Berry picking

Did you know there are over 40 types of berries in Alaska? Berry picking is plentiful in Alaska, but especially in Southeast Alaska, and most types of berries are best in summer in late July and august. Some of the varieties you can find include huckleberries, blueberries, salmonberries, and the elusive Nagoon berry. If you don’t know much about berries, it’s best to research beforehand and learn what is and is safe to eat. Some berries, like the white-colored berries in Alaska, are poisonous, so you better keep an eye out. If you’re unsure, stick to orchards and you-pick farms, or ask a park ranger to look at your berry loot before eating it.

Berry picking is a fun variation on your regular hiking that provides built-in snack breaks. It’s also free as long as you’re not on private property and picking for your consumption. Different type of berries grows along Alaska. But some hottest spots include Chugach State Park, Denali State Park, Denali National Park, and around Petersburg. Besides picking poisonous berries, you must be careful not to clash with other berry lovers – bears. You should make calm noises and keep your voice down as you look near bushes in case bears are picking their own afternoon snack on the other side.

Berries to look for:

  • Blueberries: Pick the light grey-blue colored ones. Skip any berry with red spots. If you hold a handful of berries over your bucket and rub them with your fingers, the good ones will come right off. 
  • Raspberries: If they’re deep in color, they’ll be riper. If you have to pull hard to take it, it’s not ready; This is where the no-yank rule applies.
  • Cranberries: Pick the small, red, and pretty tart.
  • High-bush cranberries: These tend to be sweeter, and they’re known for their musky smell
  • Cloudberries: Golden raspberry and taste tart or almost like apricot
  • Crowberries: They look like blueberries with different leaves. They tend to be used for pies.
  • Salmonberries: They look like raspberries and can be orange, yellow, and red. The orange ones taste the better.