Experience True Nature Alaska Wilderness Adventure Tours beyond Imagination



 

AK#10 Historic Alaska and Yukon Territory Milepost Tour from Whitehorse

Our long time classic Yukon and Alaska self drive tour emphasis on the historic gold-rush trail, wildlife viewing and incredible mountain scenery. Visit famous Denali National Park offering great wildlife viewing opportunities and a magnificent scenery in the shadows of the highest mountain in North America - Mt. Denali (formerly Mt. McKinley). Explore Kluane National Park with the largest icefield outside the polar region and take a glacier cruise to Columbia Glacier in Prince William Sound. Don't forget the world famous Inside Passage with its magnificent glaciers and marine mammals. Spend an entire day in the Goldrush town of Dawson City and cherish at a "Can-Can floor show" at Diamond Tooth Gertie's gambling hall. Explore the untamed wilderness at your own pace, visit a sled dog kennel, fly to Glacier Bay or around Mt. Denali. Alaska & Yukon at a glance!

  • Tour Itinerary

  • Dates | Rates

  • Options | Extensions

  • Self Drive FAQ

  • Destination Info



Day
01

Whitehorse

Pick up your rental car at the Whitehorse airport. Drive to your hotel in prime downtown location and discover the many attractions of the capital of the Yukon Territory: The SS Klondike Historic Park – with an historic 210 ' long sternwheeler, the Yukon Archives with documented history back to 1845, the McBride Museum showcases the Yukon's cultural and natural history - and the Log Church Museum displays relics of northern pioneer missions. Experience gold rush history first hand on a 3 hour riverboat tour on the Yukon River to Miles Canyon ! Overnight: Whitehorse


Day
02

Whitehorse - Dawson City

Leave Whitehorse and drive along Lake Laberge and the mighty Yukon River to Carmacks – a trading post established in 1890. Stopover at the 5-Finger Rapids – a navigational hazard for many stampeder on their way to the gold claims in Dawson. Continue to Minto. TIP: Sightseeing river tour to Fort Selkirk - a Hudson Bay Trading Post with 40 historical buildings which are visually unchanged since 1892. Distance: 340 Miles | Overnight: Dawson City.


Day
03

Dawson City
 

A full day to visit the various historical sights of Dawson City: SS Keno – the last steamer to run the Yukon River from Whitehorse, the Jack London Interpretive Center with the poets original cabin, the city museum with audiovisual presentations, Dredge #4 – build in 1912 on famous Bonanza Creek, the Grand Palace Theatre – home of the " Gaslight Follies Show " and Diamond Tooth Gertie's Casino with legal gambling tables and " Can-Can" floor shows. Do not miss the short drive on the Ridge Road to the top of the Midnight Dome with excellent views over Dawson, the Ogilvie Mountains, the Yukon - and Klondike River. Overnight: Dawson City


Day
04

Dawson City - Fairbanks
 

Cross the Yukon River in Dawson City by ferry and enjoy a very scenic drive on the Top of the World Highway to Chicken - a former mining camp and trading post on the banks of the Fortymile River. Stopover and explore some old remnants of the old frontier Alaska such as: the mercantile emporium, Chicken Creek Saloon and the historic Tisha's Schoolhouse. Continue your journey on the famous Alaska Highway #1 and drive via Tok and North Pole to Fairbanks. In the evening enjoy a dinner at the Pump House on the banks of the Chena River. Distance: 380 Miles | Overnight: Fairbanks


Day
05

Fairbanks - Denali National Park
 

Time to explore Fairbanks attractions: Visit the historic Gold Dredge # 8 which recovered 7.5 Mio ounces of this precious metal, one of the best museums in the State at the Alaska University, Alaskaland - a 44 acre theme park, or participate in a sled dog demonstration hosted by the world famous Iditarod musher Mary Shields. Continue south and stopover in Nenana – an early trading center for Athabascan Indians. Visit the St. Marks Mission Church – founded in 1905, the Alaska State Railroad Museum and the Nenana Cultural Visitor Center with native fish wheels and an historic river tug boat. Arrive at Denali Village late afternoon. Distance: 120 Miles | Overnight: Denali National Park


Day
06

Denali National Park
 

Early departure for a full day park and wildlife tour in the shadows of North America's highest mountain - 20.230 ft. Mt. Denali. No private cars are allowed within the park area but a convenient shuttle bus system allows visitors the see wildlife along the road or during self-guided tundra hikes. Watch out for grizzly bears, moose, caribou, wolf and dall sheep along the ridges and riverbeds or observe one of the 150 different bird species which inherit the park area. Take the shuttle bus as far as to Eielson Visitor Center or to Wonder Lake with an immense view of the " Mountain ". Return to the park entrance at any given time during the day and enjoy a dinner at the Princess Lodge with a scenic view across the Nenana River. Overnight: Denali National Park


