Just look at it out there; pouring rain chilling even me this morning. Autumn is here, and overnight, it seems, the birch and cottonwood trees are flushing yellow. Right now is the perfect time to pack up the family and take a weekend road trip before snow falls and leaves become but a musty memory upon the ground.
It was thrilling to have Scott Slone of Alaska HDTV on the Alaska Travelgram Show yesterday. Scott and his buddy David Taylor of 61 North Photography traveled out the Denali Highway in search of a little fall color; what they found was a spectrum upon Nature’s own color palette. My gosh, do mosey over to Slone’s website and see just a few of the images he and Taylor took while driving and camping along this scenic highway separating the Interior and southeast Alaska. Slone also has some great tips for those wanting to take this trip for themselves (attention AK Dad; we are SO doing this next August!). From guided tours via Planet Earth Adventures to lodging at Alpine Creek Lodge to important safety and road information, anybody considering an adventure out the Denali Highway needs to plan carefully. Thanks Mr. Slone!
If a more sedate experience feels more comfortable, or if time is a factor, drive north on the Glenn Highway to beautiful and historic Sheep Mountain Lodge, owned and operated by Iditarod musher Zack Steer and his wife, Anjanette. This former roadhouse-turned-vacation hotspot is one of our favorite places to stop and eat a piece of pie, enjoy the view, or stay for a few nights. While the restaurant closes up after Labor Day (hint, hint), the cabins are available for rental all year. Spotlessly clean, right smack in front of the mountains, and next to a great trail system managed by the Steers themselves, Sheep Mountain provides a true Alaskan experience only two hours from Anchorage.
The Kenai Peninsula also offers some stellar leaf-peeping, especially near Exit Glacier in Seward (and along the gorgeous Turnagain Pass getting there). The Seward Windsong Lodge and famous Resurrection Roadhouse are perfect destinations for fall walks, hikes, and warm, cozy meals. Take a hike up to Exit Glacier and enjoy this grandeous hunk of ice before wandering back, enjoying the yellows and reds and browns of foliage along the way. Spend the night at the Lodge and amble the banks of the Resurrection River the next day (AK Kid loves tossing rocks in its silty waters). Who says the fun has to end with Labor Day? No way!
Up north, don’t forget to visit Creamer’s Field with your kids and appreciate the changing colors and abundant wildlife readying for winter. Or, walk around beautiful Wander Lake on the Fountainhead Hotels property and see beavers hard at work and a ton of migrating geese. Maybe a drive out toward Chena Hotsprings would be nice, too. Fairbanks and the Interior change color quickly, so don’t get caught napping!