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best time to be in Alaska

Discussion in 'Americas' started by wildwoody, Jan 2, 2008.

  1. wildwoody

    wildwoody Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    Oddometer:
    18
    Location:
    Toledo, OH
    I will be heading to Alaska this year and was wondering what is the best time to go. I am on a H-D and need the best weather.
    #1
  2. Pantah

    Pantah Jiggy Dog Fan Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2004
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    Location:
    Scottsdale Arizona
    The weather in Northern BC, the Yukon and AK is going to range from low 30's to upper 50's all summer/fall, and likely be wet for at least 1/3rd or more of your trip no matter when. I spent most of Sep 2006 touring those lands, and I needed heated grips, grip guards to deflect weather, a heated jacket liner and water-proof jacket/pants/boots. I saw everything from hot-hot in Lower BC to marble size hail in northern BC and later in AK. Then there were days of driving rain with snow blanketing the ridgelines in both the Yukon and AK. If you scroll the AK ride reports or the 'great white' you'll get the picture. My September was typical, and it's considered the best month. It is generally pleasant riding conditions, but some of it will be awful. That's part of the fun.

    You could probably make it well enough wearing ski gloves and plastic garbage bags under your jacket for a cold break, but there is no chance you will ride AK for a couple three weeks without requiring serious foul weather gear for some level of comfort. It's damp up there! -P
    #2
  3. AKDuc

    AKDuc Alaska Born Ducatisti

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    6,893
    Location:
    Anchorage, Alaska
    IMO, right around Solstice.

    Hit Dawson Yukon on the way up and meet a bunch of us on the D2D Solstice run.

    Lots of good info in Great White North forum.

    Good luck and have fun, Mark H.
    #3
  4. BigX

    BigX n00b - Yeah, right

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2006
    Oddometer:
    609
    Location:
    Don't fence me in
    One time I went late July through mid August. Temps were good but rain, rain, rain, rain. Bugs, too.

    I went again late May. Cold and rain.

    Fun fun fun fun.
    #4
  5. CaptRick

    CaptRick Still crazy..... Supporter

    Joined:
    May 14, 2007
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    ToC / Nuevo Mexico
    Late August early September worked for me. Cool nights less bugs in most places, rain oh yea!
    Fun any way......
    #5
  6. vegasphotog

    vegasphotog Las Vegas Cheechako

    Joined:
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    Covered in Desert Dirt since 2007
    Mark called it....anything before mid-june could still have snow/ice. Anything after mid-aug could have snow ice. And, this all assumes you have taken at least a 5 day trip before? Rain, bugs, moose, grizzlies, ugly women, slow motorhomes, shitty food, expensive gas, and 24 hours of daylight are about gauranteed...that is why the alaska ride is a trophy for most.
    #6
  7. grae313

    grae313 Idiosyncratic Misanthrope

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2007
    Oddometer:
    990
    Location:
    Ithaca, NY
    I'm also planning an AK trip for this summer. I can pick between June, July, and August. What would you recommend?
    #7
  8. ridingAK

    ridingAK On the Road Less Taken...

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2006
    Oddometer:
    248
    Location:
    Palmer, TN
    Late June, early July. As others have said, there is a lot going on here during that time between D2D and everything else.
    #8
  9. holckster

    holckster dougholck Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,516
    Location:
    Lodi, Ca
    +1 This time period worked great last year.
    Regret not arriving in time for D2D, wo'nt make that mistake next time.
    #9
  10. grae313

    grae313 Idiosyncratic Misanthrope

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2007
    Oddometer:
    990
    Location:
    Ithaca, NY
    lol, after I posted that I found the D2D thread. That helps my trip planning substantially :1drink
    #10
  11. gsilvernale

    gsilvernale Lowlander

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    252
    Location:
    South
    I left the US on Memorial Day. Took 9 days to get to Alaska. The coldest spot was in Montana. There was snow on the sides of the roads, but the weather was great. We had very little rain - and without any moisture, you could easily stay warm. I did run into people that were on their way back down (KLRs) and they had run into rain around Fairbanks for a few days.

