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The Ultimate Guide ToAlaska Trip By Road

 

Here are some recommendations of exactly where and how to spend your time in Alaska.
Whether it’s whitewater rafting in Denali National Park or taking in the views from a drift plane, there is plenty 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 National Park is one of the easiest places to access this. The north-flowing, glacier-fed Nenana River parallels the Parks Motorway by the national park entrance, and employees typically run two trips on it: the mellow, scenic McKinley Run, and the quicker 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 supplied drysuit.

Fishing is usually another popular on-the-water activity. There are trout in the rivers, trout in the lakes, and huge halibut and cod out at sea.

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 more likely to see sea otters, puffins, bald silver eagles, seals, sea elephants, whales and maybe even a bear, along with the calving glaciers, rookery islands, and shoreline highs of Resurrection Bay.

 

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

2. Hike with a guidebook.

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 two million hectares and has relatively few established trails. There are 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’ll be led by a local, someone who blazed their own trek and made a home in the bush. Their insights about the property, its history as well as flora and fauna will add layers of meaning to a walk you won’t obtain otherwise.

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

Watch of Denali State Park
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View of Denali National Recreation area
Flickr/Blmiers2
More information
Alaska Nature Guides
Adventure Green Alaska

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

The Alaska Range identifies the topography from the state, a crescent spine that curves from the southeastern boundary with Canada, up to just south of Fairbanks, and back down to the sea on the mouth of Make Inlet. The section most people know and visit, though, is the area surrounding Denali, North America’s tallest peak at 6, 193. 5 metres, and its two neighbors, Foraker (5, 303. 5 meters) and Hunter (4, 256. 5 meters).

Getting the view is usually nice; one of the best areas to do so is from 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” tours out of Talkeetna, K2 Aviation getting the biggest. It’s also possible to fly in from the Denali area. Whoever you fly with, subscribe to a glacier getting for the full effect.

This is also how climbers access the mountains. For information on climbing, check the Country wide Park’s mountaineering reference page.

A float plane in Alaska

Flickr/RLevans
More information
Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge
K2 Aviators
Denali National Park Mountaineering Resource Web page

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

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

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On the contrary side of the Kenai Peninsula, Tutka Bay Lodge has an much more remote feel to it, accessed by water taxi through the Homer Spit or sea plane. Tutka is one of the fjords cut into the southern aspect of the larger Kachemak Bay, and the entire 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 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 massive central deck (with hot tub and sauna), and pathways that connect the main lodge building and six luxury cabins of varying size. The Eagle’s Nest Chalet (sleeps five) most likely has the best watch.

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

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