Alaska USA: (ZZ-MS01)
An Epic Inn-To-Inn Hiking, Biking, Rafting, and Kayaking Adventure with Ice Climbing and Glacier Hiking
Revel in the majestic beauty of Alaska as we immerse ourselves in a land of crystal glaciers, endless coastline, and abundant wildlife. Exploring the wilderness by land, air and water, we bike along lakes, hike through meadows, raft whitewater, sea kayak majestic Prince William Sound, and fly into the heart of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. Sample the spirit of adventure that defines the Alaskan experience.
Alaska, the land of the midnight sun, is nature s grandest gift. It is a diverse land of crystal glaciers, lush forests, immense valleys, seemingly endless coastline, and abundant though elusive wildlife including grizzly bears, bald eagles, whales, otters and salmon. On this amazing adventure, hike through tundra meadows and on massive glaciers, raft the scenic Tsaina River, sea kayak in majestic Prince William Sound, and if you choose, experience the thrill of ice climbing or ice hiking on a glacier! We also experience scenic flights that highlight the true majesty of this land from above.
Not ready to go home? Extend your adventure with a 5-day self-guided trip to Denali National Park. Journey to Denali by train on the spectacular Denali Star, specially designed for sightseeing and wildlife viewing, then hike, bike, fish and relax at magnificent Kantishna Roadhouse lodge in the heart of Denali’s unspoiled vastness.
Day 1. Sheep Mountain Lodge
Day 2. Kennicott Glacier Lodge (shared baths)
Day 3. Kennicott Glacier Lodge
Day 4. Brookside Inn B&B
Day 5. Brookside Inn B & B
Day 1. Mountain Biking or Hiking Eklutna Lake, Sheep Mountain Lodge
Our group meets in Anchorage at Extended Stay Deluxe Anchorage—Downtown at 9:00 a.m. After introductions, we begin our adventure with a scenic bike ride along turquoise-colored Eklutna Lake. Towering mountains and distant glaciers surround this tranquil lake, and the valley is home to Dall sheep, moose, eagles and a few rarely seen bears. Next we enjoy a scenic shuttle to the Matanuska River Valley and Sheep Mountain Lodge, located at the base of Sheep Mountain. The lodge offers sweeping views of the Matanuska River Valley and Chugach Mountains, and Dall sheep can sometimes be located grazing on the rocky hillsides just behind the lodge.
• Biking along Eklutna Lake [up to 18 miles, elevation change negligible]
• Hiking option around Eklutna Lake [up to 5 miles, elevation change negligible]
Day 2. Scenic Flight to Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Kennicott Glacier Lodge (shared baths)
This morning we hike to a waterfall en route to Chitina where we board a scenic flight to McCarthy in the heart of Wrangell St. Elias National Park. At over 13 million acres, it's the largest national park in the United States and was recently recognized as a World Heritage site for its extraordinary beauty. For those interested in outdoor exploration, this untouched wilderness is waiting. Once a vibrant mining community, Kennicott is now a ghost town with buildings selectively preserved by the Park. We stay at the beautifully restored Glacier Kennicott Lodge set spectacularly at the foot of Root Glacier.
• Hike the Liberty Creek Trail (2.5 miles, 400 feet of elevation gain)
• Scenic flight to Wrangell-St. Elias National Park (35 minutes)
• Interpretive hike around Kennicott (easy, 1-1/2 hours)
Day 3. Hiking or Ice Climbing, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Kennicott Glacier Lodge
Today we have two great options. One is to explore the mountain wilderness of Wrangell St. Elias on a stunningly dramatic hike to precipitous Bonanza mine.
Yielding incredibly rich copper deposits, the Bonanza Ridge brought a 1910s mining boom to this remote corner of Alaska. We see remnants of the mining history
as we climb above treeline and take in the prominent views of Mt. Blackburn and Mt. Regal, and with luck, 19,850’ Mt. Logan. If we feel energetic, we can hike to the ridgeline where panoramas of the park are unparalleled.
Option two is a day of introductory ice climbing or glacier hiking (additional cost). Learn the basics from expert guides who supply all the gear and take you onto the back of Root Glacier to explore its icy wonders - crevasses, moulins, ice caves, and more. It’s a thrill that could be the highpoint of your trip!
After the today’s action, we tour the historic mining community of McCarthy before dinner.
