20 Winter Activities in Alaska to Create Unforgettable Experience

As the snow begins to fall and the temperatures start to drop, Alaska turns into the perfect destination for those looking to make the most of the winter season. In fact, the state boasts a wide range of exciting Alaska winter activities. From skiing and snowboarding to ice fishing and dog sledding, there are plenty of winter-long activities that can be enjoyed in the Last Frontier. Whether you’re looking for family-friendly fun or an extreme adventure, Alaska is the perfect place to visit as it has something unforgettable to offer everyone this winter.

If you are planning to spend winter holiday in the Last Frontier, you will definitely need the best winter activities in Alaska. From a thrilling adventure to a relaxing getaway, Alaska is the ideal location for winter vacation. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best ways to spend your winter in Alaska and offer a few tips for making the most of your experience.

Is It Good to Travel to Alaska in Winter?

We have to say that it depends on your preferences and interests. Alaska in winter can be a great experience for those who enjoy outdoor activities like skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling. It can also be a very peaceful and scenic experience for those who enjoy winter landscapes and wildlife viewing. However, it can be challenging with its cold temperatures, unpredictable Alaska winter weather, and limited daylight hours. So to keep your itinerary going well, you will need to look for the best winter activities in Alaska at the article below.

Is Alaska Fun in December?

Yes, Alaska can be a lot of fun in December. With snow-covered mountains, frozen lakes, and cozy towns, there is plenty to explore in Alaska during the winter. Popular activities that you can do in Alaska include skiing, snowshoeing, dog sledding, and ice fishing. Meanwhile, for those who prefer to stay indoors, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy local holiday events, such as craft fairs and festive parades.

Awesome Winter Activities in Alaska

1. Watch the Northern Lights

Winter Activities In Alaska

Alaska is one of the best places in the world to catch the Northern Lights, and winter is definitely the perfect time to go chasing them. Find the darkest place away from the city and you can see lights as a brightly colored display of dancing lights in Alaska in winter dark.

Due to its position, the length of the wintertime darkness, and auroral activity, Fairbanks can be considered as one of the greatest spots in Alaska in December to see the northern lights. However, we have to remind you not to forget to take a picture of this beautiful moment!

2. Explore Country with Fat Tire Bike

Winter Activities In Alaska

Over the past several years, Alaskans have become more and more interested in fat tire biking. Therefore in the winter, we recommend you to try a fat tire bike as one of the greatest things to do in Alaska. It is one of the most favorite winter activities in Alaska, offered by the Alaska State parks.

It can easily traverse the rough terrain and make for an enjoyable ride, too. Moreover, you can also explore the backcountry of Alaska, from the snow trails of the North Slope, to the snow trails of the Interior comfortably.

3. Go Dog Sledding

Winter Activities In Alaska

Dog sledding is a quintessential Alaskan experience, and we believe without a doubt winter is the perfect time to give it a go. This is a favorite winter activity in Alaska for families if you love dogs, are an adventurer, or just want to take a light snow activity for kids in Alaska.

Don’t forget to pack snacks and plenty of water, as you’ll be out in the elements for hours at a time. Before you go out on your Alaska winter tour, the guide will likely provide you with an orientation and safety briefing. Therefore, make sure to listen carefully to the instructions, as mushing can be hazardous.

4. Tubing at Arctic Valley Ski Area

Winter Activities In Alaska

Tubing at Arctic Valley Ski Area in Alaska is a snow tubing experience that allows visitors to slide down a hill on an inner tube. A complete 1.5-hour tubing session costs $16 at the Arctic Valley Ski Area‘s tube park.

Considering the level of excitements that this activity can offer, you might want to bring your kids along, or just be a kid yourself and enjoy the après ski ambiance with live music, beer, and wine. In addition, tubing is available for all ages and is a great way for families. This is also an ideal snow activity for kids in Alaska.

5. Attend a Snow Festival

Winter Activities In Alaska

Alaska is without a doubt home to a number of unique snow festivals, such as the Anchorage Fur Rendezvous and the World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks. With tickets around $25 per person, you can participate in Alaska outdoor activities such as snowshoeing, snowmobiling, tubing, and skiing.

However, if you don’t really like sports, you can also join indoor events like a snow sculpture competition, ice carving, and snowman building contests. The family-friendly event in Alaska also includes music, food, and other entertainment.

