Due to its size (the north-south extension is 2,300 km, the west-east extension even 4,000 km), there are several different climates in Alaska. In summary, it can be said that the location in the far north, the large land mass and the water masses of the Pacific Ocean are climate-defining for Alaska.
The interior of Alaska has a continental climate, in the short summer temperatures of 32 ° C can be reached here. Central Alaska is shielded from the humid Pacific air by the high mountains, so it rains relatively little here. The long winters are usually extremely cold, with temperatures as low as -50 ° C.
The north of Alaska is characterized by a sub-polar climate with long cold winters and short summers (maximum temperatures of around 5 ° C). In the long winter nights, temperatures drop to -55 ° C. Overall, the north has very little precipitation, the annual precipitation of 100 to 300 mm falls mainly in summer.
It is more moderate on the west and south coast, the temperatures hardly fall below -10 ° C, the maximum values in the southern coastal regions are between 13 ° C and 21 ° C. It is also more rainy here than in northern Alaska. Especially in the south-east it rains almost every day from the end of September to October, even in summer there is one or two days of precipitation a week.
Best time to travel to Alaska
The peak tourist season for Alaska is between early July and mid-August. During this period the most famous national parks are well visited and the roads are easy to drive. However, you should definitely book ferries and accommodation in advance, at this time there are many vacationers in Alaska, and the prices are higher than at other times of the year.
In May and September still mild in Alaska weather prevails. At these times, the attractions in Alaska are less crowded, prices are lower, and there are fewer mosquitoes than in high season. These months can be an alternative to summer, but you have to consider that the days are noticeably shorter, especially in September.
Alaska – Sights
According to ehotelat, Alaska impresses with gigantic glaciers, fjords, huge forests and tundras, countless lakes and rivers and high mountains.
The animal world is just as diverse: In addition to polar bears, grizzlies and Kosiak bears, you can find walruses, seals, sea otters, caribou, mosses (elks), Dall sheep, wolves and mountain goats here. Whales live off the coast, salmon and trout, among others, in the rivers and lakes.
The national sport in Alaska is dog mushing. Every year in March, the famous Iditarod Sled Dog Race, which runs from Ancorage to Nome, takes place.
The Inside Passage runs in the west of the Canadian province of British Columbia. In the south of the island world is Ketchikan with the world’s largest collection of totem stakes. The beautiful fjords of the Misty Fjord National Monument can be reached by ship or plane.
In Sitka on Baranof Island, Russian churches like St Michael’s Cathedral indicate that the place was once the capital of Russian Alaska.
In the middle of this region of glaciers and fjords is the capital of Alaska, Juneau, on Mt. Juneau. The city is a great base for trips to Glacier Bay National Park.
Although not the capital, Alaska’s most economically important city is Anchorage. From here you can get to any destination in Alaska.
Nearby is Denali National Park with the highest mountain in North America, Mt McKinley. Talkeetna is the center for hikers, white waterers and mountaineers who want to conquer Mount McKinley. It can be difficult to find accommodation here in the high season.
In the south of Anchorage lies the Kenai Fjords National Park with its glaciers, forests and fjords. The animal world is very diverse here, in addition to moose, bears and lynxes, with luck you can see sea otters, sea lions, whales and seals.
In the village of Kenai you will find a Russian church that is well worth seeing, trips to Seldovia and Ninilchik are also worthwhile.
The Prince William Sound is a bay in the east Kenai Peninsula. In the north, the Columbia Glacier flows into the bay with an ice front up to 80 m high.
On March 24, 1989, the oil tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound and caused an environmental disaster. 2000 km of coastline was contaminated by 40,000 tons of crude oil. Hundreds of thousands of sea birds, fish and other animals died. Although the traces of the disaster have been removed, the flora and fauna have not yet fully recovered.
In the southern part of Alaska extends the largest national park in the United States, the Wrangell-St.-Elias National Park. In the park rise 9 of the 16 highest mountains in the USA, here are also the world’s highest coastal mountains, the Saint Elias Mountains with the highest elevation in the park, the 5,489 m high Mount Saint Elias. There are numerous large glaciers such as the Hubbard or Malaspina glaciers in the mountains.
The interior of Alaska, “Interior”, is a sparsely populated unspoilt landscape dominated by the Yukon between Klondyke and the Bering Sea. The most important center of the interior is the former gold rush town of Fairbanks. The city is connected to Anchorage and Canada by the Alaska Highway. In Fairbanks there are interesting museums on Indian culture and regional nature.
About 20 km southeast of Fairbanks is North Pole, home of Santa Claus, America’s Father Christmas.
In the north of the Arctic Circle to Far North extends (the exception is the Seeward Peninsula, the south of the Arctic Circle). An impressive national park is the Arctic National Park, which is traversed by the Brooks Range. The park is home to large herds of caribou, and white water rafting and hiking are particularly spectacular here.
The largest city in the Far North is Nome on the Seeward Peninsula. It is also the only place that is connected to the surrounding region by roads. Nome is the area’s center for outdoor activities and the destination of the annual Iditarod Sled Dog Race.
Kotzebue in northeast Alaska is one of the oldest Inuit settlements in the state. The northernmost Inuit settlement is Barrow, in April / May the whale hunt is celebrated here with the Nalukataq Festival.
Worth seeing in the southwestern region of Alaska ( Southwest ) include the Aleutian Islands and the Katmai National Park. The best way to get to the national park is from King Salmon.
The place Kodiak on the Kodiak Island, like several places on the south coast of Alaska, has a Russian history, which is still visible in the Baranof Museum or the Russian Orthodox Church.