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Ultimate Alaska Wildlife Photo Safari

14 days with Natural Habitat Adventures   Rating: Deluxe

Itinerary
Click for Dates and Prices
Day 1: Fairbanks, Alaska 
Our Alaska photography adventure begins in Fairbanks, Alaska's thriving "second city" that retains its frontier flavor with pioneer saloons, paddlewheelers and mining camps on the edge of town. This evening, we meet the rest of our small group and our Expedition Leader, who is not just an expert naturalist but an accomplished nature photographer, specializing in Alaska's legendary wildlife.
 
Days 2–4: Denali National Park
Denali National Park, larger than the state of Massachusetts, is one of the world’s great wilderness preserves. Denali, which means "The Great One," is the native Athabascan name for the highest peak in North America at 20,320 feet. Its ice-clad summit towers over the tundra and taiga below that provides habitat for grizzlies, wolves, moose and caribou. Every photographer who travels to Alaska wants photos of the elusive mountain, and we position you for the best odds of getting them. From our lodge base 90 miles inside the park, we are much closer to the peak than most visitors, especially those on organized tours, ever get. Here we have time and space to encounter and photograph the wilderness, away from hordes of other people. Hiking, nature walks, biking, fishing and optional flightseeing—a must for photographers—are available. The climate and environment of Alaska's interior at this latitude is harsh much of the year, and it takes a vast amount of habitat to sustain animals. Wildlife encounters thus tend to be fleeting, though always thrilling.
 
Day 5: Denali / Talkeetna 
Depart for the park entrance this morning by road, keeping a close eye out for moose, caribou, grizzly bears and other resident wildlife. At midday we board the Alaska Railroad for a classic train journey through Alaska’s rugged interior. Our route through the Alaska Range climbs above tree line over Broad Pass, then descends to follow the Susitna River to historic village of Talkeetna, where we disembark for the night. The rustic town, founded a century ago as the district headquarters for the new railroad, sits at the confluence of three rivers and enjoys a striking panorama of Mt. Denali and adjacent peaks. An outdoor recreation mecca, the town's economy today thrives on rafting, flightseeing, mountain biking, hiking, camping, fishing and hunting, and it is also the main base for climbing expeditions to Denali. After dinner there's time to stroll the compact downtown, whose buildings dating to the early 1900s have been designated a National Historic Site. 
 
Days 6 & 7: Talkeetna / Girdwood
Leaving Talkeetna, we continue south, eventually reaching the coast and following Turnagain Arm to Girdwood and Alyeska Resort, Alaska’s premier ski area, where a host of exciting summer activities is also available. Set in a lush glacial valley in the Chugach Range southeast of Anchorage, Alyeska offers nature and luxury in tandem. Explore the northernmost temperate rain forest in North America that surrounds our deluxe accommodations at the Hotel Alyeska, or choose an optional tram ride to the alpine summit with vistas of the ice-bound peaks and inlet far below. On Day 7 we'll explore the scenic drama of iceberg-choked Spencer Lake, then take a gentle float trip down the Placer River before returning to Girdwood. Dinner is not included the evening of Day 7, in order to give you a chance to sample your choice of restaurants in the Alyeska/Girdwood area.  
 
Day 8: Kenai Peninsula/Fox Island 
This morning we enjoy magnificent scenery on the Kenai Peninsula as we drive south to the fishing town and port of Seward. Here we board a boat to Fox Island, a private island on the edge of Kenai Fjords National Park. Our secluded location, which we enjoy all to ourselves, reveals the pristine side of Alaska most visitors miss. The region offers excellent sea kayaking, and an easy paddling excursion late this afternoon is likely to reveal some of the area’s prolific marine life.  Keep your camera handy during paddling breaks to capture possible shots of Steller sea lions, sea otters, harbor seals and black bears wandering ashore.
 
Day 9: Kenai Fjords—Private Cruise
Iconic images of Alaska are on display today as we board a private chartered boat for a journey through a realm where the Ice Age still lingers. Our small boat allows us to approach wildlife at intimate range, and Kenai Fjords National Park provides unparalleled opportunities for photographing marine life including orcas, Dall's porpoise, a large colony of puffins and myriad other seabirds. Mighty tidewater glaciers grind their way to the sea's edge, and we may be fortunate to capture thrilling images of icebergs calving with a huge splash. The water is filled with floating bits of ice, often tinged blue, and we'll be able to get plenty of classic Alaskan shots. Following our all-day outing, our boat returns us to Fox Island for a final night.
 
Day 10: Seward / Anchorage
After a final morning to enjoy the wild environs of Fox Island, we weave our way back through the fjords to Seward, where we'll have lunch and visit the Alaska SeaLife Center on Resurrection Bay. While primarily dedicated to marine research and education, the center also features a public aquarium and is the only permanent marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation facility in the state. From Seward, we retrace our route northward, with the mountain ranges of the Kenai Peninsula rising one after another as we traverse Moose Pass and cross some of Alaska's richest salmon rivers. We return to Anchorage by late afternoon where you'll have the rest of your evening at leisure. We've opted not to include dinner so you can choose one of the many outstanding offerings available in Alaska's largest city. Consult your Expedition Leader for suggestions.  
 
