Denali Country – Fall Color and Northern Lights

8 Days - Fairbanks
Sep 6 - Sep 13, 2021
Activity Level
Skill Level
All Levels


includes single supplement

Registration deadline: July 1, 2021

For fall color lovers, Southcentral Alaska is a superlative and still undiscovered and un-crowded gem.   A carpet of yellows reds and oranges of the tundra and taiga forest, punctuated by numerous ponds, lakes, rivers, and streams stretch out for endless miles below the rugged and glacier-clad high peaks of the Eastern Alaska Range.   As the night returns to the north, so do displays of aurora borealis.  With winter’s deep freeze still a long way off, fall northern lights viewing affords opportunities to capture dancing bands and curtains of color reflecting in easy to reach bodies of water.

This landscape intensive tour will feature a loop route and itinerary starting and ending in Fairbanks, Alaska spending most of our time seeking out stunning glacier-clad peaks of the Eastern Alaska Range including views of North America’s highest mountain, Denali, easily photographed right from the highway and from short distances on the tundra.   Our base for 3 nights will be in a quintessential Alaska lodge exploring the Denali Highway which stretches for 135 miles, oriented east to west on the southern flanks of the Alaska Range.  Along this road are endless sweeping tundra vistas.  With ponds close by and mountain views to the north, the remote Denali Highway affords excellent foregrounds for northern lights displays with near-zero light pollution.  The timing of this workshop is slightly past peak for tundra colors with near peak conditions in the taiga forests.  With lengthening nights and the approaching autumnal equinox, the aurora activity will be on the increase.  In addition, there are increased chances for dusting of new snows accenting the already stunning landscapes.  On our return to Fairbanks via the Parks Highway, the boreal forest colors will be near peak and several places near Fairbanks will allow one last chance to capture the aurora before the workshop ends.

Workshop includes:

  • 7 nights lodging based on single occupancy beginning on Sept. 6, 2021
  • Round trip transportation from Fairbanks
  • Water, snacks, permits, and fees
  • Pre-workshop webinar
  • In-field critiques and post-workshop critiques

Please be aware that shooting locations stated in this itinerary may change depending on weather and lighting conditions in the hopes of giving you the best opportunities possible.

Day 1 – Monday, September 6, 2021

  • Check-in to Fairbanks lodging

Day 2 –  Tuesday, September 7, 2021

  • Group meets at 9 am at the hotel in Fairbanks for an orientation and presentation.
  • Group will travel down the Alaska Highway to Delta Junction continuing south on the Richardson Highway over Isabel Pass into the heart of the Eastern Alaska Range photographing colors, the Delta River and the big glaciated peaks of the Alaska Range.
  • Continue onto the Denali Highway where we will check-in for three nights at the Maclaren River Lodge.

Day 3 & 4 Wednesday-Thursday, Sept 8-9, 2021 

  • Our days and nights will be spent exploring the eastern and central Denali Highways for late tundra fall scenic and for aurora displays on clear nights.
  • Places we will visit include traveling from Isabel Pass to the Susitna River a great location for sunset and seeing the aurora.

Day 5 & 6:  Friday & Saturday, September 10-11, 2021

  • On Saturday, we will head west covering the remainder of the Denali Highway and on over to the Parks Highway photographing more tundra fall colors and big Alaska Range Peaks.
  • We will be based at the south end of Denali National Park for two nights which will give us a prime position to capture stunning views of “the Mountain” (Denali) if it is out, with reflections in easily accessed ponds.

Day 7Sunday,  Sept. 12, 2021

  • We will spend our last day continuing north to complete our loop around Denali Country making scenic stops along the way.
  • Arrive in Fairbanks.  Check in to the hotel for a quick break.
  • Weather permitting we will travel to the popular Chena Lakes State Recreation Area which will feature near peak fall colors of birch and aspen forest and offer more opportunities to capture the northern lights and reflections as we look northwest and northeast across the lake.

Day 8: Monday, Sept. 13, 2021

  • Depart for home.

Physical Rating:  Moderate

Shooting locations all have relatively easy access with little to no hiking.  Terrain may consist of walking over uneven tundra.  Weather can be damp and cold in fall.  Participants should dress in layers to stay dry and be warm.

Lodging During the Workshop:

Springhill Suites
575 1st Avenue
Fairbanks, AK  99701
Tel: 907-451-6552

The workshop begins and ends at the Springhill Suites in downtown Fairbanks.  Lodging on September 6th and September 12th is included in your workshop fee based on single occupancy. Should you wish to book a room on September 5th (prior to the workshop) or September 13th (the day the workshop ends), please contact the hotel directly and request Arizona Highways PhotoScapes courtesy block. This is not included in your workshop fee and should be booked prior to August 7 to guarantee availability.

McClaren River Lodge
Denali Hwy, AK
Tel: (907) 388-6361

Our base of operation for the first three nights on the road will be spent along the Denali Highway at the McClaren River Lodge. Each cabin has two queen beds and 3/4 bath.  A restaurant is on property serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Carlo River Cabins
224 Parks Hwy
Denali, AK
Tel: (907) 683-2576

For two nights we will stay at the cozy handcrafted cabins along Carlo Creek.  Each cabin has one queen bed, microwave, fridge,  and a small private bathroom.

Michael DeYoung
Jon Vemo
Photo Guide
There are a number of reputable companies that provide Travel Insurance.  For your convenience, we offer travel protection through TravelEx Insurance Services.  For more information on the available plans or to enroll, go to www.travelexinsurance.comor contact TravelEx Insurance Services at 800-228-9792 and reference location number 03-0147.  Travel Insurance is underwritten by, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company, NAIC #22276. W20
Should you find it necessary to cancel your workshop, the following cancellation policy applies – NO EXCEPTIONS.
  • 91 days or more prior to the start of the workshop your deposit will be refunded less $100
  • 90 days full payment is due
  • 61-90 days your workshop fees will be refunded in the form of an AHPS Store Credit Voucher less $100 administrative fee.  The voucher is good for 18 months.
  • * 60 days or less until departure – No refund.

* If we are able to fill your seat and the workshop runs at full enrollment we will refund your workshop fees less the $100 administrative fee.

NOTE:  Workshop bookings including, but not limited to, outfitters, permit agencies, lodging and more are requiring firm financial commitments at 90 days.  Therefore, in order to continue to bring you to great destinations, we must strictly adhere to our cancellation policy as outlined above. We recognize cancellations can sometimes be unavoidable that is why securing a Travel Protection Plan is highly encouraged.

Arizona Highways PhotoScapes reserves the right to cancel or change any workshop if our minimum enrollment is not met or if situations beyond our control arise that may create unsafe or undesirable travel conditions.  Any cancelation or postponement as a result of situations beyond our control, AHPS does not promise any refunds or credits.  If and when feasible, we will attempt to reschedule the workshop at a later date.  Alternatively, we may decide to issue you credit for a future workshop, or issue a refund, less any non-refundable deposits we have paid to workshop providers on your behalf.

Please note that AHPS is not liable for any additional participant expenses incurred such as airfare, hotel accommodations, or any other components booked outside of the workshop.

PAYMENT TERMS:  A minimum deposit is due at registration to reserve your space.  Please refer to the specific workshop for the required deposit.  Final payments are due 90 days prior to departure.  Approximately 15 days prior to the due date you will receive a reminder email that your balance is coming due.