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Shoulder season: Tourist departures give way to Alaska stay-cation deals

Alaska Dispatch
Wildflower Gorman's Douglasia (Douglasia gormanii) of the Primrose Family at Mile 62. Photo taken on May 13, 2012.
Jacob W. Frank | NPS photo
The Alp Lily (Lloydia serotina). Photo taken on the Alpine Trail at Mile 66 on June 1, 2012.
Jacob W. Frank | NPS photo
Blue Kitten Tails (Synthyris borealis) of the Figwort Family. Taken at Fragrant Mile 62 on May 13, 2012.
Jacob W. Frank | NPS photo
Lapland Diapensia flowers (Diapensia lapponica) of the Diapensia Family. Taken on the Alpine Trail at Mile 66 on June 1, 2012.
Jacob W. Frank | NPS photo
The Alaska State flower Eritrichium aretioides (Mountain Forget-me-not). Taken at Mile 55 in Denali National Park and Preserve.
Jacob W. Frank | NPS photo
Pale Bell Heather flowers (Cassiope tetragona) of the Heath Family. Photo taken on the Alpine Trail at Mile 66 on June 1, 2012.
Jacob W. Frank | NPS photo
Pretty little Pasque Flower (Pulsatilla patens) of the Buttercup Family. Photo taken at Mile 2.5 on April 24, 2012.
Jacob W. Frank | NPS photo
Alaska Cotton Grass (Eriophorum brachyantherum) part of the Sedge Family. Photo taken at Mile 80 on June 23, 2012 in Denali National Park and Preserve.
Credit: Jacob W. Frank | NPS photo
Bladder Campion (Melandrium apetalum) of the Pink Family. Taken at the Polychrome Rest Area on June 19, 2012.
Jacob W. Frank | NPS photo

Darkness has returned to the Last Frontier: the few tourists left in Alaska these days tend to be foreigners -- seasoned travelers who are generally "kinder and less demanding," according to perennial seasonal workers up in Glitter Gulch, just beyond the turnoff into Denali National Park and Preserve.

Cooler temperatures, the return of aurora borealis and Alaska State Fair kick-off all remind Alaskans that winter is just around the corner.

Those dependent on summer tourism will soon close up shop and head Outside for a little rest and recovery. Alaska Airlines is offering a special shoulder-season sale, with airfares valid through the first week of December. Purchase them by Monday, Aug. 27, 2012:

 

  • Fly Anchorage to St. Louis roundtrip for $448
  • Fly Anchorage to Las Vegas roundtrip for $459
  • Fly Fairbanks to Las Vegas one-way for $279
  • Fly Fairbanks to Portland, Ore. one-way for $289
  • Fly Fairbanks to Phoenix one-way for $299
  • Fly Fairbanks to Seattle one-way for $269
  • Fly Juneau to Seattle one way for $199
  • Fly Juneau to Las Vegas one-way for $229
  • Fly Juneau to Palm Springs, Calif. one-way for $229
  • Fly Juneau to Tuscon, Ariz. one-way for $239

More deals were available for in-state travel through Dec. 12. See a full list of Alaska airfare deals. And speaking of in-state travel, a few hotels and cabin rentals from Glitter Gulch to Healy offer end-of-season discounts for Alaskans who know better than attempt a Denali visit before mid-August. Specials were listed at Denali Park Hotel in Healy and also at the Denali Bluffs Hotel just outside the park gates.