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Tips for Alaska Travel Planning – Part 3

Alaska Landscapes

46,600 Miles of shoreline, 3,000,000 Lakes, 100,000 Glaciers and 2,600 Islands

Alaska has so much to explore.

Mountains

Alaska is home to 14 mountain ranges.

Glaciers

These rivers of ice are layers of snow compressed into ice over thousands of years.

River Valleys

River valleys are as distinct as the landscapes they carve through; mountains, tundra and plains.

Rainforest

Flourishing with hemlock, spruce and cedar, Alaska is home to the only temperate rainforest in the U.S.

Tundra

Tundra is made up of shrubs, grasses and mosses growing like a rich carpet atop permafrost.

Take a Hike

Trail sampler

Alaska is all about the outdoors! No matter what your ability, we have a trail for you.

Portage Pass Trail (South-central)

Difficulty: Easy

What you will see: Stunning views of Portage Glacier and Whittier.

Gateway City: Anchorage

Anan Creek Trail (Inside Passage)

Difficulty: Easy

What you’ll see:

Beautiful views of cascading waterfalls and wildlife

Gateway City: Wrangell

Angel Rock Trail (Interior)

Difficulty: Moderate

What you’ll see:

Dozens of granite outcrops and spectacular views of the valley

Gateway City: Fairbanks

Anton Larsen Pass Loop (Southwest)

Difficulty: Moderate

What you’ll see:

Scenic ridges and lush meadows

Gateway City: Kodiak

Food & Drink

On the menu

Want an Alaska meal to remember? Look for dishes with locally caught seafood. Some of our favorite options are alder-grilled salmon, cod tacos, halibut chowder and Alaska king crab legs. You may learn more at wildalaskaseafood.com

And to drink

Raise a glass to Alaska’s booming local beverage scene! Alaska has world-class craft breweries and local gin and vodka distilleries using distinctive local ingredients like Delta barley and spruce tips to create one-of-a-kind flavors. Alaskans even make mead from fireweed honey,and wine with local blueberries or elderberries.

Or toast your trip with the ultimate Alaska cocktail: a Bloody Mary featuring Alaska smoked salmon vodka (Seriously!) – The smoky flavor gives the tomato juice an extra depth and amazing zing.

Festival & Events

JANUARY

Anchorage Folk Festival

Alcan 200 Snow machine Race / Haines

FEBRUARY– MARCH

Fur Rendezvous (Fur Rondy) / Anchorage

Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race / Anchorage to Nome

World Ice Art Championship / Fairbanks

APRIL

Sluch Cup / Girdwood

Alaska Folk Festival / Juneau

MAY

Copper River Delta Shore Festival / Cordova

Kodiak Crab Festival

JUNE

Chicken stock Music Festival / Chicken

Midnight Sun Festival / Fairbanks

Nalukataq (Whaling Festival) / Utqiagvik

Colony Days / Palmer

JULY 

Juneau’s 4th of July Parade

Seward’s Mount Marathon Race

Girdwood Forest Fair

AUGUST

State Fairs (Various locations around the state )

Blue berry Art Festival / Ketchikan

SEPTEMBER

Rain forest Festival / Petersburg

OCTOBER

Alaska Day Festival / Sitka

Valdez Oktoberfest & Home Brew Competition

NOVEMBER

Alaska Bald Eagle Festival / Haines

DECEMBER

North Pole winter Festival

SEASONS

SUMMER FALLWINTERSPRING
This is a great time to be outdoors: hiking, fishing ,boating ,wildlife viewing and just having fun under the midnight sun Fall is harvest time. From fish and game to wild berries ,Alaskans are celebrating nature’s bounty Snow machining, fat-tire biking, skiing and dog mushing are great winter activities. Spring is migration time and cruise lines are just starting their Alaska season
PEAK SEASON SHOULDER SEASON WINTER SEASON SHOULDER SEASON
May – September Late September October – March April – Early May

SEASONAL PERKS

The long days and warmer temperatures are perfect for outdoor activities Tour operators and business often have special rates during this time Dark skies at night mean stars and northern lights Businesses getting ready for summer offer early season discounts

Juneau, Alaska, United States

In 1880, it was slow going for Joe Juneau and Richard Harris as they searched for gold with the help of Native guides. After climbing mountains, forging streams and facing countless difficulties, they found nuggets “as large as beans.”

