Alaska may be part of the USA, but it feels like another world. This trip gives the freedom to hike, kayak, climb or fly your way through the iconic Denali and Wrangell-St Elias national parks. It’s a big, bold landscape filled with incredible mountain ranges, diverse wildlife and shining glaciers. Delve well and truly deep into the wild before reemerging into civilisation with stops in Anchorage and Valdez. There’s also plenty of free time to explore this beautiful landscape at your own pace.
- Alaska is unlike any other place on earth. Drive across frozen plains past massive peaks, walk across remote tundras to glacial rivers and kayak in the spectacular waters of Prince William Sound
- Denali National Park is home to an abundance of native wildlife. Visit the park for a unique chance to see moose, caribou, grizzly bears, Dall sheep and wolves in their natural habitat
- After witnessing the land mammals of Denali, get close to sea otters, puffins and humpback whales on an optional kayak trip among glaciers in Valdez. You might even see bald eagles wheeling in the sky above
- Wrangell-St Elias National Park is the world's largest internationally protected area. See North America's biggest collection of glaciers and some of its tallest, most impressive mountains on a visit to the park
- See both sides of the Kenai Peninsula, Homer on the west side, and Seward on the east. Homer is a cute artists' town and has remote beaches and the stunning Kachemak Bay State Park. The east coast has accessible glaciers and more marine life
- Spend two nights at a remote hostel on Resurrection Bay that can only be accessed by kayak or water taxi
- Denali National Park - Entrance Fee
- Denali National Park Visitor Centre
- Denali - Scenic bus tour
- Maclaren - Wilderness Glacier Overnight Canoe Trip
- Denali's Alaskan Huskies - Dog Sled Demonstration
- Resurrection Bay - Water taxi
- Camping (with basic facilities) (5 nights), Camping (with facilities) (4 nights), Hostel (2 nights), Hotel (2 nights)
- North America
- Kenai Fjords National Park
- Denali National Park
- Wrangell-St Elias National Park
- Small Group
Day 1 Anchorage
Welcome to Anchorage, Alaska, in the USA. Your 'Explore Alaska' adventure begins with a welcome meeting in the hotel lobby at 6 pm. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. Located in south-central Alaska on the shores of Cook Inlet, Anchorage is a unique urban environment situated in the heart of the wilderness. As there's no time spent in Anchorage on this trip we recommend you arrive a few days early to see the sights. If you need help booking extra accommodation, our reservations team will be able to assist (subject to availability).
Day 2 Denali National Park
In the morning, head north along the Parks Highway to Denali National Park (approximately five hours). During the drive keep an eye out for caribou and other wildlife in this amazing, unspoiled environment. Your evening is then free to relax.
Day 3 Denali National Park
Leave early in the morning for the eight-hour bus journey through Denali National Park and to the Eielson Visitor Centre. The scenic bus tour takes you through the backcountry of the park. Trips on the shuttle buses are quite relaxed and there will be no formal narration. The drivers provide basic park and safety information, assist you in spotting wildlife, answer questions and make restroom stops. Bring food and beverages with you, as there aren't any available on the tours. The bus will drive 66 miles deep into the park to the Eielson Visitor Centre. This epic journey is worth it, as National Park Service rangers and interactive displays provide insight and information about the park and its myriad of resources.
Day 4 Maclaren River
Located in the Maclaren river valley, traverse through high alpine country on the state’s second highest highway pass to Maclaren River Lodge. You'll then take a canoe up to the remote 'Glacier Camp' in the wilderness, where you'll explore and spend the night camping out beneath the stars.
Day 5 Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Canoe back to the lodge in the morning. Leave the main highway and head deep into Wrangell-St Elias National Park on one of the longest drives of the trip. This is the largest national park in the USA and is nearly six times the size of Yellowstone. On your way to the park, keep an eye out for an abundance of wildlife. Once you've arrived at your campsite, your evening is then free. Today's driving time will take a total of around eight hours.
Day 6 Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Today is free to explore Wrangell-St Elias National Park, but there are a whole host of optional activities to take part in (at an additional cost). Perhaps take a flight-seeing tour of the park or venture out on a glacier walk, on the spectacular Root Glacier. There's also the opportunity to do some ice climbing. If you're just looking to explore the area, head out on a hike in search of moose, bears and caribou. In the evening, head back to the campsite for some much needed rest.
Day 7 Valdez
This morning begin your long drive to Valdez, which should take around seven and hours, including a stop at Worthington Glacier along the way. Surrounded on three sides by steep, snow-capped Chugach Mountains, the blue-water port town of Valdez is best known as the southern terminus of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System. On arrival into Valdez, set up camp and relax for the rest of the evening.
Day 8 Valdez
Today is free to do what you like in Valdez. Kayaking is hugely popular here, and you can paddle on Prince William Sound, among the glaciers, down the fjords through to waterfalls and with the setting of imposing mountains in the background. On land, possibly visit the Valdez Museum and Historical Archive for an interesting history of this important port city.
Day 9 Anchorage
This morning take the long drive back to Anchorage, which usually takes around six hours. This may be a tiring journey, but it's also a spectacular one as you cross the immense Thompson Pass.
