Many people consider Alaska a summertime destination. After all, for most of the year much of Alaska is cold and forbidding. But autumn can be a fantastic time to visit the northernmost state.
Why is fall an excellent time of year to visit Alaska? If you decide to visit during the short autumn season, how can you be prepared?
Summer in Alaska means tourists. Maybe you don’t mind that. After all, you’re going to be a tourist as well, right? In my mind, though, it’s difficult to appreciate the scenic wonders of Alaska if you are jockeying for a camera viewpoint amongst hundreds of other tourists.
After Labor Day, tourism drops off sharply in Alaska. September and October are generally uncrowded. Of course, this also means that a lot of services and amenities are closed. Don’t expect every roadside attraction to be open when there aren’t a lot of tourists around. Bathrooms can be few and far between.
Still, with the closing of man-made structures, nature is more open to exploration. The weather becomes crisp and cool; the air is clear. A person can see for miles and miles, and the view is well worth it. Mountains begin to become snow-capped, and fall colors come out. The juxtaposition of orange leaves against evergreens is breathtaking.
How to Prepare
If you decide to visit Alaska in the fall, you need to be prepared. Since not everything will be open, a person needs to have extra food and supplies packed in their vehicle. Winter comes earlier in Alaska, so cold-weather gear is a must. Have extra coats, sleeping bags, and blankets ready.
Be sure to also fill up the gas tank at every opportunity. It may be quite awhile before you pass another open gas station. If you choose to drive north, this is especially important. Also have on hand chains and travel only the busier highways. Consult locals before heading forward.
Flying in will mean cheaper tickets at this time of year. If you rent a car to explore, be sure and check the rental company’s regulations for where the vehicle can be taken.
Don’t take unnecessary risks. Alaska is relatively untamed by man. Know your limitations and know where you are. Stick closer to populated areas if you are unsure that you are capable of wilderness survival skills.
The most important aspect of any Alaska trip is having fun. The state is big and wild. It has so much to offer and to explore. Autumn is a beautiful time of year, although short. Visitors to Alaska in the fall will be sure to enjoy nature without the burden of extra tourism.