Are you planning on visiting Alaska this winter? Great! You’re in for an incredible time—there’s something incredibly peaceful about taking in the sights and sounds of the Alaskan wilderness during the dead of winter. Of course, if you’re planning on spending a lot of time outside, it’s important that you prepare yourself by packing all the items you’re going to need to keep safe and warm.Here is some info about what you should pack for your Alaskan winter vacation:Parka: Temperatures in Alaska can get extremely low in the winter, especially as you head farther inland. Fairbanks, for example, can easily get down below -20 degrees Fahrenheit and colder. The expected temperatures will vary based on where you’re going and how the ocean currents are flowing. A lightweight parka can still hold up to extreme cold, and is also easily packable.

  • Hiking boots: Get yourself a good pair of strong, versatile hiking boots that are made with a water-resistant material to keep your socks dry when you’re trekking over snow and ice.
  • Long underwear: Long underwear provides a much-needed extra layer around your entire body that can make a big difference in your comfort when you’re outside for long stretches of the day during the winter. Silk long underwear is easy to quickly wash and dry overnight, and it’s light enough that you’ll be able to wear it without having to wear extremely baggy clothes on top.
  • Socks: The type of socks you bring with you can make a huge difference. Get some warm socks that are going to keep moisture away from your feet. Avoid cotton, because cotton absorbs sweat and moisture, which in cold weather will actually chill your feet. Instead, opt for synthetic materials, blends or wool—you’re going to stay much warmer using these types of socks,and be much happier for your decision.
  • Snow pants: When we say “snow pants,” we don’t mean the kinds of huge puffy pants you dressed in as a kid to go sledding. There are plenty of options for adults that include coveralls that can protect you while you’re snowmobiling, or pants that are insulated and made out of water-resistant fabrics, making them great for snowshoeing, hiking and skiing. You’ll be able to find these at most sporting goods and outdoor stores, as well as ski shops.
  • Gloves and mittens: Go for comfort over style with your gloves—you’re going to need to keep your hands warm. Bring a pair of heavyweight mittens as well, even if you’re not typically into wearing mittens. This will help you keep your hands much warmer when the temperature gets especially cold.
  • Sunscreen: You might not associate sunscreen with the winter, but you’re going to want it if you’re spending a lot of time outside. In fact, the light that bounces off the snow can make the sunlight even more intense than it is in the summer. This is why you’ll want sunglasses with you as well.

For more information about what to pack for your Alaskan winter vacation, contact the experts at Alaska Wild Guides today.

The busiest season of the year for tourism in Alaska is the summer. This shouldn’t be surprising—the summer is the biggest time of year for tourism just about everywhere. Plus, the weather is milder, and the days are brighter, making it more conducive to a lot of outdoor activities.

However, there is still a lot to see and experience here in Alaska even during the cold and dark of winter. The state doesn’t shut down when the weather gets cold. In fact, some of the greatest Alaskan experiences happen during the coldest and darkest months.Here are just a few examples of some of the things you might do if winter tourism in Alaska is on your calendar:

  • Northern Lights tours: You’re never going to have the opportunity to seethe Northern Lights here in Alaska during the summer, because it never really gets dark enough. During the winter, however, you can see some spectacular displays of the lights, especially if you take tours out to some of the ideal areas for gazing up at the sky. Even if you’ve seen the Northern Lights before, there’s something truly special about seeing them during an Alaskan winter.
  • Dog mushing tours and events: Alaska is famous for the Iditarod dog race, which takes place during the winter and is a fantastic spectator event. But even at other times in the winter, you can take tours and excursions to meet Iditarod racers and their dogs to hear what the race is like. You may even have the opportunity to get out on a dog sled ride yourself!
  • Snowmobile tours: Want an up-close look at the Alaskan wilderness that also gives you a bit of exhilaration and excitement? Snowmobile tours are extremely popular during the winter, and are a fantastic way to explore some of the state’s most gorgeous landscapes, including glaciers, rivers, lakes and so much more.
  • Skiing: There is a near-limitless number of skiing opportunities in Alaska, whether you’re looking for cross-country or downhill skiing. Bring your skis and snowboards and hit the slopes or trails!
  • Snowshoeing: Want a little more peaceful way to get out into the wilderness? You can go snowshoeing either by yourself or in a group, allowing you an opportunity to get off the beaten path a bit and see the Alaskan wilds.
  • Ice fishing: Alaska is famous for its fishing all year round, including its ice fishing. This is a classic winter experience here in Alaska, when the ice is especially thick. If you’re new to ice skating, or even if you’re a seasoned vet, you can always go out on a guided ice fishing excursion. The benefit of this is that it’ll often come with a portable shelter you can sit in while waiting for bites!

There are so many opportunities to have a great Alaskan experience during the winter. For more information about winter tourismin Alaska, contact the experts at Alaska Wild Guidestoday. We look forward to helping you plan your trip!

