Alaska Active EscapeAnchorage
Day 1 Anchorage/Seward (1L)After a welcome meeting in the morning in Anchorage, we'll head out on an amazing hike to the Exit Glacier and Harding Icefield. Considered one of the greatest hikes on the Kenai Peninsula, we'll experience glaciers and the forces that shaped the landscape up close, while exploring only a tiny portion of the nearly 1 million acres that make up Kenai Fjords National Park. Exit Glacier, the only area of Kenai Fjords National Park accessible by car, is one of thirty-five glaciers that flow off the vast Harding Icefield. The Icefield is the largest in North America, and it remains as a 300 square mile vestige of the last ice age. The 7.4-mile round trip of the Harding Icefield Trail is a spectacular day hike. Starting on the valley floor, the trail winds through cottonwood and alder forests, passes though heather filled meadows and ultimately climbs well above tree line to a breath-taking view of the Icefield. The top of the trail is a window to past ice ages – a horizon of ice and snow that stretches as far as the eye can see, broken only by an occasional nunatak, or lonely peak. Then what would be Alaska without bears? This is bear country! The vegetation along the trail is dense and passes through thickets of salmonberries, a favorite food of black bears. Black bears are spotted almost every day from the Harding Icefield Trail. Check into your hotel in Seward for the next 2 nights. Enjoy a group dinner and reflect on the spectacular natural wonders of the Alaskan Wilderness you experienced today on this amazing hike. Estimated Travel Time: 5 hours Approximate Distance: 233 km/145 miles Day 2 Seward (1L)Experienced naturalist sea kayaking guides will lead you out of Seward along the west shoreline of the scenic Resurrection Bay. The bay is surrounded by snow covered mountains with hanging glaciers coming off the tops. Along the way your guide will point out points of interest and tell you about the bay’s history and about the wildlife we encounter. You need no prior sea kayak paddling experience. Your Resurrection Bay sea kayaking adventure starts with kayaking instruction from expert guides. Within minutes the guides will have you paddling. You'll be surprised as to how stable sea kayaks are in the water. We often see sea otters, sea lions, harbor seals, seabirds, bald eagles, jumping salmon and occasionally we see whales that venture into the bay. Our path will take us out along Caines Head State Recreation Area and towards Tonsina Creek. Depending on the group’s speed and what wildlife we encounter along the way, we may make it all the way out to Tonsina Creek. If the tides are high it may be possible to paddle up the creek a short way to see spawning salmon during spawning season. About halfway into the trip we will make a quick shoreline stop for hot drinks and a snack. Day 3 Seward/Kenai (1L)In the morning it’s time to return and visit the Alaskan Sealife Center for a behind the scenes tour. The Center offers an unrivaled, up-close and personal experience with Gulf of Alaska marine wildlife. Witness a 2000+ pound Stellar sea lion gliding past underwater viewing windows, puffins diving in a carefully crafted naturalistic habitat, and harbor seals resting on rocky beaches. Alaskan king crab, sea stars, and the Giant Pacific octopus also await you, as well as a whole variety of intertidal creatures and deep sea fishes. Alaska is vast, still mostly road less and wild, and stunningly beautiful. Alaska is so big- equal in area to about one-fifth of all the lower 48 states- it is difficult to completely cover all of its available hiking on our tour. Therefore today we concentrate on the Kenai Peninsula, which has the largest number, greatest concentration, and most diverse range of hiking environments in the state. The Kenai, as it is known locally, is itself huge, containing an ice field larger than the state of Rhode Island. The Kenai offers coastal, forest, subalpine, tundra, and even glacial hiking opportunities. It is a short but steep climb through spruce/hemlock forest to a wide subalpine valley of meadows surrounded by mountains. Enjoy a picnic lunch in the Alaskan Wilderness until it’s time to hike back to civilization. Estimated Travel Time: 6 hours (including hike) Approximate Distance: 200 km/120 milesDay 4 Kenai/Homer (1B,1L)Spend a day exploring the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge on a scenic raft trip on the Kenai River. Nearly two million acres in size, the Refuge offers majestic wilderness scenery and multiple species of wildlife and birds. Your guide will steer your raft into Kenai Canyon and you'll cross Skilak Lake, a pristine, glacier-carved lake in the heart of the Wildlife Refuge. Or, on the rare occasion the Alaskan winds kick up three-foot or higher waves on the lake, the trip will end with a 1.5 mile walk up Hidden Creek. At the take out point, meet your CEO and enjoy a delicious picnic lunch. In the afternoon transfer to Homer. Estimated Travel Time: 5 hours Approximate Distance: 160 km/100 milesDay 5 Homer (1L)Your excursion begins with a scenic 20-minute