Best time to visit Alaska?

Old Jan 12th, 2010, 10:24 AM
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Best time to visit Alaska?


I would like to visit Alaska and am wondering when the best time of year to do so will be. My main interest is seeing the Northern Lights, but I would also like to see some of the landscapes and wildlife.

I have done a lot of research on this, and it seems that March or October are good months to see the Northern Lights, but the warmer months are better for wildlife etc. Also, what part of Alaska would you recommend?

I appreciate any advice.

Michelle23 is offline  
Old Jan 12th, 2010, 04:50 PM
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There probably are no 'best times' to visit Alaska. You could go there fifty times and not cover a full one-third of the state.

It is hard to know how many mountains to expect until you're actually in Alaska and driving around and past them. The scenery from your car is awe-inspiring whether it is 70 degrees or 20 below zero. There is something to be said for the unique photographic appeal to frozen lakes, and of course snow in great quantity can certainly beautify most any photo (except, perhaps, those of the road just ahead of you).

I sense YOUR main interest to be the Northern Lights... well then make that the central factor to when you plan your trip, and tailor the rest of the trip to get the full effect of whatever season it happens to be. Obviously the weather unique to the exact point when you are up there will play a role, so I say you're best to have ideas in your head, and not too much committed in other ways, just so you can wing-it based on how things are when you're there.
NorthwestMale is offline  
Old Jan 14th, 2010, 11:30 AM
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Thanks. I think I'll be going in March, the Fairbanks area looks good for Northern Lights viewing. Doesn't seem like I'll see much wildlife at that time of year, unfortuately.

Any other advice, anyone?
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Old Jan 14th, 2010, 12:39 PM
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I haven't done this, but Bettles would be my first choice and Chena Hot Springs by second-if the Northern Lights is what you want to see. Isn't this year supposed to be a bad year for the Northern Lights?? The sun cycles thru and I think 2012 is supposed to be the next great year.
spirobulldog is offline  
Old Jan 14th, 2010, 05:57 PM
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The Geophysical Institute make auroual forecasts. Right now they are only doing it a day at a time for january. See the quote below from their web site.

"This is the least active period we have ever experienced. We expect activity to increase somewhat as we approach the spring equinox. We will begin long-term forecasts in the middle of January".

Their web site is at
dwooddon is offline  
Old Jan 15th, 2010, 07:46 AM
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Thank you both. I've looked at Chena Hot Springs, it looks good, but expensive. I'll look into Bettles. The website is helpful, thanks again.
Michelle23 is offline  
Old Jan 15th, 2010, 06:41 PM
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One more question ... Can anymore give suggestions on the best places to go for wildlife viewing in the winter months?
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Old Jan 16th, 2010, 07:55 AM
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It must be a bad year if they aren't even predicting anything. It is the middle of January. LOL.

Bettles does flightseeing over the Arctic. Not sure what you would see in winter though. Probably not much wildlife. You can't really put wildlife and northern lights as top priorities, you have to pick one or the other. One is winter, one is summer.
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