SDFA03 Alaska's Glaciers & Mountains Road Trip

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Fairbanks, Alaska, is a pretty special place. Not only is it one of the state’s largest cities and just down the road from Denali National Park and Preserve, it’s a bouncing-off point for trips into Alaska’s remote villages, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Gates of the Arctic National Park. This self driving tour is ideal for visitors to join a road trip after taking the Alaska Railroad from Anchorage via Denali National Park to Fairbanks. Highlight will be the visit to the remote communities Kennicott and McCarthy, located in the heart of Wrangell - St. Elias National Park. Explore the Root Glacier during a guided glacier hike. On your return trip to Anchorage you'll overnight at Sheep Mountain Lodge (or similar) overlooking Matanuska Glacier - one of Alaska's most popular glacier. 

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Itinerary

Fairbanks ( Overnight: Fairbanks )

Arrive in Fairbanks during the day and pick up your rental car. Welcome to the "Golden Heart City". You are invited to explore the local gold rush history, its vibrant traditional native cultures as well as abundant wildlife and fantastic scenery. This morning you may visit the renown Alaska University Museum featuring Alaska's natural history best collection, Alaskaland or take an authentic sternwheeler on a scenic 20-mile roundtrip cruise down the Chena and Tanana Rivers. Guided van tour along the Dalton Highway or flightseeing tour to the Arctic Circle is super popular choice for experiencing the Arctic Circle and Yukon River. Enjoy a bush mail plane flight or a flightseeing trip to Fort Yukon to understand as well as experience how the Gwich'in Athabascan Natives live in "Bush" Alaska.

Arctic Circle

Fairbanks ( Overnight: Fairbanks )

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. As mentioned earlier Fairbanks becomes a hub for very many activities and the list keeps going on. Visiting Chena Hot Springs Resort can be added to the 'To-Do' List! Chena Hot Springs Resort offers a large indoor heated pool and a natural outdoor rock lake for relaxation. The on-site Aurora Ice Museum is a special attraction and was created from over 1,000 tons of ice and snow, all harvested at the resort.

Fairbanks – Glennallen / Copper Center ( Driving Distance: 250 miles| Overnight: Glennallen )

Travel on the Richardson Highway to Delta Junction - a telegraph station established in 1904. The intersection, marked by an oversized white milepost for Mile 1422 is known as the Triangle. Delta Junction is also home to the 90,000-acre Delta Bison Sanctuary. 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. Continue to Paxson with it's many sled dog kennels and further on to 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. For trout and grayling as well as salmon, try the Gulkana River nearby.

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

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. 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: Half Day Root Glacier Hike

Kennicott, Flight to Chitina – Matanuska Glacier ( Driving Distance: 140 miles | Overnight: Matanuska Glacier )

This morning join the guided tour of the Kennecott mill. Explore the 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 available. From 1908 until its closure in 1938, $200 million in ore was extracted from Kennecott, making it the richest concentration of copper ore known in the world. The entire area is for sure a photographer’s dream. Mid afternoon scenic flight back to Chitina and drive on the scenic Glenn Highway towards Palmer. Overnight at a lodge with scenic views of the Matanuska Glacier. Included: Kennecott Mill Town Tour

Matanuska Glacier - Anchorage, Depart Anchorages ( Driving Distance: 110 miles )

The Matanuska Glacier is one of Alaska's most accessible glaciers, a 27-mile long river of ice poking out of the Chugach Mountains that is visible for miles along the highway. A self-guided hike leads to the gravel-laced ice. Travel towards the Matanuska Valley - a fertile farmland that was settled by families as part of a New Deal relief program in 1935. Because of the fertile farmland and the immense amount of summer sunlight, vegetables grow to incredible sizes. The Alaska record cabbage is 106 pounds! This is just one of the attractions at the State Fair held in Palmer. Arrive in Anchorage during the day and drop off your rental car at the airport. Optional tour extensions are available on request.