13 Things To Do In Alaska In February

Are you looking for things to do in Alaska in February? This is our complete guide along with some of our experiences and what some of our friends have done here in Alaska.

This article is by Alaskans and from Alaskans, from real world experiences. We hope this guide will help you plan your trip to our beautiful state in the near future!

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Alaska is a beautiful and unique state that offers a wide variety of activities for visitors and locals alike in February. Winter in Alaska is considered magical because of the combination of natural beauty and outdoor activities it offers.

The snow-covered landscapes are a winter wonderland, with sparkling ice crystals and frosty trees creating a picturesque scene. The long nights provide ample opportunities to witness the mesmerizing northern lights, illuminating the sky with vibrant colors.

The winter activities in February are unparalleled. Skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling/snowmachining on the pristine powdery snow provide an adrenaline rush and a chance to explore the backcountry.

Dog sledding offers a unique and exciting way to experience the Alaskan wilderness. Ice fishing on the frozen lakes is a fun and challenging way to catch fish.

Beautiful drive in Alaska in February - Photo Brian E Reed
Beautiful drive in Alaska in February – Photo Brian E Reed

The winter season also provides a great opportunity to see the diverse wildlife of Alaska. Moose, caribou, and even wolves can be spotted in their natural habitats. The snow makes it easier to spot the animals, and the colder temperatures make them more active. The more snow there is, the more likely you will see Moose standing on our city roads/streets.

The natural hot springs in Alaska are a great way to relax and warm up after a day of winter activities. Natural hot springs offer scenic views and a chance to soak in warm water while enjoying the winter weather.

Winter in Alaska is a season of adventure, beauty, and wonder. The natural splendor and the array of outdoor activities make it a magical place to experience. The winter festivals and events add to the experience, making it a memorable time for all visitors who come in February.

Here are a few suggestions for our favorite things to do during February in Alaska.

Skiing and Snowboarding At A Ski Resort

Skiing and snowboarding in Alaska is considered some of the best in the world, due to the state’s abundant snowfall and rugged terrain. The state is home to several ski resorts that offer a variety of terrain for skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels.

Alyeska Resort

Located in Girdwood, just south of Anchorage, Alyeska Resort is the largest ski resort in Alaska and offers over 1,400 skiable acres and a 2,500-foot vertical drop. The resort features groomed runs, backcountry terrain, and a terrain park for snowboarders.

Video – Ilona Grigorova

Hilltop Ski Area

Hilltop Ski Area is located in Anchorage and is a great option for those looking for a more intimate ski experience. The area offers runs for all skill levels, a terrain park, and a ski-school program.

Arctic Valley Ski Area

Arctic Valley Ski Area is a small ski area located just outside of Anchorage and offers excellent ski terrain for all skill levels. The area is known for its scenic views and friendly staff.

  • Address: Arctic Valley Ski Area – Arctic Valley Rd Eagle River AK 99577
  • Website: arcticvalley.org

Eaglecrest Ski Area

This ski area is located in Juneau, and it offers a variety of runs for skiers and snowboarders of all abilities, as well as a terrain park and night-skiing.

Ski Land

Ski Land is located in Fairbanks, and it’s a unique ski experience as it is a backcountry ski area. The area offers a wide range of terrain, including steep chutes and open bowls, and it’s a great place to experience the Alaskan wilderness while skiing. It is also home to furthest north chairlift on the continent, and has been around since 1962!

Alaska’s ski resorts offer an array of terrain and options, from groomed runs to backcountry and ski-in/ski-out accommodations. Skiers and snowboarders should be prepared for the colder temperatures and the potential for extreme weather. The ski resorts may also have different operating schedules due to the weather conditions, and it’s best to check with the resorts for the most up-to-date information.

Backcountry Skiing and Snowboarding

Backcountry Skiing near Hatcher Pass in the Talkeetna Mountains of Alaska in February
Backcountry Skiing near Hatcher Pass in the Talkeetna Mountains

Backcountry skiing and snowboarding in Alaska is considered some of the best in the world, due to the state’s abundant snowfall, rugged terrain, and remote wilderness areas. The backcountry in Alaska offers a unique and challenging experience for experienced skiers and snowboarders who are comfortable with navigating in the wilderness, and are able to assess the snow conditions and weather.

