Explore some of the best natural wonders that Alaska has to offer on this 9-day rail and road trip through numerous scenic destinations.
Highlights include traveling on Alaska Railroad's luxury Goldstar railcar between Anchorage and Fairbanks and your choice of tours in Denali National Park from a Backcountry Adventure Tour, Jeep Excursion or Tundra Wilderness Tour.
Lastly, pick up your rental car in Fairbanks and drive to Valdez, the Kenai Peninsula and Seward for more excursions.
Itinerary at a Glance
Anchorage to Denali National Park Entrance | Alaska Railroad
Denali | Freedom of Choice - Choose 1 of 4 Excursions
Day 1 Anchorage to Denali National Park Entrance | Alaska RailroadEarly this morning take the Denali Star, the Alaska Railroad’s flagship train, in the Goldstar Railcar with service to Denali National Park. Watch for views of Denali and keep an eye out for wildlife. Arrive mid-afternoon; the rest of the day is at leisure to enjoy an optional activity. (Breakfast & lunch is included onboard the train today)Day 2 Denali | Freedom of Choice - Choose 1 of 4 ExcursionsOption 1. Denali Highway Jeep Excursion | Self-Drive Guided 4x4 ExcursionRanked #2 in Drives of a Lifetime by National Geographic Traveler magazine, experience the natural wonders of Alaska’s Denali Highway — this time by Jeep! This 4-hour guided excursion travels along a 135 mi (217 km) gravel road & takes you off the beaten path in a 4 x 4 to enjoy scenic views of Denali, the Alaska Range, glaciers and wildlife.Option 2. Tundra Wilderness Tour | Coach Tour This half day tour offers incredible scenery, a narrated history of the park road and opportunities to view the park’s wildlife inhabitants. Picturesque highlights include the craggy cliffside of Cathedral Mountain, wildlife rich Sable Pass and braided wash of the East Fork River in Denali National Park.Option 3. Upgrade Option: Denali Summit Flightseeing | Small AircraftGet a closer look at Alaska’s majestic Denali from the comfortable window seat of a small aircraft. Slip on your provided headset to hear commentary from your guide as you fly over the snow-covered peaks, jagged ridgelines, and glacier carved valleys of Denali National Park, and get within half a mile of the mountain peak.Option 4. Upgrade Option : Denali Glacier Landing | HelicopterBe immersed in the vastness of the Denali National Preserve. On your way to the massive Yanert Glacier, your pilot will serve as your guide through this unique glacially-carved environment. Soar over the rolling tundra, keeping an eye out for local residents – caribou, moose, bear, and Dall sheep. Snow capped peaks and glaciers abound on this journey before you set down on a river of ice.Day 3 Denali National Park Entrance to Fairbanks | Alaska RailroadThis morning is at leisure to enjoy optional activities such as: whitewater rafting down the Nenana River, helicopter flightseeing over the park, landing on a glacier or hiking. By early afternoon, board Alaska Railroad’s Denali Star Train in the Goldstar Railcar to Fairbanks. Enjoy the late afternoon scenery as you travel north to Fairbanks. (Dinner is included on board the train today)Day 4 Fairbanks to Valdez | 584 km/363 miSettle in for a day of driving through some of Alaska’s most diverse and dynamic landscapes. You’ll drive the Richardson Highway along the Tanana River through Delta Junction, home to the Delta Bison Sanctuary. Continue south where you will begin to enter the Chugach Mountains that ring the coast of Alaska from Prince William Sound. At Thompson Pass you may wish to stop at one of the pullouts for the scenery and views of Worthington Glacier before you begin the descent into Valdez. Day 5 Valdez | Prince William Sound Columbia Glacier Cruise with lunchDiscover the magic of Alaska on this 7-hour Columbia Glacier cruise from Valdez. A local captain and crew will guide you through the Trans Alaska Pipeline Terminal and Columbia Bay before arriving at Columbia Glacier, the largest tidewater glacier in South Central Alaska. Look out for wildlife along the way; if you’re lucky you could spot porpoises, puffins, sea lions and sea otters among other creatures. (Lunch included) Day 6 Valdez to Sheep Mountain Lodge | 309 km/192 miToday you will drive back north on the Richardson Highway with great views of the Wrangell Mountains as you return to Glennallen (weather permitting).Here you follow the Glenn Highway towards Palmer/Anchorage until you reach Sheep Mountain Lodge. The rest of the day is at leisure to enjoy the scenic mountain views or recreational activities in the area. There are over 20 