    I was fully prepared, Electric vests, wet weather gear, etc. But only needed it for a small portion of the trip. But if the rain had come, I would have needed every little bit of what I had.

    My suggestion is to try to avoid the rain, which statistically speaking means early June. Plus, there is not much traffic in early June. The few degrees warmer in July is more than offset by the extra rain possibilities.
    #11
  12. KL5A

    KL5A Bugs are the new black

    Joined:
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    Broadly and generally speaking, the best weather is from mid May to mid June and the wettest will be August, better known as monsoon season. If you ride in Alaska during August, expect a thorough douching at some point in your journey. The wet won't be the worst part, you'll miss the scenery as the clouds will obscure your view of the mountains.
    Be ready for temps ranging from the high 30's to low 90's.....bias your gear towards the lower end of that scale. :wink:
    #12
  13. vegasphotog

    vegasphotog Las Vegas Cheechako

    Joined:
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    The exception to that rule is many motorhomes head north for the summer then to secure their treasured free spot at Wal-Mart....which I have no comprehension of why....
    #13
  14. kootenay kid

    kootenay kid Lets Ride

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    kootenays canada
    Dude, anytime in June is the time to go. I've done it the last 2 years and its fantatstic.
    #14
  15. koalaKid

    koalaKid Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2007
    Oddometer:
    116
    Location:
    Northern BC
    i am planning a trip for the solstice. i've had my heart set on riding to dawson for the solstice since i decided to move to BC (over a year and a half ago)

    i just learned about the D2D ride a couple weeks ago.

    i live in northern bc, and we only had 10 days were it was above 30C. that was late july. then, august it rained, september it snowed.
    #15
  16. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil Supporter

    Joined:
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    In the past few years I've ridden north in early May through late September, and as recommended by other Alaskans, the best is usually from mid-June through mid-August, with rain the usual forecast in the latter time frame. However, there are exceptions to every rule.
    In May, you can generally count on finding snow on the sides of the highways through the Rockies, and early in that month you may find it coming down onto the highway. Northern lakes will usually be frozen over until early June, especially at higher elevations. Most of my May trips have involved riding through a few miles of snow, some of it not so fun. :uhoh
    In early June you'll find RV's crowded into Whitehorse and Haines Jct, but they seem to be waiting for a signal of some sort to venture into Alaska. That is good! You won't have so many to dodge until they start the migration farther north.
    Early batches of mosquitoes are especially bloodthirsty, and are genetically engineered to prefer tourist blood. :wink: As the weather gets warmer, they may not be so bad in the open on hot, sunny days, but they are worse in shaded areas and during the brightly illuminated "nighttime" when your warm epidermis is easily located in the cooler air.
    Later in the summer, mosquitoes disappear, only to be replaced by their more evil cousins - gnats, noseeums, and whitesox. At least when it cools down below about 50F and rains the little nuisances hide in the bushes.
    If you come up later - after Labor Day, for instance - you'll be treated to fall colors, which in my personal opinion exceed the beauty of even the brilliant New England foliage. But you will also get to experience cold nights and brisk mornings, often followed by hot, sunny, afternoons and evenings. If you're really fortunate, you might even get to see a hint of the Northern Lights as the sky starts to darken and stars become visible again.
    Coming north after Labor Day, however, might convince you that Alaska has been stricken with another major calamity, with everyone evacuating. You'll soon become certain that yours is the only vehicle northbound, as from Dawson Creek north, 9 out of 10 approaching vehicles will have U. S. plates, and north of Whitehorse it's closer to 19 out of 20. This is the annual event known hereabouts as "thank goodness they're all going back home so we can have Alaska to ourselves again".
    If you have the time to enjoy the trip at a leisurely pace, and are possessed of a hearty spirit of adventure, any time you don't have to ride through deep snow is a good time to ride to Alaska.
    #16
  17. FotoTEX

    FotoTEX Long timer

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Granbury Texas
    Does not matter, go when you can. Awesome Place/Ride. Early June usually works well in my opinion.
    #17