Day
07

Denali National Park - Anchorage
 

Drive on the Parks Highway through the unspoiled wilderness areas of the Denali State Park with excellent vistas of the Alaska - and Talkeetna Mountain Range. Don't miss a side trip to Talkeetna - base for all mountaineering and flightseeing activities within Denali National Park. Join a narrated flightseeing tour including glacier landing. Continue to Wasilla and visit the Iditarod Headquarter - Home of the " Last Great Race on Earth ". Arrive in Anchorage, the largest city in Alaska and visit some of the area attractions. Enjoy a evening seafood dinner with fresh Alaska Crab, Halibut or Salmon. Distance: 230 Miles | Overnight: Anchorage


Day
08

Anchorage - Valdez
 

Follow the Glenn Highway north towards Palmer. The road cuts through the fertile, crop-producing Matanuska Valley and passes right above the Matanuska Glacier. An excellent place to examine glacier-borne rocks and to peer down into crevices since the lower end of the glacier is relatively flat and easily clambered upon. Once you have reached the Richardson Highway stopover at the historic roadhouse in Copper Center and watch native fish wheels at the nearby Copper River, providing an excellent salmon run. Shortly afterwards the Worthington Glacier peeks into view where a boardwalk leads to the toe of the glacier. Distance: 290 Miles | Overnight in Valdez.


Day
09

Valdez
 

Valdez - often called “ the Switzerland of Alaska” is a gateway for narrated cruise tours to the magnificent Columbia Glacier (included). This glacier and wildlife cruise features a visit to spectacular Columbia Glacier, Southcentral Alaska's largest tidewater glacier. Cruise through the Valdez narrows, watching for rafts of otters. Pass Bligh reef, where the Exxon Valdez tragedy occurred then on to a sea lion "hull-out" and the puffin caves. Next wind your way past icebergs by the dozens, finally reaching your destination, the famous Columbia Glacier. Spend a full hour here, poking among the many "bergs" and even partaking of some glacier ice gathered by the crew. Then back to Valdez, keeping an eye out for humpback whales, orcas and other wildlife seen by many of the tours. Overnight: Valdez


Day
10

Valdez - Tok
 

Alaska's first road – the Richardson Highway – became an important route to Fairbanks for gold seekers in 1898. Soake up the raw beauty of the drive into the central Alaska Range, often paralleled by the Alaska pipeline. En-route stopover at Bridal Veil Falls, Thompson Pass with its wildflower meadows, at Worthington Glacier and at the Alaska Pipeline Pump Station #12 for an insight view. Enjoy scenic views of the Wrangell/St. Elias Mountain Range with towering Mt. Sanford, Mt. Drum and Mt. Deborah. Arrive in Tok - the Sled Dog Capital of Alaska. Distance: 250 Miles | Overnight: Tok


Day
11

Tok - Kluane National Park
 

Drive on the Alaska Highway #1 to Burwash Landing in the heart of Kluane National Park - known for the largest non-polar icefield in the world ! Do not miss a stopover at the Sheep Mountain Visitor Center with excellent interpretive programs about Kluane's Flora and Fauna, videos and a viewing telescope to observe the dall sheep's winter range within Sheep Mountain. Distance: 290 Miles | Overnight: Haines Junction


Day
12

Kluane National Park - Haines - Skagway
 

The Haines Highway is noted for its grandeur and unmatched alpine scenery. Take your time and enjoy the many sights such as: Klukshu - a native summer fishing camp with great photo opportunities, the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve - home of the largest gathering of bald eagles (more than 3000 during winter) in the world and the historic Dalton Post. Arrive in Haines - surrounded by the magnificent peaks of the Chilkat Mountains. Visit the Chilkat Center of Arts, the Totem Village, Sheldon Museum and Dalton City - set for the Disney Movie " White Fang ". Enjoy a walk along the historic Captains Quarter and the boat harbor before taking the ferry through Lynn Canal to Skagway. Distance: 150 Miles + Ferry Trip | Overnight: Skagway


Day
13

Skagway
 

Spend the entire day to explore Skagway - gateway to the famous Chilkoot Trail and the Klondike Gold Rush. Explore the sights: Trail of '98 Museum with historic material and pioneer life displays, the Goldrush Cemetery with the grave of famous outlaw " Soapy Smith ", McCabe City Hall and the Klondike Gold Rush Historic Park. Do not miss the show "The days of 1898" - a well done historical musical comedy. Around lunch board the historic narrow-gauge White Pass & Yukon Railway and ride along the White Pass Trail to White Pass Summit (included). The entire distance between the gold-rush community of Skagway to the summit was completed in only two years in 1900's. The steamer pulls the train a couple of miles, then diesels take the cars - some of them originals more than 100 years old - up steep tracks that were chipped out of the side of the mountains. Overnight: Skagway


Day
14

Skagway - Whitehorse
 

This morning leave Skagway and continue your journey on the South Klondike Highway. Near the summit of the Klondike Highway Pass you'll encounter a scene that resembles a moonscape more than any earthly vista. Ancient, twisted trees cling to rocks polished smooth by prehistoric glaciers, or crumbled by years of erosion. Myriad waterfalls, several glaciers and glimpses of the White Pass Railroad and White Pass Trail are among the highlights of the drive to the summit. Travel past the ruins of the Venus Mine on Windy Arm of Tagish Lake, visit the historic community of Carcross before arriving in Whitehorse. Distance: 110 Miles | Overnight: Whitehorse


Day
15

Whitehorse
 

Check out of your hotel. Your vacation ends with the return of your rental car at the airport.