boat ride across beautiful Kachemak Bay, into the heart of Kachemak Bay State Park. A fun and informative guided hike takes you through 3 distinct ecosystems; The coastal/marine environment, old-growth coastal forest, and glacial outwash plain. Enjoy lunch in full view of the nearly mile-wide glacier face. After lunch, back to the trail head, hike out, and return to Homer by boat. Truly breathtaking, truly unforgettable! Enjoy a last group dinner!Day 6 Anchorage (1L)After breakfast we shuttle a short distance to the Carl E. Wynn Nature Center. This former homestead is now a wildlife refuge, with hiking trails, great bird-watching and an undeveloped migration corridor for moose and black bears. Return to Anchorage where our adventure ends at approx 5pm. End of trip. Estimated Travel Time: 6 hours Approximate Distance: 402 km/250 miles
DepartingFrom 01/01/2015 to 04/09/2016
Highlights of AlaskaAnchorage
Day 1 AnchorageArrive to the joining hotel in time for an evening Welcome Meeting (usually around 6pm) and optional group dinner. There are no activities planned for today so check into the hotel and use any free time you have before the meeting to enjoy the city. Please keep in mind, a lot of what there is to see and do in Alaska is weather-dependent. We like to give our CEOs the opportunity to adjust the schedule as needed based on weather. For example, something scheduled on the itinerary for Day 2 may be better on Day 4, when the sun is shining. Please be flexible and enjoy the ride! *Hiking note: On this trip there are several options for hikes in each location. Your CEO will adjust the hikes according to weather and fitness level of the group.Days 2-3 Homer (1L)Travel around the coast of the Kenai Peninsula, where glaciers tumble down from the mountains towards the ocean. Keep an eye out for beluga whales playing out at sea while travelling along the Turnagain Arm on the journey to Homer. Homer may be the end of the road but it is the starting place for many wilderness adventures in a variety of public lands. The largest wildlife refuge in Alaska, the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge is headquartered in Homer, offering bird viewing and experiences unmatched anywhere else. While in Homer, you can enjoy the wildlife whether it’s hiking on a local trail, exploring a tide pool, or halibut fishing in Kachemak Bay. Bald eagles, sandhill cranes, moose and shorebirds are just a few of the varieties of local watchable wildlife available to see. Approximate Distance: 357 km/222 miles Estimated Travel Time: 7 hrsDays 4-5 Seward (2L)Leave Homer in the morning and arrive at the tip of the Kenai Peninsula where the ice age still lingers. In Kenai Fjords glaciers, earthquakes and ocean storms are the architects. Ice worms, bears and whales make their home in this land of constant change. Native Alutiiq used these resources to nurture a life intertwined with the sea. Spend two days exploring this site to discover the fjords, their history, science and remote splendor. Head out on an amazing hike to the Exit Glacier and Harding Icefield. Considered one of the greatest hikes on the Kenai Peninsula, we'll experience glaciers and the forces that shaped the landscape up close, while exploring only a tiny portion of the nearly 1 million acres that make up Kenai Fjords National Park. Exit Glacier, the only area of Kenai Fjords National Park accessible by car, is one of thirty-five glaciers that flow off the vast Harding Icefield. The Icefield is the largest in North America, and it remains as a 300 square mile vestige of the last ice age. Starting on the valley floor, the trail winds through cottonwood and alder forests, passes though heather filled meadows and ultimately climbs well above tree line to a breathtaking view of the Icefield. The top of the trail is a window to past ice ages – a horizon of ice and snow that stretches as far as the eye can see, broken only by an occasional nunatak or lonely peak. This is bear country! The vegetation along the trail is dense and passes through thickets of salmonberries, a favorite food of black bears. Black bears are spotted almost every day from the Harding Icefield Trail. Those who are not up for hiking are welcome to relax and explore Seward on their own. A low-key active option for Seward is to hike along the beach on the Coastal Trail, about 2-3hrs or enjoy an optional boat cruise. Hiking details: The picturesque path to the glacier is a mix of back-country and on-trail trekking, with a spectacular view from the top. It is a 3 mile round trip hike which can be somewhat strenuous. Alternately, there is an easier hike in the area to the a viewpoint of the glacier. For those that continue on, the trail will leads to the Toe and/or Edge of the Glacier (Wall of Blue Ice). Due to the dangers of walking on glaciers we will not be hiking on the ice. Approximate Distance: 270 km/168 miles Estimated Travel Time: 5 hrsDay 6 Valdez (1L)Indescribable adventure awaits at every bend of Alaska's incredible coastline. Each magnificent fjord, towering glacier, and historic waterfront town urges you to linger and discover