Step By Step With Pic:Alaska Trip Itinerary
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 float 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 State Park is one of the simplest 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 faster 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 is usually another popular on-the-water activity. There are salmon in the rivers, trout in the lakes, and monster halibut and cod out at ocean.
A wildife/glacier-viewing time cruise out of Seward is also enjoyable. The Ak Native-owned Kenai Fjords Tours offers a couple of different routes, from four to 9 hours. You’re more likely to see sea otters, puffins, bald eagles, seals, sea lions, whales and maybe a bear, along with the calving glaciers, rookery destinations, and shoreline highs of Resurrection Gulf.
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, 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 going on your own backcountry trek. Denali is an excellent place for it — the National Park covers more than two 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 good to go with a guide. Using a company like Alaska Nature Guides, you will 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 its flora and fauna will add layers of meaning to a walk you won’t obtain otherwise.
ANG is one of few companies with Gold Level Certification in the Adventure Green Alaska program, which recognizes all of them as an industry leader in environmentally and culturally sustainable practices. They run led hikes in Denali State Park (east of and next to the National Park), as well as around Talkeetna Lakes Park, simply outside of town.
View of Denali State Park
View of Denali National Recreation area
Alaska Nature Guides
Experience Green Alaska
3. Fly to the mountains; climb if you can.
The Alaska Range specifies the topography of the state, a crescent spine that figure from the southeastern boundary with Canada, up to just south of Fairbanks, and back down to the sea on the mouth of Make 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 can be nice; one of the best locations to do so is from your back deck part 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 businesses run “flightseeing” trips out of Talkeetna, K2 Aviation becoming the biggest. It’s also possible to fly in from the Denali area. Whoever you fly with, sign up for a glacier landing for the full effect.
This is also how climbers access the mountains. For information on climbing, check the Country wide Park’s mountaineering useful resource page.
A float plane in Ak
Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge
Denali National Park Mountaineering Resource Web page
4. Stay at a boat/plane-accessed resort.
Fox Island is 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 day cruise on leaving day start are available. Kayaking and fishing trips are available at additional cost for overnighters; they’re part of the offer if you stay more than one night.
On the reverse side of the Kenai Peninsula, Tutka Bay Lodge has an much more remote feel to it, accessed simply by water taxi from your 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 snowy peaks and Sitka spruce-covered ridges that run right into the ocean. The villa is set back on the beach opposite a small 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 massive central deck (with hot tub and sauna), and pathways that connect the main villa building and six luxury cabins of varying size. The Eagle’s Nest Chalet (sleeps five) probably has the best look at.
Rates start $1, 300 per evening and include three chef-prepared meals a day, a one-hour massage, wine tastings, yoga, and pretty much any led activity you can think of – kayaking, hiking to glaciers, mountain cycling, local fishing and boat trips, character walks, and cooking classes.