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    When to go to Alaska? Climate, temperatures and best time

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    Martí Micolau

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    As you know, theAlaska covers a vast territory and this in itself should make us think that the climate is not unique across the state. Furthermore, the geographical position in the extreme north of the American continent, but surrounded by the sea, makes the situation even more complex. In this article I will try to summarize the climatic conditions of the various regions according to the season. However, I recommend that you take a look at the article on how to plan a trip to Alaska, to better define which regions will be part of your trip.


    • Climate of Alaska
      • Alaska in the fall
      • Alaska in inverno
      • Alaska in the spring
      • Alaska in estate
    • When to go to Alaska? Recommendations based on the climate

    Climate of Alaska

    Thinking of Alaska comes to mind snow, ice and frost: in truth this is not always the case. Some areas of the state, especially in the summer, aren't all that cold. It is fundamental precisely divide the country into areas that allow us to analyze it from this point of view.

    • The southern coast. You won't find palm trees and umbrellas on Alaskan beaches, but more likely seals and puffins. This does not mean, however, that the sea is a perennial sheet of ice. It may seem strange, but the sea in the Gulf of Alaska is crossed by one hot current, which keeps it around 6 ° even in winter. Being very indented, the coast itself presents some differences. Anchorage Bay is very dry: it rains little, although there is no lack of snow in winter. In general, however, the climate is bearable, with an average in January (the coldest month) of -10 °. We find much more precipitation moving east: in Valdez, for example, 7 and a half meters of snow fall per year (with some records almost double) and it rains much more frequently. More like Anchorage as rainfall, but even milder as temperatures is the south-eastern area (to be understood, that ofInside Passage): In Juneau, the average January temperature is -3.
    • The west coast. The side of Alaska facing Russia is colder than the south-facing coast. Here the sea warms up less and this also affects the air temperature. Even in summer, it is difficult to exceed 15 °. Summers are therefore quite cold, but also quite uniform all along the coast. However, a lot of difference is noticed between zone and zone during the winter. If around Nome the temperatures easily reach -20 °, already in Cape Newenham it is difficult for them to go much below -10 ° and in the Aleutian islands below -5 °.
    • The northern coast. The tundra rules this area north of the Arctic Circle, where the subarctic climate brings with it constant cold throughout the year. Summers are never hot (in July the average temperatures are 7/8 °) and winters have maximum temperatures of -20 / -22 ° and minimum temperatures that comfortably reach -30 °.
    • The mountainous areas. Two mountain ranges crisscross Alaska horizontally: the Alaska chain (which goes from Canada to beyond Anchorage and which includes the famous Mount McKinley) and the Brooks chain, parallel to the previous one, north of the Arctic circle. On these mountains, given the altitude and latitude, snow and ice are the masters throughout the year.
    • The interior. The internal part of the state, meaning the whole area between the two mountain ranges, where Fairbanks is also located, has a decidedly continental climate, with a strong temperature range between summer and winter. Summers are short and mild, with occasional warm moments in which the maximums can stay for days between 20 and 25 ° (there have been record peaks of 30/35 ° over the years, but these are exceptional cases). The long winters, on the other hand, are very cold: between October and April it is almost always below zero. In Fairbanks the winter months have an average maximum of -15 ° and minimums of -25 °, but peaks of -40 ° and more can be touched.

    Alaska in the fall

    The autumn it is not a recommended season to visit Alaska. The climate begins to be cold in much of the country and the rains are more frequent, especially in the southern area. However, it all depends on what kind of attractions are you looking for. With clothing due, it is a season in which it is still possible to appreciate the more easily accessible cities and areas of the south. Also, if you go to Sitka in October, you can see the celebration of the anniversary of the acquisition of Alaska from Russia.

    Alaska in inverno

    If you don't like the cold, Alaska isn't the state for you, especially in winter. But if you want to enjoy some of the most beautiful views the Northern part of the world has to offer, don't miss it. The main reason for heading to Alaska in the winter months is to witness the Northern Lights. It is therefore worth visiting in winter especially the central-northern area of ​​the state, which however is also the one where the hours of sunshine risk being very few every day.

    The months of February and March are preferred compared to December and January for this very reason: with the same cold, snow and above all magical green lights in the sky, you have more hours of light to see something even during the day. When snow covers everything, the best means of transportation become sled dogs - consider them on a winter trip.

    Alaska in the spring

    Spring is the season of mud: a country that has snow and ice as its predominant elements for many months, sees its flat areas fill up with water in the thaw season. April (or May / June in the northernmost ares) is not the best time to go to Alaska. When the sun peeps out, the snow melts and makes it very difficult to move around in suburban areas.

    The risk is therefore to have little possibility of movement. Obviously, this problem does not arise if you choose a visit to the coastal area by ship. An interesting reason for a spring trip is to attend the awakening of bears from hibernation, inquiring in advance about the weeks in which it is possible to make this interesting sighting.

    Alaska in estate

    If you're unsure when to go to Alaska, the answer is simple: choose summer. The three months of June, July and August are undoubtedly the best to travel to this state. The extreme cold disappears for a few weeks and although you have to leave well dressed, the climate is definitely bearable. The month of June, even if a few degrees cooler than the other two, is less rainy.

    We could then elect June is the best month to visit Alaska. But temperature is not the only feature to consider. Summer is the best season to spot whales, which come in large numbers in search of plankton, as well as large land mammals. Coming home from a summer trip to Alaska without encountering a bear or moose is virtually impossible.

    When to go to Alaska? Recommendations based on the climate

    If this is your first trip to Alaska, leave in the summer, possibly between June and July. In this period you will find the best climate and adequate clothing will be enough to enjoy a nice holiday. Most of the state's attractions are at their best in the warm months. You will be able to see all kinds of wild animals and take breathtaking excursions by boat, on the glaciers or on the mountain peaks.

    If you are not a traveler accustomed to inaccessible natural environments, avoid the mid-seasons: are those with the most unstable climate. Don't disdain the winter: the cold months offer fewer attractions than the summer ones, but some of them can leave indelible memories in the memory. Discovering uncharted territories on a sled pulled by huskies ending the day with an emerald green sky is an emotion that is difficult to forget. If you choose winter, however, be well prepared for clothing: a normal anorak is not enough at -30 °.

    At this point, to help you better organize the trip, I just have to refer you to the articles dedicated to what to see in alaska and the guide on which areas to choose to see the wild animals in the state.

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