Day 1 - Anchorage, Alaska
Arrival day into Anchorage is unguided. It includes the cost of hotel room and tax but does not include any additional meals, activity or expense. We choose a quality hotel located in the downtown area, convenient to attractions, shops and dining. We choose a hotel with complimentary airport shuttle and hot breakfast bar.
Quality Suites near the downtown Anchorage Museum and Convention Center. All two-room suites are elegantly furnished and feature refrigerators, microwaves, sofa sleepers and coffee makers. This hotel offers a wide range of amenities, including: * Free hot breakfast buffet * Free Wi-Fi Internet access * Free 24-hour airport shuttle service * Free Alaska Railroad shuttle service * Exercise room. Be sure to take a dip in the indoor heated pool or relax in the accompanying hot tub.
Day 2 - Scenic Seward Highway/ Portage Glacier Tour / Exit Glacier
8:30 am meet and greet your Alaskan Tour guide in the hotel lobby, ready to begin your exciting adventure. Travel in a comfortable executive shuttle and with a knowledgeable Alaska resident as your escort. Years of experience and stories to share makes travel even better.
Travel along the Seward Highway. A National Scenic Byway which passes through some of the most spectacular scenery in the country. The landscape varies from the muddy waters of Turnagain Arm to the icy blue glaciers that hang almost to the sea. Wildflowers and waterfalls brighten every corner of the road as it glides below rough mountains that pierce thick, heavy clouds. Only Alaska's Seward Highway can offer this particular mix created by climate, geography, and geology. Wildlife sighting are highly common along this highway and we take ample time to stop and observe any sighting as well as enjoy other natural highlights of the areas.
Portage Valley and the Portage Glacier tour offer impressive views of waterfalls and glaciers. A short boat tour brings us up close to both.
The Begich, Boggs Visitor Center is built upon the terminal moraine left behind by Portage Glacier in 1914. The visitor center offers an unique opportunity to learn about the Chugach National Forest, America's second largest national forest. Award-winning exhibits, educational presentations, the film "Voices from the Ice," and information services are available. Short hiking trails nearby.
Continuing on to Seward, Alaska where we will venture along the Resurrection River toward Exit Glacier. Your guide provides narration about the topography, vegetation and natural habitats surrounding a glacial environment. Walking routes vary and your guide will join you on the trail.
Nestled nearby, in this spectacular glacier river valley, is the Seward Windsong Lodge. Guest rooms are spread out in a wooded setting, surrounded by spruce trees and wildflowers. Furnished and well-appointed with comfortable, Alaskan-style décor. From your rooms, wander the trails amidst the spruce and cottonwood forest. Rooms provide that genuine Alaskan feel inside and out.(B,L,D)
Day 3 - Kenai Fjords National Park Tour / Seward, Alaska
Experience Alaska's most popular wildlife and glacier cruise! Kenai Fjords National Park boasts abundant wildlife, alpine and tidewater glaciers. 11:30 am to 5:30 p.m., this 6 hour tour depart from the Seward harbor, and provides in-depth experience within pristine Kenai Fjords National Park.
Tours are fully narrated by an accredited wildlife interpreter and include a visit to the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge - home to a large variety of whales, sea lions, sea otters and more. A light deli style lunch is served. Vegetarian can be ordered in advance.
Seward, Alaska is a picturesque coastal community where the mountains melt into the seas. Resurrection Bay and Kenai Fjords National Park offer spectacular views of wildlife, glaciers and mountains. Stop by the harbor to see the returning fishing charters catch of the day, peruse the souvenir shops, or stroll along the bay front.
Spend your second night at the Seward Windsong Lodge. (B,L,D)
Day 4 - Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center / Mat-Su Valley/ Alaska State Fair
A late breakfast is planned with a stop at Summit Lake on the return. Delicious and hearty Alaskan breakfasts and beautiful lake side view makes this a worthwhile visit.
Another short visit is made to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is a non profit organization that cares for rescued wildlife, injured and orphans. They promote better awareness of Alaska Wildlife conservation methods through public education and they provide a fantastic opportunity to photograph Alaska wildlife up close. Moose, brown and black bear, musk ox, wood bison and more can be seen.
The next destination is Alaska's Matanuska Susitna Valley, located one hour north of Anchorage. This area is the size of West Virginia and is a favored Alaskan playground with impressive mountain ranges, landlocked glaciers and over 3,000 rivers, lakes and streams. We spend a couple days enjoying some highlights.
A seasonal highlight of this time of year is the Alaska State Fair. Visitors and residents alike love to see the giant vegetables grown in the fertile valleys under the extensive daylight sun. Records are set for numerous veggies including State record 105 lb. cabbage, and World records for a 63 lb. celery, a 64 lb. cantaloupe, a 42 lb. beet, a 16 lb. radish and more. Dinner at the fair cannot be beat, several Alaskan only booths provide an excellent taste of Alaska.