6. Enjoy Hot Springs

Winter Activities In Alaska

For those who are looking for warmth and comfort during winter in Alaska, we’re pretty sure soaking in Chena Hot Springs will be an amazing experience. The hot springs are located in the Chena River Valley and are surrounded by stunningly beautiful snow-covered mountains.

The temperature of the water is around 104 degrees Fahrenheit, making it the perfect temperature for a relaxing soak. For the comfort if visitors, the hot springs also have a resort onsite with amenities such as a spa, restaurant, and bar.

7. Try Ice Fishing

Winter Activities In Alaska

The frozen lakes of Alaska make a great spot for trying your hand at ice fishing. Therefore, we recommend you to go to the Anchorage Area for the best ice fishing location. Don’t forget to always check the ice before heading out on the lake. Make sure the ice is at least 4 – 6 inches thick and free of slush, cracks, or soft spots. Different species of fish can be found in different areas of the lake. For your reference, some of the most popular species to target include Arctic char, lake trout, and silver salmon.

8. Hiking Along a Snowy Ridge

Winter Activities In Alaska

It’s a perfect time for a hike after the first big snowfall of the season! The cold temperatures and pristine snow-covered landscape provide an unforgettable backdrop for a winter adventure. For an unforgettable hiking experience in Alaska, we believe Rendezvous Ridge in Eagle River is one of the best trails that have low avalanche danger.

Here, you can enjoy stunning views of the snow-covered mountain peaks and glaciers, as well as the wildlife that inhabits the area. In addition, hikers can explore the rugged terrain of the region, while being mindful of the extreme cold that can make the journey challenging.

9. Visit a Reindeer Farm

Winter Activities In Alaska

In winter, you may not be able to see many animals in Alaska. However, you don’t need to worry about that, because you can still visit a Reindeer farm, which is still available for a tour. Visit a reindeer farm to learn about the Alaskan reindeer population and take a sleigh ride.

Running Reindeer Ranch offers Alaska winter vacation packages if you want to see reindeer from Alaska in December start from $70 each. Along with these reindeer pals, they provide guided walking tours of the northern wilderness.

10. Cross-Country Skiing Across a Frozen Lake

Winter Activities In Alaska

Cross-country skiing across a frozen lake in Alaska in winter is a unique and exciting way to explore the Alaskan wilderness. Eklutna Lake and Portage Lake are two glacial lakes close to Anchorage that ice over in the winter.

We think it would be a great way to experience the beauty and tranquility of the Alaskan winter while getting a unique workout. In order to do that, do bear in mind that you should be pro skiers since it requires specialized gear and technique to ensure safety and success. For your reference, in Anchorage, REI Adventures offers Alaska winter vacation packages for a reasonable price.

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11. Attend a Live Music Performance

Winter Activities In Alaska

Catch a live music performance at one of Alaska’s many theaters and performance halls in the wintertime. We really that this is a favorite winter activity in Alaska where you can enjoy a warm and cozy indoor event in winter. There are a number of music festivals and concerts held indoors during Alaska winter months, such as the Anchorage Folk Festival and the Anchorage Music Festival. So while you are there, make sure to take your families to enjoy the Alaska winter night, listen to music, and dance!

12. Ice Climbing in Alaska

Winter Activities In Alaska

The state of Alaska has enormous waterfalls that, throughout the winter, freeze into stunning walls of blue, multi-pitch ice. So, it’s a perfect time for extreme sport lovers to try ice climbing! You can rent ice climbing gear in Anchorage and take individual ice climb tours with Alaska Mountaineering & Hiking or Alaska Pacific University. Or, you can participate in the annual Valdez Ice Climbing Festival, which takes place in February.

13. Visit Alaska Glaciers

Visit Alaska Glaciers

In Alaska, there are more than 100,000 glaciers! Spend your winter holiday by experiencing one of the coolest winter activities in Alaska, which is taking a glacier tour in state. Exit Glacier and Matanuska Glacier are a few of the popular glacier walks close to Anchorage.

The nearby glaciers of Portage, Knik, and Spencer are other well-liked tourist destinations, but they are typically only reachable in the winter when rivers and lakes have frozen over and become navigable. However, we have to remind you that when you’re near a glacier, you should always exercise caution and never underrate its strength.

14. Winter Sea Kayaking

Winter Sea Kayaking

Can you kayak in Alaska in the winter? Well, why not? It’s relaxing to paddle around snow-covered banks while observing snowflakes fall from the sky. In our opinion, a Spencer Lake kayak tour with Chugach Adventures might be the most gratifying choice for those seeking something a little off the beaten path.

