SDSK02 Enchanting Alaska - Skagway Self Driving Tour

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Your vacation to Alaska will be incomplete without visits to our famous national parks and encounters with the natural wonders they contain. National parks have protected some of Alaskas most beautiful and untouched places and offer opportunities to experience them as part of your Alaska and Yukon holiday. This 10-day driving vacation offers a wealth of wilderness experiences you won't forget in a hurry. Arrive independent to Skagway by the Alaska Ferry or cruise ship and pick up your rental car. Skagway, with a population of just over 1100, is located at the northernmost point of the Inside Passage in Southeast Alaska. The streets are lined with wooden boardwalks and restored buildings, looking much as they did 100 years ago. Take a ride on the wild-side with the historic White Pass & Yukon Railroad steam train along the famous Chilkoot & White Pass trail before traveling on the historic gold-rush trail to Whitehorse. This driving tour takes you to Haines Junction, surrounded by the unspoiled wilderness of the Kluane National Park. 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 – Haines Junction ( Driving Distance: 100 miles | Overnight: Haines Junction )

Follow the Alaska Highway towards Haines Junction. 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. The park covers an area of 21,980 square kilometers. It is a land of precipitous, high mountains, immense icefields and lush valleys that yield a diverse array of plant and wildlife species and provides for a host of outdoor activities. The park is also home to Mount Logan with 19.545 ft - Canada's highest peak. Visit the sheep mountain visitor center in Haines Junction with its interpretive programs about the flora and fauna.

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 ( 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.