AK#10 Historic Alaska & Yukon Mileposts | Superior Hotels
Rates in US $ / per Person Single      Double      Triple      Quad      Child     
May 05 - May 31 $ 3980.00 $ 2180.00 $ 1670.00 $ 1425.00 $ 330.00

June 01 - August 31 $ 4335.00 $ 2350.00 $ 1780.00 $ 1495.00 $ 330.00

September 01 - September 15 $ 3980.00 $ 2180.00 $ 1670.00 $ 1425.00 $ 330.00

 

AK#10 Historic Alaska & Yukon Mileposts | First Class Hotels
Rates in US $ / per Person Single      Double      Triple      Quad      Child     
May 05 - May 31 $ 4140.00 $ 2260.00 $ 1725.00 $ 1450.00 $ 330.00

June 01 - August 31 $ 4690.00 $ 2530.00 $ 1915.00 $ 1595.00 $ 330.00

September 01 - September 15 $ 4140.00 $ 2260.00 $ 1725.00 $ 1450.00 $ 330.00

 

Departure Days
Daily Departures from May 05 - September 15

 

Services included
  • 14 Nights Superior or First Class Hotel Accommodation
  • Hotel & State Tax
  • 15 Day Rental Car (Compact) - Upgrades available
  • 200 Free Km per Day
  • Rental Car Licensing Fee
  • Airport Pick up / Drop off fee
  • Rental Car Taxes
  • CDW Rental Car Insurance with $1500 deductible
  • Alaska Ferry Skagway - Haines (Passengers)
  • Alaska Ferry Skagway - Haines (Car)
  • Denali Shuttle Bus Ticket to Eielson Visitor Center
  • Denali National Park Fee
  • Columbia Glacier Cruise including Lunch
  • Harbour Tax, Park Fee
  • White Pass & Yukon Railway Summit Excursion
  • Tour Documentation
  • Sightseeing Information




Flexible Tour Options - Upgrades & Sightseeing
Rates in US $ | per Person Adult
Talkeetna: Mt. Denali Flightseeing Tour + $85 Optional Glacier Landing
(includes 4 % Transportation Fee)
$ 205.00

Fairbanks: Evening Bush Mail Plane Flight to an Arctic Village $ 309.00

Denali: Upgrade Shuttle Bus to Escorted 8-Hour Tundra Wilderness Tour including Boxed Lunch $ 95.00

 

Rental Car - Upgrade
Rental Car Category Rental Car Type      Tour Upgrade      Additional Day     
Compact Car Chevrolet Aveo or similar Included $ 108.00
Mid Size Car Toyota Corolla or similar $ 140.00 $ 115.00
Full Size Car Chevrolet Malibu or similar $ 220.00 $ 120.00
Midsize SUV Ford Escape or similar $ 720.00 $ 175.00
Fullsize SUV Jeep Grand Cherokee or similar $ 1040.00 $ 190.00
Mini Van Dodge Grand Caravan or similar $ 840.00 $ 175.00

Rates include Taxes

 

Additional Nights - Whitehorse
Rates in US $ | per Person Hotel Category      Single      Double      Triple      Quad      Child     
May 15 - May 31 Superior Hotel $135.00 $68.00 $49.00 $40.00 $10.00
June 01 - August 31 Superior Hotel $140.00 $70.00 $49.00 $35.00 $10.00
September 01 - September 15 Superior Hotel $135.00 $68.00 $49.00 $40.00 $10.00

May 15 - May 31 First Class Hotel $140.00 $70.00 $49.00 $35.00 $10.00
June 01 - August 31 First Class Hotel $160.00 $80.00 $55.00 $50.00 $10.00
September 01 - September 15 First Class Hotel $140.00 $70.00 $49.00 $35.00 $10.00

 

Alaska Sightseeing Destinations

Anchorage

Fairbanks

Juneau

McCarthy

Homer

Seward

Cooper Landing

Talkeetna




Self Drive Tours Information - FAQ


  Q:
A:
I like to spend more time in a certain destination. Can I change the routing?
All of our tours are ”Flex Drives” and we can add, modify or exchange nights in destinations to suit your timetable and preferred routing. Thus, sometimes it will be necessary to observe ferry schedules, national park opening/closing dates etc to match certain dates and/or departures. Please check also each itinerary online.