You never know when a piece of water will be accessible for paddling because the Alaska winter weather is always changing there. Therefore, always make sure you are aware of the risks associated with cold-water kayaking before you go since safety is always paramount.

15. Fun Snowboarding

Fun Snowboarding

Snowboarding in Alaska in winter can be an incredibly fun experience. The vast mountains such as at Girdwood and Valdez ski areas make for some of the best snowboarding in the world. The powder is often light and dry, and the terrain can be both challenging and rewarding. However, since the winter temperatures can be pretty cold, it is important to be prepared with the proper clothing and safety equipment. .

16. Explore Ice Caves

Explore Ice Caves

Ice cave exploration can be a thrilling winter adventure. However, we have to remind you that it is extremely risky, so you have to continue with extreme caution. One of the most well-liked locations to look for ice caves is Byron Glacier. One hour south of Anchorage, at the Portage Spur Road’s terminus, is where you may find the Byron Glacier Trail. Make sure to dress in layers and wear warm, waterproof clothing to protect yourself from cold temperatures. 

17. Snowshoeing at Hatcher Pass

Snowshoeing at Hatcher Pass

Playing in the snow will help you lose track of time, especially if you’re just looking to relax on a slow day in the winter. And, snowshoeing is a wonderful free winter activity in Alaska to go for a slow winter walk. You can go to Hatcher Pass as a winter leisure Mecca with an abundance of powder for snowshoeing. In addition to advancing your snowshoeing activity, you can even pack your hammock and load your thermos with a hot toddy.

18. Backcountry Ice Skating

Backcountry Ice Skating

Skating on the frozen lakes and rivers of Alaska is a great way to take in the beauty of the state. With its incredible landscapes, abundant wildlife, and wide open spaces, Alaska is without a doubt an amazing place to explore on skates. The ice is often so clear you can see fish swimming below you and you often come across large ice boulders and ice caves. Backcountry ice skating in Alaska in winter is possible in certain areas with favorable weather conditions. 

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19. Winter Camping in Denali

Winter Camping in Denali

Winter camping in Denali offers a unique way to experience the beauty of the park during Alaska winter months. It frequently remains peaceful and the Alaska winter night is definitely a winter wonderland. Based on experience, it will feel amazing to open your eyes in a snow-covered tent. Moreover, you may also spot moose, wolves, caribou from afar at this wonderful camping area. In addition to that, you can also experience the beauty of Denali National Park in the winter by cross-country skiing the park’s trails.

20. Visit Cultural Center

Visit Cultural Center

If you want non-skiing activity, there are also many museums and cultural centers across the state that offer winter-long activities and events throughout the winter months. Alaska’s diverse cultural heritage offers visitors a variety of activities to explore. The Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage offers interactive exhibits and performances. Enjoy traditional dance performances, storytelling, and other interactive events in the center’s auditorium every Friday and Monday from 1:30-4:30 PM.

Final Thoughts

Known as a magical winter wonderland, the best Alaska winter activities will give you an unforgettable experience. Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventure, non-skiing activity, cultural exploration, or a chance to relax, Alaska has something special to offer for all. We hope this article will give you new insights for your next Alaska winter tour to enjoy The Last Frontier.

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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Is it a good idea to go to Alaska in the winter?

Well, it depends on what you’re looking for. Alaska in the winter can be a great experience – providing you with breathtaking views and plenty of opportunities for winter sports. However, the temperatures can be very cold and the days are short, so you will need to be prepared for the elements if you decide to go. If you are looking for things to do in Alaska winter season, you can read the article above.

How cold is Alaska in winter?

The average winter temperature in Alaska varies greatly depending on the region. In the south, temperatures can range from 24°F to 34°F. In the interior and northern regions, temperatures can range from -10°F to 10°F. However, you still can enjoy the winter holiday in Alaska. Suppose you are looking for the best winter activities in Alaska, please check in the article above.

What can you do in Anchorage Alaska in the winter?

Anchorage in the winter is a great place for Alaska outdoor activities such as skiing, snowshoeing, dog sledding, snowmobiling, and ice fishing. You can also explore some of the city’s many museums, galleries, and other cultural attractions. Anchorage also has a variety of dining and shopping options, as well as plenty of nightlife. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even take a day trip to a nearby glacier or national park. For more information, you can look for the best winter activities in Alaska at the article above.

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