Fall Foliage in Alaska provides equally brilliant symphony of yellows, orange and red fall colors which usually peak in late August and during the first two weeks of September. The Alaska Autumn offers special beautiful landscapes. Travelers will be rewarded with glorious views of the Alaska Range, snowcapped Mt. McKinley, broad alpine valleys with ground-hugging plant life, arctic tundra - impressive views around Broad Pass on the Parks Highway to Denali , excellent wildlife viewing for moose and roaming grizzly bears, as well as fascinating Northern Lights viewing opportunities north of Fairbanks.
Upon arrival in Anchorage transfer to your hotel in a prime downtown location. Get ready for Alaska vacation of a lifetime. Anchorage features dozens of parks and 122 miles of paved bike paths. Warmed by a maritime climate, you can spend the day with salmon fishing on downtown's Ship Creek, hiking the nearby mountains, photographing glaciers and dining at a four-star restaurant. Within a 15-minute drive from downtown on the Hillside is the tree-lined trailhead of Anchorage’s most popular hike, Flattop Mountain. A short floatplane ride opens up the possibility of almost any type adventure. That’s one reason why Anchorage’s Lake Hood is the world’s busiest floatplane base. Try some fresh Alaska seafood (Salmon, Halibut) for dinner in one of the many excellent restaurants around the hotel. Afterwards enjoy a stroll along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail with sweeping views over the inlet to Mt. McKinley and Mt. Susitna aka: "Sleeping Lady". Overnight: Anchorage
Anchorage - Denali National Park | Rail Tour
This morning board the Alaska Railroad in Anchorage. Choose between the standard rail car or the glass-domed compartments with large panorama windows ensuring unobstructed views of the pristine scenery. Get the camera ready as the train crosses Hurricane Gulch Bridge, 300 feet above the creek. Arrival at Denali Village at 4 pm and transfer to your hotel. Remaining day at leisure or join outdoor activities. Optional: Visit Jeff King’s Sled Dog Kennel - Join an intimate group for a personal tour with four-time Iditarod champion Jeff King at his Husky Homestead Kennel. Widely heralded as the most authentic and entertaining look into “bush Alaska” lifestyles, your visit includes holding Husky puppies, greeting more than sixty world-class sled dogs, and sharing twenty-five years of Alaskan tales of the trail. Enjoy the compelling stories and check out arctic survival gear, racing sleds and equipment used to traverse the 1100 mile long "Last Great Race on Earth".
Denali National Park
Denali National Park offers excellent wildlife viewing opportunities and spectacular sceneries. In the morning transfer to the Visitor Center where your wildlife tour begins. Pick up your pre-reserved tickets and explore the center if time allows. Board the bus, sit back and watch out for grizzly bears, moose, caribou, wolf and fox moving along the ridges and river beds or observe one of the 150 different bird species which inherit the park area. Your driver informs you about the history of Denali National Park, its diverse wildlife and flora. Once a bear, caribou or another animal has been spotted the bus will stop that everyone can watch and take pictures. Your tour turns around at Eielson Visitor Center - a four hour drive. We can extend the bus tour to Wonder Lake or Kantishna Roadhouse. You can get off the bus anytime you wish and take a stroll, go hiking and enjoy the landscape. Return to the Denali Park entrance anytime during the day. Overnight: Denali National Park
Denali National Park - Fairbanks | Rail Tour
Morning at leisure: visit a park ranger sled dog introduction, raft or float on the Nenana River or take a scenic flightseeing tour around the magnificent three - Mt. Denali 20.320 ft, Mt. Foraker 17.400 ft and Mt. Hunter 14.573 ft. Transfer to the Denali Rail Depot. Depart Denali at 4:00 pm for the scenic rail journey north towards Nenana - known for the Alaska Ice Classics - and further on to Fairbanks, known as the Golden Heart City, Fairbanks is the gateway to the interior with almost 24 hours of daylight during the summer months. Tucked away into miles of unexplored wilderness and only 120-miles below the Arctic Circle, Fairbanks offers excellent year-round outdoor recreational opportunities. During 1902, Felix Pedro found gold in the region and thousands of prospectors swarmed to the area in search of the “Mother lode.” Nearly a century later, Fairbanks is the trade center for Interior and Far North Alaska. Overnight: Fairbanks
Fairbanks (Chena Resort Aurora Viewing)
Explore the Alaska University Museum with the best natural history collection statewide, Alaskaland or take an authentic sternwheeler cruise for a scenic 20-mile roundtrip on the Chena and Tanana Rivers. You will be picked up at around 5:00 pm for a guided tour to Chena Hot Springs Resort. View the amazing Northern Lights and soak in the Hot Springs! Your local guide will answer any questions as we travel the 60 miles to Chena, discovered and used by natives and early miners. Join a guided tour of the Aurora Ice Museum which features a gallery that includes sculptures, chandeliers, and a bar hand carved of ice. Afterwards it is time to soak in the hot springs pool. The natural outdoor setting of the rock lake is a perfect place while waiting for the Northern Lights to appear. After midnight we meet in the heated activity center. Your guide will show you the best viewing spots. Return to Fairbanks around 3 am.