  Q:
A:
What is the difference between single, double, triple and quad room?
Single: A room assigned to one person. May have one or more beds.
Double: A room assigned to two people. May have one or more beds.
Triple: A room assigned to three people. May have two or more beds.
Quad: A room assigned to four people. May have two or more beds.
The maximum occupancy per room is four.
We can arrange our self drive tours including 2 rooms and 1 rental car if your group is larger than 4.

  Q:
A:
I cannot find the list of hotels included?
Each tour includes a choice of pre-reserved superior hotels (*** category) or first class hotels (**** category). If you have any special requirements we can certainly customize any of the advertised tours. Please contact us for advice and applicable rates. Hotel accommodation does not include breakfast or other meals. Please Note: A large number clients and travel agencies are using our pages and travel ideas to plan their “own” customized tours. This is the reason why we do not publish the hotel names for each trip on top of all travel planning information already included on our pages. If you have any particular question about accommodation, please contact us.

  Q:
A:
Do you offer bed and breakfast accommodation
Yes, we can substitute our advertised hotel category with bed and breakfasts (B&B) accommodation (breakfast included) for any of the advertised itineraries. Please contact us for availability.

  Q:
A:
Do you have one-way rental cars or tours between Alaska and the Yukon/Canada?
No - we do not provide any one way rentals between Alaska (USA) and the Yukon Territory (Canada) Certain government and insurance regulations do not permit such rentals. We offer one way rentals to Skagway, Haines & Juneau.

  Q:
A:
Are Car Rental Charges Included?
Yes, the rental of a compact car (automatic) is always included in our flex drive tour packages. Additional rental days or upgrade details and rates for mid and full size car, passenger vans or a sport utility vehicle (4x4) are available on each self-drive page. All upgrade rates are per car and not per person. Our advertised rates include also local taxes, unlimited free mileage, airport concessionaire fees, licensing fees. Rental car insurance is optional. Many Americans have their own car insurance that also covers them with the rental cars. Please contact us if you require rental car insurance. We provide a complimentary transfer from your downtown hotel to the rental station.
A valid driver license and a valid major credit card are mandatory for all individual vehicle rentals and/or tour packages including vehicle rentals. Driving on gravel roads/highways is at own risk. The rental car insurance is void on the following highways Denali Highway, Dalton Highway, Top of the World Highway, Taylor Highway, McCarthy Road, Dempster Highway and all other gravel roads. You will be responsible for any damages. Drivers have to be more than 25 years of age and the drivers license has to be valid for more than 1 year. Contact us if you are below 25 years of age.

  Q:
A:
What if something unexpected goes wrong during the Tour?
We do not anticipate anything but you can contact us, the rental car company or any of the pre-reserved hotels for assistance. We have a 24 hr emergency help line available for our guests.

  Q:
A:
What type of Identification do I need to enter Canada and Alaska/USA
The Visa/entry requirements do change frequently. Please check requirements on the appropriate government pages. We are unable to take any responsibility for such information however you will definitely need your passport. Please ask us if your self drive tour enters Canada.

  Q:
A:
Which services are included in your Self Drive Tours
Please refer to the appropriate tour page for a listing of included services. Our service generally includes the rental car, accommodation, applicable local taxes, ferry trips as scheduled, sightseeing as per itinerary, a detailed tour description, highway or road logs. Not included are: Meals, highway tolls, gasoline, entrance fees, additional sightseeing tours.

  Q:
A:
What is the advantage of Self-Drive Tour -VS- Escorted Tour
This depends on your personal preference. Alaska and the Yukon are providing some good and scenic highway connections and driving is very easy. A rental car with individual pre-reserved hotels are an independent way to discover the beauty of the northern wilderness areas and national parks: You can stop were you want, you have plenty of time for sightseeing off the beaten path and you are very flexible. Escorted tours are usually limited in flexibility because you are traveling with a group and fixed departures and routings.

  Q:
A:
When should I book a tour
If you travel during the high season from the middle/end of June until the end of August we recommend to make a  reservation as early as possible to avoid disappointments with sold out situations in highly frequented national parks and destinations - because the northern tour season is very short. The same applies in/around national holidays. Any hotel accommodation, rentals cars and ferry space must be definitely booked well in advance. Thus, tour operator such as our company may still have space on a short notice. Accordingly it is well worth to contact us.

  Q:
A:
When should I Travel
May, June and September are perfect months for a vacation in the Land of the Midnight Sun. The weather is usually stable and sunny with almost 24 hours of daylight. July and August are prime travel months and are obviously very busy.

  Q:
A:
When is the best time so see the Northern Lights
Due to the long daylight hours (up to 24-hours) during the summertime, it is impossible to see the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) from approximately mid May until the middle of August. Northern Lights are occuring mainly during the fall/winter months from end of August until the beginning of April. For further information please refer to our winter tour program.

  Q:
A:
What’s about sightseeing options during cruises and self-drives
We provide a choice of optional sightseeing adventures and activities such as wildlife viewing, rafting, self drive tours, flightseeing, hiking, rafting and day cruises. If you book these tours with us in advance - instead of onboard the cruise ships or locally - you will save a significant amount of money.

