SDWT03 Trails of Alaska – Whittier Driving Holiday

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The tiny town Whittier, Alaska is located 58 miles southeast of Anchorage at the head of Passage Canal on the west side of Prince William Sound. Popular with photographers, hikers and hunters thanks to its natural beauty and wildlife, Whittier is most visited as the embarkation/debarkation point for one-way cruises between Anchorage to Vancouver by Princess and other cruise lines. Whittier is also a port for the ferries on the Alaska Marine Highway.

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Itinerary

Whittier – Cooper Landing / Kenai ( Driving Distance: 70 miles | Overnight: Cooper Landing / Kenai )

Pick up your rental car in Whittier. Drive via Whittier Tunnel and stopover at the Begich Boggs Visitor Center at Portage Lake. Take your time to visit the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, taking in injured and orphaned animals and providing them with a permanent home. The center is beautifully located on the shores of Turnagain Arm, surrounded by mountains and glaciers. Arrive in Cooper Landing, home to the Russian and Kenai Rivers, providing some of the most productive salmon fishing in Alaska. Four species of salmon find their way into the rivers and return to where their lives began. Join a scenic float trip along the Upper Kenai River. Watch out for moose, eagles, salmon, waterfowl and bears as your guide navigates you through snow-capped mountain scenery. Included: Kenai River Float Trip

Cooper Landing / Kenai ( Overnight: Cooper Landing / Kenai )

Choose among the many activities: Join guided half or full day salmon fishing trip on the Kenai or Russian River. Your fishing guide is expert in spinning, casting and fly fishing techniques on these waters. If you are more adventurous, join a thrilling Six-Mile Creek rafting tour instead. Prepare to get wet as the river runs thru three consecutive canyons; each more beautiful and more challenging than the last. If bear viewing is on your to-do list, then take a scenic flight across Cook Inlet to Katmai Coast / Lake Clark. It is one of the most densely populated brown bear areas in the world. Watch bears digging for clams, wandering the sedge grass, or nursing their young.

Cooper Landing – Talkeetna ( Driving Distance: 215 miles | Overnight: Talkeetna )

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. Follow the George Parks Highway across the fertile Matanuska Valley. Because of the immense amount of summer sunlight, vegetables grow to incredible sizes. Arrive in Talkeetna, known as the base for climbing expeditions that challenge Mt. Denali. While at Talkeetna, join a flightseeing tour to the summit of Denali. Get a picture perfect view of the Kahiltna and Ruth Glacier with its Great Gorge - over 9.000 ft deep - as well as magnificent ice-falls. You will also see the Sheldon Amphitheatre - the largest of its kind in the world. Another highlight will be an adventurous glacier landing.

Talkeetna - Denali National Park ( Driving Distance: 160 miles | Overnight: Denali Village )

The journey from Talkeetna to Denali National Park offers a lot of possibilities of wildlife sightings. Even if you are not eagle eyed, a few cars stopped over somewhere means that there could be a possibility of wildlife spotting! Byers Lake on the way offers visitors the choice to rent a canoe or kayak. Once you cross Denali State Park, you'll arrive at Denali Village. The Denali Park office is your rich information chase and it provides details on ranger-naturalist programs, slide shows and sled dog demonstrations. Jeff King’s Husky Homestead Kennel is a very popular choice for a personal tour with four-time Iditarod champion Jeff King and his sled dogs. Visitors can also choose a rafting trip on the Nenana River as well as an ATV Tour in the backcountry adjacent 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 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 hr 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 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.