Alaska is unlike any other place on earth. Drive across frozen plains past massive peaks, walk across remote tundras to glacial rivers and kayak 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
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.
Breakfast Included: Lunches Included: Dinner Included:
Welcome to Anchorage, Alaska, in the USA. Your 'Explore Alaska' adventure begins with a welcome meeting in the hotel lobby at 6 pm. 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).
Denali National Park
In the morning, head north along the Parks 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.
Denali National Park
Leave early in the morning for the eight-hour bus journey through Denali National Park and to the Eielson Visitor Centre. The scenic bus tour takes 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.
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.
Wrangell-St Elias National Park
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.
Wrangell-St Elias National Park
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, on the spectacular Root Glacier. There's also the opportunity to do some ice climbing. If you're just looking to explore the area, head out on a hike 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 hours, including a stop at Worthington Glacier along the way. 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, set up camp 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 as you cross the immense Thompson Pass.
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.
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.
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 to 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.