Alaska in March

Jan 5th, 2016, 03:55 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 1
Alaska in March

Hey Travellers,
My siblings and I are planning a trip to Alaska this March during the spring break. Main in our to do list is to view the northern lights, whale watching and dog sledding. We thought of flightseeing in denali or other national parks, but then that just proves to be too costly! Can anyone suggest things which we can do to fill the week with activities!

Apart from that, are there any hiking routes open from Mar 13-20? And any advice in general, while travelling to Alaska, would be appreciated!

Thanks in advance!!
praveen0293 is offline  
Jan 5th, 2016, 08:07 PM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 10,298
For a great chance to see the Northern Lights, check out the Mount Aurora Lodge outside Fairbanks. The drawback is that they have shared bathrooms.
The shuttle buses don't start running in Denali until about June 1.
The lodge has a ski area right next door.
tomfuller is offline  
Jan 6th, 2016, 06:02 AM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 5,894
Whales are smart enough to stay a bit south or Alaska until later in the year. Gray whales don't return until April and many other species are even later.

It is still usually winter in Alaska in March.

If it is clear you can see Denali from Fairbanks, even from the airport, so do remember to look for it.

I hope you get to see the northern lights, they are on my bucket list.
emalloy is offline  
Jan 6th, 2016, 07:16 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,572
Welcome to Fodor's, praveen0293!

To be frank, depending on the year, mid-late March can be among the worst times to visit; certainly by April many Alaskans (ourselves included when we lived there) have blasted off for California or Hawaii.

The reason is that "breakup" starts around then - the spring thaw that leaves everything covered in mud and the accumulated debris that had been covered by snow all winter. Roads are full of potholes and driving can be treacherous as the mud puddles and wet roads turn into glare ice overnight, only to re-thaw during the day. Hiking is very difficult as one encounters "rotten snow" - partially melted then re-freezing and/or chances of avalanches in the mountains.

Now this isn't the case every year. Sometimes mid-March is still very wintry; I remember one St. Patrick's Day (March 17) when it snowed two feet in downtown Anchorage, a very unusual occurrence.

The farther north you go, e.g. Fairbanks or the arctic, it's still definitely winter. You might see the northern lights, or you might see the bottom of the clouds whose tops have a great view. Feel lucky?

Not wanting to be Donnie Downer, but - if it were me on limited time and dollar resources - I'd look elsewhere at that time of year.

Now if you can come to Anchorage a couple of weeks earlier, say around the end of February, you could have a terrific time by attending some of the many events during Fur Rendezvous - - a big end-of-winter festival. Lots of competitions, championship sled dog races through downtown Anchorage, carnival, fireworks, the "running of the reindeer," beard contests... You could go skiing at Alyeska, snowshoe in some of Anchorage's parks... plenty to do. The Iditarod "ceremonial" and "official" starts occur on the last weekend of Rondy.
Gardyloo is offline  
Jan 7th, 2016, 02:36 PM
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 128
ditto on Gardyloo.
sdpryde is offline  
Jan 7th, 2016, 03:44 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 65,962
I'd never (ever) visit Alaska in March. I have relatives several places but mainly in Anchorage . . . and even they don't like it there at that time of year.
janisj is online now  
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