With unlimited sites of undeveloped land, areas only accessible by boat or plane, and wild animals that have chosen to live in America’s most scenic places – it’s no surprise that Alaska is called the Last Frontier.
And when you know that countless experiences and adventures are waiting for you, the hardest thing is to plan a trip to Alaska. Knowing how many great places you need to explore and what to put on your itinerary. Additionally, when winter is the season you want to visit Alaska also known as the last frontier, you need to make sure that you are prepared for the things ahead of you. With proper planning and preparation, you’ll get more chances to enjoy your trip to the frozen north. As a result, you potentially transform your trip into an epic adventure.
So, if you are looking for a place of inspiration to begin your adventure, here are the things that you need to do on your next trip to Alaska. Take a look:
Conquer Glaciers in Kenai Fjords National Park
While many adventures only focus on Denali National Park, there is another national park that you need to consider: Kenai Fjords National Park. This national park consists of mountains, water, and shoreline in mid-south Alaska. The city you need to enter to visit the park is Seward, roughly a two and half hour drive from Anchorage with the famous Seward Highway.
Also, when you are there, bear in mind that the only part of the park that is approachable by a car is Exit Glacier near Seward. Once you reach there, you can find tours to enhance your experience. A few short and easy Alaska glacier tours will make you more familiar with the place. For example, you can go for an ice hiking adventure, which will give you the dopamine rush you’ve always been looking for.
However, don’t let that limit your experience at the Kenai Fjords National park. When in Seward, book a day cruise to take you to the waterways that make up most of the park. There you can spot otters, sea birds, orcas, sea lions, and – if you are fortunate – humpback whales that travel from Hawaii to this particular part of the last frontier during the summer.
Watch the Splendor of Northern Lights
If you are visiting the frozen north this winter, you are likely doing this for one reason: to see the northern lights (aurora borealis) with your own eyes. Experiencing this phenomenon with your own eyes – induced by solar particles engaging with atoms in the atmosphere – is fascinating because the streams of light seem to dance across the dark and cold winter sky.
Perhaps you have already heard that the frozen north is the best place to view the northern lights, which you can easily view from a number of locations throughout the state. But, the solar condition must be up to the task. With suitable solar conditions, you won’t miss experiencing this natural phenomenon.
However, the best and the most popular place for aurora viewing is Fairbanks, in Alaska’s central interior. At this place, you’ll be right beneath the Auroral Oval, a segment of Earth’s atmosphere, where aurora will appear directly over your head.
Fairbanks encounters the northern lights more than 200 nights every year. However, they are only visible during the cold and dark winter months. Also, the best time to visit Alaska for maximum aurora activity is during the equinoxes in September and March.
So, make sure you plan and wear lots of layers (mercury regularly drops below the freezing point), and spend at least three nights to maximize your chances of viewing a magnificent aurora activity.
Take a Dip in Chena Hot Springs
An hour away from Fairbanks, Chena Hot Springs attracts visitors all year long, especially during winter nights after admiring the beauty of northern lights. Additionally, Chena Hot springs are one of the less developed and easily accessible springs you will find in the last frontier.
At this hot spring, you can take a dip in one of the two hot pools. The one situated outdoors is a real treat during the frosty winter months, resulting in hot water condensation to form ice crystals on hair and eyelashes.
Moreover, you can enjoy many other property experiences, including hiking or snowshoeing according to the season, the Ice Museum, and of course, late-night northern lights viewing.
Ride the Alaska Railroad
One thing about the frozen north that surprises almost every first-time visitor is how limited the travel infrastructure is in the state. The highway system consists of only four routes and one railway line. So, if you want to conveniently get around the state make sure you plan.
Interestingly, the Railroad was constructed in the early 20th century and was one of the fortunate railroads federally funded in the country. At present, it is managed by the state of Alaska, and it carries visitors between a few of the stops on a 400-mile route. Seward, Talkeetna, Anchorage, Denali, and Fairbanks are favorite ride stops.
However, the best way to appreciate the railroad is by embedding it into other travel plans. And if possible, book the upper-class seat that usually includes a glass-domed train car that enables travelers to sink in the wonders of Alaska pass without any hindrance. Additionally, you can use the ride to travel from Denali National Park or ride along to visit Kenai Fjords National Park.
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To Sum it Up
Alaska, one of the most challenging places on Earth to visit, also has some of the best experiences to offer you. And if you are planning to spend your winter vacation in this fantastic place, you must prepare yourself for this experience of a lifetime.
Begin by exploring the places and experiences mentioned above, and there is a considerable guarantee that you will enjoy every second of your trip. Also, make sure you are ready to face the frigid temperatures and lesser convenient traveling options throughout the state.
So, if you are ready to create some memories of a lifetime, it’s time for you to plan hiking on the glaciers of Alaska.