The Ultimate Guide ToAlaska Road Trip
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 National Park is one of the simplest places to access it. The north-flowing, glacier-fed Nenana River parallels the Parks Road by the national park entrance, and operators 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 supplied drysuit.
Fishing can be another popular on-the-water activity. There are trout in the rivers, trout in the lakes, and list 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 a few different routes, from four to 9 hours. You’re very likely to see sea otters, puffins, bald eagles, seals, sea elephants, whales and maybe a bear, along with the calving glaciers, rookery island destinations, and shoreline highs of Resurrection Bay.
Rafting the Nenana River
Denali Raft Adventures
Kenai Fjords Tours
2. Hike with a guidebook.
Alaska is a land of backcountry, settled by folks who hiked out, discovered a piece of ground that looked good and built a family vacation cabin on it. You can get a sense of the vastness of the land by going on your own backcountry trek. Denali is a good place for it – the National Recreation area covers more than 2 million hectares and has relatively few established trails. There are endless opportunities pertaining to shorter hikes in southcentral and interior Alaska as well.
Regardless how long you’re on 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 observations about the land, its history and its flora and fauna will add layers of meaning to a rise you won’t obtain otherwise.
ANG can be one of few businesses with Gold Level Certification in the Adventure Green Alaska program, 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.
Look at of Denali Country wide Park
View of Denali National Recreation area
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 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 tallest peak at 6, 193. 5 meters, and its two neighbors, Foraker (5, 303. 5 meters) and Hunter (4, 256. 5 meters).
Getting the view can be nice; one of the best locations to do so is in 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” trips out of Talkeetna, K2 Aviation getting the biggest. It’s also possible to take flight in from the Denali area. Whoever you fly with, sign up for a glacier getting for the full effect.
This is also how climbers access the mountains. For information upon climbing, check the Country wide Park’s mountaineering resource page.
A float plane in Alaska
Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge
Denali National Recreation area Mountaineering Resource Page
4. Stay at a boat/plane-accessed resort.
Fox Island is definitely a stop on two Kenai Fjords day 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 the rocky beach and the back tidal lagoon. Package overnight remains that feature a day cruise on departure day start can be found. Kayaking and angling trips are available at extra cost for overnighters; they’re part of the offer if you stay several night.
On the contrary side of the Kenai Peninsula, Tutka Bay Lodge has an a lot more remote feel to it, accessed by water taxi from your 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 snowy 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 not 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 6 luxury cabins of varying size. The Eagle’s Nest Chalet (sleeps five) most likely has the best view.
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 led activity you can think of — kayaking, hiking to glaciers, mountain biking, local fishing and boat trips, character walks, and cooking food classes.