• Bonanza Mine hike option [8 miles, 3700' elevation gain/loss]. Easier option: Root Glacier hike [9 miles, elevation gain/loss 200 feet]
• Ice climbing or glacier hiking option ($100-$105 additional cost for full day)
Day 4. Transfer to Valdez, Rafting Tsaina River, Brookside Inn B&B
Take a spectacular drive through Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and down the Richardson Highway to Valdez, "Alaska's Little Switzerland." Developed during the Klondike Gold Rush, this deepwater port is set on the Prince William Sound at the head of a long, dramatic fjord surrounded by the majestic Chugach Mountains.
After lunch at dramatic Worthington Glacier we raft the Tsaina River through narrow gorges and past several waterfalls. We spend the evening in the Brookside Inn, a charming family owned and operated Bed & Breakfast.
• Raft the Tsaina River [Class III-IV]
• Kennicott to Valdez [5+ hour shuttle]
Day 5. Sea Kayaking Prince William Sound, Brookside Inn B & B
Considered by many to be one of the best places for exploring the fjords and glaciers that feed Prince William Sound, Valdez is the gateway to this great natural preserve. The beautiful and well-protected area of Prince William Sound near Valdez provides an unbeatable setting to learn the basics of paddling and explore the area’s shoreline and spectacular tidewater glaciers. You’ll experience Alaska’s largest rookery of blacklegged kittiwakes with thousands of nesting sea birds.
• Sea Kayaking: [approximately 7-hour trip, 6-miles]
Day 6. Ferry Ride to Whittier and Hiking Byron Glacier or Crow Pass Trail
We embark on an unforgettable Alaskan experience, a ferry ride across spectacular Prince William Sound surrounded by mountains, forests and tidewater glaciers. Keep alert for whales, sea otters, seals, sea lions, eagles, and clouds of sea birds.
At the end of our crossing, depending on our arrival time in Whittier, our guide will choose from a hike to Crow Pass or Byron Glacier. The historic Crow Pass trail explores the northernmost temperate rain forest in North America. Part of the Historic Iditarod Trail route, the Crow Pass trail is all about variety. Waterfalls, glacial valleys, and snow covered peaks await our arrival. The trail climbs through wooded foothills into a steep, glacier-carved valley above tree line. Continuing uphill we find mine ruins beneath a picturesque cascade, and time permitting a view of the heavily crevassed Raven Glacier.
Alternatively, we hike to accessible Byron Glacier, home to crazy snowboarders on the avalanche chutes and mysterious iceworms that feed on pollen grains and red algae on the surface of the glacier. This trail is wellmaintained and wide during the first half with the second half being rocky with small stream crossings. The trail ends below the glacier and has magnificent mountain scenery. After our hike we continue on to Anchorage where our adventure ends at approximately 6:00 p.m.
• Ferry from Valdez to Whittier [5-1/2 hours]
• Crow Pass hike: [6 miles, 2000 feet of elevation gain/loss] or Byron Glacier hike [2 miles, 100 feet of elevation change]
• Transfer to Anchorage [45 min]
How difficult is this trip?
This trip is Moderately Easy to Moderate. It is intended for the active adult who fees comfortable being active 4-6 hours a day, hiking 6-8 miles with options of up to 10 miles, and with climbs of up to 2200 feet. The bike rides are 15-30 miles per day with an option of some shuttling by the support vehicle.
Rates and Dates for Alaska Wildlerness
All accommodations, all meals (starting with lunch day 1 through lunch day 6), T-shirt, water bottle, park fees,
support vehicle, professional guides, scenic flight, ferry ride, whitewater rafting trip, sea kayaking trip, bicycle rental, bicycle riding and
sea kayaking instruction.
Transfer and Other Options:
Transfer from Anchorage
Rates do not include:
Airfare, personal insurance, hotel miscellaneous expenses (phone, fax, laundry, etc.), additional optional tours, services not specified in the tour itinerary, and guide gratuities (An appropriate gratuity to each trip leader is $75-$100 per guest).
Meeting: Anchorage hotel
Transfer: Hotel shuttle available from airport
What To Bring:
Summer is a miraculous time in Alaska, when the sun refuses to set and people are filled with seemingly limitless energy. June is the driest of the three summer months and July is the warmest. Average daytime highs are in the mid 60s to mid 70’s, nighttime lows in the 40’s and 50’s. But be prepared for anything… from mild sunny days in the 80’s to windy, rainy outings in the 30’s. The best way to prepare for such a range of weather is with layers.