If you’re planning your first-ever trip to the great wilds of Alaska, you may be wondering whether or not you should go it alone or work with a trusted company offering experienced Alaskan tour guides as you explore the Last Frontier State.

While there are a number of benefits that you may experience traveling alone, they likely don’t outweigh the cons, especially if this is going to be your first time in Alaska. While you may be able to travel at your own pace and take a few additional detours when traveling alone, Alaska is a vast, shockingly large state with lots of hidden treasures that you may not be able to see without the assistance of a knowledgeable local guide.

If you’re concerned about the costs of a guided tour versus traveling alone, there are a number of things to consider when calculating your total costs; while it may seem like a larger sum initially, under certain circumstances traveling alone may actually be the more costly option.

Here are just some of the benefits you’ll experience when traveling with Alaskan tour guides:

Insider knowledge: When you travel with Alaskan tour guides, you’re traveling with a resident who’s exceptionally knowledgeable about the history of the local area, hidden gems that you simply have to see and the most relevant safety tips. You’ll learn a lot more about your destinations when traveling with a guide.

Social experiences: There’s nothing better than enjoying the stunning beauty of Alaska—other than enjoying it with a slew of like-minded people and new friends. When you travel with a guided, escorted tour group in Alaska, you can enjoy some of the world’s most amazing scenery with a small group of interesting people that may become lifelong friends.

All the planning is taken care of: Planning a trip, especially to a locale as remote and difficult to access as Alaska, can be a real challenge. When you travel with an escorted group, however, you don’t have to worry about booking hotels, procuring transportation or even finding a good spot to eat! All the planning is taken care of by your knowledgeable tour guides.

More cost-effective: While it may seem like the cost of booking a prearranged escorted tour is more than the cost of traveling independently, you almost always get more bang for your buck when traveling with a group. Because tour groups have prearranged relationships with restaurants, museums, hotels and coach companies, they can often secure better rates.

Since 2011, Alaska Wild Guides has been a premier source of Alaska tour guides. We’re proud to offer exciting adventure trips through the great Alaskan wilderness. Our highly qualified, exceptionally knowledgeable team members will provide you with a memorable, once-in-a-lifetime experience unlike anything you’ve ever known before. We offer year-round tours for people of all ages and physical fitness levels. To learn more about our upcoming tour schedule or to find an adventure tour that’s right for you, reach out to one of our friendly representatives today.

The aurora borealis, or northern lights, is an astronomical phenomenon caused by magnetic winds falling toward Earth after solar storms on the surface of the sun. When these magnetic winds interact with the Earth’s magnetic field, the opposing magnetic fields result in dazzling displays of color and light that dance across the sky. Viewing the northern lights, whether it’s for the first time or the hundredth time, can be an amazing and transformative experience.

These exciting, awe-inspiring events have dazzled people in the northern reaches of the globe for centuries. Stories of dancing lights in the sky populate the mythologies of many indigenous peoples throughout Alaska, Northern Canada and beyond.

If you’re planning a trip to the Last Frontier State in the near future, you may be wondering how you can optimize your chances of seeing the northern lights in Alaska. While the event really depends on unpredictable solar flares, there are a number of steps that you can take that will increase your chances of seeing the lights, including:

Plan for the right time of year: If you’re hoping to see the northern lights in Alaska, don’t visit in the summertime! The near constant daylight makes it impossible to see space weather activity, regardless of how strong it may be. The northern lights are most visible during the equinox months of March and September, thanks to the tilt of the Earth’s axis.

Go north: The further north you are, the more likely it is that you’ll experience the northern lights. It’s advisable to start in Fairbanks, and travel north from there if you hope to see the northern lights. While it is possible to see them in the more southerly areas around Anchorage or on the Alaska Panhandle, it’s a substantially lower chance.

Check the predictions: Check up on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s Space Weather Prediction Center for up-to-date predictions on solar activity. Additionally, checking the regular weather forecast can help you determine if the sky will be clear enough to see any space weather activity.

Get out of town: Don’t expect to see the northern lights in Alaska in the center of Fairbanks, or any other mid-size town, for that matter. Your best chance of receiving an immersive northern lights experience is to get far out of town, away from the bright lights of the city.

If you’re hoping to truly optimize your chances of seeing the aurora borealis while traveling in Alaska, your best bet is to book a spot with a special northern lights tour.

Alaska Wild Guides is a wilderness adventure tour company in Girdwood, AK offering extensive tours of the Last Frontier State, including tours designed to help guests see the northern lights in Alaska. To learn more about our comprehensive range of wilderness adventure tours, or to join in our next Northern Lights tour, reach out to one of our friendly, knowledgeable representatives today. We strive to provide each and every one of our guests with an awe-inspiring, once-in-a-lifetime experience that they’re sure to remember.

