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The Ultimate Guide ToAlaska National Parks By Rail

 

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 lots of adventure to be found in Alaska. Take a look at a few of them here.

1 . Get on the water.

The state is full of whitewater, and Denali State Park is one of the simplest places to access this. The north-flowing, glacier-fed Nenana River parallels the Parks Road 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 provided drysuit.

Fishing is certainly another popular on-the-water activity. There are salmon in the rivers, trout in the lakes, and creature 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 few different routes, from four to nine hours. You’re more likely to see sea otters, puffins, bald silver eagles, seals, sea lions, whales and maybe even a bear, along with the calving glaciers, rookery island 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 instruction.

Alaska is a land of backcountry, settled by people that 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 of the land by taking place 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 meant for shorter hikes in southcentral and interior Alaska as well.

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

ANG is one of few businesses with Gold Level Certification in the experience Green Alaska system, which recognizes them as an industry innovator in environmentally and culturally sustainable practices. 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
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View of Denali National Recreation area
Flickr/Blmiers2
More information
Ak Nature Guides
Adventure Green Alaska

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

The Alaska Range defines the topography of 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 Cook Inlet. The section most people know and visit, though, is the area surrounding Denali, North America’s highest peak at 6, 193. 5 metres, and its two neighbors, Foraker (5, 303. 5 meters) and Hunter (4, 256. 5 meters).

Catching the view is nice; one of the best locations to do so is through the back deck part of the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge. 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 need a plane.

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

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

A drift plane in Ak

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

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

Fox Island can be 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 the rocky beach as well as the back tidal lagoon. Package overnight stays that feature a time cruise on reduction day start are available. Kayaking and angling trips are available at additional cost for overnighters; they’re part of the deal 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 wintry peaks and Sitka spruce-covered ridges that run right into the ocean. The lodge is set back on the 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 massive 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 look at.

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Rates start $1, 300 per evening 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, nature walks, and cooking food classes.

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