From their discovery came three of the largest gold mines in the world. By the end of World War II, more than $150 million in gold had been mined. Eventually the mines closed, but the town Joe Juneau founded became the capital of Alaska and the business of gold was replaced by the business of government.

Some 30,000 people live in Juneau. Its total area makes it one of the biggest towns, in size, in the world. Only Kiruna, Sweden, and Sitka, Alaska, exceeds Juneau’s 3,248 square miles.

Today Juneau is famous not only for gold and government but also for its breathtakingly beautiful glaciers and stunning views of both water and mountains.

Top things to do and see in Juneau, Alaska

1-Mendenhall Glacier

This amazing glacier is 12 miles long, a half-mile wide and from 300 to 1,800 feet deep. Stretching from the Juneau Ice field to Mendenhall Lake, it has been slowly retreating since the mid-1700s.

2-Outdoor Adventures

Enjoy what is truly an outdoorsman’s paradise, with activities you won’t find anywhere else. Go for a ride on a dog sled, whale watching, hiking, nature watching, flightseeing, ziplining and more.

3-Whale Watching

You’re virtually ensured a whale sighting from April to November when hundreds of humpbacks feed and frolic in the waters of the northern Inside Passage. Orcas are also common sightings in Juneau.

4-Glacier Flightseeing

Fly over the massive Juneau Icefield and get a front-row seat to awe-inspiring glaciers, spectacular icefalls and majestic rock formations – accessible only from the air.

5-Macaulay Salmon Hatchery

Discover the life cycle of the Pacific salmon species. Witness their amazing development from tiny fish (year round) to returning adult salmon fighting their way up a 450-ft fish ladder (late-June to October). Indoor aquarium displays showcase local marine life in a natural setting.

6-Glacier Gardens

This 50-acre garden features species native to this temperate rainforest. Guided tours provide insight into a self-sustaining ecosystem and lookout points on Thunder Mountain are spectacular.

7-Dog Sledding

Meet professional mushers and their amazing canine companions in an introduction to Alaska’s state sport. Take a flight to a glacier to experience flying over the snow, or visit the summertime training grounds for a ride in a wheeled sled.

8-Mount Roberts Tramway

For a bird’s-eye view, take a five-minute tram ride to the top of Mt. Roberts for a panoramic vantage point 1,800 feet above the city. Mountaintop attractions include trails, shops and nature displays.

Ketchikan, Alaska, United States

Ketchikan is known as Alaska’s “First City” because it’s the first major community travelers come to as they journey north. Located on an island, Ketchikan began life as an Indian fishing camp. The name Ketchikan comes from a Tlingit phrase that means “eagle with spread-out wings,” a reference to a waterfall near town.

In the early 1900s, when gold was Alaska’s claim to fame, fishing and timber industries were established in Ketchikan. The growth of these industries helped make this Inside Passage port Alaska’s fourth-largest city.

Visitors to Ketchikan will be intrigued by its rich Native heritage, which includes the world’s oldest collection of totem poles at Totem Heritage Center. The Haida, Tlingit and Tsimshian are all a part of the city’s colorful history. Ketchikan, with its abundance of salmon, is also a sport fishing paradise. Sightseers will be impressed with both the scenic town and its surroundings, especially Misty Fjords National Monument.

Top things to do and see in Ketchikan, Alaska

1-Outdoor Adventures

Enjoy what is truly an outdoorsman’s paradise, with activities you won’t find anywhere else. Go for a ride in an off-road vehicle, kayaking, hiking, nature watching, flightseeing, ziplining and more.

