Alaska in a Glimpse
This short seven-night tour of what is possibly North America’s most unchartered lands will give an insight into what this vast state can offer, it could also be used as an exhilarating extension to one of our Canadian itineraries. Beginning in the State Capitol of Anchorage, this tour travels as far north as Denali National Park and as far south as Seward, gateway to the Kenai Fjords National Park.
- Denali National Park
Anchorage is Alaska’s largest city and is a thriving metropolis amid a somewhat unlikely setting among the Chugach Mountains and the vast wilderness beyond. The city does, however boast many restaurants, art galleries and shopping opportunities as well as a growing arts and music scene. The Anchorage Museum and Alaska Native Heritage Centre showcase an impressive display depicting 10,000 years of Alaskan history and culture.
As you may expect in Alaska, away from the bustling city centre, the opportunities to view wildlife are plentiful. Make sure to visit the resident 1,000-strong moose population as well as Alaska Conservation Centre and Potter Marsh Bird Sanctuary. You can also go fishing for world-famous Alaskan salmon at Ship Creek or go “skijording” (skiing whilst being towed by a dog!). Whilst here, don’t forget to take in the beautiful scenery of Chugach State Park from Flattop Mountain, pan for gold at Crow Creek Mine or take a day trip to Prince William Sound, a 3,125 square mile area of protected waterways, islands, fjords and glaciers. From here, you may be lucky enough to spot whales, sea otters or bears.
Situated on the Kenai Peninsula at the head of Resurrection Bay, Seward is a scenic and historic town with a lively harbour and unparalleled natural beauty. Take a wildlife and sightseeing cruise over to the Kenai Fjords National Park and witness calving glaciers and an abundance of wildlife, including wolves, black and brown bears, sea lions, otters and whales. As many as 191 species of birds have also been seen here. Snow and ice cover 60% of the park, and lining the edge is the vast Harding Icefield. From the massive icefield, countless tidewater glaciers pour down, carving valleys that fill with seawater to form stunning fjords and icebergs the size of small houses. Also make sure to visit Exit Glacier, a road-accessible glacier that offers an impressive up-close view as well as many hiking trails. In Seward and Kenai Fjords National Park, visitors can also go kayaking, fishing, hiking, biking, snowmobiling and dog-sledding; also worth a visit is the Alaska SeaLife Centre.
Located in the Matanuska (Mat-Su) Valley, Talkeetna is a town not to miss. The town rests in the shadow of the mighty Mount Denali and was once a gold-mining centre. It has proudly held onto much of its authentic Alaskan ‘flavour’ from that time; Main Street, at the centre of town is the only paved street here!
Whilst in Talkeetna, keen hikers may want to take on the challenge of climbing the imposing Mount Denali. The history of Denali and the first brave enough to scale the peak are well preserved in the Talkeetna Historical Society Museum. You can also take the opportunity to take a “flight-seeing” tour from the local airstrip; these scenic flights of the mountain and the Alaska Range are awe-inspiring; many also offer glacier landings.
Whilst Denali is the areas’ biggest attraction, there are many other activities to tempt visitors, including boat tours up Talkeetna and Devils Canyon, fishing opportunities and horseback excursions along trails with fantastic views of the surrounding landscapes.
Denali National Park
This morning, make the drive to Denali National Park, comprising an area larger the entire state of Massachusetts, for what is sure to be a highlight of the trip. “Denali” is the Athabascan name for Mount McKinley, meaning “the high one”. There are so many opportunities for fun here, including hiking, rock- and ice-climbing, photography, wildlife viewing, nature walks, horseback treks and river excursions. During the winter, visitors can often also see the Northern Lights.
Take a guided tour into the park’s wilderness, on the 91-mile scenic road through the park you’ll have the opportunity to see the beautiful views surrounding Wonder Lake, Savage River, Polychrome Pass, the Outer Range, Sanctuary River and Muldrow Glacier. You could also choose to walk or bike or take a bus through the park but the park is closed to private vehicles. Whilst travelling, look out for some of the 37 species of mammals found in the park, including lynx and showshoe hares. If you see wolves, grizzly and brown bears, caribou and moose during your trip, you’ll have scored a “Denali Slam” of the top five animals to see in the park. Up to 130 different bird species can also be found here throughout the year including bald eagles, great-horned owls and ptarmigan. Make sure visit the Eielson Visitor Centre to learn about the cultural and natural resources of the area; with viewing areas, exhibits and interpretive displays, a stop here would greatly enhance your visit.
Today, make your way back to Anchorage for your onward flight home. Once you arrive, take the opportunity to visit some of the attractions and sights that you may have missed earlier in your trip. Visit the Anchorage Museum or the Alaska Native Heritage Centre or go hiking or biking along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. Spend your last night in Anchorage soaking up the views and atmosphere offered by Alaska's largest city. We're sure you will be back!
- International flights from London (please ask if regional airports are required)
- 7 nights’ accommodation and room tax
- Fully insured compact car hire (larger vehicles are available)
- A detailed and comprehensive travel pack with driving instructions and maps
Daily Departures from 15 May to 15 September.