Alaska, Discovering

Chasing Fall Colors in Alaska

Chasing Fall Colors in Alaska 2022

Visiting Alaska is a trip of a lifetime and if you plan the timing right you can hit the fall color jackpot. The fall colors against snow-capped mountains and turquoise-blue glacier rivers are a sight to see. No matter where we went, fall colors were as far as we could see and they will live in our mind’s eyes forever.

When can you see fall colors in Alaska?

The fall season in Alaska is short. It starts in August and typically runs through mid-September. The farther north you are the earlier it hits. We spent this trip in south-central Alaska (Anchorage area) from September 13-21 and we chased colors the entire time! It was so colorful and beautiful everywhere we looked. Luckily in Alaska, you don’t have to travel to a scenic area for fall colors- because it’s scenic literally everywhere you look!

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Fall colors from the Alaska Railroad

One of the excursions we booked during our trip to Alaska was 6 Hour Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise with Major Marine and we added on the Alaska Railroad Scenic Train Ride from Anchorage to Seward. It is amazing to see Alaska by train, including a 5-mile stretch of scenery that can only be seen by the train. Below are pictures of the fall colors we experienced during the train ride. Highly recommend and it’s incredibly awesome with the fall colors showing off! For color reference, the date of this train ride was 9/16/2022.

Moose Pass Fall Colors from the Alaska Railroad

Fall Colors on the Glenn Highway Scenic Byway from Palmer to Matanuska Glacier

The Glenn Highway is one of three National Scenic Byways in Alaska. We picked up the Glenn Hwy at Mile 0 in Anchorage. Anchorage to Palmer is about 43 miles and that’s where the scenery intensifies. We felt the fall colors were at their peak during our visit to this stretch of road.

This area near Palmer is known as the Mat-Su Valley, short for Matanuska. Glenn Highway follows the meandering Matanuska River with incredibly stunning views of the Chugach and Talkeetna Mountains. The river is varying shades of green to a right blue due to the silt that runs off Matanuska Glacier. The yellow and orange fall colors intensified the amazing views.

Chasing Fall Colors in Alaska

We were on a time crunch the day we took this scenic byway but on our next visit, we will surely make time to drive straight to Matanuska Glacier. This is a glacier you can drive up to and walk on. This tour was highly recommended to us.

Chasing fall colors in Alaska

Fall Colors in Willow Knick Side of Hatcher Pass

Much to our dismay, we had some time to kill because another excursion we had planned was canceled. We were to take a flight from Talkeetna to Denali National Park where we would then land on a glacier. Dusty has never been so bummed about getting a refund in his life.

We passed this little scene along the road in Talkeetna and had to stop.

This cancellation provided a chance to explore the Willow side of Hatcher Pass. We sound repetitive, but it was also stunning.

Chasing Fall Colors in Alaska

Chasing Fall Colors in Alaska

Chasing Fall Colors in Alaska

Fall Colors in Kenai Fjords National Park

We took a beautiful hike to Exit Glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park and were rewarded with more views of stunning colors and nature.

It was so unexpected to see Exit Glacier upon entering the National Park.

It’s still hard to believe how beautiful every single drive is in Alaska. In our trip planning, we read that the joy of going somewhere in Alaska is getting there. We concur!

Chasing Fall Colors in Alaska

Alaska is unforgettable, especially in the fall

We feel so fortunate to have experienced Alaska. It truly was a trip of a lifetime and a trip that we will never forget. The fall colors made it even more amazing and beautiful. This trip put a bug in our ear to schedule fall trips so we can chase fall colors in other beautiful locations.

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Chasing Fall Colors in Alaska


  1. 20 Incredible Adventures That Made Us Love Alaska

    February 20, 2023 at 7:55 am

    […] For more pictures of fall colors, read our blog post dedicated to chasing fall colors in Alaska! […]

  2. oneearth

    December 20, 2022 at 12:54 am

    Amazing places to go ! simply heaven

    1. Kelly & Dusty Ratcliff

      February 2, 2023 at 3:53 pm

      Simply heaven is an accurate statement! We still can’t believe how beautiful it was and are so thankful to have seen it in person.

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