RSHA01 Alaska Panoramas Road & Rail Vacation from Haines

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Take 9 days to explore the most popular highlights of Alaska and the Yukon. This rail and drive itinerary covers the premier locations at a pace you will enjoy and it is the ideal extension to your ferry trip through Alaska’s Inside Passage and Tongass National Forest. Beginning your vacation in Haines, a city with a rich history and culture as well as breathtaking scenery, you then travel across the Yukon Territory and along the Alaska Highway towards the interior. The driving part of your vacation ends in Fairbanks, dating back to the gold rush and is now considered the gateway to Alaska's Arctic. Board in Fairbanks the last full-service railroad in North America and choose between the “Adventure Class” seating in the one-storey railway car or the “Deluxe Dome Railcar” on board the Alaska Railroad or with one of the privately operated trains. All train cars feature large panorama windows ensuring unobstructed views around every bend of the majestic beauty of the glaciers, mountains and Alaskan wildlife. Spend two days at Denali National Park which is the natural habitat for many types of wildlife including caribou, moose, wolves, Dall sheep, bald eagles, and the mighty grizzly bears. The name ''Denali'' means ''The Great One'' in the native Athabascan language. At 20,310 feet above sea level Denali is the highest peak in North America and is surrounded by one of the world's most spectacular wildlife sanctuaries. The leisure train ride to Anchorage provides many spectacular vistas of the Alaska Range. The finale to this tour is Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city and brimming with activities for the outdoorsy and adventurous. Please read our itinerary to have more detailed day-to-day experience. On  request, this trip can be customized and can be organized in reverse order.

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Itinerary

Haines | Start Self Drive Tour ( Overnight: Haines )

Arrive in Haines by the Alaska Ferry or cruise ship and pick up your rental car. Haines is situated at the upper end of the Inside Passage, surrounded by snowcapped mountains, lush meadows and forests. Across the waters of Chilkat River is Pyramid Harbor and the start of the Dalton Trail — one of the routes to the gold fields of the Klondike. The Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve can be found below Klukwan on the Chilkat River flats (mile 18 to 24 on the Haines Highway). This area is called the "Council Grounds" because of its large congregation of eagles. The Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve was established to protect the world's largest concentration of Bald Eagles and their critical habitat. Visit the Fort William H. Seward with its officers' headquarters and barracks buildings, designated as a National Historic Site.

Haines – Haines Junction ( Driving Distance: 150 miles | Overnight: Haines Junction )

The Haines highway was built in 1943 and is one of Alaska's most scenic highways. It winds from Haines over the Chilkat Pass - the highest summit on this highway. You pass Klukshu, a native summer fishing camp offering great photo opportunities. If you yearn for the wild beauty of an unspoiled Canadian landscape, Kluane National Park is for you. Explore mountains, lakes, rivers and forests that have been home to Southern Tutchone people for thousands of years and discover the heart of their traditional culture and way of life. From scenic hiking on gentle trails to backcountry adventures, a variety of activities await you. The park is also home to Mount Logan, Canada's highest peak. Visit the sheep mountain visitor center in Haines Junction with its interpretive programs about the flora.

Haines Junction – Tok ( Driving Distance: 290 miles | Overnight: Tok )

This morning go on a short hiking trip before driving north along the shores of beautiful Kluane Lake. Stopover at Sheep Mountain and look out for dall sheep gracing alongside the mountain slopes. Your journey continues on the famous Alaska Highway through endless wilderness areas with occasional wildlife spotting on the way. Feel free to stop at the designated photo stops to enjoy more panoramic views. Cross the Canadian/US border and arrive in Tok, often referred to as the "Dog Mushing Capital of Alaska". Tok was born as a construction station on the highway. With its location at the intersection of the Alaska Highway and the Glenn Highway to Anchorage and Prince William Sound, the town has built an economy of gas stations, gift stores, cafes, and hotels to serve highway travelers.

Tok – Fairbanks ( Driving Distance: 200 miles | Overnight: Fairbanks )

Travel north on the Alaska Highway #1 to Delta Junction - a telegraph station established in 1904. The intersection, marked by an oversized white milepost for Mile 1422 of the Alaska - and Richardson Highway, is known as the Triangle. Delta Junction is also home to the 90,000-acre Delta Bison Sanctuary, which was created to contain a free-roaming herd of more than 500 animals. The area features spectacular views of the Alaska Range and the Delta River. On clear days the panoramas of Mount Hayes, Mount Moffit and other peaks are stunning. Stopover at Santa Clause House in North Pole where Christmas is celebrated year round. Arrive in Fairbanks, the gateway Alaska's Arctic northern region. In the evening enjoy a dinner at the Pump House on the banks of the Chena River.