its wonders. Give yourself the freedom to answer this "call of the wild" on an Alaska Marine Highway ferry, through the Inside Passage, across the Gulf of Alaska, into Prince William Sound. If weather permits, we may get a glimpse of the Columbia Glacier. Columbia Glacier itself is receding, leaving huge blocks of ice and an impassible moraine. It is always changing and each day the bay is filled with floating ice. Some of this ice floats all the way out to the Gulf of Alaska, where it becomes a hazard to shipping. Valdez is a must for your Alaska vacation itinerary. The crashing glaciers and towering Chugach mountains rising from the sea make Valdez absolutely picturesque. Come and see the spectacular natural beauty that entices people from around the world to visit. Prepare to be amazed! Approximate Distance: 290 km/180 miles Estimated Travel Time: 7 hrsDays 7-9 Wrangell-St Elias National Park (1B, 1L)Stop at Worthington Glacier. Located in the Chugach Mountains near Thompson Pass—the snowiest place in Alaska. Worthington Glacier is one of the most accessible glaciers in Alaska, passing within a few feet of the parking lot with a viewing shelter right off the Richardson Highway. Like most of Alaska’s glaciers, this valley glacier has been steadily retreating for the last 150 years, but not as dramatically as many others. The upper basin sits at 5,500 feet and collects about 28 feet of snow each year. McCarthy is a small historic town surrounded by more mountains and glaciers than anywhere else in Alaska. Enjoy a visit to this charming town. Wrangell-St Elias National Park is located in the eastern region of south-central Alaska. The Chugach, Wrangell, and St Elias mountain ranges converge here in what is often referred to as the 'Mountain Kingdom of North America'. It is the largest national park in the US at six times the size of Yellowstone. Wrangell-St Elias encompasses over 20,000 square miles of mountain wilderness– that's 25% larger than Switzerland! Spend a full day exploring this stunning national park or choose from several optional activities such as scenic flights, glacier walks or ice climbing. Optional activity to explore Kennecott, a ghost town frozen in time. When the Kennecott Copper Corporation abruptly abandoned the town in 1938 they left behind their equipment, their buildings and their personal belongings. Their stories of discovery, perseverance, and ingenuity, however, live on. See what it was like to live and work in this remote wilderness as you tour the town site with a guide, listening to tales of lucky fortunes, tenacious frontiersmen and tragic endings. There is also an opportunity to walk the Bonanza Mine Trail, a fairly strenuous walk that follows the ridges and tram lines to the old mine, taking in the magnificent panoramas of the Chugach Mountains, Mt Blackburn and the Kennecott Glacier along the way. From the ridge above the mine there are some spectacular views across to the University Range in the St Elias Mountains. This hike is about 4.5 miles one way with an elevation gain of 3800ft. Expect a strenuous 6-7hrs. The Root Glacier Trail in the area is another option. The trail follows the right lateral moraine and starts at the far end of the mining town. It's a fairly level 4-8 roundtrip (depending on where you turn back) with great views of the Root Glacier (3-6 hrs). Approximate Distance: 233 km/145 miles Estimated Travel Time: 6 hrs (including stops)Day 10 Tangle Lakes (1L)Copper River salmon are fattier than others because they have to travel hundreds more miles, and need more reserves. Yes, they’re considered the best in the world. Salmon from any Copper River Valley river, no matter what its name, are Copper River. Copper River Country is where the wilderness meets the road in roadside Alaska. Far enough away from both Anchorage and Fairbanks to develop a certain independent self-reliance, people are unfettered by local government. When something needs to be done you don’t wait for somebody else to do it here. You step up to the plate and pitch in. Then continue to Tangle Lakes. Approximate Distance: 290 km/181 miles Estimated Travel Time: 8 hrsDays 11-13 Denali National Park (3L)Enjoy plenty of time to explore and hike Denali National Park. The area is well-known for its diversity of wildlife and Mt McKinley, the highest peak in North America. There are 39 species of mammals, 167 species of birds, 10 species of fish, and one species of amphibian known in Denali. Summer is a time for raising the young and preparing for migration, hibernation or survival during the winter and with a little luck, we witness it all. On our hikes we'll discover the dynamic glaciated landscape providing large rivers, countless lakes and ponds, and unique landforms which form the foundation of the ecosystems that thrive in Denali. Enjoy picnic lunches and revel in the awesomeness of this place. For those that do not want to hike, options include rafting on the Nenana River, a visit to the dog-sled kennels run by the park rangers or opt to take a scenic flight over Mount McKinley. The highest mountain in North America, Mt McKinley has