  • Chugach Mountains: The Chugach Mountains offer some of the most spectacular backcountry skiing and snowboarding in Alaska. The range has a diverse array of terrain, including steep chutes, open bowls, and glaciers.
  • Thompson Pass: Located near Valdez, Thompson Pass is known for its deep powder and spectacular views. The area offers a variety of terrain, including steep chutes, open bowls, and glaciers.
  • Hatcher Pass: Hatcher Pass is located near Palmer, Alaska, and it offers a variety of terrain for skiers and snowboarders of all abilities, including steep chutes, open bowls, and glaciers.
  • Tordrillo Mountains: The Tordrillo Mountains are located near Anchorage, Alaska, and they offer a variety of terrain for skiers and snowboarders of all abilities, including steep chutes, open bowls, and glaciers.
  • St. Elias Mountains: The St. Elias Mountains are located in the southeast of Alaska, and it is one of the most remote and spectacular backcountry skiing and snowboarding areas in the state. The range offers a variety of terrain, including steep chutes, open bowls, and glaciers.

Backcountry skiing and snowboarding in Alaska can be a thrilling and challenging experience, but it also comes with risks, such as avalanches, crevasses and harsh weather.

It’s essential to have proper equipment, knowledge of backcountry skiing, and be familiar with the area before attempting to ski or snowboard in the backcountry. It is also recommended to hire a guide or take a course to learn the proper skills and techniques for backcountry skiing and snowboarding.

Go On A Dog Sledding Adventure

Taking a dog sledding trip from Fairbanks in February - Photo Yoni Ryabinski
Photo – Yoni Ryabinski

Experience the thrill of racing across the snowy landscape on a dog sled! Dog sledding in Alaska is a popular activity that allows visitors to experience the excitement of racing across the snowy landscape on a dog sled. Dog sledding is an integral part of Alaska’s history and culture, as it was a primary means of transportation in the past.

Visitors can choose from a variety of dog sledding experiences in Alaska, such as watching the famous Iditarod race, taking a short ride with a tour company, booking a multi-day excursion with a musher, or even combining dog sledding with other activities such as ice fishing, snowmobiling, and hot spring soaking.

When dog sledding, visitors will learn about the history and culture of dog mushing in Alaska, as well as the care and training of the dogs. They will also get to experience the thrill of gliding across the snowy landscape, surrounded by the natural beauty of the Alaskan wilderness.

It is essential to choose a reputable tour company and to be prepared for the cold weather. It is also important to keep in mind that the dogs are working animals and should be treated with respect, and visitors should follow the instructions given by the musher.

Dog sledding in Alaska is a unique and exciting way to experience the Alaskan wilderness and culture.

People have different opinions on dog sledding and while we understand that, these dogs are well cared for and love the adventure of taking people on tours. In Alaska these dogs are treated with respect and are well cared for throughout the year.

Greatland Adventures

Come For The Northern Lights

Watch the Northern Lights in Alaska in February
Photo – Phillip Flippo

February is a great time to see the aurora borealis, also known as the northern lights. Viewing the northern lights in Alaska is a popular activity due to the state’s location within the auroral oval, which is an area where the northern lights are frequently visible.

The best time to view the northern lights in Alaska is during the winter months, when the nights are longest and the skies are typically cold and clear.

Alaska is situated right within the auroral oval, which is the footprint in the atmosphere of the boundary between the highly stretched field lines of the polar cap and the more normal field lines at lower latitudes. It outlines the circle that the aurora travel in.

Here are some great places where you can see the Aurora in Alaska in February.

Fairbanks

Fairbanks is one of the best places in Alaska to view the northern lights, thanks to its location under the auroral oval. Visitors can take a tour to the nearby Chena Hot Springs, where the lights can often be seen dancing above the resort.

Anchorage

Anchorage is another popular spot for viewing the northern lights. Visitors can take a tour to the nearby Chugach Mountains, where the lights can often be seen dancing above the peaks.

There are many places you can find to see the Aurora near Anchorage. For those who are staying in the city or near Anchorage, you don’t have to hire a tour guide if you want to try to find the Aurora yourself. But to have a much better chance at seeing something so amazing, it might be worth the extra expense to go with a guided group.

Denali National Park

The northern lights can also be viewed from Denali National Park, which is located in the heart of the auroral oval. Visitors can take a tour to the park and stay in one of the nearby accommodations for the best chance to see the northern lights.

The great thing about traveling to Denali National Park to see the Aurora is the lack of city light or other light pollution. You want to be away from as much man-made light as possible for the best viewing of the northern lights.

