3
Introductory
Activities
  • 7 Day hikes
  • 2 Days Paddling
Accommodation
  • 10 nights hotel/lodge/cabin
Meals
  • 9 Lunches
  • 10 Breakfasts

Price

11 daysfrom

$4420USD

Overview

Trip code: DNW

Trip highlights


  • Experience true Alaskan wilderness
  • Keep an eye out for sea lions, curious seals and otters, porpoises, whales, caribou, moose, and bear
  • Hike, raft and go on a nature tour in Denali National Park
  • Canoe in the tundra foothills of remote Tangle Lakes
  • Walk atop a glacier and cross Prince William Sound by ferry
  • Take a scenic bush flight into incredible Wrangell-St. Elias National Park
  • Explore the Chugach Mountains
  • Hike and paddle amongst mountains, glaciers and turquoise lakes

Alaska’s greatest asset may actually be its diversity and the state’s superlatives simply defy the imagination. Alaska is home to Prince William Sound – a diverse maritime complex of tidewater glaciers and deep fjords, Wrangell-St. Elias – America’s largest National Park and home to 9 of the 16 highest peaks on the continent, Denali – the highest peak in North America at 20,320’, and to countless treasures that fill the pages of coffee table books around the world. Our popular itinerary will allow you to sample the wonders of Alaska by hiking, kayaking, rafting, cruising and flying through its vast wilderness all while enjoying the hospitality and character of rustic, yet comfortable lodging. If you want to actively experience and participate in the “real” Alaska but would prefer not to camp, then this 11-day itinerary is the quintessential adventure.


Itinerary

Arrive in Anchorage and make your way to the group hotel. Settle into your room, and explore wonderful downtown Anchorage. The hotel offers complimentary airport shuttles for ease and convenience. NB: If you wish to spend more time in Anchorage then we are able to book additional nights for you.

Meals:  Nil

We'll meet in the morning at the hotel lobby in Anchorage for a short tour briefing before heading north into the vast Alaskan Interior. We’ll stop along the way for a hike and picnic lunch in Denali State Park. This is a really great 3-4 hour alpine hike and, if the weather is kind, we may enjoy our first views of Denali (Mt. McKinley) and the rest of the mighty Alaska Range. That evening, we will check into our comfortable lodge at Denali National Park (3 nights). Total drive time is approximately 4-4.5hrs total, with the hike about mid-way through.

Meals:  B,L

A fun day of activity today as there are a few short hikes to choose from in the morning (from 1.5 to 3 hours in duration) and then enjoy a half-day (approximately 2hrs) rafting trip on the mighty Nenana River with the pros at Denali Outdoor Center. The Nenana is an exciting Class III/IV whitewater river and our expert guides will take us through canyons and rapids as we enjoy spectacular views and perhaps of Dall's sheep grazing the peaks of the Alaska Range. Rafting the Nenana is a true classic.

Meals:  B,L

We’ll enjoy an delicious early breakfast at the lodge before boarding the park shuttle bus for the 60-mile ride through the heart of Denali National Park to the Eielson Visitor Center. The park road we travel is closed to regular vehicle traffic after the initial 15 miles. The shuttle bus provides the only way to visit the park’s amazing interior. Along the road corridor, keep your eyes peeled for Denali’s famous furry inhabitants carving out their existence amidst the some of the most amazing scenery in North America. Probability is high that you'll see caribou, moose, wolves, grizzlies, and Dall's sheep. And If the weather is kind, numerous chances to view Mt. McKinley – North America’s highest peak at 20,320’ - will greet you at every turn!

Meals:  B,L

Today, we pack up and head east along the even more remote Denali Highway, paralleling the scenic southern side of the Alaska Range. This unlikely gravel 'highway' passes through some of the wildest, most remote, road-accessible country on Earth with amazing mountain, glacier, tundra, and river valley views. Along the way we'll stop for a beautiful hike across the tundra-clad foothills to a panoramic lookout point. When we arrive at Tangle Lakes, we can canoe on the 'tangle' of lakes, hike atop glacial eskers and across rolling tundra, and marvel at the mountain scenery, wildflowers, and prolific bird and wildlife. There are lots of rare and interesting birds as well as moose, foxes, Arctic ground squirrels, beavers, muskrats, and occasionally grizzly bears to be seen throughout the whole area. Tangle Lakes is a wild, special, seldom-visited place, sure to leave a lasting impression. Overnight rustic lodge with private facilities. Total drive time is approx 3.5hrs with breaks in between for hiking and photos.

Meals:  B,L

After a morning hike or paddle (approx 2hrs), we'll continue to the Chitina, where a few small planes will meet us for a stunningly scenic flight across the volcanic and glacier-clad Wrangell Mountains into immense Wrangell-St.-Elias National Park, the largest in the USA and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our destination is the historic Copper Rush boomtown of McCarthy (pop. ~25), everyone's favourite ghost town! We’ll spend three nights here in our rustic lodge accommodation at the foot of the mighty Kennicott Glacier, deep in the heart of the park (twin share accommodation with shared facilities). 16,390' Mt. Blackburn looms up the glacier and other huge peaks are all about. Four major mountain ranges, 9 of the 16 tallest peaks in thee US, and the largest non-polar ice field on Earth all converge in this little-known and seldom-visited gem of a national park. Total drive time is approx 2.5hrs, typically broken up with a visit to the Visitor Centre and potentially a short hike (1.5hrs) before the flight, time permitting.