Fairbanks (Aurora Viewing)
A day for individual sightseeing activities. Evening transfer to a prime aurora viewing lodge, located in the hills about 20 miles north of Fairbanks – far away from any city lights (included). Enjoy spectacular 270-degree aurora displays through large picture windows from the comfort of the lodge or outside. Optional: Exchange to Arctic Circle Aurora Tour: Travel in a comfortable van on the Dalton Highway along the Trans Alaska Pipeline to the Arctic Circle and learn about the gold mining in the region. Don't forget to take your camera as you will see magnificent mountain scenery as well as the vast colorful Arctic Tundra during fall. Experience how the Gwich'in Athabascan Natives live in "Bush" Alaska. When we cross the Arctic Circle your guide will award you the Arctic Circle Certificate. After photographs at the Arctic Circle sign, we begin the return journey and take time to view the amazing Northern Lights! Return to Fairbanks around 3 AM. The tour is also available as a fly/drive.
Morning at leisure. Fairbanks offers a variety of excellent gift shops and art galleries such as the "Roseberry Art Gallery" with some tasteful items for your friends at home. Stroll through downtown before returning to the airport for your individual return flight. Optional: Join our Fairbanks City & Area Sightseeing Tour or enjoy a Bush Mail Plane flight to rural Alaska villages. Fly over hundreds of miles of beautiful Alaskan wilderness and land at villages accessible only by airplane. Meet the residents and travel as they do, over the roadless Alaska interior.
Ideal viewing time is approximately from 7 days prior to New Moon and until 7 days after New Moon. While some people may be concerned that a full moon is a problem, only weak aurora may be obstructed by the light of the moon, but in Alaska the aurora is frequently strong enough that aurora viewing is still possible on a moonlit night. As far as aurora photography goes, the aurora above a moonlit landscape actually tends to have a pleasing effect. On the whole, when participating in an aurora tour, one doesn’t need to be worried about the moon.The moon does not influence the aurora activity, the sky is just darker. You can therefore travel any time of the month.
New Moon Dates:
2017 - January 28, February 26, March 28, April 26, August 22, September 20, October 20, November 18, December 18
2018 - January 17, February 16, March 17, April 16, September 09, October 09, November 07, December 07
2019 - January 06, February 05, March 06, April 05, August 30, September 28, October 28, November 26, December 26
When you do your research for shooting the aurora, you’ll find pluses and minuses for going when a full moon is present. On the minus side is if the lights that night are somewhat faint, the brightness of the moon’s reflection of the sun can fade them out. On the other hand, a full moon can be used to illuminate objects in the foreground. Many aurora shots include buildings with lights on inside to provide an interesting foreground subject. Depending on your shooting location, this feature might not be available. However, a full moon will help light up anything you have in front of you, no matter where you are. Because shots are done for at least six to eight seconds and up to fifteen seconds or more (depending on your shutter and ISO settings), the full moon will do a great job of making what would otherwise be a silhouette into a well-lit subject. Conversely, if you choose to go when there isn’t a full moon, a strong flash can be helpful in popping light onto a foreground subject.
