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Hang gliding in Alaska is arguably the most unique flying experience in the country. Use this expert guide to find the best places to launch in the state.
Usually, when you think about going hang gliding, you think about heading somewhere with warm weather, long summers, and lots of sun. That doesn’t exactly scream Alaska and the snow-covered tundra up there. But surprisingly to many, there actually are some great hang gliding launch sites and companies in the state.
The best locations to go hang gliding in Alaska include:
- Alyeska Ski Resort
- Skydance Paragliding
- Hatcher Pass
- Mount Denali
- Eagle Summit
- Knik River
- Talkeetna Mountains
- Flattop Mountain
If you're looking for a thrilling adventure, consider hang gliding in Alaska. There are many locations throughout the state that offer amazing views and an adrenaline rush like no other. In this article, we'll talk about the views that people can expect to see, as well as the average weather conditions in each location. We'll also discuss some of the other things people can do in the area while they're not hang gliding!
Since none of us here at Flight Notch have personally flown in Alaska before, we relied heavily on research and input from other enthusiasts for this article. By vetting all of the input we received and making sure multiple pilots recommended each one, we’re able to give you an accurate list of where you should go hang gliding in Alaska.
Can You Hang Glide In Alaska?
As we go through our journey of coming up with a comprehensive guide of the top hang gliding spots in every state in the country, we were bound to come across Alaska at some point. Due to the cold weather and snowy climate, people often wonder if it's even possible to go hang gliding in Alaska. Well, I'm here to tell you that not only is it possible, but it can be an incredibly exhilarating experience! There are many different locations throughout Alaska that offer amazing views and good weather conditions for hang gliding.
In most of our other articles for the other states in the US, we talk about the months of the year when there is warm weather, which is typically ideal for hang gliding. Unfortunately, Alaska stays cold for the majority of the year, so finding a location with good weather conditions can be a bit more tricky. So one of the big keys to flying here is to always make sure to bundle up and dress warm. For all of the locations below, we'll provide some general weather info so you know what to expect.
Since the weather in Alaska isn't always great for hang gliding, let's talk about the biggest reason to consider flying here: the unbeatable views! Alaska is a massive state with so much natural beauty to offer. From towering mountains to pristine glaciers, there's truly something for everyone. And what better way to take in all of that beauty than from a bird's eye view?
Where Should You Go Hang Gliding In Alaska?
Now that you know that you can, in fact, go hang gliding in Alaska, let's talk about some of the best places to do it. We'll start with a couple of companies and organized locations to glide from and then we'll dive into the specific areas around the state that you can launch a hang glider yourself and take to the skies. Enough chit-chat, let's get into it.
Alyeska Ski Resort
Up first on our list is one of the most amazing places to visit in all of Alaska if you're into any sort of exhilarating sport, such as hang gliding or skiing. And that is the Alyeska Ski Resort. Located just outside of Anchorage in the Chugach Mountains, this place is truly a winter wonderland. The views are absolutely breathtaking and you can even see for miles and miles out onto Cook Inlet.
Most of the year, the weather around Anchorage is too cold and snowy for hang gliding. However, if you happen to visit during the months of June or July, you may be in luck! These two months offer some of the best weather conditions for flying around Anchorage. The average temperatures are in the mid-60s to low 70s, which is perfect for hang gliding.
In addition to the amazing hang gliding opportunities that Alyeska has, there are nearly endless other things to do in the area when you're not hang gliding. As one of the world's best ski resorts, Alyeska offers some of the best skiing and snowboarding you'll find anywhere. And when the snow melts in June and July, there are still plenty of activities to keep you busy, such as hiking, mountain biking, and even taking a scenic gondola ride to the top of the nearby mountain.
Next up on our list is one of the only companies in all of Alaska that deals with gliding of any kind: Skydance Paragliding. From the name of the company, you can probably guess that Skydance focuses on paragliding rather than hang gliding. But here at Flight Notch, we're fans of all sorts of gliding, and going paragliding vs hang gliding in Alaska is still undoubtedly something that you want to try while you're here!
Similar to Alyeska, Skydance is located just outside of Anchorage, so you'll get to experience many of the same views that you'll see while hang gliding around the ski resort. The area is absolutely beautiful and you'll be hard-pressed to find better views anywhere else in the state. And like we said, Skydance is one of the only companies that offers any sort of gliding experience in Alaska, so if you're looking for something unique and exciting to do, this is definitely the place for you.
As far as weather goes, Skydance is open for business from May through September. And during those months, you can expect the weather to be fairly mild with temperatures ranging from the mid-50s to the low 70s. However, it's worth noting that the weather can be somewhat unpredictable in Alaska, so if you're planning on paragliding during your trip, make sure to check the forecast beforehand and come prepared for anything.
Also, keep in mind that Skydance only accepts a certain number of people per year, so be sure to sign up early if you're interested in learning how to paraglide so that you can experience as much of flying in Alaska as humanly possible! Since it's in Anchorage, you'll also never run out of stuff to do. Glide during the day and head to town at night. It's a great way to spend a few days in Alaska!