Meals:  B,L

After breakfast, we’ll strap on some crampons and venture out onto the ice with a local mountaineering guide to explore the blue crevasses, mourns, and the rest of the fascinating glacial geography characteristic of the Root Glacier. The walk starts from the small town of Kennicott and follows the lateral moraine of Root Glacier out to were the blue ice begins. The more adventurous can challenge themselves with an optional introductory ice-climbing course on the glacier (approx. US$55+ and an additional 4hrs). Other optional extras include flight-seeing over the immense fields of glacial ice, various ranger-led activities, and/or the Historic Kennicott Copper Mine tour. Our glacier hike is suitable for beginners and is an amazing adventure on a real moving glacier.

Meals:  B,L

Today, we hike up to the abandoned Bonanza Mine for incredible mountain and glacier views. This vigorous hike is the consensus favorite of both guests and guides year after year. Less strenuously, you can either hike along the lateral moraine of the Root Glacier, along McCarthy Creek, or out to the toe of the huge Kennicott Glacier, where you can witness it actually moving, depositing boulders and debris carried from the mountain into the terminal lake it has formed (headwaters of the Kennicott River). Or, if you prefer, take a day off to simply relax and soak up the mountain village ambiance. You won't want to leave McCarthy!

Meals:  B,L

Driving out of Wrangell-St. Elias NP, we'll cross yet another tremendous range: The heavily-glaciated Chugach Mountains. The Worthington Glacier, a Natural Historic Landmark, is a spectacular glacier that tumbles from the Chugach Mountains. At alpine Thompson Pass, we can hike either to the toe or up the sweeping moraine to stunning views of the blue ice and crevasses of the glacier and magnificent vistas of the mighty Chugach. Dropping down and out of the mountains toward the picturesquely-set town of Valdez, we'll get our first taste of magnificent coastal Alaska. The young and geologically very active Church range rises up literally out of the sea, ringing super-scenic Prince William Sound. Glaciers are all about, some of them spilling their loads of ice directly into the sea. Tonight choose from Valdez’s many restaurants. This walkable town offers many options just steps from our hotel (2 nights central hotel). Total drive time is approximately 4-4.5hrs broken up by the hike and other scenic stops en route to Valdez.

Meals:  B,L

Today we'll experience some of the best sea kayaking anywhere - in spectacular Shoup Bay. Timing with the tides, the trip will begin with an orientation by our sea kayaking guides, followed by a 25 minute water taxi ride down the Valdez Arm and into the bay. After hauling kayaks and gear off of the boat, we’ll load into sea-kayaks and begin paddling into the inner sanctum of the Bay, past huge waterfalls and the largest Black Legged Kittiwake rookery in Prince William Sound (home to 18,000+ nesting sea birds). We'll continue to the face of incredible Shoup Glacier and enjoy lunch the foot of the ancient tidewater glacier. Just a few years ago, kayakers would be paddling next to the calving glacier amongst floating miniature icebergs. Today, the glacier is only nominally tidewater with far less ice in the water, but we are able to get up close to the base for spectacular views and great wildlife-viewing opportunities. The swift current of the connecting stream makes for a fun obstacle course to test our paddling skills. Alternatively, enjoy a half-day wildlife and glacier-viewing cruise (please advise your agent if you would like to organize this alternative).

Meals:  B,L

This morning, we'll board the Alaska state ferry for a beautiful crossing of Prince William Sound, on the lookout for whales, bald eagles and other wildlife. Following a short hike (time permitting), we'll drive back to Anchorage (approximately 1hr). On some trips (depending on the ferry schedule), a scenic flight over the glacier-clad Sound from Valdez back to Anchorage may be substituted, allowing for a longer hike in the Anchorage area. Either way, the trip will end in Anchorage around 5pm. Please schedule homebound flights to depart after 8pm.

Meals:  B


Inclusions

  • 10 breakfasts and 9 lunches
  • 10 nights twin share accommodation in lodges and hotels with mostly private bathrooms (shared facilities in McCarthy)
  • Scenic bush plane flight to McCarthy
  • Private transport in good quality vehicles throughout
  • Anchorage hotel airport shuttle
  • Denali National Park wildlife-viewing shuttle
  • Prince William Sound ferry (or over flight)
  • Guided hiking and paddling as described
  • Professional guide throughout
  • All group gear and safety equipment
  • All park permits and fees

  • International airfare and airport taxes
  • Transportation to and from Anchorage
  • Travel Insurance (mandatory)
  • Dinners/meals not listed in inclusions
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Optional activities (see itinerary)
  • Personal expenses such as laundry, phone calls, etc
  • Tips & Gratuities (see pre departure notes for guidelines)

Suitability

Introductory

3

This tour includes a variety of 2-6 hour scenic day hikes over mixed terrain. Glacier trekking, canoeing and sea kayaking are introductory-leve and rafting is Class III-IV. Although active and activity-oriented, no previous experience is necessary for any activity, and you don’t need to be a well-conditioned athlete to enjoy yourself. Nevertheless, it goes without saying that the healthier you are, the better prepared you are, and the better shape you are in, the more you are going to enjoy yourself and the various hikes and activities. If you are not already doing so, starting a regular aerobic and strength exercise regimen today is a very sensible idea that will pay great dividends. Alaska is a land of mountains, so any kind of hill or mountain trail hiking, stair climbing, or other aerobic activity you can do now will be especially beneficial. And make sure you wear any new hiking boots as you train to begin breaking them in!


Departure dates


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Total Priceper person from

$4420USD

* All prices subject to applicable taxes

Options & Supplements*
    * Prices listed are per person. All prices subject to applicable taxes.

Trip reviews


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Our Expertise

Everyone who works with us, from our office staff, ground staff and guides is the ‘’real deal’’. Our team is comprised of actual hikers and cyclists who have explored or live in the region in which you will be traveling. Our entire network is highly-specialised in active travel.

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Quality services at the best price make our active trips great value for money. Having essential items included like National Park fees, accommodations, most meals, bikes for cycling trips, maps and support for peace of mind. Our inclusions allow you to better budget for your big adventure.

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