Alaska in September is one of the best-kept secrets around. Our region’s mild weather, light crowds, and photo-worthy foliage make the Last Frontier ideal for a fall getaway. Autumn is also a great time to get outside; from berry picking in the mountains to rare fishing opportunities, there are plenty of things to do in Alaska in September. Here are some of our favorites.
The Best Things to Do in Alaska in September
1. Leaf Peeping
If you’re in search of a little fall color, you’re in luck! Alaska’s autumn colors peak by mid-September, when patches of bright yellow, gold, red, and purple break through the backdrop of evergreens. We recommend driving the Glenn Highway to Matanuska Glacier, a 27-mile landscape of ice nestled in a valley full of colorful trees. The highway travels above the canyon and there are numerous vistas along the way to stop and snap photos.
Denali National Park is another great place to immerse yourself in the wonder of fall. The vibrant colors contrast the stark white of the Alaska Range and the blue skies above. Feel free to take a hike and enjoy walking on a blanket of crunchy, gold leaves. Or sign up for a flightseeing tour and experience the park’s spectacular colors from above.
2. Berry Picking
Did you know that early fall is berry season in Alaska? You’ll find berries pretty much all over the state in August and September. Some hotspots include Chugach State Park, Denali National Park, and Hatcher Pass. Bring a basket and enjoy picking everything from blueberries and raspberries to salmonberries, crowberries, and high-bush cranberries.
Local Tip: Avoid all white berries in Alaska – they are poisonous! The most infamous poisonous berry is the baneberry, which is either white or red. If you’re not sure, look for a black spot on the red berry.
Fishing is one of the most popular outdoor activities in the Last Frontier. Over 80 percent of high-value wild salmon species originate from our waters, and millions of them run up the state’s rivers and creeks each summer. Salmon season runs from May to September, so if you want to catch a big one, this will be your last chance!
4. Wildlife Viewing
In addition to various species of fish, autumn is a great time to see Alaska’s Big 5: wolves, moose, grizzly bears, Dall sheep, and caribou. In September, moose and caribou begin to rut and aggressive antlered males spar. Goats and muskoxen are mating and bears frequent berry patches and salmon streams. Geese, cranes, shorebirds, and raptors also migrate through various locations in large numbers. We recommend taking a bus tour on Denali’s Park Road for a chance to experience tons of wildlife activity.
What’s the Weather Like?
September in Alaska often means a shift in weather. During the first half of the month, it can still feel like summer with temps in the high 50s and 60s and about 14 hours of light every day. But by the end of the month, temperatures are about 10 degrees lower and daylight starts slipping away. Be sure to pack accordingly!
Book Your Stay with Alaska Garden Gate
For unparalleled lodging in Alaska this September, look no further than our Palmer bed and breakfast. Our comfortable cottages, apartments, and guest rooms have everything you need for a memorable vacation. Reserve an economical inn room with a private bath, or stay in one of our brand new two-bedroom cottages. Each comes with a delicious complimentary breakfast in the morning! Rooms are filling up quickly so don’t wait – visit our accommodations page or call us today to make your reservations. We look forward to having you!
Find out how you can save on your trip to Alaska this fall with our vacation specials.