Best time to Ride the Alaska Railroad
The best time to visit Alaska is during the summer months. While our summer season is short, it is the driest, warmest time to visit. Starting mid May and ending mid September you are sure to see the best the State of Alaska has to offer... including the primary Alaska Railroad routes which only operate during this time frame. The peak season, starting early to mid June and running through mid August, is the period that offers the most tour options, the best weather and the best wildlife viewing opportunities.
May is a great value time to visit Alaska, as the hotels and the railroad tend to lower their rates for the first couple weeks of the summer season, which historically starts around May 15th. During this time our days are getting longer; the trees and grass are blooming, and wildlife is on the move after a long winter.
June is typically the driest time to visit Alaska and offers the most daylight. June 21 is the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. Along with the extra daylight June tends to be buggier than other months, and it can be prime time for mosquitoes. This needs to be taken into consideration if planning any hiking or camping, especially in Denali National Park.
July is peak season in Alaska and also typically the warmest month of the summer. Because of the popularity of July travel, it is best to book reservations in advance for train transfers, lodging and activities.
August is the beginning of the end for the Alaskan Summer. While still warm, August tends to be the start of the rainy season. The days in August are getting shorter but you can still expect anywhere from 14 to 17 hours of daylight. You will also notice fewer crowds the latter part of August.
September is similar to May with hotels and the Alaska Railroad lowering their rates. Some activities will also end due to the cooler temperatures and shorter days. Along with cooler temperatures comes the color change in Alaska. After mid August the tundra and trees start turning brilliant shades of yellow, red and orange, reaching the peak mid September. Denali National Park is especially beautiful this time of year.
It is always recommended that you book your vacation to Alaska in advance. Our peak booking season begins in January. Please keep in mind most areas of Alaska have limited lodging, and limited space on the Alaska Railroad and activities. Advanced booking is highly recommended so that you are assured the lodging, transfers and activities you prefer are available. Be sure to read about our flexible payment and cancellation policies for advance bookings.
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