Wednesday, May 22, 2024

SDR 04 Alaska's Backroads Self Drive Tour

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9-Days Alaska's Backroads Self Driving Tour
The Denali Highway runs through the wild heart of Alaska, from Denali National Park along the Alaska Range. Enjoy spectacular views of the snow-capped mountains, spruce-covered hills, flat-open tundra and swift-flowing untamed rivers. Explore Alaska's backcountry while staying in cozy log cabins and cottages.

Day 1: Anchorage - Petersville Road / South Gateway Denali

Pick up your rental car and drive north on the Parks Highway towards Talkeetna and turn onto Petersville Road. It is one of the last old mining roads in Alaska, accessing the Cache Creek mining district, a forgotten and remote backwater in the southern tail of the Alaska Range. Check in your cabin for the following two nights. In the evening enjoy a BBQ outside your cabin, a bonfire and scenic views of Mt. Denali.

Day 2: Petersville Road

Long days in the "Land of the Midnight Sun" give you lots of hours for summer time activities. Explore the area by foot, rent an ATV, go fishing or drive by car to Petersville. The backcountry road is a rugged mining road and leads to the southern entrance of Denali National Park. Enter the spectacular Peters Creek Canyon, a one-lane road that hugs one side of a deep gorge with waterfalls all around you. Views of the Alaska Range - with towering Mt. Denali complete the picture.

Day 3: Petersville Road - Denali National Park

Continue north on the Parks Highway. Stopover at Byers Lake, rent a kayak and glide through the tranquil waters. The Parks Highway crosses Broad Pass, one of the lowest summits along the North American mountain system, but it feels very top-of-the-world, with its alpine valleys and mountain peaks on either side. Arrive at Denali Village and check in your cabin with views of the Nenana River.

Day 4: Denali National Park

Today experience the wildlife and wonderful sceneries of the Denali National Park. In the morning drive to the Visitor Center where your wildlife tour begins. Pick up your pre-reserved tickets and explore the center if time allows. Board the bus, sit back, enjoy the scenery and look out for wildlife. Your driver informs you about the history of Denali National Park, its diverse wildlife and flora. Once a bear, caribou or another animal has been spotted the bus will stop that everyone can watch and take pictures. Your tour runs all the way to Eielson Visitor Center, a four hour drive or to Wonder Lake - on request. You can get off the bus anytime you wish and take a stroll, go hiking and enjoy the landscape. By hand signal the next available bus will stop for you to get on.

Day 5: Denali National Park - Denali Highway

Travel along the Denali Highway from Cantwell. The 135 mile long highway cuts through the wild heart of Alaska along the south side of the Alaska Range. The original road to Denali National Park winds along and offers hundreds of spectacular viewpoints of snow-covered mountains, free flowing rivers and countless lakes. You have time for plenty of sidetrips to explore archaeological sites, paddle wild rivers or hike the alpine tundra. The Tangle Lakes region is a land of tundra - covered rolling hills form the divide between two wild and scenic rivers, the Delta and the Gulkana. The area is home to a fabulous diversity of wildlife. Moose, black and grizzly bears, and caribou roam the open spaces and forests.

Day 6: Denali Highway - McCarthy/Kennicott (Wrangell/St. Elias Nat. Park)

Head south on the Richardson Highway, often paralleled by the Alaska pipeline and soake up the raw beauty of the surrounding landscape. The unpaved McCarthy Road follows the abandoned Copper River and Northwest Railway bed to the Kennicott River. Enjoy spectacular views of the Wrangell Mountains; travel across high narrow bridges, dust, bumps - another part of the real Alaska! Your cabin is located at the end of McCarthy road, near the Kennicott River. Optional upgrade: Overnight at the Kennicott Glacier Lodge.

Option: Instead of driving to McCarthy, you can leave your car in Chitina and enjoy a scenic flight to Kennicott/McCarthy.

Day 7: McCarthy/Kennicott (Wrangell/St. Elias Nat. Park)

The Wrangell/St. Elias National Park is part of UNESCO World Heritage Site and largest U.S. national park, about the size of six Yellowstones. Today explore the pure wilderness, tundra and glaciers during a guided hiking tour. Follow your hiking guide onto Root Glacier where you enter a fascinating world of moulons, pressure ridges, fathomless blue water pools and exquisite and mysterious ice formations. In the evening you have time to walk through the remnants of the former Kennicott Copper Mill.

Day 8: McCarthy / Kennicott - Anchorage

Leave McCarthy and drive on the Glenn Highway towards Anchorage. You'll be treated to vistas of forested slopes, glacier-filled valleys and snowy peaks of the Mentasta and Wrangell mountain ranges. The road cuts through the fertile, crop-producing Matanuska Valley and passes right above the Matanuska Glacier. An excellent place to examine glacier-borne rocks and to peer down into crevices since the lower end of the glacier is relatively flat and easily clambered upon.

Day 9: Anchorage

In the morning check out of your hotel and return your rental car. Tour extension on request.

Services Included

  • 8 Nights Cabin & Cottage Accommodation
  • Private Bathroom, most with Kitchen, BBQ grill
  • Hotel Tax
  • 9 Days Compact Size Rental Car (Chevrolet Cobalt or similar)
  • Unlimited Free Mileage
  • Licensing Fee
  • Rental Car Taxes, Airport Tax & Fees
  • Denali National Park Wildlife Shuttle Bus Tour to Eielson Visitor Center
  • 1/2 Day Guided Root Glacier Hike / Kennicott
  • Tour Documentation & Sightseeing Information

Departures: Daily from May 15 - September 15

Rates per Person in US$ Single Double Triple Quad
May 15 - May 31
$ 2990.00
$ 1860.00
$ 1399.00
$ 1185.00
June 01 - August 31
$ 3090.00
$ 1940.00
$ 1430.00
$ 1275.00
September 01 - September 15
$ 2990.00
$ 1860.00
$ 1399.00
$ 1185.00

Optional Upgrades & Additional Charges
Children (up to 17 years, if staying in the adult's room) $ 130.00
Upgrade: Midsize Rental Car (Pontiac G6, Crysler Sebring or similar) $ 70.00
Upgrade: Fullsize Rental Car (Pontiac Grand Prix, Dodge Charger or similar) $ 100.00
Upgrade: 4x4 SUV Rental Car (Jeep Liberty, Chevrolet Trail Blazer or similar) $  410.00
Upgrade: Mini Van (Chevrolet Uplander, Chevrolet Astro or similar) $ 410.00