Alaska in April

Old Aug 3rd, 2012, 05:44 PM
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Alaska in April

We are arriving in L.A. from a cruise on March 26 2013 and I would like to know if it is possible to fly to Anchorage and visit Denali and Fairbank at the end of March early April as this seems to be the time for the Northern Lights. Does anyone know if the train from Anchorage is active at that time. As we are from Australia I thought it would be great to spend a few days there before we head home as it is a long way back.
Any advice would be much appreciated. Would love to do a full tour in Alaska but at a different time of the year. This would be just to try and see the northern lights.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2012, 06:37 PM
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While Denali Park is technically open, there are minimal tourist facilities available at that time of year. Fairbanks will be a better bet, but it's a pretty long way to come just on the chance (maybe good, maybe not so good) that you'll see the aurora. A couple of things to consider:

It will still be cold. Will you have clothing able to tolerate temperatures that average -16 °C at night?

Days will be getting quite long (on the way to "midnight sun" - well, not exactly, Fairbanks isn't far enough north) but it won't really be dark enough to see the aurora - if they're out - until after midnight, maybe 1-2 AM.

Farther south, such as Anchorage, you'll probably encounter the beginning of "breakup" - when the snow starts melting and turns the world into mud. It's far from the most attractive time to visit the state.

Is it possible? Sure. Is it worth the cost and the gamble?

The train from Anchorage to Fairbanks runs once a week at that time of year. IMO flying is preferable, but with longer days the train can be fun and quite interesting. http://www.alaskarailroad.com/travel...8/Default.aspx
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Old Aug 3rd, 2012, 09:39 PM
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Thanks Gardyloo for your response. I wasn't sure if it was possible or worth the trip. I suppose if you want to see the Aurora you have to go in the winter time and with the temperatures there that would pose a problem with clothing.
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Old Aug 4th, 2012, 05:05 AM
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No idea what your travel plans/aspirations might be, but it's worth noting that there are many places in the world where the aurora are visible, a lot of which are more accessible and visitor-friendly than Fairbanks in the winter. The aurora are frequently visible in the Scandinavian north, obviously, where there are big settlements way farther north than Fairbanks. They're also visible in northern Scotland, as well as the Orkney and Shetland islands. (The Gaelic term for the aurora translates roughly as "the dancing men," which I've always loved.)

You might also think about a midwinter trip across the Tasman to the south end of South Island in NZ. The Southern Lights (aurora australialis are every bit as spectacular as the aurora in the north; however there aren't as many places on land far enough south where you can see them. (Southern NZ and Tierra del Fuego are about it.) But it might be a fun excursion from Oz sometime.
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Old Aug 7th, 2012, 02:50 AM
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We actually will be on a cruise that departs Buenos Aires on Feb 25 and goes around cape horn so we may get a chance to see it from the south of Argentina. Yes it is a short trip and pretty cheap to go to NZ from Aus so might have to look at that.

We always seem to do most of our travel either in May or September as that is the best time before or after the tourist crowds. We have just spent 6 weeks driving in USA from L.A. to Yellowstone and a lot in between covering 8500 miles and had a great time. Magic National Parks. Thanks for your advice.
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Old Aug 7th, 2012, 03:05 AM
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OBIE, did you post a trip report?? Which parks did you visit?
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Old Aug 19th, 2012, 07:13 PM
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Hi Emalloy,
I havent done a trip report but have kept a record of our trip so could do a report if anyone is interested in reading it.
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Old Nov 8th, 2012, 08:07 AM
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While you can certainly make it to Denali in April you will get there before the season starts. It will be cold, and snow will still be on the ground. The park and the town won't open until mid may. However it is very beautiful to hike at that time. You dont have any brush blocking your path so you kind of have a skeleton key to the forest.
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