Explore Alaska from Anchorage through the Alaska Range and down the Kenai Peninsula

Prepare to discover the captivating beauty of Alaska on this 12-day journey through its icy heart. From Anchorage to Homer, through forests, around mountain ranges and down to the spectacular coast. Explore the unspoilt woodlands of the Denali National Park, wander the bohemian streets of Talkeetna and keep your eyes open for grizzlies, caribou and moose as you head into the largest national park in the US. Kayak past icebergs in Valdez, and experience the quiet, majestic calm of this vast wilderness.


Start
Anchorage, United States
Finish
Anchorage, United States
Country
United States
Style
Comfort
Theme
Explorer, Wildlife
Code
SSKT
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 13

Why we love this trip

  • Alaska is unlike any other place on earth. Drive across frozen plains past massive peaks, walk across remote tundras to glacial rivers and take a boat trip into 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 on an optional kayak trip among glaciers in Valdez. Look out for bald eagles 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

  • Discover Seward, set at the base of Mount Marathon and one of Alaska's oldest and most scenic communities. The city offers a bustling harbour, quaint shops and galleries, and is a great base from which to explore Kenai Fjords National Park

  • Enjoy a journey along the dramatic coastlines of the Turnagain Arm from Seward to Anchorage. Sit back and take in stunning views of the Chugach Mountains while someone else does the driving

Is this trip right for you?

  • As Alaska is a huge state with large distances between towns and cities, be prepared to spend a lot of your time in the car. Some journeys can take up to eight or nine hours, but there will breaks along the way. This is all part of the adventure and a great way to see a variety of Alaskan landscapes.

  • While Alaska can experience warm summers, you should still be prepared for cold temperatures, especially at night, and also rain, which can (and does) happen year-round. Bring warm clothing with you, including base layers, a warm hat, gloves and a thick coat, as well as a rain jacket and waterproof shoes.

  • There are far more optional activities available on this trip than included activities. As not all of them are suitable for all budgets and activity levels, we prefer to leave the choice up to you.

  • Mosquitoes are found across the USA, even in the colder regions. They can be a problem a lot of the time, especially in July. It’s recommended that you bring insect repellent with you and anything else you think is applicable.

  • The summer months in Alaska see very long daylight hours, with the sun not completely setting until after midnight. As most people are likely to sleep before midnight, you might want to bring an eye mask to block out the light.

Itinerary

Welcome to Anchorage, USA. Your Best of Alaska adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Please 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. If you arrive early enough, perhaps head to the Anchorage Museum.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Notes: If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time for the group meeting, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (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. Perhaps sit down for dinner with the group and prepare for your days of exploration ahead.
Accommodation
  • Motel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Denali National Park
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Leave early in the morning for the eight-hour bus journey to Denali National Park and Eielson Visitor Centre. A scenic bus tour (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. For all fitness and adventure levels, there are a wide range of optional activities available such as river rafting, dogsled demonstrations and hiking. There's even an optional scenic flight available, with the possibility of a glacier landing.
Accommodation
  • Motel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Denali - Scenic bus tour
Optional Activities
  • Denali Canyon Run Raft - USD92
  • Denali Glacier Landing Flight - USD550
  • Denali Half-Day Raft - USD129
  • Denali Mountain Bike rental - USD25
  • Denali NP hiking - Free
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
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. Please be aware that if you wish to participate in some of the optional activities listed below, these might not allow enough time to also complete the included bus trip.
After breakfast, head out and drive to the centre of the Alaska Range (approximately four hours). We travel on the Denali Highway, although part of this journey is on a less-travelled, unpaved road which can be quite bumpy. The Alaska range is the highest mountain range in North America and includes Mount Denali (formerly known as Mount McKinley), which is the continent's highest peak. Experience the area's quiet lakes while looking for wild caribou and birdlife. Take a scenic canoe trip across the lake and perhaps fish for grayling. In the evening, settle down for dinner before getting comfortable in your multi-share lodge.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Maclaren - Scenic Canoe Trip - USD70
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Special Information
Please note this evening's accommodation is multi-share with shared bathrooms.
Today leave the main highway for the bumpy McCarthy Road and head deep into Wrangell-St Elias National Park. This is the largest national park in the USA and is nearly six times the size of Yellowstone. Four major mountain ranges meet here, and the park includes nine of the 16 highest peaks in the USA including Mt. Blackburn and Mt. Sanford. On your way to the park, keep an eye out for an abundance of wildlife. Once you've arrived at your hotel, your evening is free. Today's driving time will take a total of around eight hours.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Please note some rooms at this hotel have shared bathrooms.
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 hotel for some much needed rest.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Wrangell-St Elias - Scenic flight (50 mins) - USD150
  • Wrangell-St Elias - Flightseeing (90 min) - USD270
  • Wrangell-St Elias - Ice climbing - USD140
  • Wrangell-St Elias Full day Glacier Walk - USD115
  • Wrangell-St Elias Half Day Glacier Walk - USD90
  • Wrangell-St Elias hiking - Free
  • Maclaren - Kennecott Copper Mill Tour - USD30
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning begin your long drive to Valdez, visiting the Worthington Glacier along the way (approximately 4 hours). Surrounded on three sides by steep, snow-capped 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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today is free to do what you like in Valdez. Kayaking is hugely popular here, and you can paddle 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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Valdez - Glacier kayak trip - USD270
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today we have a very long, but very scenic drive (approx 8 hours not including stops) from Valdez to Seward. There's plenty to look at along the journey, including mountains, glaciers, and waterfalls, as well as small villages and the chance to spot Dall sheep. Seward is one of Alaska's oldest towns, as well as one of the most scenic. The town itself boasts galleries, boutique shops and a bustling harbour but it's perhaps best known as a gateway to exploring Kenai Fjords National Park.
Accommodation
  • Cabin (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today is a free day. Perhaps head out on a boat tour exploring Kenai Fjords National Park. Head out among the fjords and glaciers, keeping an eye out for humpback and killer whales, sea otters, harbour seals, sea lions, and puffins. In the evening, enjoy your last night here before heading to Anchorage in the morning.
Accommodation
  • Cabin (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Seward - Wildlife marine tour (7.5 hours) - USD200
  • Seward - Alaska SeaLife Center - USD25
  • Seward - Hiking - Free
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Depending on time, and the wishes of the group, there may be time for a short hike this morning before driving back to where your adventure started in Anchorage, (approx two and a half hours). Keep an eye out for wildlife on the way back, stopping off to take photos of whales, waves, and volcanoes. Perhaps head out for dinner in the evening with your group and reflect on your adventure around Alaska.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
After breakfast your Best of Alaska adventure finishes. There are no more activities planned for today and you're to depart at any time.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

1 breakfast, 1 dinner

Transport

Private vehicle

Accommodation

Cabin (2 nights), Hotel (6 nights), Lodge (1 night), Motel (2 nights)

Included activities

  • Denali National Park
  • Denali - Scenic bus tour

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. A single supplement is available on this trip (except on day 5).
2. Please note that the departure on 5 August 2017 will run in reverse.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides 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.