Fairbanks | End Self Drive Tour ( Overnight: Fairbanks )

Known as the Golden Heart City of Alaska, Fairbanks is tucked into miles of unexplored wilderness only 120 miles from the Arctic Circle. You are invited to explore the local gold rush history, its vibrant traditional native cultures as well as fantastic scenery. The allure of crossing the Arctic Circle becomes a possibility once you reach Fairbanks. Guided van tours along the Dalton Highway or flight tours to the Arctic Circle and Yukon River is a super popular choice. Join a bushplane flight to Fort Yukon to understand as well as experience how the Gwich'in Athabascan Natives live in "Bush" Alaska. You may visit the renown Alaska University Museum or take an authentic sternwheeler on a scenic 20-mile roundtrip cruise down the Chena and Tanana Rivers. Drop off your rental car this evening.

Fairbanks – Denali National Park | Rail Tour ( Overnight: Denali Village )

Enjoy the scenic ride onboard the Alaska Railroad to Denali National Park. Choose between the standard rail car or the glass-dome compartments with large panorama windows ensuring unobstructed views of snowcapped mountain ranges, pristine scenery and abundant wildlife. The train passes through the small community of Nenana, known for the Nenana Ice Classic Lottery. Just north of the Denali park, the train winds along Healy Canyon, following the curves of the Nenana River below. Arrive at Denali Village at noon. Transfer to your hotel and check into your room. Once you settled take a stroll through Denali Village, join a flightseeing tour, wildwater rafting trip or visit Jeff King’s Husky Homestead Kennel for a personal tour with four-time Iditarod champion Jeff King and his sled dogs.

Denali National Park ( Overnight: Denali Village )

Denali National Park offers excellent wildlife viewing and spectacular sceneries. Pick up your tickets, board the bus and watch out for grizzly bears, moose, caribou, wolf and fox moving along the ridges and river beds. Your driver informs about the history of Denali National Park, its diverse wildlife and flora. Once an animal has been spotted the bus will stop that everyone can watch and take pictures. The bus turns around at Eielson Visitor Center - 66 miles one way/8 hours round trip. You can get off the bus anytime to go for a hike. Return to the Denali Park entrance anytime during the day. Optional: We can extend the transit bus tour to Wonder Lake or exchange to the Tundra Wilderness Tour, Kantishna Wilderness Trails or Backcountry Lodge Tour. Included: Denali Transit Bus to Eielson Center

Denali National Park – Anchorage | Rail Tour ( Overnight: Anchorage )

Board the Alaska Railroad and relax in your comfortable reclining seats, have a delicious lunch onboard or listen to the commentaries from an onboard interpreter. Just south of Denali you'll enter Broad Pass, offering majestic views of the Alaska Range in all directions. Your rail tour continues via Wasilla and crosses the Knik River with the Chugach Mountains as a backdrop before arriving in Anchorage, Alaska's largest city. Nestled along the Chugach Mountains, the coastal city is brimming with activities for the outdoorsy and adventurous, as well as the more relaxed. Visit the Log Cabin Visitor Center and its Crossroad, Ship Creek Viewpoint overlooking Cook Inlet and the Resolution Park with its Captain Cook Monument. Try out one of the popular seafood restaurants this evening.

Anchorage

Time for your favourite activity - join a bear viewing day tour to Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park or to Silver Salmon Creek in Lake Clark, take a scenic glacier & wildlife cruise deep into Prince William Sound or explore the local attractions. A picture-perfect flightseeing trip takes you over Cook Inlet to Katmai Coast. Watch bears digging for clams, wandering the sedge grass, or nursing their young. Another option is the day trip to iconic Brooks Falls in the middle of Katmai, famous for bears swatting at Salmon making their way upstream. The Prince William Sound is one of the few places left in the world where a concentration of glaciers can be found in such abundance. View majestic alpine and tidewater glaciers covered with ancient ice and observe a large variety of marine wildlife.