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Complete GuideNational Parks Pass Alaska

 

Here 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 lots 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 National Park is one of the simplest places to access it. The north-flowing, glacier-fed Nenana River parallels the Parks Freeway by the national park entrance, and providers typically run two trips on it: the mellow, scenic McKinley Run, and the quicker Canyon Run, including several class 3 and IV rapids. You can raft the Canyon with Denali Raft Adventures ($89, 2 hours) — you’ll appreciate the provided drysuit.

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

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

 

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, discovered a piece of ground that looked good and built a family log cabin on it. You can get a feeling of the vastness of the land by taking place your own backcountry trek. Denali is a great place for it — the National Recreation area covers more than two million hectares and has relatively few established trails. There are endless opportunities intended for shorter hikes in southcentral and interior Alaska as well.

Regardless of how long you’re on the trail, it’s good to go with a guide. Having a company like Ak Nature Guides, you’ll be led with 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 hike you won’t get otherwise.

ANG is usually one of few businesses with Gold Level Certification in the experience Green Alaska plan, which recognizes them as an industry head in environmentally and culturally sustainable procedures. They run guided hikes in Denali State Park (east of and next 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 figure from the southeastern border with Canada, up to just south of Fairbanks, and back down to the sea on 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 meters, 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 from the back deck part of the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge. 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 will need a plane.

A handful of businesses run “flightseeing” trips out of Talkeetna, K2 Aviation being the biggest. It’s also possible to soar in from the Denali area. Whoever you fly with, subscribe to a glacier getting for the full impact.

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

A drift plane in Ak

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

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

Fox Island is a stop on two Kenai Fjords time cruises, but you can stay overnight at the Kenai Fjords Wilderness Hotel. The property comprises 8 cabins (each with capacity for a family of four) lined up between rocky beach and the back tidal lagoon. Package overnight stays that feature a time cruise on flying day start can be found. Kayaking and fishing trips are available at extra cost for overnighters; they’re part of the offer if you stay several night.

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On the opposing side of the Kenai Peninsula, Tutka Gulf Lodge has an even more remote feel to it, accessed by water taxi in 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 lodge is set back on a beach opposite a little 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 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 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 biking, local fishing and boat trips, character walks, and cooking food classes.

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