Days 11 & 12: Katmai National Park - Brooks Falls 
It's hard to imagine that anything could top all we've experienced so far, but for most wildlife photographers, today is the ultimate highlight of our Alaskan adventure. Katmai National Park is home to the world’s largest population of brown bears, and it takes some effort to get here. We fly by small plane to King Salmon, then by float plane to world-renowned Brooks Lodge, one of the best places to view these coastal grizzlies in their natural habitat. From the safety of platforms built over Brooks Falls, we are able to get a close look at this iconic wildlife spectacle. 
 
Day 13: Katmai / Anchorage 
After one more chance to photograph the fishing bears of Katmai, we return to Anchorage arriving in the afternoon. We celebrate our Alaskan adventure at a farewell dinner with our Expedition Leader.
 
Day 14: Anchorage / Depart
Today, our Alaska photo safari comes to a close as we transfer to the airport for flights home.
Map
All This Included
Alaska tops many a wildlife photographer's bucket list. From glacier-clad peaks to giant bears, you'll capture incredible images on our Ultimate Alaska Wildlife Photo Safari. Unlike standard big-ship cruises and bus tours, we take you deep into the remote parts of Alaska far from the heavily touristed areas that dominate most itineraries. We position you and your camera at the rail of a private yacht in front of calving glaciers, before a panorama of Denali from a backcountry wilderness lodge, and at river’s edge to capture a salmon leaping from the water into the gaping jaws of a brown bear. Our photo safari reveals Alaska “less discovered”: bigger, wilder and more amazing than you ever imagined.
  • Accommodations
  • All meals from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on Day 14 (except dinner on Days 7 & 10)
  • Bottled water
  • Services of NHA Photo Expedition Leader (specific leaders subject to change), local guides and lodge staff
  • Some gratuities
  • Airport transfers on Day 1 and final day
  • Kayaking at Fox Island
  • Permits and entrance fees
  • All taxes
Highlights
  • Our exclusive itinerary includes close-up brown bear viewing at Brooks Falls—a rare opportunity to capture stunning images!
  • Cruise among icebergs and marine wildlife aboard our chartered yacht, and stay on a private island in Kenai Fjords, with flexibility for optimal photo opportunities
  • Spend three nights at a backcountry lodge deep within Denali National Park, far from crowds and close to wildlife and panoramas of Mount Denali—a rare opportunity!
Accommodations
Fairbanks: Springhill Suites Fairbanks
Denali National Park: Kantishna Roadhouse or North Face Lodge
Talkeetna: Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge
Girdwood: Hotel Alyeska
Kenai Fjords National Park: Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge
Katmai National Park: Brooks Lodge
Anchorage: Anchorage Marriott Downtown
Pre and Post Add-ons
Alaska's Coastal Grizzlies: Kodiak to Katmai
An exclusive small-ship adventure to view the world's largest coastal grizzlies up close! Walk the shores as enormous brown bears dig for clams, forage for grasses and pursue salmon in tidal pools.
8 Days / Jun - Sep, From $9295
 
Exploring Alaska's Coastal Wilderness
 A small-ship voyage through the narrow channels and fjords of Southeast Alaska's storied Inside Passage—meet wildlife up close in the company of top naturalists.
8 Days / May - Aug, From $5890
Notes
  • Group Size Limit: Approximately 10 Travelers.
  • Internal Air (subject to change): $595
  • Not Included: Travel to and from start and end point of trip, dinner on Days 7 & 10, alcoholic beverages, some gratuities, passport and visa fees, optional activities, items of a personal nature (phone calls, souvenirs, etc.), airline baggage fees, airport and departure taxes, optional travel insurance.
  • Physical Requirements: Moderate. The activities on our Alaska wildlife photography adventure are diverse. The longest required walk is two miles roundtrip over a relatively flat wooden boardwalk to Brooks Falls in Katmai, for the purpose of observing and photographing the brown bears. Trails surfaces for our various walks vary, from paved to uneven natural terrain. While all travelers must be able to walk at least two miles, some longer hikes are available for those who desire. Our kayaking activity on Fox Island involves paddling for approximately two hours in conditions that are typically quite calm. We stress that travelers are not required to participate in every activity, but all participants must be able to walk two miles.
  • This trip begins in Fairbanks and ends in Anchorage. Arrive in Fairbanks, Alaska by 4 pm on Day 1 of the program as we will have a 6 pm orientation followed by a 7 pm dinner. You are free to depart Anchorage anytime on the final day.
  • Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions
For Natural Habitat Adventures terms and conditions, please click here.

* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.