Remote Locations

For those who want to get away from the light pollution of cities, there are remote locations such as the Arctic Circle, where the northern lights can be seen in their full glory.

When viewing the northern lights, it is important to be prepared for the cold weather and to dress in warm layers. It’s also important to note that the northern lights are a natural phenomenon, and their visibility can be affected by solar activity and weather conditions, so it is always best to check the forecast before going out to view them.

It’s A Great Time To Go Ice Fishing

Ice fishing in Alaska is a popular February winter activity that allows visitors to experience the thrill of catching fish through the ice. The state is home to a variety of fish species, including salmon, arctic char, grayling, and trout, making it an ideal destination for ice fishing.

It’s also safer to go ice fishing when our lakes have had weeks/months of freezing temperatures. If this is something you have never done, you will want to make sure you hire a guide.

  • Kenai Peninsula Lakes: The Kenai Peninsula lakes are one of the most popular ice fishing destinations in Alaska. With more lakes than Minnesota, the lakes of the Kenai Peninsula are full of stocked rainbow trout, Dolly Varden char, and lake trout. The area offers a variety of fishing opportunities, from fishing through the ice to fishing from the shore.
  • Matanuska-Susitna Valley: The Matanuska-Susitna Valley is located just north of Anchorage and offers excellent lakes for ice fishing for arctic char, grayling, and trout.
  • Fairbanks: Fairbanks offers ice fishing for arctic char, grayling, and northern pike in the nearby Chena Lake in North Pole, Alaska.
  • Anchorage: Even the big city has a number of lakes that are stocked during the winter with fish. Feel free to ice fish at Beach, Campbell Point, Delong, Mirror, Sand, Goose, and Jewel lakes this winter. These lakes are stocked with arctic char, grayling, pike, and even landlocked salmon.
  • Remote locations: There are also many remote locations in Alaska that offer ice fishing opportunities such as rivers, lakes and even the Arctic Ocean, where visitors can catch fish such as arctic char, grayling, and pike.

When ice fishing in Alaska, it is important to be prepared for the cold weather and to dress in warm layers. It is also important to have the proper equipment, such as a fishing rod, reel, bait, and an ice auger to drill holes in the ice.

It is recommended to hire a guide or take a class to learn the proper techniques and safety precautions for ice fishing. Always check local regulations and obtain the proper permits before heading out for ice fishing.

Snowmachining (aka Snowmobile)

Snowmachine In Alaska In February Looking At Denali And Mt Foraker - Photo John Ellison
Looking at Denali & Mt Foraker | Photo – John Ellison

Explore the backcountry of Alaska on a snowmachine. Guided tours are available, or you can rent a snowmobile and explore on your own.

Snowmachining in Alaska during the winter can be a thrilling and unique experience. It allows you to explore the remote and snowy wilderness of Alaska while enjoying the speed and excitement of riding a snow machine.

However, it can also be dangerous if proper safety precautions are not taken. It is important to check weather conditions, wear proper clothing and equipment, and have a plan for emergencies. Being well versed in avalanche safety is very important for a successful and safe trip out into the backcountry.

Additionally, be aware of any laws and regulations regarding snowmachining in the area where you plan to ride. It is also recommended to go with a guided tour or local expert who knows the area well.

Hot Springs

Visiting Chena Hotsprings in Fairbanks in February - Photo Niles Hansen
Photo – Niles Hansen

Alaska is home to several natural hot springs, which can be a great way to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the state in February. Hot springs are formed when underground water is heated by geothermal activity, and the water then rises to the surface.

Many of the hot springs in Alaska are located in remote and wilderness areas, and can be difficult to access. However, some hot springs are more easily accessible and have developed facilities such as changing rooms and bathrooms.

Here are a few popular hot springs in Alaska that you can visit:

  • Chena Hot Springs Resort: This hot spring is located about 60 miles northeast of Fairbanks and is one of the most popular hot springs in Alaska. It has a resort with a hot spring-fed pool, as well as a restaurant, gift shop, and overnight accommodations.
  • Manley Hot Springs: This hot spring is located about 120 miles west of Fairbanks and features a hot spring-fed pool, as well as overnight accommodations.
  • Tolovana Hot Springs: Tolovana Hot Springs is a natural hot spring located in the Tolovana River Valley, about 100 miles northwest of Fairbanks, Alaska. The hot spring is located in the remote wilderness and is accessible only by foot, snowmobile, or small aircraft. The hot spring is a small, but popular destination for those who enjoy soaking in natural hot water while surrounded by the beautiful Alaskan wilderness. 

