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. Delve well and truly deep into the wild before reemerging into civilisation with stops in Anchorage and Valdez. There’s also plenty of free time to explore this beautiful landscape at your own pace.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Anchorage, United States
Finish
Anchorage, United States
Destination
United States
Style
Basix
Theme
Explorer
Code
SSRAC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 13

Why you'll love this trip

  • Drive across frozen plains and past massive peaks, walk across remote tundras to glacial rivers and kayak in the spectacular waters of Prince William Sound.

  • Look out for diverse wildlife like moose, grizzly bears, and wolves in Denali National Park, then get close to sea otters, puffins and humpback whales on an optional kayak trip among glaciers in Valdez.

  • See North America's biggest collection of glaciers and some of its tallest, most impressive mountains in Wrangell-St Elias National Park – the world's largest internationally protected area.

  • See both sides of the Kenai Peninsula, Homer, with remote beaches and the stunning Kachemak Bay State Park, and Seward, with accessible glaciers and marine life.

  • Spend two nights at a remote hostel on Resurrection Bay that can only be accessed by kayak or water taxi.

Is this trip right for you?

  • This is a participatory trip. That’s a fancy way of saying you’re not just along for the ride – you’re part of a team! You know the phrase ‘the more you put in, the more you get out’. Well that’s extra true on this trip. Be prepared to roll up your sleeves and help out with camp activities like food prep and washing up. It’s all about giving your new travel mates a hand – everyone knows there’s nothing worse than trying to put up a tent on your own!

  • That teamwork also extends to our optional food kitty of approximately US$90 per week, run to cover the cost of meals. This kitty saves you worrying about stuff like where to get food or what exactly sales tax is, and actually helps keep your costs down. Instead of paying individually as you go, it means we can bulk purchase items and cook our own food – though there’s always the chance to use it for the occasional pizza night! The kitty is optional and for your convenience, so if you've got specific dietary requirements you can opt out and purchase (and cook) your own food.

  • The USA is a world of endless possibilities – that’s why our Basix trips are designed so they fit together as (not quite endless) combinations. That means while you might just be starting your trip, some of your new travel mates may have been together for a week or more (and so have some great tips for you). You can see how our trips fit together and all the different possible combinations at www.intrepidtravel.com/brochures. Simply click view/download on the North America brochure and look at the combo map on page 12.

  • Some of the roads on this trip can be extremely long and fairly bumpy. You could be driving down a remote dirt road for hours at a time, but that's all part of this Alaskan adventure.

  • 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 also 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. Bring warm clothing with you, including base layers, a warm hat, gloves and a thick coat.

  • 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.

  • The weather around Denali can be extreme at times. Be prepared for blizzards, ice cold winds and quick shifts in weather. It is Alaska after all.

Itinerary

Welcome to Anchorage, the most populous city in Alaska with one of the most beautiful backdrops you’ve ever seen! Things kick off this evening with a welcome meeting at 6 pm, but we highly recommend arriving early to see the sights. This is a unique environment; a city in the heart of the wilderness. It's worth spending some time in the cafes and bars and getting to know the hardy locals who have more than a few entertaining stories up their sleeves. After you meet your fellow travellers and leader in the evening, why not join them in town for an optional group dinner.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.
Leave the city behind this morning and venture into a world of lakes and glaciers in the epic Alaska Range. Head north along the Parks Highway to Denali National Park (approximately 5 hours), keeping an eye out for caribou as you go. Home to the highest peak in the United States known as Denali (Mount McKinley), as well as grizzly bears, wolves, moose and Dall sheep, this national park is a true wilderness with endless snowy peaks.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Denali National Park - Entrance Fee
  • Denali National Park Visitor Centre
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Buckle up for an 8-hour bus safari deep into Denali National Park, visiting the Eielson Visitor Centre as you go. This scenic tour will take you through the park's backcountry, travelling 106 kilometres (66 miles) to the visitor centre. The journey is worth it as the rangers and interactive displays provide great insight and information about the park. The bus driver will help you spot wildlife while answering questions and, if needed, make bathroom stops along the way. Be sure to bring some food and beverages with you as there aren't any available on the bus.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Denali - Scenic bus tour
Optional Activities
  • Denali - Glacier Landing Flight - USD525
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.
After experiencing a Denali dog sled demonstration this morning, traverse through high alpine country as you drive Alaska's second-highest highway pass to the Maclaren River Lodge. Kick back with some music and take in the scenery, getting to know your travel buddies along the way. On arrival at the lodge, take a canoe upriver to the remote wilderness Glacier Camp, where you'll spend the night camping out beneath the stars. Explore the frosty surrounds once the campsite is set up.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Maclaren - Wilderness Glacier Overnight Canoe Trip
  • Denali's Alaskan Huskies - Dog Sled Demonstration
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Wake from your peaceful slumber and take a canoe back to the lodge in the morning. Today is a big travel day, with approximately 8 hours total driving time, but it's also a really beautiful drive with plenty of wildlife and some great views along the way. You'll leave the main highway and start to head deep into Wrangell-St Elias National Park: the largest national park in the USA, being almost six times the size of Yellowstone. The evening is free once you've arrived at the campsite, so take a hike and do some exploring, or just kick back and soak up the camp vibes.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
You’re free to explore Wrangell-St Elias National Park today, and there are a whole host of optional activities to take part in. Perhaps take a scenic flight over the park, venture out for a glacier walk on the spectacular Root Glacier, or maybe try your hand at some adrenaline-pumping ice climbing. Your group leader will be able to provide you with other recommendations for the day. Alternatively, spend the day hiking and exploring the park – all 13 million acres of it. Keep an eye out for moose, bears and caribou and then, in the evening, return to the campsite for some much-needed (and well-earned) rest.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Wrangell-St Elias - Scenic flight (50 mins) - USD150
  • Wrangell-St Elias - Ice climbing - USD140
  • Wrangell-St Elias - Flightseeing (90 min) - USD270
  • Wrangell-St Elias - Full-day Glacier Hike - USD115
  • Wrangell-St Elias - Half-day Glacier Hike - USD90
  • Maclaren - Kennecott Copper Mill Tour - USD30
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Depart Wrangell-St Elias and make tracks for Valdez, a small town on the edge of Prince William Sound. The trip should take approximately 7.5 hours, including a stop at Worthington Glacier en route. Valdez, which is surrounded by the steep, snow-capped Chugach Mountains, is best known as the southern terminus of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. After setting up camp, why not check out the town and grab a bite to eat?
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today is free to do as you please in Valdez. Kayaking is hugely popular here, so take a paddle on Prince William Sound among the glaciers and down the fjords, spotting some wildlife along the way. On land, you could visit the Valdez Museum and Historical Archive for an interesting history lesson of this important port city. Just like Anchorage, Valdez is framed with mountains, so wherever you look, there’s something new to see.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Valdez - Glacier kayak trip - USD270
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Enjoy a free day in Anchorage. There will be a meeting at 6 pm to welcome any new travellers joining you on the next stage of your adventure.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
As this is a combination trip, the travellers in your group and your group leader are likely to change today. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary so please attend, and this is also a great chance to meet the new group. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.
Depart Anchorage and take a scenic drive along the Turnagain Arm and the National Forest Scenic Byway on your way to Homer. This route is considered one of the most scenic drives in the world. Homer will be your gateway to the Kenai Peninsula. Keep an eye on the water because today you might snatch a glimpse of beluga whales.

