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Complete Review:Alaska Trip Planning Guide

 

Below are a few 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 drift plane, there is plenty of adventure to be found in Alaska. Take a look at some of them here.

1 . Get on the water.

The state is full of whitewater, and Denali Country wide Park is one of the simplest places to access this. The north-flowing, glacier-fed Nenana River parallels the Parks Freeway by the national recreation area entrance, and employees typically run two trips on it: the mellow, scenic McKinley Run, and the faster Canyon Run, which includes several class 3 and IV rapids. You can raft the Canyon with Denali Raft Adventures ($89, 2 hours) — you’ll appreciate the supplied drysuit.

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

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

 

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

2. Hike with a guideline.

Alaska is a land of backcountry, settled by people that hiked out, discovered a piece of ground that looked good and built a family log cabin on it. You can get a feeling of the vastness from the land by going on your own backcountry trek. Denali is an excellent place for it – the National Recreation area covers more than 2 million hectares and has relatively few established trails. You will find endless opportunities for shorter hikes in southcentral and interior Alaska as well.

Regardless of how long you’re around the trail, it’s all set with a guide. Using a company like Ak Nature Guides, you will be led by a local, someone who blazed their own trek and made a home in the bush. Their insights about the land, its history and its flora and fauna will add layers of meaning to a rise you won’t obtain otherwise.

ANG is definitely one of few companies with Gold Level Certification in the experience Green Alaska system, which recognizes them as an industry head in environmentally and culturally sustainable practices. They run well guided hikes in Denali State Park (east of and next to the National Park), as well as around Talkeetna Lakes Park, simply outside of town.

Look at 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 defines the topography from the state, a crescent spine that figure from the southeastern border with Canada, up to just south of Fairbanks, and down again to the sea at the mouth of Make Inlet. The section most people know and visit, though, may be the area surrounding Denali, North America’s highest peak at 6, 193. 5 meters, and its two neighbours, Foraker (5, 303. 5 meters) and Hunter (4, 256. 5 meters).

Catching the view is certainly nice; one of the best locations to do so is in the back deck area of the Talkeetna Alaskan Resort. 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” excursions out of Talkeetna, K2 Aviation getting 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 just how climbers access the mountains. For information upon climbing, check the National Park’s mountaineering useful resource page.

A float plane in Ak

Flickr/RLevans
More information
Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge
K2 Aviation
Denali National Recreation area Mountaineering Resource Page

4. Stay in a boat/plane-accessed lodge.

Fox Island is 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 between the rocky beach and the back tidal lagoon. Package overnight stays that feature a day time cruise on reduction day start can be found. Kayaking and fishing trips are available at additional cost for overnighters; they’re part of the deal if you stay several night.

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On the contrary side of the Kenai Peninsula, Tutka Gulf Lodge has an even more remote feel to it, accessed simply by water taxi from the Homer Spit or sea plane. Tutka is one of the fjords cut into the southern part of the larger Kachemak Bay, and the whole area features wintry peaks and Sitka spruce-covered ridges that run right into the ocean. The hotel is set back on the beach opposite a small headland – you can not see it until you’re almost on top of it. But once you’re there it’s quite expansive, with a massive central deck (with hot tub and sauna), and pathways that connect the main resort building and 6 luxury cabins of varying size. The Eagle’s Nest Chalet (sleeps five) probably has the best watch.

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

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