Alaska Fall Foliage: A MapQuest Guide
Alaska fall foliage features brilliant hues and spectacular scenery. The changing colors of leaves in autumn is one of nature’s most beloved rites of passage -- and makes for one of the most popular and inexpensive getaways for families. As part of LeafQuest -- a MapQuest series helping leaf peepers across North America find easy and rewarding destinations -- here are three recommended spots for viewing Alaska fall foliage. — Nick Romano
Chugach State Park
Chugach State Park is the third-largest state park in the United States, with 500,000 acres of trees and foliage to enjoy. This wilderness-heavy park walks on the wild side -- it’s fairly common to come across moose, bears and other Alaskan beasts. And while checking out the changing birch and alder trees on the Turnagain Arm Trail, make sure to also bring a video camera: This trail is one of only two places in the U.S. where one can witness a regularly occurring tidal bore -- a "wall of water" that comes in with the tide.
9025 Hesterberg Road, Eagle River, AK 99577 | Get Directions
Denali National Park
According to the National Park Service, “There are only a handful of tree species that are able to grow and reproduce naturally this far north.” But those that venture here will be rewarded with glorious colors on the leaves of quaking aspen, black cottonwood and Alaska birch, among a few others. If you trek far enough, you’ll eventually come across what’s called the arctic tundra biome, where tree presence is sparse. Also, keep an eye out for harems of moose cows -- autumn is mating season for moose.
Denali National Park Road, AK 99755 | Get Directions
Hatcher Pass -- named after gold prospector and Alaska Mining Hall of Famer Robert Lee Hatcher -- stretches through the Talkeetna Mountains and overlooks Gold Cord Lake. Its landscape is colored with the reddish hue of the Alpine bearberry and is a perfect location to view the fall foliage of Summit Lake. Bring your binoculars, too: in addition to blazing fall colors, there are also many wildlife species unique to the tundra, such as Arctic squirrels, Dall sheep, pika and marmots.
Hatcher Pass, Willow, AK 99688 | Get Directions
The landscape of the Denali National Park is home to many animal species and allows visitors to experience its unique fall foliage.
Did we miss an Alaska fall-foliage spot? Tell us about it in the comments section below.
Want other great fall-foliage destinations? Check out more LeafQuest.