Notes: The drive covers 380 kilometres and takes approximately 5.5 hours.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Make the most of a free day in Homer. Perhaps explore the area by kayak and watch sea otters, or visit the beautiful rock arches, cliffs and remote beaches surrounding the city. Homer is a good place for animal watching, with bald eagles, puffins and moose plentiful in the area. Some of the activities around Homer are expensive, but they are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. The Kachemak Bay Adventure includes sea kayaking, a tour of the old Russian settlement of Seldovia and a flight over the bay. The Bear Viewing Flight can sometimes sell out, but if you can afford it, the feedback from previous travellers to this area is that it is a highlight.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Homer - Day on Kachemak Bay Adventure - USD220
  • Homer - Halibut fishing (half-day charter) - USD105
  • Homer - Bear Viewing Flight - USD625
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Journey to the coastal town of Seward and the surrounding Kenai Fjords National Park (approximately 4 hours; 125 kilometres). 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. On arrival, jump into a water taxi across Resurrection Bay, where you will spend the next two nights staying in a hostel. This accommodation is so remote it can only be accessed by kayak or water taxi.
Accommodation
  • Basic hostel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Resurrection Bay - Water taxi
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Our hostel in Resurrection Bay isn't your typical hostel. You may need to climb a ladder to reach your bed, and should note that bathrooms are external to the main building. It's rustic, but that's made up for by the remote location.
Enjoy a free day to soak up stunning Resurrection Bay and surrounds. Maybe hire a kayak and hit the water with the majestic snow-capped Alaskan mountains looming in the background. If you do, remember to look out for porpoises and sea otters in the water. Your lodging is also perfectly situated for exploring the surrounding woodlands, so maybe head off on one of the many trails. Even an approximately 30-minute hike will take you above the tree line for incredible views over the bay.
Accommodation
  • Basic hostel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Seward - Hiking - Free
  • Seward - Kayak rental - USD25
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Return to Anchorage via the Turnagain Arm (approximately 2.5 hours; 200 kilometres). There will be time to explore some of this Arctic wonderland, with its numerous lakes, glaciers and fascinating coastline. The area is also famous for its many anglers, who follow the salmon on their annual migration up the peninsula's many wide rivers. This trip finishes on arrival in Anchorage at approximately 5pm. For those wishing to stay on in Anchorage, please speak to our reservations team who can assist in booking extra nights of accommodation.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

No meals are included on this tour

Transport

Boat, Private vehicle

Accommodation

Camping (with basic facilities) (3 nights), Camping (with facilities) (6 nights), Hostel (2 nights), Hotel (2 nights)

Included activities

  • Denali National Park - Entrance Fee
  • Denali National Park Visitor Centre
  • Denali - Scenic bus tour
  • Maclaren - Wilderness Glacier Overnight Canoe Trip
  • Denali's Alaskan Huskies - Dog Sled Demonstration
  • Resurrection Bay - Water taxi

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Important notes

1. This trip finishes on arrival into Anchorage in the afternoon on day 14.

2. SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
A Single Supplement to have your own room is available on this trip however excludes night 4 (Maclaren) and night 12 & 13 (Seward) where you will be in shared accommodation.

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.

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