Pop quiz. How many time zones does Alaska have?
Two—although we originally had four, due to our large geographic size. Alaska consolidated to two time zones – Alaska Time and Hawaii-Aleutian Time – in 1983 to put our state capitol, Juneau, on the same time zone as the more populated Anchorage and Fairbanks (and to make doing business with companies in the Lower 48 states a little easier).
Most of the state is on Alaska time – four hours behind our friends on the East Coast. So, when it’s noon in New York, it’s only 8 AM in Alaska. If you’re traveling from Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, or other West Coast destination, you’ll have to change your clocks back one hour when you arrive in Alaska. (Fortunately, your phone should update automatically!)
Hawaii-Aleutian time is reserved for Alaska’s far western islands along the Aleutian chain. You’ll only have to change your watches to this time zone if you’re traveling west of Dutch Harbor.
We also observe Daylight Savings Time, moving our clocks ahead in spring and back in fall.
Interesting fact: The town of Hyder, in the Inside Passage, observes TWO time zones! Bisected by the U.S./Canada border, the town unofficially observes Pacific Time…except for the U.S. Post Office. As a U.S. federal facility, the post office is officially on Alaska Time!