Day 10 Homer
Depart Anchorage and take a scenic drive along the Turnagain Arm and the National Forest Scenic Byway on your way to Homer. This route is considered one of the most scenic drives in the world. Homer will be your gateway to the Kenai Peninsula. Keep an eye on the water because today you might snatch a glimpse of beluga whales.
Notes: The drive covers 380 kilometres and takes approximately 5.5 hours.
Day 11 Homer
Make the most of a free day in Homer. Perhaps explore the area by kayak and watch sea otters, or visit the beautiful rock arches, cliffs and remote beaches surrounding the city. Homer is a good place for animal watching, with bald eagles, puffins and moose plentiful in the area. Some of the activities around Homer are expensive, but they are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. The Kachemak Bay Adventure includes sea kayaking, a tour of the old Russian settlement of Seldovia and a flight over the bay. The Bear Viewing Flight can sometimes sell out, but if you can afford it, the feedback from previous travellers to this area is that it is a highlight.
Day 12 Seward
Journey to the coastal town of Seward and the surrounding Kenai Fjords National Park (approximately 4 hours; 125 kilometres). Seward is one of Alaska's oldest towns, as well as one of the most scenic. The town itself boasts galleries, boutique shops and a bustling harbour, but it's perhaps best known as a gateway to exploring Kenai Fjords National Park. On arrival, jump into a water taxi across to Resurrection Bay, where you will spend the next two nights staying in a hostel. This accommodation is so remote it can only be accessed by kayak or water taxi.
Day 13 Seward
Enjoy a free day to explore the stunning Kenai Fjords National Park and Resurrection Bay. Head out among the fjords and glaciers, keeping an eye out for humpback and killer whales, sea otters, harbour seals, sea lions, and puffins. In the evening, enjoy your last night here before heading to Anchorage in the morning.
Day 14 Anchorage
Return to Anchorage via the Turnagain Arm (approximately 2.5 hours; 200 kilometres). There will be time to explore some of this Arctic wonderland, with its numerous lakes, glaciers and fascinating coastline. The area is also famous for its many anglers, who follow the salmon on their annual migration up the peninsula's many wide rivers. This trip finishes on arrival in Anchorage at approximately 5pm. For those wishing to stay on in Anchorage, please speak to our reservations team who can assist in booking extra nights of accommodation.
Touring with Intrepid Travel
Intrepid was started by two friends from Melbourne, Australia, in 1988 after embarking on a trip through the wilds of Africa in a modified ex-council truck, crammed with friends, supplies, a handful of aviator sunglasses and a case or two of beer. Could this type of travel be something others would be interested in? The answer was a resounding yes and today Intrepid send 100,000 travellers across the globe each year with the help of a staff of 1,000.
After three decades, founders Darrell and Manch, feel they know what travellers want. They get that it’s a big decision to fly across the world to wander the souks of Marrakech or enjoy a dreamy Angkor sunrise. They understand that you’re looking for a balance of inclusions and free time, a mix of classic highlights and local secrets you won’t find on Google. And of course, an authentic real life experience. Their leaders are born and raised in-country and they know their destination better than anyone. So you’ll do more than just see a place, you’ll live it. Small groups, big adventures and responsible travel – that’s Intrepid’s thing. With 1,000 trips in a variety of styles across 100 countries, you’re sure to find something you like.
Intrepid believe the real magic happens well away from the beaten path. It’s the little noodle bars, hidden galleries and backstreet bodegas and real life experiences you won’t find in a search engine. Real life experiences are those moments you know you’re really alive and experiencing something special. While it could be the instant you see one of the world’s great icons for the first time, it is more likely to be the moment you find yourself in the middle of a village square soccer game, being treated to a home-cooked meal by your new local friends or sharing a laugh with your fellow travellers as you try a new mode of transport … camel anyone? These unexpected moments are what travelling with Intrepid is all about, giving you a trip like no other.
Intrepid realises the world is a really big place. And there’s a plethora of different languages to learn, borders to cross and cultures to negotiate. Small group adventure travel makes these things easy and allows you to maximise your precious time off. Instead of worrying about logistics, you can focus all your energy on having the experience of a lifetime. Their tour groups are small enough to feel like you’re exploring a destination independently, but big enough to create a good social vibe. Group size will vary depending on where and how you’re travelling, but the average group size is about 10.
Intrepid’s themed trips encompass all hobbies and interests or could pique an interest in a new hobby you never knew you needed. From foodie explorations across Asia or India, sailing the seas in Thailand or the Caribbean, wildlife encounters in the Serengeti or Antarctica, scenic cycling or walking to Base Camp or through Tibet, and epic expeditions in Burma or Russia, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Intrepid is committed to operating in a responsible manner, incorporating the principles of sustainable development in the way they provide travellers with real life experiences. These values are ingrained in the culture and daily operations of every Intrepid office and tour. In addition, they hope their travellers also demonstrate the principles of responsible travel - respecting people, cultures and local environments; in the distribution of wealth; in good will and cross-cultural sharing; and in contributing to sustainable development.