SDSK01 Wild Nature of Yukon & Alaska – Road Trip

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There is no better way to explore Alaska and the Yukon Territory then on a well organised self drive itinerary. This 10-day driving vacation is ideal to be combined with the arrival by the Alaska Ferry in Skagway or by cruiseship. Alaska’s Inside Passage, a route once plied by Klondike gold rushers, spans 500 miles of shoreline from Prince Rupert to Skagway, jam-packed with some of the world’s most amazing landscapes and abundant wildlife. Pick up your rental car in Skagway, travel on the historic gold-rush trail and visit Whitehorse and the gold-rush town of Dawson City. You soon will be admiring the vast untamed wilderness and majestic mountain scenery of the Yukon Territory. The scenic Top of the World Highway takes visitors via the historic Fortymile gold mining district to Alaska. You then explore the great northern arctic region from Fairbanks and may cross the Arctic Circle before traveling south to Denali National Park. 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. Denali  National  Park  is  the  natural  habitat  for many types of wildlife including caribou, moose, wolves, Dall sheep, bald eagles, and the mighty grizzly bears. 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

Skagway ( Overnight: Skagway )

Welcome to Skagway ! Pick up your rental car in downtown Skagway. Today you have the chance to board the historic narrow-gauge White Pass and Yukon Railway and ride along the White Pass Trail to the White Pass Summit. The entire distance between the gold-rush community of Skagway to the summit was completed in only two years in 1900's. The steamer pulls the train a couple of miles, then diesels take the cars - some of them originals more than 100 years old - up steep tracks that were chipped out of the side of the mountains. In the afternoon walk around the historic townsite and check out the old buildings. You may even visit the grave of "Soapy Smith" and walk part of the famous Chilkoot Trail.

Skagway– Whitehorse ( Driving Distance: 110 miles | Overnight: Whitehorse )

This morning leave Skagway and continue your journey on the South Klondike Highway. Near the summit of the Klondike Highway Pass you'll encounter a scene that resembles a moonscape more than any earthly vista. Ancient, twisted trees cling to rocks polished smooth by prehistoric glaciers, or crumbled by years of erosion. Myriad waterfalls, several glaciers and glimpses of the White Pass Railroad and White Pass Trail are among the highlights of the drive to the summit. After crossing the Canadian border, you'll travel past the ruins of the Venus Mine on Windy Arm of Tagish Lake, visit the historic community of Carcross before arriving in Whitehorse. This afternoon visit the sights of Whitehorse: SS Klondike sternwheeler, the Yukon Beringia Center and go for a stroll at Miles Canyon.

Whitehorse – Dawson City ( Driving Distance: 270 miles | Overnight: Dawson City )

The Klondike Highway often parallels the Yukon River as it winds its way to Dawson City. Water in the Yukon River travels more than 3,000 km from headwaters near the Chilkoot Pass to the mouth at the Bering Sea. As you travel you will leave country that has been glaciated many times to visit an environment, known as Beringia, which was ice free during the last major ice age. Steppe bison and woolly mammoths inhabited this cool, ice-free land that once connected the continents of North America and Asia. The highway passes through three communities on the way to Dawson City - and there is plenty to see along the way. Drive along Lake Laberge to Carmacks – a trading post established in 1890 and stopover at the 5-Finger Rapids – a navigational hazard for many stampeder.

Dawson City ( Overnight: Dawson City )

A full day to explore the goldrush town Dawson City and the gold fields: Visit the historical buildings, Jack London and Robert Service cabins and old stores that were the pulse of the gold rush capital in its hey-days. As you walk through the heart of Dawson City, your imagination will run to the likes of Klondike Kate, Arizona Charlie Meadows and Diamond Tooth Gertie strolling down Dawson's boardwalks. Their spirit is as alive today as it was in 1898. From the one-time capital of the Yukon you'll follow history up Bonanza Creek (pan for gold) to Discovery Claim and Grand Forks once boasted a population of 10,000 where the Eldorado Creek and Upper Bonanza come together. Take a guided tour of the Gold Dredge #4 and visit the Diamond Tooth Gertie's Gambling Hall for evening entertainment.

Dawson City – Fairbanks ( Driving Distance: 380 miles| Overnight: Fairbanks )

Cross the Yukon River by ferry (no charge) after leaving Dawson City and enjoy a scenic drive on the Top of the World Highway offering endless views into spectacular alpine valleys. Stopover in Chicken - a former mining camp and trading post on the banks of the Fortymile River. Explore some old remnants of the old frontier Alaska such as: the mercantile emporium, Chicken Creek Saloon and the historic Tisha's Schoolhouse. Continue your journey on the famous Alaska Highway #1 and drive via Tok towards Fairbanks. Stopover at Santa Clause House in North Pole where Christmas is celebrated year round. In the evening enjoy a dinner at the Pump House on the banks of the Chena River. Please Note: We can add an overnight in Tok if you wish to drive the distance in two days.

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 – Denali National Park ( Driving Distance: 130 miles | Overnight: Denali Village )

Known as the Golden Heart City of Alaska, Fairbanks is tucked into miles of unexplored wilderness only 120 miles from the Arctic Circle. It enjoys almost 24 hours of daylight during summer months. You are invited to explore the local gold rush history, its vibrant traditional native cultures as well as 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. Enjoy lively narration, stop at a reconstructed Athabascan Indian Village to learn about native hunting and fishing techniques and watch a dogsled demonstration. Leisure drive to Nenana - known for its Alaska Ice Classics - to Denali National Park.

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 ( Driving Distance: 240 miles | Overnight: Anchorage )

Spend the morning at Denali National Park and watch a sled dog demonstration presented by the park ranger or join an exhilarating rafting trip on the Nenana River. Return to Anchorage via the Parks Highway and take a break in Wasilla - Home of the Iditarod Trail Headquarter. The museum features historical displays of the "Last Great Race on Earth", videos and a gift shop with unique souvenirs. Stopover at Eklutna Indian village which is an Athabascan Indian settlement. It houses a unique cemetery, in which each grave is surrounded by a small, decorative burial house. Alternative Routing: From the Parks Highway drive via Hatcher Pass Road to the Independence Mine Historical Park - operated from 1938 - 1941 by one of the largest gold producers in the Willow Creek Mining District.

Anchorage

Spend some time at the Alaska Native Heritage Center: the Gathering Place is center stage for Alaska Native dancing, compelling Native Games demonstrations and intriguing storytelling. The Hall of Cultures features exhibits and demonstrating Alaska Native artists. Visitors discover more about each of the five major culture groups through engaging exhibits. The Theatre hosts a variety of movies all day, including the Heritage Center produced film, “Stories Given, Stories Shared.” Guests stroll through six authentic life-sized Native dwellings around beautiful Lake Tiulana and are introduced to the traditional life ways of the native people. Your vacation ends with the return of your rental car at the airport or downtown Anchorage.