Q: When is the best time of the year to see the Aurora A: In northern regions such as Alaska, the Yukon Territory, Northern British Columbia and the Northwest Territories - the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) are seen from late August to mid April. Furthermore, during the autumn and spring, the weather is rather unstable and has a lower percentage of clear skies. Therefore, we have determined the best viewing seasons to be from mid-August to the end of September and from mid-November to mid-April. In This time of the year offers the best trade off between mild weather and dark skies. During the summer months, night skies are not dark enough to view the Aurora Borealis and in midwinter temperatures in the – 40 degree range make outdoor aurora viewing somewhat unpleasant. In other locations farther from the average aurora oval, the main consideration is the level of geomagnetic activity, which varies rather unpredictably through the year. Q: When is the best time of the day A: Within the most active regions of Alaska and prime viewing areas the Aurora oval typically becomes visible around local midnight. Note: this is an astronomical midnight - which may be an hour or two different from the civil or the “ wall clock “ midnight due to daylight savings time and/or peculiarities in your time zone. Spectacular Aurora displays due to geomagnetic disturbance may be seen at any time when the sky is dark, but they are relatively unpredictable. Under average conditions, observations around local midnight are most likely to yield results. Q: What are the Temperatures in the Northern Regions A: The average daily temperatures in February/March are approximately +20/-30 - equivalent to –8/-33 degrees Celsius.
Q: How to observe the Aurora A: If you follow our recommendations you should be able to enjoy some pleasant Aurora viewing.
Q: What causes the Aurora A: Energetic charged particles from the magnetosphere. These particles are electrons and protons that are energized in the near geo-space environment. This energization process draws its energy from the interaction of the Earth's magnetosphere with the solar wind. The magnetosphere is a volume of space that surrounds the Earth. We have this magnetosphere because of Earth's internal magnetic field. This field extends to space until it is balanced by the solar wind.
Q: What is the altitude of the Aurora Borealis A: The bottom edge is typically at 100 km (about 60 miles) altitude. The aurora extends over a very large altitude range. The altitude where the emission comes from depends on the energy of the energetic electrons that make the aurora. The more energy the bigger the punch, and the deeper the electron get into the atmosphere. Very intense aurora from high-energy electrons can be as low as 80 km (50 miles). The top of the visible aurora peters out at about 2-300 km (120-200 miles), sometimes high altitude aurora can be seen as high as 600 km (350 miles). This is about the altitude at which the space shuttle usually flies.
The solar wind is the outermost atmosphere of our sun. The sun is so hot that it boils off its outer layers, and the result is a constant outward expanding very thin gas. This solar wind consists not of atoms and molecules but of protons and electrons (this is called a plasma). Embedded in this solar wind is the magnetic field of the sun. The density is so low that we may well call it a vacuum. However tenuous it is, when this solar wind encounters a planet, it has to flow around it. When this planet has a magnetic field, the solar wind sees this magnetic field as an obstacle, as protons and electrons cannot move freely across a magnetic field. These charged particles are constrained to move almost always only along the magnetic field. Likewise, when they are forced to move in a specific direction, a magnetic field will move with them or will be bent into the direction of the flow. Whether the magnetic field forces the plasma motion or whether the plasma motion bends the magnetic field depends on the strength of the field and the force of the motion. When the solar wind encounters Earth's magnetic field, it will thus bend the field unless the field gets too strong. The strength of the magnetic field falls off with distance from Earth. The distance at which the solar wind and the magnetic field of the Earth balance each other is about 60,000 km away, or 1/10 of the distance to the moon. The inside of this volume that is bounded by the solar wind is called the magnetosphere. At the interface of the solar wind and the magnetosphere, energy can be transferred into the magnetosphere by a number of processes. Most effective is a process called reconnection. When the magnetic field in the solar wind and the magnetic field of the magnetosphere are anti-parallel, the fields can melt together, and the solar wind can drag the magnetospheres field and plasma along. This is very efficient in energizing magnetospheres plasma. Eventually, the magnetosphere responds by dumping electrons and protons into the high latitude upper atmosphere where the energy of the plasma can be dissipated. This then results in aurora. Here is an animation (1.6Mb) that illustrates this process.
Q: How do I take the best pictures A: For the first -time or for seasoned aurora photographer, a 35 mm camera on a tripod equipped with a cable release is a must. Use a wide-angle 24 mm to 50 mm lens and set it to an f-stop which is the fastest – or one slower to avoid distortion of bright star images – usually f/1.4 – f/2.8.