km/12 mi of trails near the lodge perfect for exploring. Birds and wildflowers abound. Maps are provided in each cabin for self-guided hiking.Day 7 Sheep Mountain Lodge to Seward | 373 km/232 miDrive the Glenn Highway south to Anchorage. Highlights on today’s trip include the Independence Mine in beautiful Hatcher Pass and the many communities in the Mat-Su Valley. This valley contains many farms with the remarkable growing season in Alaska and offers beautiful views of the Chugach Range. Continue on through Anchorage along the Seward Highway towards scenic Turnagain Arm, a body of water featuring the world’s second highest tides at over 30 feet. Keep an eye out for Beluga whales chasing salmon in the bay or Dall sheep along the highway. In Seward we suggest a visit to Exit Glacier and the SeaLife Center.Day 8 Seward | Freedom of Choice - Choose 1 of 5 ExcursionsToday you can personalize your day by choosing one of these excursionsOption 1. Tonsina Point Resurrection Bay Kayaking AdventureResurrection Bay is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and home to several Alaska state parks that offer abundant opportunities to hike, sea kayak and explore!Option 2. Bear Lake Kayak | Canoe TripKayak or canoe on this scenic local lake with fun-loving guides. Bear Lake is located just outside Seward, Alaska and normally offers flat calm waters, and a home for Sockeye salmon. On the way there is a stop to visit the salmon weir and learn about their life cycle. Eagles, loons, and bears are often seen while on this adventureOption 3. Wilderness Dog Sled ride TourVisit the Seavey Family Homestead in Seward, and tour the beautiful tether free summer camp for Iditarod athletes! Meet the dogs, feel their excitement as teams are hitched to comfortable summer sleds, then mush for two miles through the scenic rainforest.Option 4. Exit Glacier HikeThis moderate hiking adventure is great for viewing the jewel of the Resurrection River Valley - Exit Glacier. This massive wall of blue ice descends the mountainside from the Harding Ice Field, down to the Resurrection River.Option 5. Resurrection Bay Wildlife CruiseTreat yourself to an abundance of wildlife viewing with this 31/2 hour Kenai Fjords cruise in Resurrection Bay. Travel 55 miles (round-trip) along a rugged coastline and snap plenty of memorable photos as you sail past Bear Glacier. Sail close to sea lion colonies and seabird rookeries, and keep your eyes peeled for whales, sea otters, Dall’s porpoises, eagles and mountain goats.Day 9 Seward to Anchorage | 204 km/127 miBegin your day with a short drive to Exit Glacier to take the easy walk to stand beside this spectacular Glacier. Next, visit the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center which provides care and rehabilitation for injured and orphaned wildlife. Here you can safely observe and photograph some of Alaska’s largest land animals including moose, bison, elk, deer, caribou, bears and muskox. If time permits, take the aerial tram up Alyeska Mountain for views of Turnagain Arm, up to seven “hanging” glaciers and the endless peaks of the Chugach Mountain Range before continuing the short drive from Girdwood to Anchorage.
We saw spectacular sights, met warm and friendly people, saw the Northern Lights, and made a lifetime of memories. We want to thank you for the wonderful job you did in setting everything up, and also for your courteous assistance and recommendations along the way.
Nick Florida, United States
Alaska by Design created a perfect itinerary for my clients. They returned with great memories and were extremely pleased with all aspects of their trip.
Michael Figueriedo Spain
They were professional and pleasant to work with. When the fires starts in various areas that they would be touring Alaska By Design was great in helping to make adjustments to the clients reservations. The clients were thrilled with there trip.
Jemma L New York
Nothing was too much trouble for Jennifer or Karen when we were planning our holiday. They were able to tailor our trip to what we wanted. We have recommended Alaska by Design to our friends.
Anne Mathews Australia
Excellent services!Our clients were extremely satisfied with the itinerary, hotels and tours you have offered.We will contact you again for our next clients.Thanks again for all!
I enjoyed working with Alaska by Design, I was introduced to them by Debra Roberts and Karen did a great job for me with a couple of my reservations
Haleh M California, USA
Excellent service. Clients enjoyed a wonderful experience!
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