  Q:
A:
Should I compare rates & services on the Internet
Yes definitely. You notice sooner or later who actually provides the best services, rates and most affordable or specialized tour program because at these days almost everyone within the industry provides similar statements. Thus, you may also notice that some of the competitors web sites are completely outdated, terms & conditions are not published and that some of these people don’t even know the State – actually they are not even located within the USA or Canada. When you compare rates and services look for hidden charges such as reservation fees or ticketing fees, inclusion of taxes (up to 11 %), the exact service description, hotel categories, rental car standards etc and than make your decision.

  Q:
A:
Could I organize the same tour package by myself for less money
Probably not - because tour operator and corporate identities with a high volume of clients and revenue receive much lower rates than an individual person or a travel agent with a few reservations per year. In addition be prepared for: (1) a significant amount of time to find and identify the right products and destinations (2) to contact the different suppliers may be multiple times and wait for their response (3) exchanging continuously sensitive personal Information over the phone/internet (4) getting professional assistance and advise for the entire tour package - which usually includes a variety of tour components. Virtually impossible ! You can certainly book your hotels through Travelocity, Expedia or other global players – but this does not guarantee any savings either or the success of your vacation. PS: we do not even markup reservations for sightseeing tours. So you'll get always the current original rate when booking with us.

  Q:
A:
How can I get to Alaska or the Yukon Territory
Seattle is a major Alaska Airlines hub with multiple daily flight connections between the lower 48's and Alaska. In addition Chicago, Minneapolis, Los Angeles and San Francisco are alternative gateways with non-stop flights on Alaska Airlines, United, American Airlines and Delta to/from Anchorage and other destinations within Alaska. Clients from Europe may check Condor Airlines with it's non-stop flights between Frankfurt and Whitehorse, Fairbanks or Anchorage. You can fly to the Yukon Territory (Whitehorse) from Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton with Air Canada.

  Q:
A:
Do you offer railroad tours between Canada and Alaska
No, because there is no railroad access or any connection between Canada and Alaska.

  Q:
A:
How about traveling by ferry
Bellingham (USA) and Prince Rupert (Canada) are the main gateways for Alaska Marine Highway Ferry trips throughout the extremely scenic Inside Passage in southeast Alaska. Port of calls are: Ketchikan, Wrangell, Juneau, Sidka, the Glacier Bay, Skagway and Haines. If you plan to travel to Alaska by ferry please check our website for departures, fares, rates and reservations.

  Q:
A:
Should I purchase travel insurance ?
We strongly encourage you to purchase travel insurance to cover: cancellation fees associated with an outing as well as airfare or other nonrefundable expense in the event you need to cancel a trip; medical expenses incurred on a trip; and the cost of a possible medical evacuation from a trip. We have made arrangements with Allianz Travel Insurance Services for you to purchase a comprehensive travel insurance plan. Feel free to contact Allianz if you have questions on this policy or its coverage as we are not equipped to provide specific answers to questions on the insurance program.



Staff Travel Picks and Destination Roundup

Anchorage

Anchorage: Is by far Alaska's largest and most sophisticated city, Anchorage is situated in a truly spectacular location. The permanently snow-covered peaks and volcanoes of the Alaska Range lie to the west of the city, part of the craggy Chugach Range is actually within the eastern edge of the municipality, and the Talkeetna and Kenai ranges are visible to the north and south. On clear days Mt. McKinley looms on the northern horizon, and two arms of Cook Inlet embrace the town's western and southern borders. The Native Heritage Center: There are more than 200 Native tribal entities in Alaska. At the Heritage Center, experience the lifestyles and traditions of these Native cultures through art and artifact displays and activities like blanket tossing, parka sewing, and drumming. Portage Glacier: This glacier has been receding rapidly, but you can ride the tour boat Ptarmigan across the lake to view its face. Keep an eye out for office building-size chunks of ice falling into the water. Flattop Mountain: Drive to the Glen Alps parking lot in Chugach State Park and take the short walk west to a scenic overlook on a clear day the view sweeps from Denali south along the Alaska Range past several active volcanoes on the other side of Cook Inlet. Or follow the hikers to the top of the mountain for even more stunning scenery. Native Crafts: Alaska's rich Native culture is reflected in its abundance of craft traditions, from totem poles to intricate baskets and detailed carvings. Many of the native crafts you'll see across the state are results of generations of traditions passed down among tribes; the craft process is usually labor-intensive, using local resources such as rye grasses or fragrant cedar trees. Each of Alaska's native groups is noted for particular skills. Inuit art includes ivory carvings, spirit masks, dance fans, baleen baskets, and jewelry. Also be on the lookout for mukluks (seal- or reindeer-skin boots). The Tlingit peoples of Southeast Alaska are known for their totem poles, as well as for baskets and hats woven from spruce root and cedar bark. Tsimshian Indians also work with spruce root and cedar bark, and Haida Indians are noted basket makers and carvers. Athabascans specialize in birch-bark creations, decorated fur garments, and beadwork. The Aleut, a maritime people dwelling in the southwest reaches of the state, make grass basketry that is considered among the best in the world.


