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Step By StepAlaska National Parks By Train

 

Here are a few 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 sights from a float plane, there is plenty of adventure to be found in Alaska. Take a look at a few of them here.

1 . Get on the water.

The condition is full of whitewater, and Denali State Park is one of the easiest places to access it. The north-flowing, glacier-fed Nenana River parallels the Parks Motorway by the national park entrance, and operators 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 usually another popular on-the-water activity. There are trout in the streams, trout in the lakes, and list halibut and cod out at sea.

A wildife/glacier-viewing day time cruise out of Seward is also enjoyable. The Alaska Native-owned Kenai Fjords Tours offers a number of different routes, from four to 9 hours. You’re very likely to see sea otters, puffins, bald eagles, seals, sea lions, whales and maybe even a bear, along with the calving glaciers, rookery 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 folks who 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. There are endless opportunities meant for shorter hikes in southcentral and interior Alaska as well.

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

ANG can be 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 led 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
Alaska Nature Guides
Experience 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 down again to the sea on the mouth of Cook Inlet. The section most people know and visit, though, is the area surrounding Denali, North America’s highest peak at six, 193. 5 metres, 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 places to do so is from the back deck area of the Talkeetna Alaskan Villa. But you get a completely 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 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, subscribe to a glacier getting for the full effect.

This is also 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 Park Mountaineering Resource 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 Villa. The property comprises eight cabins (each with capacity for a family of four) lined up involving the rocky beach and the back tidal lagoon. Package overnight stays that feature a day time cruise on departure day start can be found. 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 reverse side of the Kenai Peninsula, Tutka Gulf Lodge has an a lot 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 side of the larger Kachemak Bay, and the whole area features cold peaks and Sitka spruce-covered ridges that run right into the ocean. The hotel is set back on a beach opposite a small headland – you can’t see it until you’re almost on top of it. 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 lodge building and six luxury cabins of varying size. The Eagle’s Nest Chalet (sleeps five) probably has the best view.

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Rates start $1, 300 per night 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 biking, local fishing and boat trips, character walks, and cooking classes.

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