The Best Time To Travel To Alaska

Alaska is an incredible part of the world; the environment is intense, which can make for some amazing experiences. To make the most of your stay in Alaska, timing is everything. The best time to travel to Alaska very much depends on what you’d like to do, and we’ve come up with this handy little guide that includes some must-have information. If you’re contemplating a bespoke and unforgettable Alaskan journey, this is for you.

The best time to travel to Alaska if you’re fishing:

Alaska has some world-class fishing year-round! Whether you’re on the hunt for the salmon run, or you’d like to experience ice-fishing, there is a lot of diversity here.

In the spring there is ample opportunity to reel in a prize haul. The peak season for King Salmon begins in May, as does the season for Halibut. At this time of year, the sun doesn’t set until nearly 11 pm, meaning there’s plenty of time to fish!

The best time to travel to Alaska for fishing tends to be in the summer months of June, July, and August for peak season. During these months you can catch the end of the King Salmon season, and peak times for Silver, Red, Pink and Chum Salmon. Early June sees the start of the great salmon run, where Pacific and Atlantic salmon swim back to the river spawning grounds where they were born. It is one of the natural world’s most impressive spectacles and a fascinating sight. The warm temperatures in August make heli-fishing a great option, have a gander of our Tordrillo Lodge Itinerary for clarity on what this could look like.

Fishers in the autumn can expect Halibut and Silver Salmon, along with the stunning hazel hues of fall. Although this season lacks weather consistency, it more than makes up for it by providing some of the best autumnal scenery in the world!

The best time to travel to Alaska: a fisherman lays out his catch of the day on the beach.
A Prize Haul! Photo Credit: Brian Adams, Travel Alaska

If you’re looking to make the most of the frozen waters, an ice-fishing trip during the winter months could be for you. Ice-fishing is an excellent activity for getting travelers out in nature, and its shallow learning curve makes it perfect for expert and novice fishers alike.

If you’re interested in fishing in Alaska take a look at our Complete Fishing Collection for our full range of spectacular fishing itineraries.

The best time to travel to Alaska if you’re exploring National Parks:

The rugged landscape and untouched wildlife of Alaska’s vast national parks earned the country its nickname; ‘The Last Frontier’. From the splendor of Exploring Denali to the magical glaciers and temperate rainforest of Glacier Bay National Park, the sights in this area are dazzling. Most National Park Journey’s operate from June to early-September, when the temperatures are warmest. In June, you’ll have plenty of time to sight-see – on the longest days you can expect up to 22 hours of daylight! For those that are looking to hike in the northern parks, early-August is the best time to visit once the tundra has melted. The standard route to enter Denali is via a scenic bus route. We recommend taking the bus in and a flight-seeing route out, the aerial views give a perspective that allows you to truly appreciate the grandeur of North America’s largest mountain.

The best time to travel to Alaska: a moose wandering through a lake with Mount Denali in the background.
The Spectacular Denali National Park.

The only accommodation located on Mount Denali is Sheldon Chalet, a luxury lodge situated atop of a glacier at an altitude of 6000ft. This stunningly remote location is only accessible via helicopter and it’s the exclusive way to explore Denali. Check out our itinerary to find out more.

The best time to travel to Alaska if you’re in search of wildlife:

Alaska is home to a few types of bear – Brown or Grizzly Bears, Black Bears, Kodiak Bears, and some Polar Bears. Due to Alaska’s untouched landscape, Brown and Black Bear populations remain healthy, and you stand an extremely good chance of seeing some in the wild. The best time to travel to Alaska to see bears is the summer, and destinations such as Winterlake Lodge and Redoubt Bay Lodge provide unique opportunities to craft a journey that’s perfect for you, and popular add-ons include helicopter excursions and watersport activities.

The best time to travel to Alaska: a bear stands on its hind-legs at sunset.
When standing on their hind legs some Grizzly Bears can be up to 3 meters tall! Photo Credit: Chris McLennan.

