Fall in Alaska is something you can't miss. The early chill ignites the quickly-turning leaves and the lowering sun gives plenty of beautiful golden sunlight. It's not difficult to capture amazing photos this time of year, making it the perfect hobby for everybody.
And in a state that is as much mountains as it is tundra or rainforest or city, there is never a shortage of shoulder season activities. For as long as the water stays liquid, you can do anything you could in the summer, just with a couple more jackets and a larger pack. It's more important than ever to be prepared during this season.
And warm yourself with a strong coffee or a stiff drink when you come home. Nowhere is the night life scene so friendly as in Alaska, so belly up and unwind and brace yourselves for the coming season. It's fall! Get out and enjoy it!
You might be walking a bit farther than usual but the glaciers surrounding the ski town of Girdwood make for incredible fall backcountry skiing, and further north, just south of Fairbanks, the Castner Glacier in the Delta Mountains, makes for excellent touring as soon as the early snows fall. So dust off those skins: there's no need to wait for winter in Alaska!
Similarly to the fall skiing, snowshoeing makes for an easily accessible shoulder season snow sport, simply because of how accessible these tools are. Rent them from several places in Anchorage, including Alaska Mountaineering & Hiking and REI, or Beaver Sports in Fairbanks.
And if the snow sports aren't up your alley, Alaska has some of the best opportunities for hunting in the world. Period. Do you dream of sheep hunting in the steep shale slopes of the Brooks Range? Fall is the best season for hunting of all kind.
While you might want to pack some extra layers, this sport doesn't see its end-of-season until the waters freeze. It's not too late, even when October rolls around, for you to sail out of Whittier and spend a week in College Fjord, where the bare glaciers calve every few minutes into the dramatic waters.
Alaska has an incredible museum and gallery culture. It seems like everyone here is an artist, or has an important tidbit of information to share about Alaska history. You could spend weeks walking the streets and never hear the same story twice. So stop in at the Anchorage Museum, the largest art collection in Alaska, or one of the many historical sites around the state.
According to CNBC, Anchorage is in the running for the most caffeinated city in the country, vying back-and-forth every year with Seattle. It's impossible to drive more than five blocks in this city without seeing a coffee stand or a locally-owned Kaladi Brothers Café, and with winter in sight, the time has never been better for an Alaska signature drink: The Sludge Cup.
And speaking of winter inspiration, let's not forget what that means for most of us: the chance to curl up in the warmth, with good friends, a cup full of hot chocolate, maybe peppermint schnapps and a good old Netflix binge. Stranger Things, anyone?
With long winter nights, Alaska drinking culture loves to push that 5 p.m. boundary as far as it can. And it does it oh, so classily. Check out joints such as the Williwaw Speakeasy or the Spenard Roadhouse for barrel-aged cocktails. Or, for the grungier among you, belly up to the oldest bars in Alaska for a cheap drink and darts.
Did the long summer days prove too distracting for the more indoor pursuits you love? Fall is the perfect time to settle into the studio, also known as the living room, and get creative. Try taking found objects, such as colorful leaves, branches and sea shells to create your own living, 3D work of art.
Who doesn't like those rich yellows and deep neutral tones of fall? Plus, it makes anyone's skin look amazing. Take advantage of the longer days while you have them and the cloudy cover to get the perfect shot to make you Instagram famous.
Take the salmon is still crowding your freezer, and can it up before it gets burned. And if your garden is overflowing with cabbage, kale, pumpkin and all the goodies, make sure you put that in jars before the cold snaps kill it! It's a great way to get the kids involved in the kitchen.
Just because the salmon aren't running doesn't mean fishing season is over. Halibut is just coming in to the full season, and the buttery fillets, cooked with some fresh herbs, butter and fall spices is the perfect dish to serve around the fireplace.
The glaciers are bare of snow and shining bluer than they will all year! Now is the perfect time to pop a few more layers on, and get that Alaska money shot. You might even see some whales as they depart to winter in warmer climes!
It comes full circle. As the days shorten, the best thing to do is get outside, and soak up every bit of sunlight while it's here! The crisp air means great view of the central mountain ranges from all over the state, so find a mountain and start up. But don't forget to layer. The fall wind can be nippy!