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How to enjoy the last days of summer in Anchorage

fireweed

Fireweed about to scatter its seeds to the wind

Right now in Anchorage, the long carefree days of summer are, well, coming to end…at least for this year. But that doesn’t mean summer’s totally over, or that all hope for an awesome Alaskan experience is lost.

Late August and September in Anchorage are pleasant and uncrowded times to visit. It’s also a little cooler, with mild dark nights. We’ve uncovered some hidden late season gems you should consider:

Watch the Northern Lights

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The Northern LIghts as seen from the Glen Alps

That’s right — the Aurora Borealis makes its return this time of year to dance across the northern skies. They’re quite a splendid sight to see, especially when it’s not so biting cold outside.

The best place in Anchorage to enjoy Mother Nature’s shimmering, colorful light show in town is at the Flat Top mountain lookout point. Get your Northern Lights forecast here.

Ride the Alaska Railroad

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The Alaska Railroad and its iconic midnight blue and yellow colors

The reassuring part about the iconic Alaska Railroad is you can ride it any time of year. In fact, peak season is over which means ticket prices are down for certain routes and seat availability is up.

At this time of year, you can witness the last of the fireweed blossoms cast their snow white cotton seeds to the wind, and the tinge of yellow creeping into the birch and alder trees.

Take a hike

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Sheep Mountain, Alaska

We don’t mean that in a rude way, of course, but Alaska is known for its majestic and breathtaking hikes. Late summer is perfect for a lazy stroll down the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail or a small trek into the surrounding Alaska wilderness (where blueberries and raspberries are in season!).

One suggestion is to go to South Anchorage and drive up the hillside until you can’t drive any more — this is the start of the Chugach State Park. Then just get out of your car and starting walking into the hills — you could literally take years contemplating and exploring.

Catch fish

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Dolly Varden

Notice we said “catch fish,” not “go fishing.” That’s because the fishing is so good in Alaska that you actually catch something! Various runs of Dolly Varden, trout, silver salmon (aka “coho”) and grayling are still making their way up Alaska’s creeks, rivers and beaches.

Two things to know before you catch fish: make sure you have your fishing license, and check the fishing report.

Photo credits: rebasphotos, mitchksusan-r-serna, msyguy, uwnews