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
Destination
United States
Style
Basix
Theme
Explorer
Code
SSRL
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 13

Why you'll 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 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 on an optional kayak trip 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

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 United States 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 travelling 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, Alaska's most populous city and, quite frankly, one of the most beautifully backdropped cities in the entire country. Things kick off this evening with a welcome meeting at 6, but we highly recommend arriving early if possible to see the sights. This is a truly unique environment, a city in the heart of the wilderness, and the surrounding area is simply stunning. It's worth just 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.

Please inform the hotel reception if you're going to be late to the meeting. We'll also 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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Leave the city behind this morning and venture into a world of sparkling lakes, epic glaciers and the formidable Alaska Range. Head north along the Parks Highway to Denali National Park (approximately five hours), keeping an eye out for caribou as you go. Home to the highest peak in the United States, Denali (Mount McKinley), as well as grizzly bears, wolves, moose and Dall sheep, this national park is a true pristine wilderness with endless snowy peaks.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Buckle up for an eight-hour bus trip through Denali National Park, visiting the Eielson Visitor Centre as you go. This scenic tour will take you through the park's scenic backcountry, travelling 66 miles to the visitor centre. The journey is worth it as the rangers and interactive displays provide a great insight to, and information about, the national park. The drive of the bus will help you spot wildlife while answering questions and, of course, making bathroom stops. Be sure to bring some food and beverages with you as there aren't any available on the tour itself.
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.
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 epic views or get to know some of 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 and have an opportunity to explore the surrounding area. 
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Maclaren - Scenic Canoe Trip
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Wake from your peaceful slumber and canoe back to the lodge in the morning. Today is a big travel day, with approximately eight hours total driving time, but it's also a really beautiful drive with plenty of wildlife and some phenomenal views along the way. You'll leave the main highway and head deep into Wrangell-St Elias National Park, which is the largest national park in the country and almost six times the size of Yellowstone. The evening is free once you've arrived at the campsite, so enjoy exploring the area or kick back and soak up the camp vibes.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today is free to explore Wrangell-St Elias National Park and there are a whole host of optional activities to take part in. Perhaps take a scenic flight over the park or venture out for a glacier walk on the spectacular Root Glacier, or maybe try your hand at some adrenaline-pumping ice climbing. Alternatively, just spend the day hiking and exploring this stunning area – 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 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 seven and a half hours, including a stop at Worthington Glacier en route. Valdez, which is surroudned by the steep, snow-capoped Chugach Mountains, is best known as the southern terminus of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and has a population of a few thousand. Set up camp after arriving and the rest of the evening is free to relax or check out town.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (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 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.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Valdez - Glacier kayak trip - USD270
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
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 as you cross the immense Thompson Pass.

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).
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

No meals are included on this tour

Transport

Private vehicle

Accommodation

Camping (with basic facilities) (3 nights), Camping (with facilities) (4 nights), Hotel (1 night)

Included activities

  • Denali - Scenic bus tour
  • Maclaren - Scenic Canoe Trip

Dates & availability

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Important notes

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

2. Departures on 17th June and 8th July 2019 will run in reverse as follows:

Day 1  Anchorage
Day 2  Valdez
Day 3  Valdez
Day 4  Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Day 5  Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Day 6  Maclaren River
Day 7  Denali National Park
Day 8  Denali National Park
Day 9  Anchorage

Essential trip information

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