Thursday, June 13, 2024

SDR 07 Super Natural Alaska Self Drive Tour

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14 Days Off-The-Beaten-Track Alaska Driving Tour
The Wrangell / St. Elias National Park with McCarthy and the Kennicott Mill, the Denali Highway, Denali State Park and the Prince William Sound are them main highlights of this incredible self drive tour. Take your time to discover the wild heart of Alaska.

Day 1: Anchorage

Arrive in Anchorage during the day. Pick up your rental car and check in your hotel in downtown Anchorage. Spend the remaining afternoon to visit the sights of the Alaskan City, explore the busy downtown area or stroll along the coastal trail with splendid views of Mt. Denali and the "Sleeping Lady". We can arrange a guided city sightseeing tour upon request.

Day 2: Anchorage - Denali National Park

Leave Anchorage and drive north on the Parks Highway towards Matanuska Valley. Stopover at Talkeetna whose wilderness location at the base of Mt. Denali and at the confluence of three wild rivers makes an ideal center for outdoor enthusiasts, climbers, and tourists. The mountains, rivers, glaciers, and meadows in the area provide superb sightseeing, especially by air. Ask us for the different flightseeing trips offered to Mt. Denali including an optional glacier landing. The highway travels across Broad Pass, one of the lowest summits along the North American mountain system, but feeling very top-of-the-world, with its alpine valleys and mountain peaks on either side. Continue to Denali Village at the border of Denali National Park.

Day 3: Denali National Park Wildlife Tour

Today experience the wildlife and wonderful sceneries of Alaska's Denali National Park. In the morning drive to Denali 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 wildlife 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 Denali's unique landscape. By hand signal the next available bus will stop for you to get on. Return to Denali Village in the evening.

Day 4: Denali National Park - Denali Highway or Glenn Highway - Copper Center

Today you have the choice to either travel on the Denali Highway - one of the last great wilderness gravel roads or take the scenic Glenn Highway. Both highways offer truly magnificent sceneries: stop at the Matanuska Glacier, visit the Musk Ox Farm, or explore the Tangle Lakes district with dense concentrations of archaeological resources. Once you have reached the Richardson Highway, you may get a breathtaking view of Mt. Deborah, Mt. Sanford and Mt. Drum. Watch native fishwheels turning at nearby Copper River bridge, home of the famous Copper River Red Salmon. Distance: 250 Miles (Denali Highway), 360 miles (Glenn Highway).

Day 5: Copper Center

You have time for plenty of sidetrips to explore archaeological sites, paddle wild rivers or hike the alpine tundra. The region is a land of tundra-covered rolling hills forms 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. You can explore the southern Richardson Highway to day, stopover at Worthington Glacier and visit Valdez. Valdez - often called “ the Switzerland of Alaska” and a gateway for salmon fishing trips and narrated cruises to the magnificent Columbia Glacier.

Day 6: Copper Center - McCarthy/Kennicott (Wrangell/St. Elias Nat. Park)

Short drive to Chitina and park your car at the airport. From here take a scenic flightseeing trip (included) to Kennicott/McCarthy. You will see the Kennicott Glacier as it winds its way 25 miles to the North where it tumbles off the South East face of Mt. Blackburn. The Root and Gates Glaciers flow from ridges of Mt. Regal to join the Kennicott forming one of the most spectacular vistas in the park. Check into your hotel. This afternoon join a guided glacier hike on the Root Glacier. After meeting your guide and getting fitted for crampons, you'll start out on the 1.8 mile hike to the "white ice" of the Root. Once on the ice you will explore other-worldly formations unlike anything else you have ever seen: blue pools, waterfalls, canyons, crevasses and moulin holes drilled hundreds of feet deep into the ice by the flowing meltwater

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. Explore the pure wilderness, tundra and glaciers on a flightseeing trip over the park, during a guided hiking tour or while rafting down the Chitina River. Enjoy a guided walk through the remnants of the former Kennicott Copper Mill. The mine was abandoned in 1938 but many of the historic buildings still stand as they were on that last day, leaving a living history of those rugged days of high adventure.

Day 8: McCarthy/Kennicott - Matanuska Glacier

Return to Chitina onboard a comfortable passenger van on the 60-mile McCarthy Road. Optional: Return to Chitina by air. Follow the path of the Copper River & Northwestern Railway, nicknamed 'Can't Run and Never Will'. You will stop at the Kuskulana River, which is a 525' steel bridge built in 1911 that spans a 283 ft. gorge, and at the Gilahina River railroad wooden trestle.  Your van tour ends in Chitina where you left your car. Continue along 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. Overnight in a Alaska Cabin, enjoying the mountain scenery from your private deck. You can watch Dall Sheep through a telescope or relax in the sauna or hot tub after a day of traveling or hiking.

Day 9: Matanuska Glacier - Girdwood / Cooper Landing

Continue traveling through the fertile Matanuska Valley and pass Anchorage. The Seward Highway is one of Alaska's most scenic highway. It twists and turns along the base of the Chugach Mountains and the shore of Turnagain Arm. The landscape varies from the muddy waters of Turnagain Arm to the icy blue glaciers that hang almost to the sea. Today you overnight in Girdwood, home to Alyeska Ski Resort. Don't miss the gondola ride to the top of Mount Alyeska, offering a splendid view of Turnagain Arm and the Chuchach Mountain Range.

