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Wild Alaska

9 days with Tauck   Rating: Deluxe

Itinerary
Click for Dates and Prices Day 1 Arrive Anchorage
Tour begins: 5:30 PM, Hotel Captain Cook. A transfer is included from Anchorage International Airport to the Hotel Captain Cook in the heart of downtown, within walking distance of museums, shops, and restaurants. Only minutes away from unspoiled wilderness, Anchorage nestles beside Cook Inlet with the spectacular backdrop of the Chugach Mountains. Join us at the hotel for a welcome reception and dinner. (D)

Day 2 Happy trails to Talkeetna
Wind your way from Anchorage to glacier-carved Matanuska Valley, a region of scenic mountain vistas, spruce forests and thousands of lakes. Rustic lodges, farmsteads, and small towns unwind along wilderness highways until you arrive at Big Lake, a popular area for camping, fishing and water sports; in winter, the passion here is dog sledding, and the big annual event is the Iditarod race from Anchorage to Nome. Visit Happy Trails Kennel, where four-time Iditarod winner Martin Buser breeds and trains sled dogs for the world-famous 1,000-mile marathon; you'll have a chance to get acquainted with some of these up-and-coming champions, who are bred for speed and athleticism (and love to be petted). You'll also learn about the special dynamics of the sport: the bond between dogs and musher, the dogs' ability to conquer long distances in harsh weather and extreme temperatures, and the indelible role of dog sledding in Alaskan history and culture. Following lunch, drive on to the historic town of Talkeetna. With a population of less than 500 and one paved road, its rustic character offers a taste of small-town Alaska, from the general store to the roadhouse, as well as a staging area for climbing expeditions to Mt. McKinley. Arrive at the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge, set high on a bluff overlooking the town and distant peaks of the Alaskan Range, where you'll attend a naturalist lecture on the feats, and challenges, of climbing America's highest mountain. (B, L, D)

Day 3 Guided hikes with a naturalist guide
Explore the scenic places surrounding Talkeetna on a morning hike with a naturalist guide. The town's setting at the confluence of three rivers makes it an attractive area for outdoor sports, and a magnet for wildlife (beaver, moose, bears, and bald eagles) that frequent the lush forests and shorelines. Your morning hike takes you around Byers Lake, a true nature paradise inside Denali. Your guide will provide insights into both natural and human history surrounding the shimmering, clear lake - the views are amazing, and the wildflowers and plants unique. Drop in for lunch at Mary Carey's McKinley View Lodge, where the café is bedecked with native crafts and memorabilia of the legendary pioneer woman who established the inn. Following lunch, again accompanied by a naturalist guide, you'll enjoy working with the gadgets that professional nature photographers and filmmakers use in the wild. Return to Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge, where the evening is free to spend as you please - perhaps enjoying the magnificent rock fireplace in the Great Room. (B, L)

Day 4 Flying over Denali
Start the day by reviewing the footage you captured yesterday on the filmmakers' gadgets with your naturalist guide. Then visit the Talkeetna Historical Society Museum; the town evolved from gold mining days to its status today as the gateway to Denali (the peak formerly known as Mt. McKinley) and Denali National Park. The museum's main exhibit is a large three-dimensional topographical map of the mountain and surrounding glaciers, which you can use to "walk" through its unique geological features and history. The model becomes real in dramatic, titanic scale this afternoon when you board a ski plane for a flightseeing tour (weather permitting) of the real thing. Denali (the Athabascan name, meaning "the High One") lives up to its legend, soaring 20,000 feet above sea level, and your bird's-eye view takes in all its breathtaking landscape, from alpine tundra and snowcapped peaks to vast rambling glaciers within Denali National Park. If conditions allow, your ski plane may touch down on a glacier for an unforgettable close-up view, before you fly on to Wasilla. Then drive on to your next destination, Knik River Lodge, featuring wilderness cabins, and the comforts of home, in a tranquil mountain setting. (B, D)

Day 5 Wildlife and Windsong
Visit the nonprofit Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, where orphaned and displaced animals are cared for, rehabilitated, and sometimes re-released into the wild. Here you'll have a chance to see (and photograph) native wildlife up close, including bison, moose, elk, musk oxen, coyotes, grizzly bears, eagles, and caribou; watch feedings; and learn about ongoing efforts to conserve and restore endangered animal populations. Drive on to your next destination, the coastal town of Seward (named for the U. S. Secretary of State who negotiated the purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867). Nestled beside Resurrection Bay on scenic Kenai Peninsula, and surrounded by mountains, the town retains the aura of its early days as a trading outpost on the edge of a spectacular wilderness. Check into the Seward Windsong Lodge outside of the town, set among fragrant spruce trees beside the rushing Resurrection River. Get a taste of fresh local cuisine tonight at a local restaurant, Seward Brewing Company. (B, D)

