The Spirit of Alaska is a 6 night, 7 day Alaska land tour package that begins and ends in Anchorage, Alaska. Travel north to explore Denali National Park. Then travel south for a day cruise of Kenai Fjords National Park. Tour a working sled dog kennel and learn about this long-time Alaskan sport.
Tour groups are a maximum 13 passengers and 1 Alaska resident guide traveling mainly by small coach. This tour is designated for travelers of age 13 and above.
7 DAY ALASKA TOUR ITINERARY: Days begin 8-9 am and end 8-9 pm, with a little flexibility. Travel is at a comfortable pace. Several stops along the way are made so you are out of the vehicle often. In some locations, optional activities can be arranged for a further personalized experience.
Travelers should be able to walk unassisted (at least a city block and up a few stairs). Tour times listed are approximate.
Meal packages vary with tours and include entree, non-alcohol beverage and gratuity. Included meals are listed at the end of each day in the schedule. Where meals are not included, access and assistance to dining is still provided by your guide.
Day 1 – Arrival Day: Friday, July 19, 2024
Today is the scheduled arrival day into Anchorage, Alaska. Alaskan Tour Guides is happy to assist with additional hotel reservations for those who wish to arrive earlier.
Arrival day is unguided. Meals and activities for this day are at your own expense. The hotel room and tax for this night is included in the tour rate.
Hotel: The Dimond Center Hotel offers modern, comfortable accommodations in South Anchorage. Amenities include a refrigerator, microwave, deep soaking tub, & flat-screen TV in each room. Complimentary breakfast, free wi-fi, & 24 hour airport shuttle provided. 1 king or 2 queen Ultimate Dream Beds.
Note: No view rooms at this property.
Day 2 – Saturday, July 20, 2024
TOUR DAY HIGHLIGHTS: Escorted Tour Begins; Palmer, Alaska; Dream a Dream Kennel tour; Denali, Alaska
Hotel breakfast buffet.
9:00 am meet your Alaskan Tour guide in the hotel lobby to begin your exciting Alaska tour. This 7 day Alaska tour travels with a small group, in a deluxe small bus. A longtime Alaska resident will be your driver-guide. Benefit from local resident knowledge and first hand experiences. Your ATG guide provides genuine Alaskan hospitality and concierge-level service so you have the best vacation experience. Depart Anchorage to travel north to Palmer.
Explore Palmer, where colonists first settled in the early 1930’s as part of Roosevelt’s New Deal. It’s centered around agriculture, and surrounded by impressive mountain peaks. It retains its country charm and now is home to 4th generation Alaskans. Depart Palmer for Denali National Park.
12:30 pm make an in-route stop in Willow, Alaska the heart of mushing country to tour Dream a Dream kennels. Start with lunch and time to interact with mushers. Meet the team of Vern Halter, a veteran Iditarod musher. Presentations weave the history of the Iditarod into an informative and interactive experience. Meet with the huskies who make up this incredible team of athletes. Enjoy a short nature walk with the newest members, cute puppies abound! Then take a 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!
Continue the drive to our destination, Denali Park. The area outside the park entrance is developed with visitor services.
Hotel: 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.
MEALS: B, L | DRIVE TIME: 4.5 hours
Day 3: Sunday, July 21, 2024
TOUR DAY HIGHLIGHTS: Denali National Park Transit
Breakfast voucher for hotel dining is included.
8:45 am Depart for Denali Park entrance. 9:30 am to 3:30 pm Denali Park Shuttle to East Fork Cabin. Denali National Park and Preserve, located in Interior Alaska, featuring Denali (Mt. McKinley), the highest mountain in North America, encompasses more than 6 million acres and provides visitors with the experience of a lifetime.
The Denali Park Road parallels the Alaska Range and travels through low valleys and high mountain passes. It’s the only road inside the park. Along its route, beautiful landscapes can be seen at every turn, and a view of Denali is possible – if weather permits. Wildlife can often be seen, though sightings are not guaranteed – they are, after all, wild animals roaming an unfenced land.
Your turnaround point is at mile 43 of the park road, near the East Fork Cabin, a rustic log structure with a history of sheltering rangers and researchers since the 1930s. This shuttle travels 43 miles one way, 6 hours round trip. It stops every hour and 15 minutes for view points and restroom stops. It also stops anytime wildlife is sighted.
There is time this evening to explore Denali your way. Choose from a variety of no-cost to added expense adventures, and experience this National Park at your own pace.
Leisure and no cost activities include visiting the Denali Visitor Center, hiking front country trails, shopping, or relaxing at your lodging. Moderate to higher cost adventures include river rafting, flightseeing, ATV or zipline tours.
Your ATG guide will arrange for a boxed lunch for you to take along.
Spend your second night at the Grande Denali Lodge.
