PRIVATE & SMALL GROUP TOURS TO THE WORLD'S BEST DESTINATIONS
Three Amazing Alaskan Vacations To Choose From!
Summer Trips To Alaska
Grizzlies & Glaciers Tour
Winter Trips To Alaska
See The Northern Lights
Summer Trips To Alaska
Denali Discovery Adventure
Planning Your Alaska Vacation To See Wildlife
So you’ve decided to visit Alaska, but don’t know the best time to visit. In this case, the best thing to do is figure out what you want to do in Alaska. For example, if you want to see Alaska’s amazing wildlife, you’ll need to determine the best time to visit Alaska for wildlife viewing. Fortunately, we’ve done the research for you. Read on for more information on the best time to go to Alaska!
Why Plan Your Alaskan Adventure Around Wildlife?
When it comes to seeing wildlife in their natural habitat, there may be no better place than Alaska. The state is home to 15 national parks, and its federally-protected lands cover 163,696 square miles. Needless to say, Alaska provides all manner of animals with plenty of room to roam. The trick is knowing where to go to view them, and what time of year is best for seeing the types of wildlife you want to see!
Alaska’s Many Wildlife Seasons
What is the best time to visit Alaska for wildlife viewing? Well, it’s possible to see wildlife any time of the year in Alaska! Beginning in April, migratory birds return to their home state. The early spring growth also attracts caribou, mountain goats, black bears, and Dall sheep out from their winter hiding spots and into plain view. On the other hand, autumn is the mating season for moose, goats, caribou, and musk oxen, meaning that they are active and easily seen by tourists. Even winter offers adventurers the opportunity to see deer, sheep, and mountain goats, once the landscape is bare of vegetation.
Of course, most people think that if you’re visiting Alaska, the best time to go is during the summer. The summer months allow travelers to see a wide variety of Alaskan wildlife, including brown bears, deer and moose calves, seal calves, and birds. Summer also brings the best weather for getting outside and exploring, with average daily highs in the 60s and 70s throughout much of the state.
Read on for more information on visiting Alaska and the best time to visit to see the wildlife you’ve always dreamed of seeing!
Best Time To See Bears In Alaska
Bears in Alaska emerge from their winter denning in late March to early April, searching for food along the coast or in the forests. Coastal brown bears await the coming of the summer salmon runs, which offers them the opportunity to pack away the calories they need before the next winter season. The salmon runs begin in late June and continue throughout the summer months, making the best time to visit Alaska for wildlife viewing the summer! Here are some popular bear-viewing locations:
- Pack Creek, near Juneau, is in the heart of Admiralty Island. An estimated 1,600 brown bears live on this island, which is also known as the "Fortress of the Bears."
- Lake Clark National Park and Preserve's coastline provides coastal brown bears with a plentiful food supply during the spring and summer months, making your trip to Alaska the best time to visit for bear viewing.
- Kodiak Island is home to its own subspecies of brown bears, the Ursus arctos middendorfi. These brown bears are larger than their grizzly cousins, often reaching 1,600 pounds!
- Denali National Park and Preserve is home to 350 brown bears, who are active June-September, giving you lots of options for picking the best time to go to Alaska!
- Wolverine Creek, near Redoubt Bay, has become a popular bear-watching destination. Brown bears are abundant along the inlet during mid-to-late summer when the salmon are returning to spawn.
- Katmai National Park and Preserve, near Homer, features spectacular bear viewing opportunities at Brooks Falls and a lodge for visitors to stay during their wildlife viewing adventures.
Best Time To Go Whale Watching In Alaska
If whales are on your must-see list while visiting Alaska, the best time to go starts in early spring! Several species of whales make their annual journey from their winter home back to Alaska beginning in April. These include grey whales, who pass through the waters off Ketchikan, Sitka, Kodiak, and Seward in April. By May, Alaska’s resident killer whales have become active while beluga whale-watching opportunities happen during the spring, summer, and fall months! Whale-watching tours depart from ports in and around Seward, Whittier, and Juneau, but there are also plenty of other places to see these marine creatures!
- Gustavus – the waters around this town are a good place to spot humpback whales!
- Icy Strait Point – this locale is another popular spot for humpback whale watchers to gather!
- Sitka – the waters around this town are home to humpback, killer, and other migratory whales.
- Wrangell – this town is off the beaten path and less crowded than many other tourist ports, offering visitors some of the region’s quietest, most untouched whale-watching spots.
- Petersburg – a prime humpback whale viewing spot during the summer months.
- Ketchikan – if you want to see a variety of whales, visit this town to see orcas, humpbacks, and killer whales in the nearby waters as they follow the annual salmon runs.
Best Time To See Eagles In Alaska
More than half of North America’s bald eagle population lives in Alaska. They are visible to avid bird watchers regardless of season, if you know where to look. In this case, the locations definitely play a part in determining the best time to visit Alaska for wildlife viewing. Here are our top three popular locations to spot the more than 30,000 eagles that call Alaska home:
- Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve – from October to February, more than 3,000 eagles gather on this preserve near Haines to feed on spawning chum salmon.
- Kenai Peninsula – the number of bald eagles that call the Homer Spit home have steadily increased over the years, making this location a great spot to watch the eagles. You can also see the birds circling the sky at the waterfront in Seward.
- Denali National Park – to find eagles in Denali, head for the south side of the Alaska Range and look for them along waterways, rivers, and lakes.
Once you decide what animals you want to see on your trip to Alaska, you can figure out the best time to visit Alaska for wildlife viewing! Just remember, how to determine when to visit Alaska and the best time to go is entirely up to you and what you want to see on your trip!