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Prepare yourself for 8 days full of Alaskan adventure, wildlife, and native cultural knowledge as you and your group embark on this fun-filled Alaska Land Tour. Take in the unbeatable sights of Anchorage, Denali, Valdez, and Fairbanks as you travel through this massive state, stopping at all the perfect natural and commercial wonders along the way. See the tallest peak in North America, Mt. McKinley, up-close and personal from every angle imaginable. Explore the many majestic mountain ranges in Denali National State Park, the stunning rolling glacier valleys of Valdez, and the unique and exciting natural history of native Athabaskan and Tlingit tribes. Learn about the agriculture and ecology of the land and what the natives had to do to survive the past 12,000 years in this absolutely gorgeous but raw and untamed winter wonderland!
Valdez - Continue taking in the breathtaking sites of wild Alaska as your group travels to Valdez, a destination popularly known for holding America’s most scenic roads. Valdez, known also for its history with the Trans-Alaskan pipeline, majestic tourist destination at Keystone Canyon, and historic brush with the gold rush, is another destination where the scenery really does say it all. Boasting several glaciers, waterfalls, and towering mountains, this location is known for being a photographer’s paradise as well. Stop in the quaint town of Glennallen for gas or food before taking “Adventure Corridor,” the drive everyone talks about when mentioning Valdez. Thompson Pass gives access to the intimidatingly large Worthington Glacier, and Horsetail and Bridal Veil Falls are accessible from the Glenn Highways as well. Since Valdez was named after Port Valdez, make sure you head over to the site of the natural fjord and take advantage of kayaking, ice fishing, or ice climbing!
Wildlife Cruise through Prince William Sound - Start day two off with what some people claim to be their favorite part of an Alaskan vacation, a wildlife cruise through Prince William Sound! While there are many options for daily cruises, we have chosen Phillips Cruises and Tours "26 Glaciers Cruise" to fit your day and adventure perfectly. With this 5 hour cruise, your group will get unbeatable up-close views of glaciers, wildlife, and mountains within the sound. When Brad Phillips had the idea to start the business in the 1950s he wanted to create a comfortable and informative tour of the sound, and he has done just that, with an on-boat U.S Forest Service Ranger to answer ecological questions, captain to answer waterway questions, and a very friendly crew willing to help answer any other questions on your journey! A hot lunch is included on the trip in addition to a guarantee for no seasickness when aboard their Klondike Express, the fastest, largest, and most luxurious high-speed catamaran in Alaska. During the 140 mile cruise from Whittier Deep to Prince William Sound your group will get the chance to reach out and touch the ice, the captain navigating the boat as close as ¼ of a mile from shore - you can even hear the massive landforms moving! If you're travelling in this area near May or June prepare to see very large groups of otters and seals called maternity wards, as well as year round views of humpbacks, orcas, minks, bears, goats, eagles, and over 200 more species of birds!
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park- Welcome to the nation’s largest national park, the area where some of the tallest mountains, largest glaciers, and most important Alaskan history is found. Sitting on 13.2 million acres (yes that’s right, 13.2 million) , Wrangell- St. Elias National Park can hold Switzerland, Yellowstone National Park, and Yosemite National Park all within its boundaries! Known for its natural boundaries formed by mountains, this area also holds 9 out of 16 of the tallest mountain peaks in the United States. Some of the many exciting things you will be able to see up close and personal during this trip is a view of Bagley Icefield, the largest sub polar icefield on the continent, Malaspina Glaciers, larger than the state of Rhode Island, Copper River, the site of very successful copper, ore, and gold mining, and tons of native Athabascan Indian villages perfect for wildlife watching the abundant caribou or moose.
Fairbanks City Tour - Get the best view of the city of Fairbanks with the Fairbanks historical city tour! In the comfort of this climate controlled motorcoach, let Alaska Tour and Travel drive you around the heart of Alaska’s interior, the unique city that is Fairbanks. For 3.5 hours your tour guide will show you the most important cultural and historical sites in the city and explain the impact made on Alaska and the north in general. Your group will get an up close glimpse at the Trans-Alaskan pipeline, a 800 mile feat of engineering that was made in the 1970s and transports around 25% of the nation’s oil through it, from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez. You will also see Pioneer Park, the blast from the past authentic look at frontier days, complete with original log cabins. Finally your tour will take you to the University of Alaska, the only research museum in the whole state, which is also your next stop!
University of Alaska Museum - Welcome to the only research and teaching museum in the whole state of Alaska, where your group will have the chance to marvel at a 2,000 year spectrum of ancient and modern Alaskan art. This facility is known as the leader in northern natural and cultural history, and is visited by hundreds of thousands of guests per year. With a shape in the Alaskan skyline reminiscent of the surrounding alpine ridges and glaciers, this building is a known cultural landmark for locals and tourists alike. Inside, your group will see everything from ancient ivory carvings to contemporary paintings and sculptures, as well as the largest display of gold in the nation. With over 1.4 million artifacts and specimens permanently displayed plus the seasonal rotating displays, you won’t be running out of things to look at at this museum! Make sure you check out Blue Babe, the 36,000 year old mummified steppe bison, or head over to ‘the place where you go to listen,’ a room designed to let visitors study the unique lighting in Alaska, as well as the aurora borealis. The facility also boasts a wonderful on-site cafe where you can get a delicious hot dinner, and expanded gift shop to pick up your Alaska native artwork, jewelry, or books.