Alaska has a sea of oceanic wildlife that will take your breath away. Kenai Fjords National Park, south of Anchorage, is home to the summer migration of a range of whales and dolphins. If you’re lucky, you may see Gray, Humpback, Minke, and Blue whale. Orcas also feed in this region. There’s no better way to see some of the ocean’s greatest creatures than a whale watching experience – check our Inside Passage Retreat itinerary for an idea of what to expect.

The best time to travel to Alaska if you’re looking for snow:

When the year turns cold, Alaska transforms into a winter playground. The activities on offer are superb for all sorts of traveler and there are some deluxe places to stay along the way.

Dogsledding is a magical way to experience Alaska and can be enjoyed during the winter months from January through March. In the summer there’s also the option of flying to a nearby glacier for a truly unforgettable sledding experience. We highly recommend paying the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race a visit. This iconic 1000-mile dog-mushing contest has been going on for nearly a century and occurs on the first Saturday of March each year. If you’d like to find out more about this legendary event, you can check out our Historic Alaskan Dog Sledding Experience blog.

The best time to travel to Alaska: the Iditarod dog sled race in Alaska.
The legendary Iditarod Dog Sled Race! Photo Credit: JodyO.Photos, Visit Anchorage

For skiers of all abilities, anytime from January to April will be an excellent opportunity to visit Alaska’s legendary ski resorts. For intermediate to advanced skiers, the Resort Heli-Skiing season operates from the start of February to the end of April. The snow quality is better in February, but you can enjoy longer hours and warmer temperatures later in the season. The winter sports in this corner of the world are thrilling.

The best time to travel to Alaska if you want to see the Northern Lights:

Although it’s possible to see the Northern Lights at the end of September, the best time to travel to Alaska to see them is when the sky is at its darkest in mid-winter. Due to its position beneath the Auroral Oval, you have a great chance of seeing the aurora in the surrounding area of Fairbanks, and this can be neatly combined with a visit to the Lodge at Black Rapids. A visit to Mother Nature’s greatest light show is a wonderful sight, and there is a range of awe-inspiring winter activities that can be built into a trip to Alaska to confirm it as an experience of a lifetime. These include skiing, dog sledding, snowshoeing, snow-biking, spa days and more! Have a look at our Aurora at Black Rapids itinerary for a full vision of what this journey could look like.

The best time to travel to Alaska: people around a fire watching the Northern Lights in the sky.
Mother Nature’s greatest light show. Photo Credit: JodyO.Photos, Visit Anchorage

The best time to travel to Alaska if you’re cruising:

Cruises are a fantastic way to see some of Alaska’s greatest sights. Travel by sea can be an exciting alternative to your usual vacations and allows for unparalleled access to breathtaking glaciers and oceanic wildlife. The best time to travel to Alaska is often the summer, with June having the most daylight, and July and August offering the best warm weather conditions. Additionally, September can be a great way to beat the crowds and see some extremely rich wildlife.

The best time to travel to Alaska: a cruise ship sailing by Alaska at sunset.
Cruising into Anchorage. Photo Credit: Frank Flavin, Visit Anchorage

To make the most of your onshore days, we recommend experiencing true Alaska as authentically as possible. Whether it’s a private bear tour in Ketchikan or a Private Dogsled Tour in Juneau, there are so many wonderful things to do in this region you’ll be spoilt for choice. If you would like to see more authentic explorations of Alaska, you can view our complete collection of Alaskan Shore Excursions.

If you’re interested in journeying to the last frontier, our Alaska travel collection paints the perfect picture of what you can expect. Alaska is a goldmine for bespoke and unforgettable journeys. This raw and rugged landscape is the perfect option for family travelers, snow sports enthusiasts, wildlife enthusiasts, and more. We believe in never giving guests what they ask for but giving them what they never dreamed possible. To find out more information about a journey to Alaska, fill out our quick plan your trip form, or call us toll free on: 1-888-999-6556