Lake Lucille Inn guests enjoy beautiful mountain and lake views along with comfortable accommodations. A fully-equipped health and fitness club with weight room, sauna and Jacuzzi and wireless internet available. An extended continental breakfast is provided each morning. 2 Queens with a lake view. (B,L,D)
Day 5 - Knik Glacier Tour / Hatcher Pass / Independence Mine
Travel seven miles up the Knik River (approximately 1/2 hour) passing the occasional stray iceberg, waterfalls and some of Alaska's most spectacular scenery. Keep your camera ready as wildlife sighting are common. The Knik Glacier is awe inspiring as it pours from the Chugach mountains greatest peaks. This 25 mile river of ice is over 5 miles wide and hundreds of feet thick.
Visit to Glacier Camp, look for wildlife, Black bear, moose, Dall Sheep, and Eagles while you enjoy light snacks and beverages. Hiking opportunities are excellent in this location.
Hatcher Pass is breathtakingly beautiful. It's granite mountain peaks jutting up from the wildflowers covered tundra, and pristine mountain streams meander through the valley below. Panoramic views and short nature walks are pleasing for outdoor lovers. Excellent hiking opportunities exist for those who are
looking to fully stretch their legs.
At the top of Hatcher Pass is the Independence Mine, which is protected by the Alaska State Parks, offers a preserved experience of what life was like back in the Gold Rush. Paved interpretive trails, historic buildings and exhibits can all be explored. An ideal experience for someone looking for the slower pace of absorbing some history.
Spend your second night at the Lake Lucille Inn. Wasilla, Alaska (B,L,D)
Day 6 - Talkeetna / Optional Flightseeing / Denali Park
Today travel heads north to Denali National Park. The total drive time is about 4 hours but the day is spent exploring the highlights in route.
Talkeetna, Alaska is a rustic frontier town with lots of Alaskan flavor! The charming community is popular with visitors and offers a lot of hospitality with a choice of delicious eateries, quaint shops featuring local artists and even it's quirky museums. There's also a bit of adventure in the town if time or budget allows. OPTIONAL activities can be arranged in advance for the additional cost of the activity. OPTIONS recommended - Flightseeing tours of MT. McKinley and the Ruth Gorge, the deepest in North America and filled with a 4,000 foot thick river of ice. Experience the Don Sheldon amphitheater surrounded by Granite peaks and cascading icefalls. South face flights start at $210 per person and glacier landings can be added on for an additional $75 per person.
Lunch is enjoyed at one of the selected diners before travel continues north to the park entrance. Our destination Denali Park, Alaska is nearby to the park entrance and visitor center. You'll find the area outside, along the highway to be developed with visitor lodging and services.
We explore as the group desires through easy hikes, information centers, shopping, dining or adding to the adventure with exciting activities. If arrival is not too late, a stop at the Denali Visitor Center is informative before the park trip OPTIONAL activity choices include Whitewater rafting trips $82 per adult, Scenic floats $82 per person.
The Grande Denali Lodge offers vistas of the Denali wilderness and the Nenana River that will take your breath away! Spacious guest rooms are a comfortable place to relax and recharge. 1 king bed or 2 queen beds.(B,L,D)
Day 7 - Denali Park Visitor Center and Shuttle to Eielson
9:30 am to 5:30 p.m. Denali National Park and Preserve provides visitors with the experience of a lifetime. Wildlife, bird life, wild flowers, landscapes, mountains and more. On a clear day, this 8-hour shuttle bus trip into the park affords outstanding views of MT. McKinley and the Alaska Range when visible. The bus stops frequently for rest room use and any time wildlife is sighted. Opened in June 2008 the completely reconstructed Visitor Center was sustainable constructed and all new interpretive exhibits are well worth the visit. This is the location we suggest those who desire to hike in the park do so, return bus reservations are easier to arrange and the guide will assist with directions if this is a choice.
Spend your second night at the Grande Denali Lodge. (B,L,D)
Day 8 - Return to Anchorage / Dream a Dream Sled dog Kennel Tour
Today is the final day of your escorted tour, returning to Anchorage for scheduled departures. The drive time is 5 hours with a stop for one last favored Alaskan sport.
Tour Dream a Dream kennels. Vern Halter, a veteran Iditarod musher who weaves the history of the Iditarod into his informative presentation.
Meet the huskies who make up the team, enjoy a short nature walk with the newest members, the pups! Then enjoy a special ride on a multi-seat All Terrain Vehicle with the option of standing positions too. These dog limos are the coolest and most realistic way to ride with a sled dog team in the summer months. It's great training for the dogs and you'll see how they love it!
Arrival in Anchorage is scheduled for 5:30 PM.. Any departing flights should be arranged for a check in time of 6 p.m. or later. If adding a hotel night, your guide will take you to the hotel after dinner.
For the safety and consideration of our guide, anyone with late evening flights is arranged accordingly - your guide will stay with you up to 8:00 p.m. at which time, they will take you to the airport for early check in and either depart, or drop you downtown Anchorage with the number to catch a taxi at a later time.