Cruise the Chena River - End your day with a relaxing and informative journey down the Chena River with a Riverboat Discovery 4 hour cruise! This riverboat excursion was started in the 1950s when northern transportation began to change from maritime merchant markets to railroads and air travel. The Binkley family has been in the boat business for over a century, however, and has had 5 generations of seafaring captains thus far. During this enlightening tour of the Chena River area your group will be able to take a walking tour of an Athabaskan Indian village in which the natives successfully lived off the land for 10,000 years hunting and gathering and adapting to the intense Alaskan weather. Starting off, your group will witness a bush pilot take off, as well as the Susan Butcher Kennels, home to the late 4-time winner of the Iditarod run. The Trans-Alaskan pipeline will be seen from this tour as well, with plenty of facts from the captain and crew along the way. Your group will have two chances to check out the Steamboat Landing stores for souvenirs, as well as have a nice sit-down dinner in the Discovery Dining Hall aboard the riverboat. Before or after the tour your group will have a chance to see the Gold Dredge 8, the Binkley family’s mining attraction that mixes large scale industry mining with a local mom and pop mining business. This riverboat cruise will definitely not leave your group disappointed!
Denali National Park - The Denali National Park is home to 6 million acres of raw, mostly untouched Alaskan land situated between the cities of Anchorage and Fairbanks. The southern portion of the park is covered by the majestic Alaska Range of mountains and the entire preserve is bisected by only one winding road. Within the park your group will witness a vast variety of Alaska landscape, from the low elevation taiga forest to the high alpine tundra. The unfenced land in Denali National Park gives way to abundant wildlife, including a 40 documented mammal species. When travelling through this area your group will see great examples of ‘moving landscape’ with frequent landslides, moving glaciers, and plenty of glacial fed rivers changing pace daily. Your group will also have the chance to see North America’s tallest peak Mt. McKinley at 20,320 feet. Besides all the natural wonders and photographic scenery you will see, you also have the opportunity to stop at the Denali visitors center, where you can brush up on local area facts and history. Be sure to check out the Cultural Resources Program exhibit, which tells the story of 12,000 years of the people and land of Denali.
Tundra Wilderness Tour - Explore the Denali National Park with a fully narrated tour in the comfort of a climate controlled motorcoach with the Teklanika Tundra Wilderness Tour. This 6-8 hour tour will take you 50 to 60 miles into the park, depending on the season and condition of the one usable road, Park Road. The tour takes you from the visitor center to the Teklanika River Outlook, stopping at Polychrome Pass, Plains of the Murie, and Stony Hill Overlook just to name a few destinations. Depending on the viewability of Mt. McKinley at the time, Stony Hill Overlook will give your group the perfect view of the entire mountain, from base to summit. The incredible scenery of this trip gives you the best wildlife views around, with ample opportunities to see Dall Sheep on the mountain sides, Bull Moose in the taiga forest, as well as caribou, wolves, and grizzly bears. The fully trained and experienced tour bus driver will stop for photographic moments of viewing, as well as record the wildlife or scenery and play it on a pop-down screen in front of every seat. This unique close-up viewing opportunity will also allow any guest who wants a more permanent souvenir of the trip to purchase and take home the video created on the ride, “Windows to Wilderness.”
Deluxe Dome Railcars - The McKinley Explorer Deluxe Dome Railcar is the perfect way to comfortably travel through the wilderness of Alaska while still catching all the scenery. The trip takes 7-8 hours and each car can hold 86-88 passengers. The upper dome level in which your group will be sitting features curved glass dome windows which offer 360 degree unbeatable views of the railway, and the lower section holds an observation lounge and gift shop. The lower level also features a widely popular restaurant in which you can find gourmet local delicacies such as reindeer chili and wild Alaskan salmon. During your trek to Anchorage your group will have ample opportunities to view popular landmarks and abundant Alaskan wildlife. Just north of Talkeetna you will cross an impressive (or unsettling) 918 foot Hurricane Gulch trestle, which will take the deluxe dome railcar 296 feet above the snake-like creek below. Ride in style as you enjoy the great Alaskan scenery with this unique experience on the Deluxe Dome Railcars!
Alaska Native Heritage Center - End your Alaskan adventure at the Alaska Native Heritage Center, an educational and cultural institution for all visitors located in the heart of Anchorage. Alaskan knowledge, heritage, and tradition are all the focus in this facility, and the native traditions and customs of the past and present are shown through workshops, demonstrations, and guided tours of exhibits and village sites. Take a tour of the Welcome House which consists of exhibits that come together as a celebration of contemporary Alaskan cultures, or step outside for a tour of the village sites to get a glimpse at ancient tradition and hear stories of the past. Explore the native language of the Athabaskan and Tlingit tribes or view ancient tribal masks and artifacts to learn more about the materials they were able to gather and use in the past brutal Alaskan winters. Walking through the Alaska Native Heritage Center will allow your group to engage and interact with the local culture, the entire collection showing a span of 10,000 years of native history and culture. Visit the on-site cafe, Heritage Cafe, for brunch, lunch, or maybe just a coffee or smoothie while you’re taking in all that Alaskan information!