Talkeetna | Denali National Park

Denali National Park: is one of the most popular and most visited destinations for a reason: the most accessible of Alaska's national parks and one of only three connected to the state of Alaska highway system. This is a spectacular and scenic 6-million-acre wilderness region offering views of mountains so big they seem like a wall on the horizon, endless wildlife from cinnamon-colored Toklat grizzlies to herds of caribou, to moose with antlers the size of coffee tables and glaciers with forests growing on them. All can be experienced by saddle safari, bus trip, or flightseeing tour. Hike, bike, stroll, or raft through it. Camp out, or bundle up in a cabin. The first 15 mi of the park road are paved, but after that there's just gravel. Visitors must ride on a bus or get off and see Denali on foot. No matter how you get there or which adventure you choose, Denali is truly a wonderful experience. When planning your trip consider whether you want to strike out on your own as a backcountry traveler, or to stay at a lodge nearby and enjoy Denali on day hikes and by shuttle bus. Either option requires some individual advance planning or simply contact us and book one of our package tours with hotel or backcountry lodge overnights, railroad transportation from Anchorage and sightseeing tours.
 

Talkeetna: For the ultimate mountain sightseeing adventure, take a flight from Talkeetna and land on a glacier—if you're early enough in the summer, you can fly onto the Kahiltna Glacier, where teams attempting to summit the mountain gather. Mount McKinley: There are a dozen places between Anchorage and Fairbanks that boast the best viewing of Mt. McKinley. At 20,320 feet, McKinley is the highest peak in North America, and just about any place within 100 mi can be deemed a good viewing area. The crown jewel of Alaska is often shrouded in clouds, but even a glimpse will reveal the sheer size of the snow-covered giantess.


The Inside Passage | Juneau | Glacier Bay National Park

If you don't arrive in Alaska by cruise ship, make a point of taking a ferry trip along the longest, deepest fjord in North America. Depending on which ferry you take, the trip from Juneau to Skagway can be two or six hours long. We recommend taking your time. In the summer the tall peaks surrounding the boats release hundreds of waterfalls from snow and glacial melt. If you're lucky, you'll see pods of orcas, humpbacks, and dolphins. Mt. Roberts, Juneau: The tram takes you up the mountain and, if the weather cooperates, offers great views of the area. It's another cruise-ship favorite, but at least you can have a quick beer as you soak in the scenery. Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau: This drive-up glacier comes complete with visitor center, educational exhibits, nature trails, and, when the cruise ships are in town, lots of bused-in tourists. Don't let the crush of visitors dissuade you from stopping by, though—it's a great resource for learning about glacier dynamics and the natural forces that have shaped Alaska. Glacier Bay National Park | Gustavus: Whether you view this natural wonder by air, boat, or on foot, Glacier Bay is well worth the effort and expense it takes to get there. Gustavus is the gateway to Glacier Bay, the place that the father of the national parks system, John Muir, called "unspeakably pure and sublime" in 1879. It is considered by many to be 70 mi of the finest sea kayaking in the world. The first 24 square mi comprise the Beardslee Islands, a complex system for kayakers who glide atop flat water between tides, enveloped in silence except for the sound of water slapping paddles, the soft spray from a nearby porpoise, and the howl of a wolf in the distance. And you'll likely be enjoying these sights with no other travelers nearby. Still, kayaking in this region presents challenges. There is a lively population of moose and bears on the islands, so it is imperative to choose wisely when setting up camp. Most visitors kayak only to the top of the Beardslees, which can take three to five days round-trip. Alaska Marine Highway System: The ferry provides access twice a week to Gustavus.