Now that we've talked about the Alyeska Ski Resort and one of the only gliding companies in the state, let's get into some of the best launch areas that you can hang glide from. Up first is Hatcher Pass, which is located about 60 miles north of Anchorage. Hatcher Pass is one of the most popular places to fly in all of Alaska and it's easy to see why. The views are absolutely incredible and you can even see for miles and miles out into the distance.
One of the best things about Hatcher Pass is that it's very easily accessible. There are plenty of roads that lead up to the launch area and there's even a parking lot so you don't have to worry about finding a place to park. The average weather in the spring and summer is perfect for flying and even in the fall and winter, it's still possible to fly if the conditions are right. Just make sure you bundle up tight!
When you get done flying at the pass for the day, there are still plenty of other things to do in the area. There are hiking trails, mountain biking trails, and even a few restaurants so you can refuel after a long day of flying. Hatcher Pass is definitely one of the best places to go hang gliding in all of Alaska.
Next up on our list of the best hang gliding locations in Alaska is Mount Denali. This spot is great for a few reasons. First, the views are incredible. As you fly around Mount Denali, you can look down and see an endless sea of mountains and glaciers. The views are truly breathtaking.
Second, the weather is usually pretty good from around May through September. That said, the weather can be unpredictable in Alaska, so it's always a good idea to check the forecast before heading out (which is something you should always do before gliding anyway). The thermals can also be a bit tricky to navigate around Mount Denali, but if you're experienced, they can actually add to the fun.
Finally, Mount Denali is a great spot for other activities as well. There are plenty of hiking and camping spots in the area, so you can make a weekend out of it. And, if you're lucky, you might even see some wildlife while you're gliding.
The third spot on our list takes us to the Eagle Summit, which is located in the central-northeastern part of the state. The views here are absolutely stunning and you can see for miles in every direction. This summit is part of the White Mountains, which means you'll get to see plenty of wildlife alongside the incredible views as you're soaring high above the ground.
The weather is generally pretty good during the warmer months of the year, but, just like the rest of Alaska, it can be a bit cold in the fall and winter. If you come during the right time of year, you'll have no trouble finding some great thermals that will help you stay up in the air for hours on end.
Eagle Summit is relatively close to Fairbanks, which is one of the larger cities in Alaska. This means that, if you're looking for something to do after a day of hang gliding, you'll have plenty of options.
If you're looking for a more remote option for hang gliding in Alaska, then you might want to check out the Knik River. The Knik River is located just north of Anchorage, and it offers some truly incredible views. When you're hang gliding here, you'll be able to see mountains, glaciers, rivers, and forests all stretched out before you.
The weather around the Knik River is usually pretty good for flying from spring to fall, but it can be a bit more unpredictable in the winter. However, if you're willing to take the risk, you might be rewarded with some truly stunning views of the area covered in snow.
Another great thing about the Knik River is that it's not too far from some other popular attractions in Alaska. For example, it's only about an hour's drive from Denali National Park, which is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the state. So, if you're looking for a place to hang glide that also offers some other great activities, then the Knik River is definitely worth checking out.
Coming towards the end of our list, the second last place we're going to look at that's awesome for hang gliding is the Talkeetna Mountains. The views here are some of the most varied and beautiful in Alaska, with snow-capped peaks giving way to green valleys and winding rivers. You can even see Denali if you're flying when the weather is nice!
The weather in the Talkeetnas is generally pretty good for hang gliding, although it can be a bit windy at times. May through October is usually the best time to go hang gliding, with milder temperatures and longer days. Fall and winter can be far too cold like most of the other locations on this list, but sometimes you can find great conditions with good thermals.
When you get done gliding for the day, you can check out the nearby town of Talkeetna. This is a great place to relax and enjoy some of Alaska's best views. There are also plenty of places to eat and drink, as well as some great shops to check out. You can even take a scenic flightseeing tour if you want to see the area from a different perspective other than hang gliding!
Rounding out our list is Flattop Mountain, another great place for hang gliding in Alaska. The views here are simply stunning, with the city of Anchorage laid out below you and the Chugach Mountains off in the distance. When you're flying, you might even spot some of the area's wildlife like eagles or bears!
The weather on Flattop is usually pretty good for hang gliding for at least a few months of the year. As we've mentioned time and time again throughout this article, flying during the winter can be pretty chilly, but you can sometimes even come across decent conditions in the cooler months of the year.
Other than just hang gliding, you can also hike to the top of Flattop Mountain if you're looking for a bit of exercise. And, when you're done with your hike or flight, you can head into Anchorage for some great food and drinks. All in all, Flattop Mountain is a great option for hang gliding in Alaska.
So there you have it, these are some of the best places to go hang gliding in Alaska. Whether you're looking for amazing views, good weather, or other things to do in the area, one of these locations is sure to be perfect for you. So get out there and start exploring!