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What Is the Best Time Of Year To Visit Alaska National Parks?

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 Trip To Alaska’s National Parks

No trip to Alaska is complete without a visit to at least one of the state’s eight National Parks! And, if you plan your trip just right, you will be able to visit neighboring cities to get a glimpse of Alaska’s urban life. One of the most popular National Parks to visit is Denali National Park, which is only 152 miles from the city of Fairbanks. (That’s close by Alaska standards!) If you’re interested in exploring Fairbanks and taking a side trip to Denali National Park, read on! We’ve got the scoop for you.

Alaska Tours In Fairbanks

Alaska’s second-largest city and is also the gateway to the state’s Interior and Arctic regions. The city is a popular destination for visitors who want to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights, but it’s also a great place for history buffs to learn more about the Gold Rush and for wildlife enthusiasts to see reindeer or spot other native species as well. Most visitors fly into the city on Alaska Airlines. Once you’re there, you’ll have plenty of time to explore the city or pack your gear for an adventure at Denali National Park!

Visiting Alaska’s Nation Parks

You might be wondering when the best time to visit Alaska national parks is. For many people, the answer is simple – March! March is typically considered the best time of year to visit Alaska National Parks, including Denali State Park. Here are five reasons to consider taking Alaska Tours in Fairbanks during the month of March.

  • If you want to see the Northern Lights in Alaska, Fairbanks is the best place to see them. And March is still one of the best times of the year to spot the aurora borealis dancing across the Alaskan sky!
  • Winter sports enthusiasts love Alaska in March! There is still plenty of snow to enjoy skiing, snowmobiling, and dog sledding – but the days are longer and it’s not as cold as the previous months. Fairbanks is one of the best places for winter activities in Alaska.
  • The month of March brings the World Ice Art Competition to Fairbanks. If you’re taking Alaska Tours to Fairbanks during this month, you might get to see local artists carving out their sculptures.
  • Traveling in Alaska in March is much less expensive! Most hotels and vacation rentals are cheaper in the winter than during the peak summer tourist season. If you need to keep your budget lean, traveling in the off-season is a great option for you!
  • No bugs! The mosquitoes that populate Alaska’s interior are epic, but if you visit while everything is still frozen, you will avoid them.

Can You Visit Denali From Fairbanks During The Winter Season?

Although many people will plan Alaska tours to Fairbanks in March to enjoy the longer days in Denali National Park, winter sports enthusiasts can have their snow cone and eat it, too! Denali National Park is the only Alaska National Park that you can visit in winter. For the adventurous traveler who loves the solitude of an icy landscape, the best time of year to visit Alaska National Parks just might be during the winter months. Here is what you need to know if you want to visit this park in winter:

  • Although the park is open throughout the winter months, many park facilities are closed.
  • There is a $15 entrance fee per vehicle, even in wintertime.
  • All hotels, restaurants, food services, and most tours are closed during the winter, as is the park road. This road reopens in the late winter/early spring.
  • The park has a visitor center with a science and learning center, as well as an indoor picnic area for guests to use all winter long.
  • If you visit during the early months, you may have to deal with temperatures of -40F! Seasoned travelers suggest waiting until the middle of February to visit. The daytime temperatures will be much more manageable, which makes it a good time to visit Denali National Park.

Things To Do During Your Visit To Denali

If you decided that the best time to visit Alaska national parks – and specifically Denali – is during the winter, there is still plenty to do! Aside from the typical winter activities of snowshoeing or dogsledding, visitors can enjoy the following:

  • Denali Winterfest – celebrate winter during Denali Winterfest. This event is put on by the park service in cooperation with other community groups.
  • Visit the Savage River Ranger Cabin for a campfire and S’mores!
  • Take a side trip to nearby Healy for craft events, outdoor hockey tournaments, and a snow sculpting competition.
  • Book a day tour from Fairbanks with a tour company by bus or hop on the Denali Star for a four-hour rail trip across a magical frozen wonderland!
  • Catch a glimpse of grizzly bears, wolves, moose, caribou, and Dall sheep on your walk from the train station to the park’s visitor center.

Spend The Day Exploring Fairbanks And Its Surroundings

Once you’ve returned from Denali to Fairbanks, your adventure can continue! Fairbanks offers a host of outdoor activities for the winter sports enthusiast and many opportunities to explore museums and cultural locations within the city limits.

  • Alaska tours to Fairbanks are not complete without a visit to the Chena Hot Springs and the Aurora Ice Museum. Soak in the amazing hot springs during the day, but catch a view of the Northern Lights once the sun goes down.
  • Take a guided tour across the frozen landscape by snowmobile or dogsled. The city has plenty of tour operators to organize a trip for you!
  • Go ice fishing. If you’ve always wanted to try your hand at some winter angling, Fairbanks tour operators can set up an experience you will never forget.
  • Visit the Arctic Circle. Fairbanks lies on the edge of the Arctic Circle, and there are buses that travel the Dalton Highway and back, allowing visitors the opportunity to see the Arctic landscape as well as the chance to see the Northern Lights on the way back to town.
  • Visit Pioneer Park, the University of Alaska Museum of the North, Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum, the Fairbanks Ice Museum, or the Fairbanks Community/Dog Mushing Museum for a glimpse at Alaska’s unique heritage.

While everyone has an opinion about the best time to visit Alaska national parks, the answer is clear – it really depends on which park you want to visit. In this case, the best time of year to visit Alaska National Parks is during the winter season – but that is because Denali National Park keeps its gates open to visitors all winter long! So, if winter is your favorite season, consider booking Alaska tours to Fairbanks (with a side trip to Denali National Park) during the chillier time of year.

Download all three Alaska tour brochures for tour dates and pricing.