Q: Can I videotape the Aurora A: Videotaping the aurora generally takes highly specialized video equipment. Generally – camcorders are not sensitive enough to see the aurora, though a few will record a faint, smoky image given a sufficiently bright aurora. Your best bet for video showing the color and motion of the aurora is to purchase a professionally – recorded tape such as one distributed form the Geophysical Institute in Fairbanks. Thus, some home video cameras are capable of picking up bright auroras. In particular, a camera rated at for example: less than one-lux sensitivity has captured – faintly and colorlessly a bright auroral arc. Many cameras which have special features such as digital zoom and / or vibration compensation are much less sensitive and will not show the aurora. The most annoying problem with home video cameras in low-light situations is their inability to focus. If your camera has a focus-lock button, you may be able to focus on a distant, brightly-lit object, and lock the focus then see if you can pick up the moon or perhaps catch a hint of an extremely bright aurora. Just don’t expect much, because home video cameras aren’t designed to do low-light recording.
Q: Do you have any Aurora Photography Tips A: When you do your research for shooting the aurora, you’ll find pluses and minuses for going when a full moon is present. On the minus side is if the lights that night are somewhat faint, the brightness of the moon’s reflection of the sun can fade them out. On the other hand, a full moon can be used to illuminate objects in the foreground. Many aurora shots include buildings with lights on inside to provide an interesting foreground subject. Depending on your shooting location, this feature might not be available. However, a full moon will help light up anything you have in front of you, no matter where you are. Because shots are done for at least six to eight seconds and up to fifteen seconds or more (depending on your shutter and ISO settings), the full moon will do a great job of making what would otherwise be a silhouette into a well-lit subject. Conversely, if you choose to go when there isn’t a full moon, a strong flash can be helpful in popping light onto a foreground subject.
Q: Flights to Alaska A: Alaska -, Continental -, United -, Delta Airlines and US Airways are providing multiple flight connections daily to Anchorage and Fairbanks from the lower 48's. For current rates please refer to: >> Alaska Airlines or other airlines and any ticket reservation systems of your choice. Sorry, but we do not provide a reservation service for airlines tickets. Accordingly our advertised tour rates do not include any flights to/from Alaska.
Q: Recommended Clothing A: We recommend fleece or heavy wool sweaters, down jackets or similar cold weather gear with attached hood, gloves, sun glasses, swimsuit, wool shirts, cotton or thermal underwear, mittens, sturdy winter boots, lip balsam, moisturizing cream. Winter gear and clothing may be rented at your local outdoor stores or at REI - Recreational Equipment INC - in Anchorage (please contact the stores directly) >> More Information
Q: Meals A: Meals are not included in our tours (except as otherwise stated within each "Tour Included" section) The cities of Fairbanks and Anchorage are providing a large number of restaurants in all categories. Our lodges and resorts are providing a dining room or a full service restaurant with a extended food and drink selection.
Q: Sightseeing Tours A: Sightseeing tours are not included in our tour packages (except as otherwise stated within each "Tour Included" section) Thus, we do offer a variety of optional tours. Please contact us or simply check our websites.
Q: How far in advance should I make a Reservation A: This is hard to predict but if you travel during: (1) New Moon Dates (2) Public Holidays (3) Long Weekends (4) Alaska Events etc. tours are most likely sold out and it will be virtually impossible to materialize a last minute request. Accordingly it is highly advisable to book as early as possible.
Go Alaska Tours | Secured Reservation Request Form
A secure transmission of your personal information is very important for the Alaska Travel Network Group LLC at these days and that's why we have taken steps to ensure that we have the most secure method of transmission on the Internet available. All online reservation request and contact forms are providing a SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) technology with a 128-bit encryption for transmission of data between your web browser and our web server which provides the highest level of protection from tampering and eavesdropping. 128-bit encryption is considered so secure that cryptographers consider it impossible to crack. There is no safer way for your personal information to be transmitted. In fact, both the Canadian and US Governments use 128-bit encryption for transmission of their sensitive data. The Go Alaska Tours Website (www.goalaskatours.com) uses GeoTrust for its SSL and 128-bit encryption.
For the best website content viewing the recommended screen resolution is 1920x1200 on Chrome, Safari 6 + IE Explorer and Firefox 24+ Browser