Complete GuideAlaska Airlines Trip Locator
Below 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 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 condition 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 Motorway by the national recreation area entrance, and workers typically run two trips on it: the mellow, scenic McKinley Run, and the faster 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 usually another popular on-the-water activity. There are salmon in the streams, 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 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 elephants, whales and maybe even a bear, along with the calving glaciers, rookery islands, and shoreline highs of Resurrection Bay.
Rafting the Nenana River
Denali Raft Adventures
Kenai Fjords Tours
2. Hike with a guide.
Alaska is a land of backcountry, settled by people that hiked out, found a piece of ground that looked good and built a family cabin on it. You can get a sense of the vastness of the land by going on your own backcountry trek. Denali is an excellent place for it — the National Recreation area covers more than two million hectares and has relatively few established trails. You will find 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. Using 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 information about the property, its history as well as flora and fauna will add layers of meaning to a hike you won’t get otherwise.
ANG is one of few businesses with Gold Level Certification in the Adventure Green Alaska program, which recognizes them as an industry head in environmentally and culturally sustainable practices. 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.
Look at of Denali National Park
View of Denali National Park
Alaska 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 figure from the southeastern border with Canada, up to just south of Fairbanks, and down again to the sea in the mouth of Make 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 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 need a plane.
A handful of companies run “flightseeing” trips out of Talkeetna, K2 Aviation getting the biggest. It’s also possible to soar in from the Denali area. Whoever you fly with, subscribe to a glacier landing for the full impact.
This is also just how climbers access the mountains. For information upon climbing, check the National Park’s mountaineering reference page.
A float plane in Ak
Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge
Denali National Recreation area 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 Villa. The property comprises eight cabins (each with capacity for a family of four) lined up between your rocky beach and the back tidal lagoon. Package overnight stays that feature a time cruise on departure day start are available. Kayaking and angling trips are available at extra cost for overnighters; they’re part of the deal if you stay more than one night.
On the opposite side of the Kenai Peninsula, Tutka Gulf Lodge has an much more remote feel to it, accessed by water taxi from the Homer Spit or sea plane. Tutka is one of the fjords cut into the southern aspect of the larger Kachemak Bay, and the entire area features arctic 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 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 lodge building and 6 luxury cabins of varying size. The Eagle’s Nest Chalet (sleeps five) probably has the best view.
Rates start $1, 300 per night and include three chef-prepared meals a day, a one-hour massage, wine tastings, yoga, and pretty much any guided activity you can think of – kayaking, hiking to glaciers, mountain bicycling, local fishing and boat trips, nature walks, and cooking food classes.