2-Totem Bight State Park

Set amidst the peaceful forest, the park is home to 14 totem poles, each telling their own story, and a replica of a 19th-century clan house, offering a look into the Tlingit and Haida Native Alaskan cultures.

3-Saxman Native Village

Experience the rich living culture of the Tlingits as they welcome you to their village. Unravel totem pole mysteries, see carvers in action, shop for fine art and enter a clan house to watch Native dancers.

4-Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary

This 40-acre rainforest reserve is home to bald eagles, black bear, seals and a variety of birds, a live eagle display and a master Native totem pole carver at work.

5-Misty Fjords National Monument

Take in the dramatic beauty of a land slowly crafted by the hands of nature. It encompasses more than two million acres of sheer granite cliffs, 1,000-foot waterfalls, and crystalline lakes.

6-Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show

This celebration of a bygone era is a rip-roaring good time. World champion athletes compete in springboard chopping, buck sawing, axe throwing, log rolling and the thrilling 50-foot tree climb.

7-George Inlet Lodge

A former cannery bunkhouse built in the 1940s, this historic lodge was towed on a log raft over 70 miles to its current site on the shores of the spectacular George Inlet waterway 15 miles south of Ketchikan.

8-Creek Street

This historic boardwalk was a Red Light District during the Gold Rush. Now, it’s a quaint place to tour Dolly’s House museum, view totem poles, and shop at locally owned stores and galleries.

Skagway, Alaska, United States

Skagway was the gateway to the gold fields for the thousands who flocked to Alaska and the Yukon with the hope of striking it rich. Skagway may have boasted the shortest route to the Klondike, but it wasn’t the easiest.

Over 100 years ago, the White Pass route through the Coast Mountains and the shorter but steeper Chilkoot Trail were used by countless stampeders. Many a would-be miner perished on the treacherous Chilkoot Trail.

The gold rush was a boon and by 1898, Skagway was Alaska’s largest town with a population of about 20,000. Hotels, saloons, dance halls and gambling houses prospered. But when the gold yield dwindled in 1900, so did the population as miners quickly shifted to new finds in Nome.

Today, Skagway has less than 1,000 residents. It still retains the flavor of the gold rush era.

Top things to do and see in Skagway, Alaska

1-White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad

The “Scenic Railway of the World” links Skagway with Yukon, Canada. A 41-mile roundtrip offers an unforgettable journey to the summit of the White Pass at nearly 3,000 feet in elevation.

2-Outdoor Adventures

Enjoy what is truly an outdoorsman’s paradise, with activities you won’t find anywhere else. Go for a ride on a dog sled, horseback riding, hiking, river rafting, flightseeing, ziplining and more.

3-Klondike Summit

The Klondike Summit, also called the White Pass Summit rises 3,292 feet above sea level along the Klondike Highway. The journey, running parallel to the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad, offers breathtaking views of waterfalls, glaciers, scenic vistas and glimpses of the original Brackett Wagon Road and Tormented Valley.

4-Gold Rush History

Relive the color and history of the Yukon Gold Rush. Tour the camps, pan for gold and meet a few costumed characters who’ll show you what life was like during the boom-town days in the 1800s.

5-Yukon (Canada)

Yukon is a wilderness playground with an extensive network of waterways. On the scenic 65-mile drive from Skagway, the lush coastal landscape gives way to rugged wilderness. Its capital, Whitehorse, is the center for the Yukon’s mining and forestry industries, and a welcoming spot for visitors.

6-Haines

Pristine beauty and an abundance of wildlife define Haines. Just 14 miles from Skagway by water, the town is renowned for huge convocations of bald eagles and one of the planet’s longest fjords.

7-Red Onion Saloon

During the Klondike Gold Rush, the Red Onion Saloon was Skagway’s most exclusive bordello. Now this colorful establishment is a bar/restaurant and a National Historic Building.

8-Dog Sledding

Meet professional mushers and their amazing canine companions in an introduction to Alaska’s state sport. Take a flight to a glacier to experience flying over the snow, or visit the summertime training grounds for a ride in a wheeled sled.

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