National Park Travel Guide: Alaska Trip For Seniors For American ONLY Middle River

Step By StepNational Parks Anchorage Alaska

 

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 a few of them here.

1 . 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 Freeway by the national recreation area 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 provided drysuit.

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

A wildife/glacier-viewing day 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 prone to see sea otters, puffins, bald eagles, seals, sea lions, whales and maybe 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 that hiked out, discovered a piece of ground that looked good and built a family log cabin 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 two million hectares and has relatively few established trails. There are endless opportunities 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. With 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 observations about the land, its history as well as flora and fauna will add layers of meaning to a walk you won’t get otherwise.

ANG is certainly one of few businesses with Gold Level Certification in the experience Green Alaska plan, 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 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
Alaska Nature Guides
Adventure Green Alaska

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

The Alaska Range identifies the topography of the state, a crescent spine that curves 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 6, 193. 5 meters, and its two neighbours, 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 through the back deck area of the Talkeetna Alaskan Resort. 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 take flight in from the Denali area. Whoever you fly with, sign up for a glacier landing for the full impact.

This is also just how climbers access the forest. For information upon climbing, check the National Park’s mountaineering resource page.

A float plane in Alaska

Flickr/RLevans
More information
Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge
K2 Modern aviation
Denali National Park Mountaineering Resource Page

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

Fox Island is a stop on two Kenai Fjords day 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 involving the rocky beach as well as the back tidal lagoon. Package overnight stays that feature a day time cruise on reduction day start are available. Kayaking and fishing trips are available at additional cost for overnighters; they’re part of the deal if you stay several night.

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On the opposing side of the Kenai Peninsula, Tutka Gulf Lodge has an much 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 snowy peaks and Sitka spruce-covered ridges that run right into the ocean. The lodge is set back on a beach opposite a small 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 massive central deck (with hot tub and sauna), and pathways that connect the main lodge building and 6 luxury cabins of varying size. The Eagle’s Nest Chalet (sleeps five) probably has the best watch.

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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 guided 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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