Day 6 Cruising the Kenai Fjord
Set out on a full day's excursion cruising the Kenai Fjord, where you'll have an opportunity to learn about the species that live here. Dramatic scenes of the Ice Age linger in glacial landscapes - see a "tidewater" glacier as you cruise amidst carved rugged peaks, rocky shores and dense forests. You may get a chance to see puffins, whales, porpoises, sea lions and other fish that whales feed on; like this beautiful alien world, they are endlessly photogenic. Return to the lodge for dinner this evening. (B, L, D)

Day 7 Sea life and living glaciers
Go behind the scenes on a visit to the Alaska Sealife Center, an aquarium, ocean wildlife rescue center and research facility. Enjoy close encounters with puffins and octopus, and view other Alaskan sea life while rubbing shoulders with the scientists who study them. Lunch on your own in Seward, then it's on to your next eye-opening stop at Portage Glacier. The glacier itself is in retreat, but at the state-of-the-art visitors center you can experience a living glacier from the inside. Depart for Anchorage where you will arrive at your hotel, the Hotel Captain Cook, late in the afternoon. (B)

Day 8 Bear watching on Crescent Lake
Located within Lake Clark National Park and surrounded by stunning mountain landscapes, Redoubt Mountain Lodge is accessible only by air. You'll board an early flight (weather permitting) to travel there for today's bear-watching excursion* on beautiful Crescent Lake. When the salmon are running, the brown bears come to the shore to fish, and from your small boat on the lake, you'll have a chance to see and photograph them up close. Lunch at the lodge (there's a good chance it will be salmon), then fly back to urban Anchorage. Join us tonight for a farewell dinner that caps your unforgettable, image-filled journey to Alaska's wild side. (B, L, D)

Day 9 Journey home
Tour ends: Anchorage. Fly home anytime. A transfer is included from Hotel Captain Cook to Anchorage International Airport; allow at least 2 hours for flight check-in. (B)
Map
All This Included
Travel to wild Alaska with Tauck and BBC Earth on small group departures averaging 30 Tauck guests! Our ten-day adventure in wild Alaska takes you away from the well-traveled routes of the Inside Passage to less-visited places of spectacular beauty and one-of-a-kind experiences... flightseeing the vast glacier-clad landscapes and peaks of Denali (America's highest mountain)... cruising the Kenai Fjord, known for its resident sea lions, dolphins, whales, bald eagles and dramatic vistas... bear-watching on Crescent Lake in salmon season, where the brown bears are close and numerous... making canine friendships at a kennel that raises champion sled dogs... wilderness hikes with an expert naturalist guide who offers invaluable knowledge and insights... meeting wildlife (like bison, elk, bears, and caribou) up close at a refuge for displaced and orphaned animals... gadgets and equipment used by professional wildlife photographers and filmmakers that may include camera traps... and multiple-night stays at outstanding wilderness lodges (with all the comforts of home), including Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge (where the dining room offers panoramic views of Denali and the Alaskan Range); Seward Windsong Lodge, set in a wooded glacier valley beside the Resurrection River; and Knik River Lodge, a colony of first-class cabins (and a gourmet restaurant) surrounded by the snowcapped peaks of the Chugach Mountains.

  • Exclusive on-tour films produced by BBC Earth deepen your experience
  • Field equipment gadgets may include camera traps
  • Small groups averaging 30 Tauck guests
  • Flightseeing by private charter inside dramatic, ice-capped Denali National Park
  • Bear watching from boats on Crescent Lake in Lake Clark National Park
  • Private cruise through glacier-carved Kenai Fjord
  • Close-up views of Alaskan wildlife at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
  • Naturalist guided hikes and walks
  • Learn about the world of the sled dog and the Iditarod at a breeding and training center
  • Accommodation includes multiple nights at three wilderness lodges
  • Airport transfers upon arrival and departure as noted
  • 18 meals, service charges, gratuities to local guides, service charges, admission fees, taxes and porterage
Highlights
  • Exclusive on-tour films produced by BBC Earth
  • Access to gadgets that may include camera traps
  • Flightseeing by private charter inside Denali National Park
  • Bear watching from boats on Crescent Lake
  • Private cruise through Kenai Fjord
  • Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
  • Naturalist guided hikes and walks
  • Multiple nights at wilderness resorts
Accommodations
Anchorage: Hotel Captain Cook
Talkeetna:Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge
Palmer: Knik River Lodge
Seward: Seward Windsong Lodge
Notes
  • Activities marked with an asterisk (*) are at your own risk; a signed liability waiver will be required.
  • Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions
For Tauck 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.