One of the most popular excursions people take while they’re on an Alaskan vacation is a trip out to see the glaciers up close. While most people only ever see these massive ice formations from afar on cruise ships, trains or helicopters, others choose to go on hikes that allow them to get on top of the glaciers themselves.

So how should you go about preparing for your glacier tour in Alaska? Here’s some information to keep in mind as you pack your suitcase.

How to dress

No matter what time of year you visit Alaska, you’re going to want to dress in layers. In the summer the weather can be in the 70s with plenty of sun, or it can be in the 40s with rain. In the fall and spring the weather is almost unpredictable, and in the winter the extra layers will keep you warm during the long, cold, dark hours.

Here’s a list of clothing items we recommend you pack for your glacier tour excursion. There will be some variance for each person depending on their comfort level and the type of glacier tour you expect to go on, but this should give you at least something you can work off of:

  • Wool socks: Wool socks provide extra warmth, absorbency and cushion, which makes them comfortable for long walking excursions and less likely to result in you having wet feet all day if you’re trudging through rain or snow.
  • Long underwear: Cotton long underwear can help you stay warm on long hikes and sightseeing excursions.
  • Pants: Jeans are just fine for your hike, but synthetic pants will also work.
  • Shirts: Bring a few long-sleeve shirts, as well as short-sleeve or t-shirts, giving you some layer options.
  • Jacket: We recommend a sweater or a fleece jacket to act as your insulation layer. If you know you get cold easily, you might want to bring a couple.
  • Shoes: While normal tennis shoes are flexible and always welcome on any type of trip, we strongly recommend waterproof hiking boots for a glacier excursion, or for any type of long hike, really.
  • Rain gear: Lightweight rain gear is helpful if rain is in the forecast. It should be easily compactable so you can fit it in with your other gear.
  • Hat: Bring a wool or synthetic hat that covers your ears.
  • Gloves: Light cotton gloves are ideal for hiking.

Equipment

Beyond the clothes you bring, you’re going to want to have some equipment with you. Again, the equipment you need depends mostly on the type of excursion you’re taking, so keep that in mind.

  • Day pack: This pack will allow you to carry everything you need on your excursion, and should be capable of keeping these items dry.
  • Sunglasses: Polarized sunglasses are ideal.
  • Binoculars: The Alaskan wilderness is vast and expansive, and a pair of binoculars will help you take in all the sights.
  • Toiletries: Any personal toiletries you may want to bring for particularly long hikes or overnights are a good idea.
  • Medications: Any medications you need or depend on should be in your pack.
  • Snacks: Trail snacks are helpful to keep you going as the day drags on.
  • Other: Phone, camera, batteries, journals, pens, etc.

For more information about preparing for your glacier tour in Alaska, contact Alaska Wild Guides today.

The majority of people who come to Alaska as tourists do so in the summer, when the weather is milder and when the sun stays up in the sky for most hours of the day. However, summer certainly isn’t your only option as a tourist—there are plenty of reasons to visit at other times of the year, including the fall. So if you’re looking to make a last-minute getaway, book a trip up to Alaska and you certainly won’t regret it!

Here are just a few reasons why many people book guided tours in Alaska in the autumn months.

Cheaper Rates

Because most of the tourists are gone by the time the calendar passes Labor Day, there’s significantly less demand for tourism activities in the state, which means a higher supply and lower prices as a result. This is true all across the state, from major cities like Anchorage to more remote spots like McCarthy and Nome. You’ll find cheaper hotel rates in particular, some of which can be up to $100 less per night in October than they were just a couple months earlier (especially for fancier places to stay, like Anchorage’s Hotel Captain Cook).

Interact With More Locals

A lot of the locals go into hiding during some of the more tourist-heavy months, so they’re more likely to go on road trips of their own during the fall after the crowds disappear and the prices go down. In addition, the seasonal workers who are still there for a few weeks after their summer tourism jobs end will do some traveling of their own before they head back to their permanent homes in the lower 48. Therefore, you’re much more likely to encounter locals on your excursions, which provides a really unique vibe that feels like more of an authentic Alaskan experience.

You Can See The Northern Lights

There’s no chance of seeing the northern lights during the summer, because of how much sunlight there is. But as the fall stretches on and darkness becomes more omnipresent, you have a much better chance of seeing the northern lights, as well as some beautiful starry skies that are not affected by nearly as much light pollution as you’d get in the lower 48. The absolute best displays of the northern lights usually occur in midwinter, but you can still get a peek at them in the fall.

Beautiful Weather and Scenery

Fall provides some unique weather and scenery opportunities for visitors to Alaska. While it doesn’t usually snow at lower elevations, it does snow overnight on mountains and larger hills, which makes for some beautiful scenery. And in Alaska, the changing colors of fall aren’t just limited to trees, either—the open tundra of mosses, berry patches and foliage can flash vivid autumn colors that will take your breath away.

Want more reasons why you should book your guided tour in Alaska during the fall? Contact Alaska Wild Guides for more information and to learn about the tours we offer!