Alaska in December If you’re visiting in December , plan for long, dark nights and frosty days (and nights!). In December , temperatures in Alaska range from an average of 11°F (-12°C) to an average high of 24°F (-4°C).
The most reliable chances to see Alaska’s northern lights (also known as the Aurora Borealis ) are in Fairbanks, and above the Arctic Circle. If you visit Alaska in November, December or January, you will experience a very short period of daylight providing a unique experience in the high northern hemisphere.
First off, the Alaska Highway is open year-round, and winter drivers can expect a fair number of big rigs, along with local traffic, to be on the road. MILEPOST field editor Judy Nadon, who lives on the Alaska Highway near Whitehorse, YT, is one of those local drivers and winter is her favorite time of year.
However, visiting Alaska in winter can be one of the most rewarding trips you will ever take. Easily comparable to Finland or Norway, Alaska offers Northern Lights tours, snowy landscapes, world-class skiing, and your favorite winter activities.
Best Time to See the Northern Lights in Alaska Alaska’s northern lights season is between mid – September and late April , peaking in March , though it’s a season defined more by its long, dark nights than by solar activity.
Shortest Day of the Year
|Juneau||Inside Passage (Southeast Alaska Panhandle)||6 hours 22 minutes|
|Anchorage||Southcentral||5 hours 28 minutes|
|Fairbanks||Interior||3 hours 42 minutes|
|Barrow||The Arctic: 330 miles north of Arctic Circle||67 days of darkness|
If you love deep, dark winter punctuated by the dazzle of holiday activities, December is an exhilarating time to visit Alaska . The days are short, the nights are long, and usually, the landscape has been stunningly transformed by a durable white cover.
When is the best month to visit Alaska? You can’t go wrong visiting Alaska anytime between May 10 and September 15. The days are long, nature is in full bloom, and the air is alive with energy. But, for the absolute best time to visit Alaska, shoot for June 15 to July 15.
Fairbanks’ Aurora Season is from August 21 to April 21 and the aurora will be visible in Fairbanks an average of four out of five nights when the sky is clear and dark enough. Scientifically speaking, the aurora is dancing above year-round, but we can only see it during the Aurora Season when we have dark enough skies.
Packable down- or synthetic-filled sweater jackets also work well. Many Alaskans will like to wear a down or fleece vest to help warm the body core while leaving arms less encumbered. For extremely frigid days, fleece pants or heavy long underwear bottoms can be handy. Don’t get too hot.
December is the month with the most snowfall in Anchorage, Alaska . Snow falls for 10.5 days and accumulates 20.5″ (520.7mm) of snow .
The Alaska cruise ship season ends in October. By then the weather up there, not the best at any time, turns really ugly with torrential rain, storms and really long nights. December is much worse!
Cloaked in blankets of white snow and days of little sunshine, winter is a long season in Alaska . In the two most populated areas, snow generally is present from late October through early April. Alaska’s second largest town, Fairbanks, will reach temperatures of -50 Fahrenheit nearly every winter .
The northern lights occur all four seasons of the year, although they are harder to see under the Midnight Sun. The Interior (especially Fairbanks) and Far North regions are considered the best in Alaska for northern lights viewing, although the aurora can be spotted anywhere in Alaska .
That said, Alaska still gets fairly extreme. For example, Barrow—one of the northernmost towns in Alaska—has about two months of darkness in the winter, from about November 18 to January 22. But in the summer , the sun doesn’t completely set for about 82 days, from roughly May 11 until July 31.