SDWT02 Alaska's Natural Wonders – Whittier Driving Tour

Print

This one week driving tour is based on Alaska’s most scenic sights from the south to the north of central Alaska. You’ll begin this self drive tour in Whittier where you’ll pick up your rental car. Whittier is most visited as the embarkation/debarkation point for one-way cruises between Anchorage to Vancouver by Princess and other cruise lines and an important port for the ferries on the Alaska Marine Highway. Follow the Sterling Highway and admire the magnificent views of the “Ring of Fire” as you drive towards Homer. Located at the gateway to Kachemak Bay, Homer is base to many incredible activities and tours - including the bear viewing day tour to Katmai Coast and Brooks Falls, kayaking tours or Halibut  & Salmon fishing trips. As you travel between Homer, Girdwood and Denali National Park, you will also have the opportunity to see some of the most beautiful & picturesque landscapes that Alaska has to offer. 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 Fairbanks, enjoying almost 24 hrs of sunlight during summer. Explore the great northern arctic region, cross the Arctic Circle or take a bush plane to a native village and learn about their culture. 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.

Booking Request Inquire A Trip

Itinerary

Whittier – Homer ( Driving Distance: 185 miles | Overnight: Homer )

Pick up your rental car in Whittier. Drive via Whittier Tunnel and follow the Sterling Highway - a designated scenic highway covering miles of spectacular landscape with snowcapped mountains and many active volcanoes known as the "Ring of Fire" with Mt. Iliamna, Mt. Redoubt and Mt. Augustine, excellent salmon fishing along the Kenai & Russian River and a magnificent coastline. Homer is blessed with a view to the south that is stunning in its beauty and grandeur. The rugged Kenai Mountains are spreading across the sparkling waters of Kachemak Bay. Homer is known as the "Halibut Capital of the World”. King Salmon are caught here from May to June, while Silver Salmon run during August. Halibut - large as a barn size door are available from May - Sept.

Homer ( Overnight: Homer )

Homer offers incredible panoramic views of mountain ranges, glaciers and famous Homer Spit - a long strip of land that stretches into pristine Kachemak Bay. Use the day to explore the area - kayak to a remote cove, go hiking or fishing. Homer is just a short flight away from Katmai National Park and Lake Clark, one of the most densely populated brown bear areas in the world. 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. In the evening join a cruise to Halibut Cove, have dinner at the "Saltry" and visit art galleries along the boardwalk.

Homer – Girdwood ( Driving Distance:180 miles | Overnight: Girdwood )

Leave Homer for a scenic drive to Ninilchik - the oldest settlement on the Kenai Peninsula. In 1901 settlers constructed the Russian Orthodox Church. Drive north through the Chugach National Forest and visit Begich Boggs Visitor Center, home to Portage Glacier. The center is an interesting stop with exhibits that let visitors walk through a simulated ice cave, view live ice worms or touch an iceberg. Short drive to the Girdwood. Tucked in a glacier valley between the mountains and the sea is Alyeska Resort - Alaska's premier destination resort. Summertime recreation includes hiking in Girdwood's alpine rain forests, mountain climbing and biking on Girdwood's bike path or the many trails in the valley. Take the Alyeska Tramway to get a bird's eye view of the surrounding glaciers and Turnagain Arm.

Girdwood - Denali National Park ( Driving Distance: 275 miles | Overnight: Denali Village )

Your road journey continues on the scenic Seward Highway north towards Anchorage. Feel free to take a break at the designated photo stops to enjoy the panoramic views over Cook Inlet. 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. It is possible to stopover at Talkeetna for a flightseeing tour to Mt. Denali or a canoe tour on Byers Lake. Travel across Denali State Park and arrive at Denali Village. This evening visit Jeff King’s Sled Dog Kennel - hosted by four-time Iditarod champion Jeff King and his huskies.

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 Visitor Center

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

Join this morning the sled dog demonstration hosted by Denali Park Rangers or hike around the Denali Visitor Center. Start your drive on the Richardson Highway and stopover at Nenana. Residents of Nenana sponsor the Nenana Ice Classic, a nature-based lottery. It is a fundraising event in which individuals attempt to guess the exact time the Tanana River ice will break up. Once you get to dig into it more interesting details emerge! Arrive in Fairbanks, the largest city in the Interior region of Alaska, which enjoys 24 hrs of daylight during summer. This afternoon board the authentic Riverboat Discovery sternwheeler for a cruise along the Chena and Tanana rivers. Highlight is stopover at an Athabascan Indian Village, Susan Butcher's sled dog kennel and a floatplane take off & land.

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 bush plane 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.