The Kenai Peninsula - Alaska‘s Playground

Kenai Fjords National Park: Photogenic Seward is the gateway to the 670,000-acre Kenai Fjords National Park. This is spectacular coastal parkland incised with sheer, dark, slate cliffs rising from the sea, ribboned with white waterfalls, and tufted with deep-green spruce. Kenai Fjords presents a rare opportunity for an up-close view of blue tidewater glaciers as well as some remarkable ocean wildlife. Seward, Exit Glacier: You can take a short, easy walk to view this glacier, or if you're in the mood for a challenge, hike the steep trail onto the enormous Harding Icefield. Scan the nearby cliffs for mountain goats and watch for bears. Seward Sea-Life Center: Spend an afternoon at the Alaska SeaLife Center, with massive cold-water tanks and outdoor viewing decks as well as interactive displays of cold-water fish, seabirds, and marine mammals, including harbor seals and a 2,000-pound sea lion. A research center as well as visitor center, it also rehabilitates injured marine wildlife and provides educational experiences for the general public. Appropriately, the center was partially funded with reparations money from the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Films, hands-on activities, a gift shop, and behind-the-scenes tours ($12 and up) complete the offerings. Homer: at the southern end of the Sterling Highway lies the city of Homer, at the base of a narrow spit that juts 4 mi into beautiful Kachemak Bay. Glaciers and snowcapped mountains form a dramatic backdrop across the water. Protruding into Kachemak Bay, Homer Spit provides a sandy focal point for visitors and locals. A paved path stretches most of the 4 mi and is great for biking or walking. A commercial-fishing-boat harbor at the end of the path has restaurants, hotels, charter-fishing businesses, sea-kayaking outfitters, art galleries, and on-the-beach camping spots. Fly a kite, walk the beaches, drop a line in the Fishing Hole, or just wander through the shops looking for something interesting; this is one of Alaska's favorite summertime destinations.Kachemak Bay: abounds with wildlife, including a large population of puffins and eagles. Tour operators take you past bird rookeries or across the bay to gravel beaches for clam digging. Most fishing charters include an opportunity to view whales, seals, porpoises, and birds close up. At the end of the day, walk along the docks on Homer Spit and watch commercial fishing boats and charter boats unload their catch. Halibut Cove: Directly across from the end of Homer Spit is Halibut Cove, a small artists' community. Spend a relaxing afternoon or evening meandering along the boardwalk and visiting galleries. The cove is lovely, especially during salmon runs, when fish leap and splash in the clear water. Several lodges are on this side of the bay, on pristine coves away from summer crowds. The Danny J ferries people across from Homer Spit, with a stop at the rookery at Gull Island and two or three hours to walk around Halibut Cove. The ferry makes two trips daily: the first leaves Homer at 12:00 pm and returns at 5:00 pm, and the second leaves at 5:00 pm and returns at 10:00 pm.


Sea Kayaking is big among Alaskans. It was the Aleuts who invented the kayak (or bidarka) for fishing and hunting marine mammals. When early explorers encountered the Aleuts, they compared them to sea creatures, so at home did they appear on their small ocean craft. Kayaks have the great advantage of portability. More stable than canoes, they also give you a feel for the water and a view from water level. Oceangoing kayakers will find plenty of offshore Alaska adventures, especially in the protected waters of the Southeast, Prince William Sound, and Kenai Fjords National Park. The variety of Alaska marine life that you can view from a sea kayak is astonishing. It's possible to see whales, seals, sea lions, and sea otters, as well as bird species too numerous to list. Although caution is required when dealing with large stretches of open water, the truly Alaskan experience of self-propelled boating in a pristine ocean environment can be a life-changing thrill.

The Fishing: In summer salmon fill the rivers, which you can fish with a guide, from your own boat, or from the bank. Fishing for halibut and rockfish is also possible from charter boats out of Homer or Seward.


The Winter Wonderland | Aurora Viewing | Skiing | Dog Mushing

The most popular attraction in the wintertime doesn't charge admission or have set viewing times. The Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) seem to appear without rhyme or reason. There is a science to it, but explanations are still hotly debated by meteorologists, astronomers, and pretty-color enthusiasts. Seeing the northern lights requires that there be no nearby city light, very little moonlight, the cold fall and winter months, and a lot of luck. Hot springs outside Fairbanks keep the hopeful warm while they watch the skies. There is something about the incongruous number of hours of sunlight and darkness Alaska gets that makes Alaskans yearn to break the rules of time. When you arrive in Alaska you may feel inclined to do the same. In many parts of the state bars still stay open all night long, fishermen can be sitting on the ice all hours of the night, and some people ski best when the witching hour strikes. At Alyeska Ski Resort in Girdwood, skiers can take the lift and bite the powder under the stars. On weekends this popular ski resort offers night skiing, and afterwards, in the bar, rewards its visitors with live, high-energy, danceable music. This provides a good look at local Alaskan culture, as it caters to tourists and residents alike.


Alaska's Top Bear Viewing Destinations

Katmai National Park | Brooks River: When people come to Alaska they want to see bears. Yet most visitors never get a glimpse, because bears prefer their privacy. But at Katmai National Park, which boasts the largest brown bear population in the world, you're almost guaranteed a photograph of bears doing bear things. Remember, although they look cute, their teeth and claws are still mighty sharp.
 

