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Here are some recommendations of where and how to spend your time in Alaska.
Whether it’s whitewater rafting in Denali National Park or taking in the sights from a float plane, there is lots of adventure to be found in Alaska. Take a look at some of them here.

1 . Can get on the water.

The state is full of whitewater, and Denali Country wide Park is one of the easiest places to access it. The north-flowing, glacier-fed Nenana River parallels the Parks Highway by the national recreation area entrance, and providers typically run two trips on it: the mellow, scenic McKinley Run, and the faster Canyon Run, which includes several class III and IV rapids. You can raft the Canyon with Denali Raft Adventures ($89, 2 hours) — you’ll appreciate the provided drysuit.

Fishing is another popular on-the-water activity. There are trout in the streams, trout in the lakes, and list halibut and cod out at ocean.

A wildife/glacier-viewing time cruise out of Seward is also enjoyable. The Alaska Native-owned Kenai Fjords Tours offers a few different routes, from four to 9 hours. You’re likely to see sea otters, puffins, bald silver eagles, seals, sea elephants, whales and maybe even a bear, along with the calving glaciers, rookery island destinations, and shoreline peaks of Resurrection Gulf.

 

Rafting the Nenana River
Flickr/Katie Loehr
More information
Denali Raft Adventures
Kenai Fjords Tours

2. Hike with a guide.

Alaska is a land of backcountry, settled by people who hiked out, found a piece of ground that looked good and built a family cottage on it. You can get a sense of the vastness from the land by taking place your own backcountry trek. Denali is a great place for it – the National Park covers more than 2 million hectares and has relatively few established trails. You will find endless opportunities to get shorter hikes in southcentral and interior Alaska as well.

Regardless of how long you’re within the trail, it’s good to go with a guide. Using a company like Alaska Nature Guides, you will be led by a local, someone who blazed their own path and made a home in the bush. Their ideas about the property, its history as well as flora and fauna will add layers of meaning to a hike you won’t get otherwise.

ANG is one of few companies with Gold Level Certification in the Adventure Green Alaska plan, which recognizes all of them as an industry innovator in environmentally and culturally sustainable methods. They run well guided hikes in Denali State Park (east of and adjacent to the National Park), as well as around Talkeetna Lakes Park, just outside of town.

View of Denali Country wide Park
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View of Denali National Park
Flickr/Blmiers2
More information
Ak Nature Guides
Experience Green Alaska

3. Fly to the mountains; climb if you can.

The Alaska Range identifies the topography of the state, a crescent spine that curves from the southeastern boundary with Canada, up to just south of Fairbanks, and down again to the sea at the mouth of Cook Inlet. The section most people know and visit, though, may be the area surrounding Denali, North America’s highest peak at six, 193. 5 metres, and its two neighbors, Foraker (5, 303. 5 meters) and Hunter (4, 256. 5 meters).

Catching the view is usually nice; one of the best places to do so is through the back deck area of the Talkeetna Alaskan Hotel. But you get an entirely different perspective once you’re actually in the mountains, standing on a glacier, looking up and around at a jagged world of white. To do that, you will need a plane.

A handful of companies run “flightseeing” trips out of Talkeetna, K2 Aviation becoming the biggest. It’s also possible to fly in from the Denali area. Whoever you fly with, sign up for a glacier landing for the full effect.

This is also how climbers access the mountains. For information upon climbing, check the National Park’s mountaineering source page.

A drift plane in Ak

Flickr/RLevans
More information
Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge
K2 Modern aviation
Denali National Recreation area Mountaineering Resource Web page

4. Stay at a boat/plane-accessed resort.

Fox Island is usually a stop on two Kenai Fjords day time cruises, but you can stay overnight at the Kenai Fjords Wilderness Villa. The property comprises 8 cabins (each with capacity for a family of four) lined up involving the rocky beach as well as the back tidal lagoon. Package overnight remains that feature a day cruise on departure day start are available. Kayaking and fishing trips are available at extra cost for overnighters; they’re part of the offer if you stay more than one night.

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On the opposite side of the Kenai Peninsula, Tutka Bay Lodge has an even more remote feel to it, accessed simply by water taxi from your Homer Spit or sea plane. Tutka is one of the fjords cut into the southern side of the larger Kachemak Bay, and the entire area features snowy peaks and Sitka spruce-covered ridges that run right into the ocean. The villa is set back on a beach opposite a little headland – you can’t see it until you’re almost on top of this. But once you’re there it’s quite expansive, with a substantial central deck (with hot tub and sauna), and pathways that connect the main hotel building and six luxury cabins of varying size. The Eagle’s Nest Chalet (sleeps five) probably has the best look at.

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Rates start $1, 300 per evening and include three chef-prepared meals a day, a one-hour massage, wines tastings, yoga, and pretty much any led activity you can think of – kayaking, hiking to glaciers, mountain cycling, local fishing and boat trips, character walks, and cooking classes.

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