MEALS: B, L | SHUTTLE TIME: 6 hours (not all drive time)
Day 4: Monday, July 22, 2024
TOUR DAY HIGHLIGHTS: Alaska Railroad Goldstar – Denali to Talkeetna; Wasilla, Alaska
Breakfast voucher for hotel dining is included.
11:20 am check in to board The Denali Star, the Alaska Railroad’s flagship train, GoldStar Service from Denali to Talkeetna. On this Alaska tour route, sparkling salmon streams and stands of birch and spruce come into view, while carpets of fireweed add dramatic purple to the landscape. Enjoy first-class service aboard double-deck dome cars. Luxury rail travel has never been better.
Reserved upper-level dome car seating, upper-level outdoor viewing deck, exclusive lower-level dining room, lunch and two adult beverages included. Order from the menu of Alaskan cuisine including choices that vary from seafood to reindeer sausage. Adult beverage menu includes award winning Alaskan brewery selections.
The train departs at 12:20 and your guide will drive with luggage and meet you in Talkeetna at 4:40 pm Depart Talkeetna by ATG small coach for the drive to our overnight destination in Wasilla.
Wasilla, Alaska is located in the heart of the Matanuska Susitna Borough and the sixth largest city in Alaska. Established at the intersection of the Alaska Railroad and Old Carle Wagon Road, the city prospered at the expense of the nearby mining town of Knik. Wasilla is named after Chief Wasilla, a local Dena’ina chief. Wasilla is also home of Iditarod founders, Joe Reddington and Dorothy Page.
Hotel: Lake Lucille Inn. Guests enjoy beautiful mountain and lake views along with comfortable accommodations. Guest laundry and wireless internet available. A full hot breakfast buffet is provided each morning. Deluxe rooms feature a lake view.
MEALS: B, L | DRIVE TIME: 1 hours | RAIL TIME: 4.5 hours
Day 5: Tuesday, July 23, 2024
TOUR DAY HIGHLIGHTS: National Scenic Byway; Begich Boggs Visitor Center; Seward, Alaska
Hotel breakfast included.
Travel south along the Seward Highway. This National Scenic Byway 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 seem to brighten every turn 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.
In-route visit to the Portage Valley. Surrounded by glaciers, the Begich Boggs Visitor Center sits on the shore of the glacial Portage Lake. The visitor center offers an unique opportunity to learn about the Chugach National Forest, America’s second largest national forest. Award-winning exhibits, presentations, and movie highlight the unique features of the region.
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 returning fish charters and their catch of the day, peruse the souvenir shops, or stroll along the bayfront.
Dinner as a group is included.
Hotel: The Gateway Hotel. Seward’s newest hotel with spacious and quiet rooms with either 2 queen beds or one king. Includes continental breakfast room. Easy walking distance to shops, dining, and convenient for a walk along the bay under the late evening sun.
MEALS: B, D | DRIVE TIME: 3.5 hours
Day 6: Wednesday, July 24, 2024
TOUR DAY HIGHLIGHTS: Kenai Fjords National Park Wildlife and Glacier Tour
Hotel breakfast room included.
10:30 am check in for the 6 hour Kenai Fjords National Park tour with deli lunch. This 6 hour Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise explores the world of whales, wildlife, and glaciers found in Kenai Fjords National Park. Experienced Captains will fully narrate your journey and will point out the spectacular sights while providing information on the area’s wildlife, history, and geology. You will spend time in front of a towering tidewater glacier and watch for calving, where giant chunks of glacial ice break off and crash into the water. Cruise about the islands and coves of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, home to thousands of nesting seabirds including puffins, common murres, and black-legged kittiwakes.
A deli style lunch with the option of a turkey sandwich, roast beef sandwich or a vegetarian option is included. Snack bar onboard for added purchases.
Spend your second night at the: Gateway Hotel.
MEALS: B, L | DRIVE TIME: none | CRUISE TIME: 6 hours
Day 7: Thursday, July 25, 2024
TOUR DAY HIGHLIGHTS: Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center; Anchorage, Alaska
Hotel breakfast room included.
Travel north as you return along the Seward Highway allowing a second opportunity for magical views and potential wildlife sightings in their natural habitat. As well as time to explore some other special points of interest.
The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is a non profit organization that cares for rescued wildlife; injured and/or orphaned. They promote better awareness of Alaska Wildlife conservation methods through public education and a fantastic opportunity to photograph Alaska wildlife up close. See moose, brown and black bear, wood bison, musk ox and many more rescued animals.
Depart for return travel to Anchorage.
3:30 pm arrival into Anchorage. Departing flights with a check in time of 4:00pm or later are advised (recommend at least 2 hours between check-in and departure times).
City tours are dependent on time allowed and weather of the day. Options include visits to Earthquake Park, Ship Creek, and other downtown locations for shopping, dining or to add small attractions.
*Your 7 day Alaska tour concludes in Anchorage with pre-arranged drop off at the airport or hotel. Drop times are scheduled and no later than 8 pm.
MEALS: B | DRIVE TIME: 2.5 hours