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From fresh salmon to clear skies, late summer is the best.

In many ways, the end of summer is the best time to visit central Alaska and Denali National Park. By mid-August, the seemingly-endless days start to give way to glorious evenings that are celebrated for their crispness and their clearness. 

Here are 9 things we love about Denali in Late Summer

The colors: A beautiful array of color blankets the region during this time of year. Beginning in mid-August, yellow birch and aspen trees dot the forests around the Denali Cabins and the Denali Backcountry Lodge. Mountain slopes take on a rusty orange color. Think every shade of yellow you could think of, every texture of orange, every imaginable possibility from mother nature all against the snowy backdrop of the Alaska Range.

Trees in the Fall

Reap this year's salmon rewards: The 2017 Alaska Salmon run was a big one - numbers are still coming in, but it looks to have been at least double the size as last year's in some areas! From June through August, salmon are harvested in the millions all over Alaska, part of the annual cycle of nature that ties the entire state together in a love for fish. If you're in Alaska this September and you're hungry, you're going to get to taste the freshest salmon available.

Alaska Salmon

Wildlife on the move: The number of wildlife sightings heighten as they transition towards hibernation. Keep a lookout for moose or caribou. And bears are busy and active, eating as much as they can in preparation for winter.

Moose and calf

Beat the Crowds: Not a fan of Alaska's version of 'crowds'? The calmness of September is for you! The summer stream of tourists has died down by the end of August, along with the summer prices, which drop. September is a time to meet the locals, who cherish the 'quieter season' to explore their own backyard and experience a vacation close to home.


Blueberries: Take a day to go blueberry picking! In Kantishna in late summer, all around the Denali Backcountry Lodge, the blueberries are famously gigantic! Each tourist is allowed one pint per day, per person because there are so many. The fields stretch on for miles!

Blueberry Hill

Aurora Awakens: During the summer, Alaska receives a lot of sunlight. In fact, it doesn’t usually get dark until after 12am! This makes catching the elusive Northern Lights extra challenging. In September, as the days get shorter, the opportunity to see the aurora borealis increases! One of the prime spots is on the deck at the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge.

Aurora Borealis over an Alaska mountain range

Hiker's paradise: There's something extra magical about hitting a trail in Denali in September. The colors are amplified, the bush more open, the bugs gone (see below) and the Kantishna Hills or the streams along McKinley River are stunning for hiking.

Hikers in Denali National Park

Mosquitoes are less abundant: Enjoy your vacation without bug spray - late summer in Alaska means hardly any mosquitos! 

Denali National Park

It's chill out time: Alaska runs full throttle through the summer, when visitors and locals alike stretch the long days as much as they can, maximizing every moment. As the days start to shorten, everybody seems to settle down a bit and the state feels more relaxed.

River Valley from above

We're looking forward to welcoming you this September in Alaska! The Denali Backcountry Lodge is open until September 12

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