It is important to note that many hot springs in Alaska are on state or city land and may have specific regulations such as permit requirement or usage limits; also consider the impact of your visit on the natural environment. It is recommended to check the specific regulations and availability of each hot spring before planning your visit!

Hot springs are a time-honored tradition in Alaska, and one of the very best parts of Alaska in the winter time. The thrill of the hot waters to the freezing air is one that is fun to experience.

Wildlife Viewing

See more moose in Alaska in February - Photo Ella Gonzalez
Photo – Ella Gonzalez

February is a great time to see some wildlife in Alaska, including moose, caribou, and even the occasional wolf. During the winter months, visitors to Alaska can see a variety of wildlife, including:

  • Moose: Moose are common throughout Alaska and can be found in both urban and wilderness areas. They are large animals with long legs and massive antlers, and they are often seen foraging for food in open areas.
  • Caribou: Caribou are also common in Alaska and can be found in both the northern and southern parts of the state. They are known for their large antlers and distinctive white fur, and they are often seen in herds.
  • Wolves: Wolves are found throughout Alaska and are known for their distinctive howling. They are elusive animals and are best viewed from a distance.
  • Foxes: Arctic and red foxes are common in Alaska, they can be found in the tundra and the forest.
  • Dall Sheep: Dall Sheep are found in the mountainous regions of Alaska, and they are known for their thick white fleece and curved horns. You may even spot them on the rock cliffs alongside the Seward Highway.
  • Bald Eagles: Bald eagles are common in Alaska, and they can be found throughout the state. They are known for their distinctive white head and tail feathers.
  • Owls: Owls such as the Snowy Owl, Great Gray, and the Great Horned Owls can be spotted in the winter months in Alaska.

Another way to view wildlife in the winter is by taking a scenic drive, such as the Seward Highway, which offers a chance to see Dall Sheep, moose, and eagles along the way. 

Visitors can also take a snowmobile or dog sled tour to explore the wilderness and possibly spot some animals.

It is important to remember that these animals are wild and should be respected, visitors should keep a safe distance and not approach them too closely. Also, visitors should be aware of the weather conditions and come prepared for cold temperatures and potential extreme weather.

Soak in the Scenery

View Alaska scenery in February - Photo Wild On Alaska
Photo – Wild On Alaska

Alaska’s winter landscape is truly breathtaking, with snow-covered mountains, frozen lakes, and ice-covered rivers. The serenity and beauty of the winter wilderness is an experience that visitors will never forget.

Take an easy walk or just a drive through wherever you are to really soak in your surroundings.

One of our favorite places – Eagle River Nature Center. You can take a day exploring and finding some of the most beautiful snow covered landscapes in this area. And it’s not too far from Anchorage.

February Annual Festivals

Fur Rondy

Fur Rondy is an annual winter festival held in Anchorage, Alaska in late February of each year. It’s been a tradition since 1935 and is one of the oldest and most popular winter festivals in the state. The festival typically takes place over the course of several days and features a wide variety of events and activities for visitors to enjoy.

Some of the events and activities that may be included in Fur Rondy are:

  • Dog Mushing: Visitors can watch the start of the famous Fur Rondy Open World Championship Sled Dog Races, where mushers from around the world compete in a race through the Alaskan wilderness.
  • Snow Sculpture Competition: A snow sculpture competition is held where teams of sculptors compete to create the most impressive sculptures using just snow and ice.
  • Ice Carving Competition: The festival also includes an ice-carving competition, where professional ice carvers from around the world compete to create the most beautiful and intricate ice sculptures.
  • Native Cultural Performances: The festival includes a variety of traditional Native Alaskan performances, including storytelling, dance, and music performances.
  • Winter Sports: Visitors can participate in winter sports such as ice skating, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing.
  • Food and Craft Fair: Visitors can sample traditional Alaskan foods and browse the work of local artisans at the Fur Rondy Marketplace.
  • Parade and fireworks: The festival concludes with a lively parade through the streets of Anchorage, followed by a spectacular fireworks display.

Fur Rondy is a great opportunity for visitors to experience the unique culture and traditions of Alaska during the winter season. The festival is a celebration of the Alaskan spirit and offers a variety of events and activities for visitors of all ages to enjoy.

