Go deep into the wild on this active Alaskan adventure

Alaska may be part of the USA, but it feels like another world. This trip gives the freedom to hike, kayak, climb or fly your way through the iconic Denali and Wrangell-St Elias national parks. It’s a big, bold landscape filled with incredible mountain ranges, diverse wildlife and shining glaciers. Get truly into the wild as well as reunite with civilisation with stops in Anchorage and Valdez. There’s also plenty of free time to explore this beautiful landscape at your own pace.

Start
Anchorage, United States
Finish
Anchorage, United States
Countries
United States
Themes
Explorer
Code
SSRL
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 13
Carbon offset
0kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Alaska is unlike any other place on earth. Drive across frozen plains past massive peaks, walk across remote tundras to glacial rivers and canoe in the spectacular waters of Prince William Sound
  • Denali National Park is home to an abundance of native wildlife. Visit the park for a unique chance to see moose, caribou, grizzly bears, Dall sheep and wolves in their natural habitat
  • After witnessing the land mammals of Denali, get close to sea otters, puffins and humpback whales as you kayak among glaciers in Valdez. You might even see bald eagles wheeling in the sky above
  • Wrangell-St Elias National Park is the world's largest internationally protected area. See North America's biggest collection of glaciers and some of its tallest, most impressive mountains on a visit to the park

Itinerary

Welcome to Anchorage, Alaska, in the USA. Your 'Explore Alaska' adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. Located in south-central Alaska on the shores of Cook Inlet, Anchorage is a unique urban environment situated in the heart of the wilderness. As there's no time spent in Anchorage on this trip we recommend you arrive a few days early to see the sights. If you need help booking extra accommodation, our reservations team will be able to assist (subject to availability).
In the morning, head north along the old Denali Highway to Denali National Park (approximately five hours). During the drive keep an eye out for caribou and other wildlife in this amazing, unspoiled environment. Your evening is then free to relax.
Leave early in the morning for the eight-hour bus journey to Denali National Park and Eielson Visitor Centre. Two scenic bus tours (included with Denali National Park admission) take you through the backcountry of the park. Trips on the shuttle buses are quite relaxed and there will be no formal narration. The drivers provide basic park and safety information, assist you in spotting wildlife, answer questions and make restroom stops. Bring food and beverages with you, as there aren't any available on the tours. The bus will drive 66 miles deep into the park to the Eielson Visitor Centre. This epic journey is worth it, as National Park Service rangers and interactive displays provide insight and information about the park and its myriad of resources.
Special Information
Notes: Rest stops occur around every 90 minutes throughout the bus trip. Bus riders are permitted to depart the bus within regulations to hike in the park.
Located in the Maclaren river valley, traverse through high alpine country on the state’s second highest highway pass to Maclaren River Lodge. You'll then take a canoe up to the remote 'Glacier Camp' in the wilderness, where you'll explore and spend the night camping out beneath the stars.
Canoe back to the lodge in the morning. Leave the main highway and head deep into Wrangell-St Elias National Park on one of the longest drives of the trip. This is the largest national park in the USA and is nearly six times the size of Yellowstone. On your way to the park, keep an eye out for an abundance of wildlife. Once you've arrived at your campsite, your evening is then free. Today's driving time will take a total of around eight hours.
Today is free to explore Wrangell-St Elias National Park, but there are a whole host of optional activities to take part in (at an additional cost). Perhaps take a flight-seeing tour of the park or venture out on a glacier walk, where you can get up close to the huge chains of glaciers within the park. There's also the opportunity to do some ice climbing. If you're just looking to explore the area, head out on a hiking tour in search of moose, bears and caribou. In the evening, head back to the campsite for some much needed rest.
This morning begin your long drive to Valdez, which should take around seven and a half hours. Surrounded on three sides by steep, snow-capped Chugach Mountains, the blue-water port town of Valdez is best known as the southern terminus of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System. On arrival into Valdez, check in to the hotel and relax for the rest of the evening.
Today is free to do what you like in Valdez. Kayaking is hugely popular here, and you can paddle on Prince William Sound, among the glaciers, down the fjords through to waterfalls and with the setting of imposing mountains in the background. On land, possibly visit the Valdez Museum and Historical Archive for an interesting history of this important port city.
This morning take the long drive back to Anchorage, which usually takes around six hours. This may be a tiring journey, but it's also a spectacular one. Cross the immense Thompson Pass and enjoy stunning views of Worthington Glacier.

The trip finishes on arrival into Anchorage and no accommodation is provided tonight. The arrival time depends on each group, but if you decide to fly out on this day, please don't book a flight before 9pm. This will give you enough time to catch a shuttle from the hotel to the airport and be there two hours before departure. If you wish to spend extra time in Anchorage we'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
n/a
Transport
Private vehicle
Accommodation
Camping (with basic facilities) (3 nights), Camping (with facilities) (4 nights), Hotel (1 night)
Included activities
  • Scenic Canoe Trip

Dates

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Important notes

1. This trip finishes on arrival into Anchorage in the afternoon on day 9.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View trip notes