Step By Step With Pic:Alaska Trip In January
Here 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 views from a float 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 State 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 providers 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 supplied drysuit.
Fishing is usually another popular on-the-water activity. There are trout in the streams, trout in the lakes, and creature halibut and cod out at ocean.
A wildife/glacier-viewing time cruise out of Seward is also enjoyable. The Alaska Native-owned Kenai Fjords Tours offers a number of different routes, from four to nine 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 destinations, 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 log cabin on it. You can get a sense of the vastness from the land by going on your own backcountry trek. Denali is a great place for it – the National Recreation area covers more than two million hectares and has relatively few established trails. You will find endless opportunities pertaining to shorter hikes in southcentral and interior Alaska as well.
Regardless how long you’re for 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 trek and made a home in the bush. Their information about the property, its history and its particular flora and fauna will add layers of meaning to a hike you won’t get otherwise.
ANG can be one of few companies 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 next to the National Park), as well as around Talkeetna Lakes Park, simply outside of town.
Watch of Denali National 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 defines the topography from 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 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 six, 193. 5 metres, and its two neighbours, Foraker (5, 303. 5 meters) and Hunter (4, 256. 5 meters).
Getting the view is nice; one of the best locations to do so is in the back deck area of the Talkeetna Alaskan Hotel. 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 companies run “flightseeing” tours out of Talkeetna, K2 Aviation becoming the biggest. It’s also possible to travel in from the Denali area. Whoever you fly with, subscribe to a glacier landing for the full impact.
This is also how climbers access the mountains. For information on climbing, check the National Park’s mountaineering useful resource page.
A float plane in Ak
Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge
Denali National Park Mountaineering Resource Page
4. Stay in a boat/plane-accessed lodge.
Fox Island is usually a stop on two Kenai Fjords day cruises, but you can stay overnight at the Kenai Fjords Wilderness Resort. The property comprises eight cabins (each with capacity for a family of four) lined up between the rocky beach and the back tidal lagoon. Package overnight stays that feature a day time cruise on flying day start can be found. Kayaking and fishing trips are available at additional cost for overnighters; they’re part of the offer if you stay several night.
On the opposite side of the Kenai Peninsula, Tutka Bay Lodge has an even 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 side of the larger Kachemak Bay, and the entire area features arctic peaks and Sitka spruce-covered ridges that run right into the ocean. The hotel 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 resort 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 evening 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, character walks, and food preparation classes.