• Sunset over Katmai National Park

Alaskan Highlights Tour

Explore the highlights of Alaska on this incredible small group tour. Sea kayak amongst floating glaciers in Valdez and go wildlife spotting in Denali National Park where you might even catch a glimpse of wolves, dall sheep and grizzly bear! Take part in optional activities such as hiking in the high country of the Harding Ice fields, or a cruise through Resurrection Bay and Aialik Fjord and witness towering glaciers.

2019 Departure Dates

07 June

21 July

04, 16 August

Duration
11 days
Options
Group basis, Escorted
Start your journey
Bears in Katmai National Park

Trip highlights

  • Hike in the high-country of the Harding Icefields
  • Enjoy a five hour guided wildlife boat tour of Kenai Fjords National Park

Welcome to Anchorage, the largest city in Alaska with only 250,000 people and a city which has undergone quite a change since the earthquake of 1964. Now a bustling city fuelled by the oil boom and tourism, it wasn’t that long ago that Anchorage was the last outpost before heading into the ‘Last Frontier’. It’s also common place to find bear roaming the outskirts of the city. A great way to spend your day is wandering around the town getting a feel for the 49th state, speaking to the locals and breathing in that fresh Alaskan air! A welcome meeting will be held at 18:00 hrs for you to meet your tour leader and fellow travelling companions.

Optional Activities:

  • Alaska Native Heritage Center US$25
  • Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center US$15
  • Tony Knowles Coastal Trail US$FREE
  • Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum US$10

Suggested Accommodation

  • Inlet Tower Hotel & Suites or similar

Leaving Anchorage your first stop is to visit the Portage Glacier where you round Cook Inlet’s Turn again Arm and venture onto the Kenai (pronounced ‘keen eye’) Peninsula followed by the chance to walk the Byron Glacier Trail. This short trail takes you along a rushing glacial river into a dramatic, steep valley all the way to the base of Byron Glacier. From here you make your way to the colourful fishing village of Seward - the gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park. In its past life, Seward was a railroad port which means there is now plenty of great shopping and a picturesque old-time downtown area.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Harborview Inn Seward or similar

Located on the south-eastern side of the Kenai Peninsula, Kenai Fjords National Park covers more than 2,400 sq km and is a place where you’ll get to enjoy spectacular views of the rugged coastline and the Kenai Mountains. A full free day this leaves you with a difficult decision to make, do you go hiking on what could be the most beautiful trail you’ve ever hiked, or do you join a wildlife and mammal viewing cruise of Kenai Fjords National Park?

The Harding Icefield which although not an easy hike, is equally magnificent and well worth it. This trail is popular for spotting wildlife and delivers breathtaking views of Exit Glacier along the way. Nothing will prepare you for the incredible views at the top and it’s worth eating your lunch up there if the weather is good. Failing this, a full day (five or seven hour) guided wildlife cruise of Kenai Fjords National Park with the chance to spot whales, porpoises and sea otters is an excellent option. It’s a premier bird watching opportunity and a visit to a tidewater glacier to experience the sights and sounds of icebergs being calved into the sea are all part of this perfect day out.

Optional Activities:

Scenic cruise - Kenai Fjords US$154-$214

Suggested Accommodation

  • Harborview Inn Seward or similar

Board the Alaska State ferry, leaving Seward behind and crossing Prince William Sound to reach the town of Valdez. The views of the mountains, bays, fjords and glaciers are unforgettable and the water is home to a unique array of marine life, Harbour Seals and sea-lions. Tucked away at the end of a glacier-carved fjord and called the ‘Switzerland of Alaska’ due to its surrounding snow-capped mountains, Valdez is the most northerly ice-free port in the Western Hemisphere and the terminus of the Alaskan Pipeline that stretches over 800 miles to Prudhoe Bay. There’s no better way to experience this pristine environment than with an optional (and highly recommended) sea kayaking trip up to the mouth of the glacier. A variety of hiking trails make this area a walker’s paradise.

Optional Activities:

Valdez Sea Kayaking US$259

Suggested Accommodation

  • Best Western Valdez Harbor Inn or similar

Bordering Canada’s Yukon Territory, Wrangell-St Elias National Park is the largest in the country, containing glaciers five times the size of Manhattan and nine of the sixteen highest peaks in North America! With endless hours of daylight you’ll never tire of such magnificent glaciers and remote views. To explore the historic area of McCarthy and the Kennecott Mine, why not take the Kennecott Copper Mill Ghost Town tour or if you’re feeling adventurous why not opt to try glacier walking or ice climbing? You stay at the McCarthy Lodge, a comfortable and quirky hotel without the modern trappings of the chain hotel. The atmosphere is welcoming and is often described as a `home away from home’.

Optional Activities:

  • Ice climbing US$135
  • Glacier walk US$80-$110
  • Kennecott Copper Mill Ghost Town US$28

Suggested Accommodation

  • McCarthy Lodge or similar

Head into the heart of the Alaskan Mountain Range on what is considered to be one of the most beautiful drives in the state, enjoy sweeping views of the Alaska Range on the Denali Highway before arriving to the Maclaren River Lodge. With spectacular views of the surrounding valley, this rustic lodge provides the ideal setting for an authentic Alaskan experience. This is a birder’s paradise with many species often sighted and with the chance to fish for grayling (permit purchased locally) the activities are plentiful.

Optional Activities:

Canoeing (unescorted) - US$50-$65

Suggested Accommodation

  • Maclaren River Lodge or similar

As you travel along the old Denali Highway to Denali National Park, keep an eye open for Caribou and other wildlife while enjoying the peaceful, unspoiled Alaskan wilderness. Surrounded by the tallest mountain peak in North America, Denali National Park offers a variety of wildlife including grizzly bear, caribou, dall sheep, marmots and wolves. Activities such as river rafting, watching a dog sled demonstration and walks on quiet nature trails are available, all nearby your lovely campground setting which borders the park. Take the included Denali shuttle bus, which offers scenic views of the taiga and sub-arctic tundra as well as superb opportunities to view wildlife and hike the many trails in the park. Denali is one of the few national parks where visitors are encouraged to walk off the beaten track and make their own trails. As a real treat and highly recommended, why not opt for a scenic flight over Denali National Park with the chance to land on an ice sheet under the watchful gaze of Mount Denali’s towering peak, North America’s tallest mountain!

Optional Activities:

  • Denali scenic flight US$524
  • Dogsled demonstration in Denali US$FREE
  • Mountain biking in Denali, US$20-$57
  • Whitewater rafting in Denali US$92-$187

Suggested Accommodation

  • Carlo Creek Lodge or similar

Departing Denali, you make your way towards Anchorage stopping en route in the town of Talkeetna where you have the opportunity to try a local speciality; Reindeer Sausage. You also take in a visit to the Talkeetna Ranger Station depending on availability.

Leave Alaska’s highlights behind and return to civilisation for the end of your tour. Why not add on a half day bear viewing extension which includes a float plane flight into the wilderness? This wonderful experience with local guides gives you the opportunity to get up close to the four legged animals that call this place home.

This tour ends at approximately 17:00 hrs, why not look to extend your holiday and perhaps fly onward to another fantastic destination in the USA?  If you are planning to fly tonight, please do not book a flight that departs before 21:00 hrs.

Included

  • International flights
  • 10 nights accommodations (5 nights hotels, 3 nights lodges and 2 nights cabin)
  • Service of a professional Tour Leader
  • Private vehicle and ferry transportation

Not included

  • Meals
  • Optional excursions
  • Tips for the guide and driver