Fur Rondy

Winterfest in Denali National Park

This festival, which takes place in late February, features a variety of events including ice skating, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing, as well as a chili cook-off and a parade.

Winterfest in Denali National Park is an annual event that celebrates the winter season in the park. The event typically takes place over the course of several days and offers a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy.

Some of the activities that may be included in Winterfest are:

  • Dog Sledding: Visitors can take a ride on a dog sled and learn about the history and culture of dog mushing in Alaska.
  • Snowshoeing: Guided snowshoeing tours are offered to help visitors explore the park’s winter landscape.
  • Skiing and Snowboarding: There are ski and snowboarding opportunities for visitors to enjoy on the park’s groomed trails.
  • Snowmobile Tours: Visitors can take a guided snowmobile tour of the park and experience the winter wilderness.
  • Winter Photography: Photography workshops and classes may be offered to help visitors capture the beauty of the park in the winter.
  • Music and Entertainment: Winterfest may include live music and other forms of entertainment to keep visitors entertained.
  • Fireworks: Some Winterfest include fireworks displays, adding a spectacular show to the evening entertainment.
  • Northern Lights Viewing: Winterfest may include northern lights viewing opportunities, providing visitors the chance to see the aurora borealis.

Winterfest in Denali National Park is a great way to experience the park in the winter and enjoy a variety of activities in the snowy wilderness. Keep in mind that the park is a wild place and the weather can be unpredictable. Visitors should come prepared for the cold and check the park’s website for the most updated information regarding the event schedule and availability.

Denali Winterfest

  • Address: Denali National Park Parks Hwy, Denali National Park and Preserve, AK
  • Phone: (907) 683-9532
  • Website: nps.gov

Ice Championships Fairbanks

The World Ice Art Championships, held annually in Fairbanks, Alaska, is a large-scale ice carving competition that attracts artists from around the globe.

The competition usually starts in mid-February and ends by mid-March of each year. This year is February 17 – March 17, 2023

The competition typically takes place over the course of several weeks and features a wide variety of ice sculptures, from single-block carvings to large multi-block pieces.

The event is held at the George Horner Ice Park, which features a large ice-carving area where the competitors work on their sculptures, as well as an ice-sculpting school for visitors who want to learn more about the art form. The park also features an ice-sculpture display area where visitors can view the finished sculptures.

During the event, visitors can watch the carvers at work, learn about the tools and techniques used in ice sculpting, and admire the finished sculptures. The event also includes live music, food vendors, and other entertainment.

The competition is divided into different categories, including single-block, multi-block, and youth categories, as well as a special “Theme” category, where carvers are asked to create sculptures based on a specific theme.

The sculptures are judged based on a number of criteria, including originality, artistic merit, and technical skill.

The World Ice Art Championships is a unique event that offers visitors the chance to see some of the world’s most talented ice carvers at work and admire their stunning creations. If you are in Fairbanks during the event, it is definitely worth a visit.

Ice Alaska

Go On A Glacier Tour

Check Out Matanuska Glacier In February When Everything Is Frozen
Photo – Phillip Flippo

The Matanuska Glacier is one of the easier glaciers to get to from Anchorage. Most people who visit the glacier do so in the summer months. But what about visiting the glacier in winter or specifically in February?

What you get to experience in the winter is a completely different adventure than a tour in the summer months. Most people will come to Alaska in the summer, missing out on these great opportunities in our cold and dark months.

Read: 7 Best Things About A Tour Of The Matanuska Glacier In The Winter

These are just a few of the many activities that you can do in Alaska in February. Whether you are looking for adventure or relaxation, you will find something to suit your interests in this beautiful state.

All in all, winter in Alaska is a season of adventure, beauty, and wonder. It is a season that will be cherished by everyone who experiences it. And for those who don’t like crowds, come in the winter instead!

Photo of author

Megan McDonald

After living over 14 years in Alaska, Megan McDonald can confidently state that there’s not much of the state on the road system that she hasn’t visited. From the Brooks Range to McCarthy, Homer, and everywhere in between, every nook and cranny of Alaska is her always her new favorite place. As President and co-founder of Alaska-based boutique media agency HuMu Media, she spends her work time writing, photographing, and traveling, and her off time writing, photographing, and traveling. They say do what you love, and she is lucky enough to do so! You can follow her travels on Instagram at @theitinerantginger

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