SDAN06 Alaska’s Glaciers and National Parks Holiday

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Alaska  is  the  land  of  glaciers  and  pristine  National  Parks.  This Alaska driving tour,  ‘SDAN06  –  Alaska’s  Glaciers  and  National  Park  Holiday’  combines  them  to  give  you  best  of  both  in  eight  days.  You  can  arrive  by  cruise  ship  or  by  flight  as  long  as  you  arrive  in  Anchorage,  this  road-trip offers  you  the  most scenic National Parks and locations.  You  start  in  Anchorage,  which  is  filled  with  lot  of  adventures  along  with  metropolitan  amenities.  With  thousands  of  moose,  very  many  national  parks  nearby  and  60  glaciers  in a  quick  drive  away,  it's  one  of  the  best  places  to  start  your  vacation.  From  Anchorage  drive north on the Parks Highway and stopover in Talkeetna,  which is located at the confluence of  three  wild  glacial  rivers.  Denali  National  Park,  nestling  in  the  shadows  of  towering  20.320  ft.  Mt.  Denali  will  be  your  next  stop.  Denali  National  Park  mesmerizes  everyone  with  its  pristine  beauty  amazing  hikes  and  great  wildlife  spotting.  Enjoy  the  breathtaking  scenery  as  you  travel  on  the  Denali  or Glenn Highway  towards  the  Wrangell/St.  Elias  National  Park.  One  of  the  highlights  on  this  trip  is  the  overnight  at  the  remote  town  of  McCarthy/Kennicott.  The Kennecott  Copper  Mine  tour  gives  you  a  great  jog  down  the  history  of  the  place  and  hardship  as  well  as  dreams  the  people  at  that  time  experienced.  After  which  you  can  join  a  glacier  hike  on  Root  Glacier.  From  Valdez  you  take  a  scenic  cruise  on board  the  Alaska  Ferry  through  scenic  Prince  William  Sound.  There  are  a  lot  of  things  to  do  ranging  from  side  trips  and  outdoor  activities  such  as  river  rafting,  flightseeing,  wildlife  viewing,  whale  watching  and  short  hiking  trips.  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

Anchorage - Denali National Park ( Driving Distance: 240 miles | Overnight: Denali Village )

Welcome to Anchorage. Pick up your rental car at the airport or in downtown Anchorage. The grandness of the nature starts right from Anchorage itself and driving every mile on the Parks Highway gets even better. It is a treat to watch the mountain peaks crowned with snow caps in the distance. On the way you travel across the fertile Matanuska Valley. Because of the immense amount of summer sunlight, vegetables grow to incredible sizes. Feel free to stop at the designated photo stops to enjoy more panoramic views. It is possible to stopover at Talkeetna for a flightseeing tour to Mt. Denali. Arrive at Denali Village. This evening visit Jeff King’s Sled Dog Kennel - Join an intimate group for a personal tour with four-time Iditarod champion Jeff King at his Husky Homestead Kennel.

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 - via Denali or Glenn Highway – Glennallen ( Driving Distance: approx. 230 - 340 miles | Overnight: Glennallen )

Today you have the choice to either travel on the Denali Highway - one of the last great wilderness gravel roads or take the scenic Glenn Highway. Both highways offer truly magnificent sceneries: stop at the Matanuska Glacier or explore the Tangle Lakes district with dense concentrations of archaeological resources. Once you have reached the Richardson Highway, you may get a breathtaking view of Mt. Deborah, Mt. Sanford and Mt. Drum. The Copper River area - known as a paradise for anglers and rafters searching for big fish and whitewater adventure. Gakona, Copper Center and Glenallen are great jump-off points to fish for the famed Copper River Sockeye. Watch native fishwheels turning at nearby Copper River Bridge, home of the famous Copper River Red Salmon.

Glennallen - Flight to McCarthy / Kennicott ( Driving Distance: 70 miles| Overnight: Kennicott/McCarthy )

Short drive to Chitina and park your car at the airport. From here take a scenic bushplane flight to Kennicott/McCarthy. You will see the Kennicott Glacier as it winds its way 25 miles to the North where it tumbles off the South East face of Mt. Blackburn. The Root and Gates Glaciers flow from ridges of Mt. Regal to join the Kennicott forming one of the most spectacular vistas in the park. Check into your hotel. This afternoon join a guided glacier hike on the Root Glacier. After meeting your guide, you'll start out on the 1.8 mile hike to the "white ice" of the Root. Once on the ice you will explore other-worldly formations unlike anything else you have ever seen: blue pools, crevasses and moulin holes drilled hundreds of feet deep into the ice by the flowing meltwater. Included: Kennecott Glacier Hike

Kennicott - Flight to Chitina, Drive to Valdez ( Driving Distance: 120 miles | Overnight: Valdez )

Join this morning the tour of the historic Kennecott Mine with it's white-trimmed red buildings that stand out against the dramatic mountain-and-glacier backdrop at the actual mine site. In recent years, the National Park Service has restored many of the mine buildings and a guided tour of the huge mill building, bunkhouses and train depot is a must. Scenic return flight to Chitina. Drive south on the Richardson Highway and stopover at Worthington Glacier with boardwalks leading to the face of the glacier. Drive through the scenic Keystone Canyon and arrive in Valdez - also known as “the Switzerland of Alaska” - and the gateway for salmon fishing trips and narrated cruises to magnificent Columbia Glacier. Included: Kennecott Mill Tour

Valdez – Prince William Sound Ferry to Whittier - Seward ( Driving Distance: 90 miles | Overnight: Seward )

Scenic cruise across Prince William Sound onboard the Alaska Marine Highway Ferry. Prince William Sound is an area famous for its scenery and wildlife. Dotted with islands, this 70-mile-wide gulf extends 30 miles north and west from the Gulf of Alaska to the Kenai Peninsula, bounded to the southeast by Montague and Hinchinbrook islands. To the north: a rugged, glaciated coastline and the Chugach Mountains. Watch out for whales, bald eagles, sea lions and other marine wildlife. Arrive in Whittier and drive to Portage Glacier. After a stop at the visitor center continue to Seward, a small fishing town at the gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park. Spend some time to visit Exit Glacier. Short trails lead to the edge of the glacier where you can take a good photo in front of glacier ice.

Seward ( Overnight: Seward )

This morning board the stable catamaran for a spectacular cruise deep into Kenai Fjords National Park with actively "calving" glaciers and magnificent scenery. Covering 110-miles, the trip is narrated by a National Park Ranger, who is highly adept at spotting wildlife and pointing out the many sights. Kenai Fjords showcase the best of Alaska’s marine world in a compact package. Sea otters float belly-up eating mussels while Harbor seals haul out on icebergs off Aialik and Northwestern Glacier. Look out for Steller sea lions on Chiswell Island as well as Humpback and killer whales. After reaching the tidewater glacier, guests witness "glacier calving" a process by which glaciers shed giant slabs of ancient ice. Included: Kenai Fjords Glacier & Wildlife Cruise

Seward - Anchorage ( Driving Distance: 130 miles )

Spend some time in the morning at the Alaska SeaLife Center – the world's largest and first cold water marine search institute with wildlife rehabilitation and public education facilities, try some outstanding halibut or salmon fishing within Resurrection Bay, book a half day kayak tour from Lowell Point to Holgate Glacier or hike the scenic Exit Glacier Trail - the choice is yours ! Take the Seward Highway north towards Anchorage. Feel free to take a break at the designated photo stops to enjoy the panoramic views over Cook Inlet. Arrive in Anchorage later in the day and drop off your rental car at the airport or in downtown.