Alaska My WayAugust 13, 2015 - August 27, 2015
Based on the expeditionary nature of our trips, there may be ongoing enhancements to this itinerary.
Below please find the day-by-day itinerary for this expedition. Unless otherwise noted, daily excursion options are included in the cost of the trip. We do our best to adhere to the scheduled itinerary, but in the spirit of our expeditionary style of travel we may deviate slightly to take full advantage of encounters with the destination and its people, culture, and wildlife.
August 13 Depart / Fairbanks, Alaska
Arrive in Fairbanks today and transfer to the River’s Edge Resort and Cottages with the remainder of the day free to explore on your own. Situated in the heart of the Tanana Valley, the city’s hospitable frontier atmosphere recalls its long and colorful history that dates back to the late 1800s; the discovery of gold forever marked the city as the expeditionary gateway to Alaska’s Arctic. Gather this evening at the hotel for a briefing, dinner, and overnight.
August 14 Fairbanks / Denali National Park
Early this morning, transfer to the Fairbanks rail depot to board luxurious domed rail cars—Gold Star Service—for the four-hour journey to Denali National Park. Then, board coaches for the drive along Denali National Park Road, which extends 91 miles from the park entrance to its terminus in the old mining community of Kantishna. Crossing rolling mountainsides and sheer cliffs, the supremely scenic road meanders past summer slopes graced with birds and wildflowers and through prime wildlife viewing areas. Check in to Camp Denali, your home for three nights.
Aug 15 - Aug 16 Denali National Park
Encompassing more than six million acres, Denali National Park is the continent’s premier location to view and photograph an amazing array of wildlife in a spectacular setting. Moose, caribou—with full racks of antlers at this time of year—Dall sheep, and grizzly bears are among the 37 mammal species that live in the park. Golden eagles, gyrfalcons, ptarmigan, and long-tailed jaegers are but a few of the 165 species of migratory and resident birds that call Denali’s rock cliffs, forests, and tundra home during the temperate months. If weather permits, you will enjoy breathtaking views of Mt. McKinley, North America’s highest peak, and eight other major mountains in the Alaska Range. Embark on a series of guided hikes, at various levels of exertion, in the higher alpine valleys and the Wonder Lake area, with ample opportunities to witness wildlife.
August 17 Denali National Park
Today return to the park entrance along the Denali Park Road making stops en route for wildlife viewing. Visit the Murie Science and Learning Center, which promotes scientific research to aid park managers and provides science-based education programs and information to students, educational institutions, and the visiting public. Dinner and overnight at the McKinley Village Lodge on the banks of the Nenana River.
August 18 Denali Highway / Wrangell-St. Elias National Park
This morning travel by motorcoach toward Wrangell-St. Elias National Park along spectacular and remote Denali Highway, once the only access road to Denali. Today the road is an often overlooked treasure taking the traveler back to Alaska’s rich past, its colorful gold rush history, and the wilderness that remains throughout much of the state. The highway is no longer the primary route to Denali National Park and is therefore lightly traveled on the 133 miles between Cantwell and Paxson.
The Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve is the largest National Park in the United States. More than 100 glaciers and some of North America’s highest peaks are situated among the park’s 13.2 million acres. We stop to visit the Park Headquarters before arriving in the small town of Chitina, where we take a short bush plane flight to the historic towns of McCarthy and Kennicott. Spend the next two nights at the quaint Kennicott Glacier Lodge whose rooms are decorated with old mining artifacts and photos from the gold rush.
August 19 Wrangell-St. Elias National Park
Today join a mountain and glacier guide for a spectacular hike along an old wagon road. Make several stops along the way to discuss glaciology and geology and to view 16,390-foot Mt. Blackburn. At the glacier strap on your crampons (ice shoes) and after some simple instruction and a bit of practice, set out for a walk on the glacier itself. With no set schedule and a pre-packed lunch, the day on the ice is at our leisure. For those who prefer an alternative, a walking tour among the towering ruins of the Kennicott Copper Company offers a look back at this historic mining giant.
August 20 Cordova
Embark on a wilderness flightseeing excursion today along the Copper River, world renowned for its flavorful Copper River salmon. This is one of Alaska’s most impressive wilderness waterways and the flight route takes you along the Wrangell and Chugach mountain ranges en route to Cordova, nestled at the head of Orca Inlet in Prince William Sound. Upon arrival, take an easy one-mile hike to a glacier lake. Later, board a local fishing boat and cruise around the offshore islands, watching for the numerous sea otters that frequent the area. Spend the next two nights in Cordova at the Orca Adventure Lodge.
August 21 Cordova
This morning drive to the Copper River Delta and Childs Glacier, one of Alaska’s most active glaciers. You have the afternoon to enjoy a picnic lunch in full view of the glacier and historic Million Dollar Bridge, once the vital link from Cordova to the McCarthy and Kennicott mines. We are then transported back to town where bald eagles perch in the trees and resident sea otters play in the water.
August 22 Cordova / Prince William Sound / Whittier / Seward
Today’s ferry ride through Prince William Sound is a highlight, with great views of the dozens of glaciers that tuck into the Sound’s mountain walls. From Whittier drive to Seward, gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park. Then enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of the Alaska SeaLife Center for an unrivaled, up-close and personal experience with Gulf of Alaska marine wildlife. Spend two nights at the Seward Windsong Lodge.
August 23 Seward / Kenai Fjords National Park
A cruise brings you into spectacular Kenai Fjords National Park. Keep watch for Steller sea lions, harbor seals, puffins, eagles, and even whales. Cruise past the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, home to a variety of birds, on your way to either the Holgate or Aialik Glacier. Enjoy lunch on board and return to Seward in the afternoon.
August 24 Seward / Homer
This morning travel on the Sterling Highway to Homer. The highway passes through the Chugach National Forest and Kenai National Wildlife Refuge home to Dall sheep, mountain goats, bears, caribou, and moose and features splendid mountain scenery. In Homer visit the Pratt Museum as well as the Ocean Visitor Center before boarding a boat to the charming village of Halibut Cove, famous for its boardwalks and galleries. After dinner at the Saltry return to Homer and overnight at the Land’s End Resort.
August 25 Homer / Lake Clark National Park
Depart early this morning for the drive to Soldotna and board our bush plane for the flight to Lake Clark National Park. With the Homestead Lodge as a comfortable base of operations for the day, enjoy splendid views of coastal brown bears as they forage along the tidal flats. Enjoy lunch at the lodge and more time viewing bears this afternoon before our return flight to Homer. Dinner and overnight at the Land’s End Resort.
August 26 Homer / Anchorage
This morning travel across Kachemak Bay for an in-depth look at the intertidal zones. This afternoon board our flight for Anchorage for a farewell dinner at a local restaurant and overnight at the Captain Cook Hotel.
August 27 Anchorage / Homeward
Transfer to the airport today for your independent flight home.