What do you need to know when visiting Alaska? Here are some of our most frequently asked questions.
What will the weather be?
Weather in Alaska is unpredictable and ever changing. Sometimes May will bring early warmth, early flowers and erase all traces of winter. Sometimes May is still in winters grasp, with snow drifts and blowing winds. August can be the best weather of the year. Or August can bring days of unrelenting rain.
In Alaska we don’t worry about the weather, we prepare for it! You can too.
But this weather page can help you see the general trends when you plan to visit.
What about bears?
The Denali Borough is home to both black and grizzly bears. In general, bears avoid human interactions. Ideally, you will enjoy your bear sighting from a distance or within a vehicle. That being said, encounters can happen and being prepared is key. Three hundred yards is the minimum distance you should maintain between yourself and a bear. For reference this is equal to about 20 school buses, end to end.
If you do encounter a bear while hiking or exploring, remember these steps:
- Do not run.
- If possible, retreat from the area slowly, while keeping an eye on the bear and its behavior.
- Make yourself loud and large. Talking to the bear lets him know you’re a human. If you’re in a group, stand together to appear larger. If you’re alone, raise your hands above your head.
For complete details on bear safety, visit this page from Denali National Park.
What should I wear?
No matter what time of year you come, it is wise to be prepared with layers. What starts as a chilly morning, can easily turn into a 70 degree afternoon. Wearing and packing layers ensures you will be comfortable regardless of conditions.
For 3 of the seasons a sample packing list could include:
- Lightweight shirts (t-shirts or tank tops depending on the season)
- Long sleeved shirts
- Heavier layer (sweatshirt or sweater)
- Light outer layer (such as a vest or wind breaker).
- Warmer outer layer
- Lightweight hat and gloves
Plan to be here during the winter? Then opt for the warmest clothing in each of the categories, bring a heavy outer layer, snow pants (if you plan to spend time outside) and heavy weight hat and gloves.
What else should I bring?
We recommend you pack light. Bring the important things from home:
- A small bag for daily use
Other things can be purchased when you arrive, such as:
- Bug spray
- Bear spray
- Rain poncho