Alaska really heats up in February and March, as some of the biggest sled dog races in the world kick off: the 1,000-mile Iditarod and Yukon Quest, and the fast-and-furious sprints of the Fur Rendezvous Open World Championship.
If you have three days in Homer, spend at least one of them on beautiful Kachemak Bay. A great way to do this is through a Natural History Tour with professional naturalists from the nonprofit Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies. You’ll spend time at bird rookeries, tidepools, rainforest trails, and prehistoric sites, and will gain a lifetime appreciation for the marine world.
The Resurrection Pass Trail is one of Southcentral Alaska’s most popular hiking destinations. The 38 mile trail winds through spruce forests and tops out in tundra, affording opportunities to see a variety of habitats. Wildlife, wildflowers, and wild fish in the lakes and streams add to the trail’s appeal.
Resurrection Bay boat tours are ideal for seeing marine wildlife. On a good day, you could see humpbacks and orcas, plus porpoises, seals, sea otters, sea lions, hundreds of puffins, kittiwakes, auklets, and the occasional bald eagle and oystercatcher.
Admiralty Island lives up to its original name—Kootznoowoo, or “Fortress of the Bears” in Tlingit—with the highest concentration of brown bears in the world. The island holds an estimated 1,500 brown bears at a density of one bear per square mile.
Just 22 miles to the east of Ketchikan, the 2.2-million-acre Misty Fjords National Monument epitomizes everything people imagine when they think of Alaska: snowcapped peaks, steep fjords, glaciers, and plunging waterfalls, all shaped by the massive ice sheets that covered this area as recently as 17,000 years ago.
The most striking sight in Ketchikan is its totem poles. There are more than a dozen of these signposts of traditional Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian culture standing sentinel all over the city of Ketchikan, but you’ll find them particularly concentrated in three places.
People come to Interior Alaska for the gold-mining history, dog mushing, the northern lights—and Denali National Park. This one-week itinerary includes everything you need to explore this remote part of the state.
Learn about visiting the Independence Mine State Historical park, a location that perfectly combines the elements of the Alaska experience: scenery, history and lore, and that noble yellow metal, gold.
The unpaved road up to Hatcher Pass usually doesn’t open until July, but it’s well worth the wait. It’s one of very few places in Alaska where you can get sweeping views over tundra-clad peaks—seemingly into infinity—while standing right beside your car.