Kodiak Island: The 1.9-million-acre Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge lies mostly on Kodiak Island and neighboring Afognak and Uganik islands, in the Gulf of Alaska. All are part of the Kodiak Archipelago, separated from Alaska's mainland by the stormy Shelikof Strait. Within the refuge are rugged mountains, tundra meadows and lowlands, thickly forested hills that are enough different shades of green to make a leprechaun cry, plus lakes, marshes, and hundreds of miles of pristine coastland. No place in the refuge is more than 15 mi from the ocean. The weather here is generally wet and cool, and storms born in the North Pacific often bring heavy rains. Dozens of species of birds flock to the refuge each spring and summer, including Aleutian terns, horned puffins, black oystercatchers, ravens, ptarmigan, and chickadees. At least 600 pairs of bald eagles live on the islands, building the world's largest bird nests on shoreline cliffs and in tall trees. Seeing the Kodiak brown bears alone is worth the trip to this rugged country. When they emerge from their dens in spring, the bears chow down on some skunk cabbage to wake their stomachs up, have a few extra salads of sedges and grasses, and then feast on the endless supply of fish when salmon return. About the time they start thinking about hibernating again the berries are ripe (they may eat 2,000 or more berries a day). Kodiak brown bears, the biggest brown bears anywhere, sometimes topping out at more than 1,500 pounds, share the refuge with only a few other land mammals: red foxes, river otters, short-tailed weasels, and tundra voles. Six species of Pacific salmon - chums, kings, pinks, silvers, sockeyes, and steelhead—return to Kodiak's waters from May to October. Other resident species include rainbow trout, Dolly Varden (an anadromous trout waiting for promotion to salmon), and arctic char. The abundance of fish and bears makes the refuge popular with anglers, hunters, and wildlife-watchers.
 

Lake Clark National Park | Redoubt Bay When the weather is good, an idyllic choice beyond the Mat-Su Valley is the 3.4-million-acre Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, on the Alaska Peninsula and a short flight from Anchorage or Kenai and Soldotna. The parklands stretch from the coast to the heights of two grand volcanoes: Mt. Iliamna and Mt. Redoubt (which made headlines in 2009 when it erupted, sending ash floating over the region), both topping out above 10,000 feet. The country in between holds glaciers, waterfalls, and turquoise-tinted lakes. The 50-mi-long Lake Clark, filled by runoff waters from the mountains that surround it, is an important spawning ground for thousands of red (sockeye) salmon. The river-running is superb in this park. You can make your way through dark forests of spruce and balsam poplars or hike over the high, easy-to-travel tundra. The animal life is profuse: look for bears, moose, Dall sheep, wolves, wolverines, foxes, beavers, and mink on land; seals, sea otters, and white (or beluga) whales offshore. Wildflowers embroider the meadows and tundra in spring, and wild roses bloom in the shadows of the forests. Plan your trip to Lake Clark for the end of June or early July, when the insects may be less plentiful. Or consider late August or early September, when the tundra glows with fall colors.


Wrangell St. Elias National Park

In a land of many grand and spectacularly beautiful mountains, those in the 9.2-million-acre Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve are possibly the finest of them all. This extraordinarily compact cluster of immense peaks belongs to four different mountain ranges. Rising through many ecozones, the Wrangell-St. Elias Park and Preserve is largely undeveloped wilderness parkland on a grand scale. The area is perfect mountain-biking and primitive-hiking terrain, and the rivers invite rafting for those with expedition experience. The mountains attract climbers from around the world; most of them fly in from Glennallen or Yakutat. The nearby abandoned Kennicott Mine is one of the park's main visitor attractions. The open pit mine is reminiscent of ancient Greek amphitheatres, and the abandoned structures are as impressive as the mountains they stand against.


Prince William Sound

Tucked into the east side of the Kenai Peninsula, the sound is a peaceful escape from the throngs of people congesting the towns and highways. Enhanced with steep fjords, green enshrouded waterfalls, and calving tidewater glaciers, Prince William Sound is a stunning arena. It has a convoluted coastline, in that it is riddled with islands, which makes it hard to discern just how vast the area is. The sound covers almost 15,000 square mi—more than 12 times the size of Rhode Island—and is home to more than 150 glaciers. The sound is vibrantly alive with all manner of marine life, including salmon, halibut, humpback and orca whales, sea otters, sea lions, and porpoises. Bald eagles are easily seen soaring above, and often brown and black bears, Sitka black-tailed deer, and gray wolves can be spotted on the shore.

Unfortunately, the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 heavily damaged parts of the sound, and oil still washes up on shore after high tides and storms. The original spill had a devastating effect on both animal and human lives. What lasting effect this lurking oil will have on the area is still being studied and remains a topic of much debate. Bring your rain gear, Prince William Sound receives more than 150 inches of rain per year. The sound is best explored by charter boat or guided excursion out of Whittier, Cordova, or Valdez. Even though the waters are mostly protected, open stretches are common, and the fickle Alaska weather can fool even experienced boaters. From the road system, Whittier and Valdez are your best bets for finding charter outfits.


A visit to Columbia Glacier, which flows from the surrounding Chugach Mountains, should certainly be on your Valdez agenda. Its deep aquamarine face is 5 mi across, and it calves icebergs with resounding cannonades. This glacier is one of the largest and most readily accessible of Alaska's coastal glaciers. The state ferry travels past the face of the glacier, and scheduled tours of the glaciers and the rest of the sound are available by boat and aircraft from Valdez, Cordova, and Whittier.



 

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