom an issue except around lakes and bogs.

While I expect the replies about winter are intended to be frivolous, I think mid-winter can be a fabulous time to visit - come for Fur Rondy at the end of Febriary/beginning of March, stay for the Iditarod start. Great photography opportunities, the mountains look amazing; hit the slopes at Alyeska or go flightseeing - McKinley in the winter from the air knocks your mukluks off.
Gardyloo is online now  
Jun 8th, 2004, 01:03 PM
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Well, I've been twice. Fairbanks and Anchorage in Feb. and Juneau and up the Alaskan Highway to the Yukon territory over Thanksgiving holidays. The road conditions were "excellent" with several inches of snowcap. Didn't see many tourists, but no blackflies or mosquitos either.

Probably the most awesome sight I've ever seen is the congregation of Bald Eagles outside Haines, Alaska. We took the poor man's cruise - the ferry- from Juneau. The Chilkat river (not sure if I spelled that right) doesn't freeze and the bald eagles from all over North America congregate there. They look like oranges on a tree they are so dense. Truly amazing sight.
gracieb is offline  
Jun 8th, 2004, 03:36 PM
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We were there the last week of May/first week of June and had WONDERFUL weather! Highs were in the low 70's (except for our trip to Denali -- it was very cold there) and it didn't rain the whole time we were there. Some friends of ours went there the year before at the same time, however, and they say quite a bit of rain. We only had a problem with mosquitos one night; I think it depends on on your location.
Samsaf is offline  
Jun 9th, 2004, 06:04 AM
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When I visited in 2000 we went the last 2 weeks of May and the first week of June. As noted, statistically this is the best time to go for less rain and more sun. Denali is best visited after June 1 as the park road is not completely open and shuttles not running til then. We did the southeast and the Kenai peninsula first and saved Denali for the end of the trip in order to accommodate this and it worked fine.

The other good time is late August or the first week of September, although weather is more questionable. If mosquitos are a big factor, late August is probably better than early June in Denali.
MileKing is offline  
Jun 9th, 2004, 06:13 AM
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Gardyloo, actually I?m very serious about March. The light is perfect, days are longer, you have an opportunity to see and photograph aurora borealis and Iditarod is a great entertainment for all ages. We got some fabulous photos taken in March. After all Robert did not specify he wants to go in the summer. We are planning to be in Alaska mid-September and are happy to read your comments about September being a perfect time for a visit. Thanks
Pat2003 is offline  
Jun 9th, 2004, 01:07 PM
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17 trips to Alaska for me and I have to say- my 2 March trips were tops!!! AND superior to all my "in season" trips. I have spent a month/year in Alaska the last several years. It is always an adventure.
BudgetQueen is offline  
Jun 9th, 2004, 08:19 PM
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I've only just returned (so it's late May early June) and it's been my only trip to Alaska, but we were very pleased with the weather. The only problem was packing, since we weren't sure what to expect so we packed too much. We had some cold days (Denali), some warm days (Talkeetna, Ketchikan) and some rainy days (Denali again, Juneau), but all in all, nothing severe and no mosquitos. The Denali shuttle only went about 60 miles in, but it was an exciting trip nonetheless (2 grizzlies, lots of moose, caribou and bald eagles).

That said, we didn't see night time until we took our cruise and got near Vancouver... kind of neat, kind of strange to only see daylight all the time.

Next time we go (and there will be a next time), I think it would be nice to see some night time and possible auroras.

As someone on this forum once said, I think, you can't see Alaska all in one trip, and that includes weather, daylight and bugs... might as well make a few of them to catch Alaska in each of its many forms.
BostonJay is offline  
Jun 26th, 2004, 07:32 PM
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I was in Alaska (Petersburg) in October and it was surprisingly lovely. (Devil's thumb clear as a bell) Unfortunately, the daylight is short and most of the eagles were headed to Haines, but I saw a few, took a float plane, and glacier trip that were unbelievable.
myst is offline  

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