Day 10: Cooper Landing - Seward

It is only a short drive to Seward, gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park. Board the ship at 11:30 am for a thrilling full-day cruise through Kenai Fjords National Park and Chiswell Islands National Wildlife Refuge. Covering 110-miles, the trip is narrated by a National Park Ranger, who is highly adept at spotting wildlife, pointing out the many spectacular sights, and fielding any questions you may have. Wildlife is abundant throughout Kenai Fjords National Park, and the tidewater glaciers are massive. You'll visit the mighty Aialik Glacier where guests often witness calving - a process by which glaciers shed giant blocks and slabs of ancient ice - from a close distance. The cruise also offers the good chance to spot whales in Alaska.

Optional: If you would like to see more of Kenai Fjords National Park then join the 9 hours Northwestern Fjords Cruise, covering 150-miles. Experience the glacially carved region known for its five tidewater glaciers, steep cliffs, and rich waters abundant with wildlife. A continental breakfast and lunch is included.

Day 11: Seward - Homer

Your driving vacation continues on the Kenai Peninsula towards Homer. The paved highway comes to an abrupt conclusion at the tip of the Homer Spit, almost 5 miles out of Kachemak Bay. In the late afternoon you may take a cruise to Halibut Cove, a charming village on Ismailof Island across Kachemak Bay. The highlight of the cruise to Halibut Cove is a visit to Gull Island, home to a bird sanctuary. Kachemak Bay is teeming with sea life - sea otters, seals, whales, porpoises. Spend three hours to explore Halibut Cove, stroll along the boardwalk, visit the art galleries or enjoy a delicious dinner at the renown "The Saltry" restaurant, specializing in seafood.

Day 12: Homer

Today we recommend to visit one of Alaska's best bear viewing destinations - Katmai & Lake Clark National Park. They feature the world's highest concentration of brown bears. Fly by bushplane from Homer to Lake Clark National Park on the west side of Cook Inlet. Spend time in Alaska's wilderness viewing and photographing magnificent brown bears along the coast. Here it's not unheard of to spot 30 bears fishing for salmon or digging for clams. You will be able to move freely about while observing safe bear viewing practices in the company of one of the well-trained guides. You are ensured not to fight any crowds pf people. Another option is to go for a full day fishing for Halibut or Salmon, rent a sea kayak and explore Kachemak Bay, one of the richest marine estuaries in the world. Go on a hiking trip to glaciers, mountain lakes and explore miles of uninhabited beaches.

Day 13: Homer - Anchorage

Leave Kenai Peninsula and drive north towards Kenai, famous for the Kenai King Salmon - the world's largest salmon. If time allows try a exhilarating and fun rafting or float trip down the Kenai River. Continue along Seward highway traveling past salt water bays, ice blue glaciers and alpine valleys. You have a great chance to spot a bear, moose and dall sheeps along the way. Arrive in Anchorage and check in your hotel. Spend the last evening visiting one of Anchorage excellent seafood restaurants.

Day 14: Anchorage

It is your last opportunity to shop for some souvenirs before catching your flight back home.

Services Included

  • 13 Nights Hotel Accommodation - Superior or Deluxe Category
  • Hotel Tax
  • 14 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
  • Kennicott: 1/2 Root Glacier Hike
  • Kennecott Mill Town Walking Tour
  • Scenic Flight from Chitina to Kennicott/McCarthy
  • Van Tour from Kennicott/McCarthy to Chitina
  • 6 hr Kenai Fjords National Park Wildlife & Glacier Cruise
  • Seward Harbout Tax, Park Fee 
  • Tour Documentation & Sightseeing Information

Departures: Daily from May 10 - September 15

Rates per Person in US$ | Superior Hotel Single Double Triple Quad
May 10 - May 31
$ 4730.00
$ 2720.00
$ 2150.00
$ 1840.00
June 01 - August 31
$ 5980.00
$ 3360.00
$ 2580.00
$ 2170.00
September 01 - September 15
$ 4730.00
$ 2720.00
$ 2150.00
$ 1840.00

Rates per Person in US$ | Deluxe Hotel Single Double Triple Quad
May 10 - May 31
$ 5370.00
$ 3035.00
$ 2360.00
$ 2015.00
June 01 - August 31
$ 6860.00
$ 3780.00
$ 2860.00
$ 2370.00
September 01 - September 15
$ 5370.00
$ 3035.00
$ 2360.00
$ 2015.00

Optional Upgrades & Additional Charges
Children (up to 17 years, if staying in the adult's room) $ 750.00
Homer: Full Day Bear Viewing $ 875.00
McCarthy: Round Trip Flight from Chitina - McCarthy/Kennicott $249.00
Upgrade: Midsize Rental Car (Pontiac G6, Crysler Sebring or similar) $ 10.00 / day
Upgrade: Fullsize Rental Car (Pontiac Grand Prix, Dodge Charger or similar) $ 98.00 / day
Upgrade: 4x4 SUV Rental Car (Jeep Liberty, Chevrolet Trail Blazer or similar) $ 180.00 / day
Upgrade: Mini Van (Chevrolet Uplander, Chevrolet Astro or similar) $ 98.00 / day