Mid-August is one of the best times of the year for Alaskans, as the bountiful berries are fully ripe and ready for the picking.

There are a number of places that are very popular for berry picking this time of year. Much like a great fishing hole, locals are reluctant to give up their secret spots though! One of the best berry picking areas in the entire state is also one of the worst-kept secrets - Hatcher Pass. Bring your buckets and head up Hatcher Pass Road for some exceptional blueberry picking opportunities this time of year. You won't be alone, however, but the views of the Matanuska Valley below make it all worth it.

While it's a little farther to drive, Denali State Park has a handsome reward for berry pickers. The best part is that you'll have grand views of Denali and the Alaska Range while you are picking. Kesugi Ridge is a fantastic hike that will yield some berries along the way.

For novices, make sure you know what you are picking before you pop a ripe berry in your mouth - there are many, many different varieties of berries out there, some of which aren't edible. Do yourself a favor and pick up a field guide or do some research on what berries you should be targeting. You'll want to avoid any berries that are white in color - they tend to be the poisonous varieties. Stick to blueberries, salmonberries and low- and high-bush cranberries and you'll be fine.

August is the prime time for berries, but you have to be quick - if you wait until the end of August and beginning of September, the season is already over.

A note of caution as well - make sure you are well aware of your surroundings when in the woods picking berries. Bears are also out there looking for ripe berries, and you don't want to come across one when you are filling your buckets!