Few bucket list destinations are as iconic as Alaska. From seeing 20,310-foot-tall Mount Denali and hiking on glaciers to viewing wildlife and deep-sea fishing, there are plenty of things that draw people to The Last Frontier.
Thanks to its unique geography — the extreme northern position, minimal light pollution even in the cities, and long hours of darkness in the winter — Alaska stargazing itself is a bucket list item for many. Indeed, Alaska night sky stars are considered some of the best in the world. You even have excellent odds of seeing the Aurora Borealis, or the Northern Lights, if you visit in the winter!
Make the Most of Your Alaska Stargazing Trip
An Alaska stargazing trip is, of course, incredible, but there are ways you can make it even better.
- There’s never a bad time to visit Alaska. However, winter is the best time to view Alaska night sky stars because it’s when there are the most hours of darkness.
- Generally, the best time to see stars in Alaska is from midnight to about 3:00 AM.
- While there’s not much light pollution in Alaska overall, you still want to get away from the city to see the most stars.
- Consider renting an RV and boondocking somewhere a bit more remote, where you can ensure you’re well away from city lights.
- Alaska is one of the best places to see the Northern Lights. Check the Aurora Forecast to find out when the best odds are.
- Consider getting a headlamp or flashlight with a red light to help you navigate in the dark. The red light is less harsh than white, and won’t affect your vision.
Aside from these basic tips for Alaska stargazing, you’ll also need to know where to go.
Best Locations for Stargazing Near Glacier Bay National Park
Glacier Bay is one of Alaska’s most iconic national parks with an abundance of marine wildlife, coastal scenery, and of course, glaciers. With not a single road (and therefore almost no light pollution), stargazing Glacier Bay National Park is epic, to say the least.
This tiny gateway community to the national park is situated along the Icy Strait and gets half the amount of rain that nearby Juneau does. That means clearer skies, ideal for stargazing.
Lutak Inlet, Haines
The Chilkoot River meets Chilkoot Lake at this incredibly scenic body of water. Pull off on one of the many turnouts and check out some of the best stars in Alaska.
Mendenhall Wetlands State Game Refuge, Juneau
Situated along the Gastineau Channel, this expansive game refuge is comprised largely of flats and wetlands, with nothing obstructing the view of the sky.
RV Parks Nearby: In Haines, try Oceanside RV Park and in Juneau, check out Glacier Nalu.
Best Locations for Stargazing Near Denali National Park
With a whopping six million acres of pristine wilderness and the largest mountain on the continent, Denali National Park has some of the best Alaska stargazing. Book a guided “Aurora chasing” tour or check out these spots on your own while you RV camp nearby.
Denali Park Road
This 92-mile road is the only one in the park. In the winter, only the first 12 miles are plowed, but there are plenty of pullouts for watching the Northern Lights: Denali edition.
Riley Creek Campground
This campground is the only one inside the park that’s open year-round. You can stargaze right from camp and bonus — there are no fees during the winter.
This historic ranger cabin on Mile 13 of Denali Park Road is still in use today. A couple of easy interpretive trails circle it, plus the cabin itself offers unique photo ops for Alaska stargazing.
RV Parks Nearby: Outside of the park, check out Denali Rainbow Village and Denali Grizzly Bear Resort.
Best Locations for Stargazing Near Fairbanks
Thanks to its far north location and position directly underneath the Auroral Oval, Fairbanks is one of the best areas for Alaska stargazing. Best of all, many of the best stargazing locations are easily accessible from the city!
As the highest point in the Fairbanks region sitting 2,500 feet above the city, Murphy Dome has an unrivaled vantage point for peeping stars in Alaska.
Creamer’s Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge
This wide-open bird sanctuary is just two miles from downtown Fairbanks and provides excellent visibility for spotting all sorts of Alaska night sky stars.
Several spots along this scenic highway provide unobstructed viewpoints for watching the night sky. Look for large, clear pullouts like the ones at Miles 17 and 19.
RV Parks Nearby: River’s Edge RV Resort is right along the Chena River and Northern-Moosed RV Park is just north of town
Best Locations for Stargazing Near Anchorage
As Alaska’s most populated city, Anchorage is one of the state’s top destinations. And while big cities aren’t typically associated with great stargazing, Anchorage is a notable exception. There are several excellent spots to view the Alaska night sky stars both in and around the city.
Skirting the western edge of the city, Kincaid Park is massive and dark enough to offer up fantastic stargazing. Park your rental RV in one of the lots, then follow one of the many trails for the best views.
Seward Highway (heading south)
The Turnagain Arm stretch of the Seward Highway is widely considered one of the most beautiful drives on Earth. Drive it at night and park in one of the pullouts for expansive, crystal-clear stargazing.
RV parks nearby: Creekwood Inn RV Park is located in Anchorage proper, while Eagle River Campground is just north of town.
Sleep Under the Stars in a Cruise America RV
So where will you head to first on your Alaska stargazing adventure? Maybe you’ll catch the Northern Lights in Denali or luck out with a meteor shower over one of the bays!
Regardless of which specific destination you have in mind, the first step is simply reserving your Cruise America RV rental and picking it up from our Alaska location, or specifically our Anchorage location.
What are you waiting for? Your bucket list adventure is just a few clicks away! Contact Cruise America for more information.