been the goal of aspiring high altitude climbers since it was first climbed in 1913. Its reputation as a highly coveted summit is due to its location near the Arctic Circle and the Pacific Ocean, creating some of the most ferocious weather in the world. Because of its weather and ease of access, some climbers use McKinley as a training ground for climbing the 8,000 meter peaks of the Himalayas, including Everest. Mt McKinley is also known by its Athabascan name Denali meaning "The Great One" and some climbers refuse to use "McKinley" when referring to this mountain. In fact, at least half a dozen names exist for the highest mountain in North America and most translate to "The Great One". Hiking option- Mt Healy overlook trail- An easy to moderate hike after the first third of it. It's about 2.5 miles one way with an elevation gain of about 1700ft. Gorgeous view of the Alaska Range and Mount McKinley on a clear day. In total, it'll be a strenuous hike of 4.5 miles roundtrip (3-4hrs). Approximate Distance: 257 km/160 miles Estimated Travel Time: 6 hrsDay 14 Anchorage (1L)Drive to Anchorage, a rugged city beautifully settled between the base of the Chugach Mountain Range and Cook Inlet. An urbanized wilderness, humans are not the city's only inhabitants. Residents share the city with bears, moose and a small wolf pack. Year-round outdoor recreation is very accessible and venues are well-maintained to make the most of the city's setting. Anchorage is something rugged and wild, beautiful and urban all at once, so enjoy all it has to offer, and be sure to watch out for the wildlife. Opt to enjoy a final dinner with your travel mates and reminisce about your epic journey into the wild. Approximate Distance: 402 km/250 miles Estimated Travel Time: 7 hrs (including stops)Day 15 AnchorageDepart at any time.
DepartingFrom 01/01/2015 to 13/08/2016
Alaska Hike, Bike & RaftAnchorage
Day 1 AnchorageArrive to our joining hotel at any time. Welcome meeting in the evening.Day 2 Kayaker's Cove (1D)Heading out along Turnagain Arm towards Seward. Turnagain Arm is one of the most beautiful stretches of highway in the United States. The road follows the coast and there are views out along the water, where it's possible to see all sorts of marine life along the journey. Enjoy a boat ride along the route to Kayaker's Cove, enjoying a wildlife cruise along the way. Keep an eye out for many of Alaska's marine animals. Overnight in Kayaker's CoveDay 3 Seward (1B, 1L, 1D)Closer to the water today, taking to the waves by kayak. Paddling out along the coast, keep an eye out for a variety of animals in the water. As well as learning about the history of the area, the region is renowned for a variety of wildlife, including sea otters, eagles, a variety of birds and possibly even whales out in the water. Return by water taxi to Seward in the afternoon.Day 4 Cooper Landing (1B, 1L, 1D)Considered one of the greatest hikes on the Kenai Peninsula, hike on the Exit Glacier to experience glaciers and the forces that shaped the landscape up close, while exploring only a tiny portion of the nearly 1 million acres that make up Kenai Fjords National Park. Exit Glacier, the only area of Kenai Fjords National Park accessible by car, is one of thirty-five glaciers that flow off the vast Harding Icefield. The Icefield is the largest in North America, and it remains as a 300 square mile vestige of the last ice age. Walking directly on the glacier with the aid of crampons, you get a truly unique experience that gives a different perspective on the area. A qualified glacier guide is on hand to give you help with the equipment and to make sure the best possible experience takes aplace After a morning hiking, transfer to Cooper Landing. Approx. hiking time - 6 hrsDay 5 Cooper Landing (1B, 1D)A free day to take it as easy or as tough as you want to today. Around Cooper Landing there are an abundance of hiking routes, winding through the hills and forests around. Your CEO will be able to help you choose the right hike for you. Other optional activities available here include a scenic rafting trip or even a guided fishing trip. If you prefer, simply relax at the hotel for the day and unwind after the first few days activities.Day 6 Girdwood (1B, 1L, 1D)Transfer to Girdwood this morning. Girdwood is a biking paradise, so this morning there is some time for optional mountain biking. We've left the options for cycling open to you, as there are routes and options for many different levels of skill on the tracks here. From the paved and well-maintained routes on the Girdwood Bike Path, up to the many downhill routes in Alyeska Bike Park the options are limitless. As this is a ski resort in winter, the options of downhill biking here are fantastic. Why not try a gondola ride up to the summit of the mountain, for great views across the areaDay 7 Denali (1B, 1L, 1D)Head for Denali National Park today. It's a full day driving to reach the park, with the shadow of Mt. McKinley looming overhead as you get closer to the park. Thankfully this is one of the most scenic drives in the world, passing through indigenous communities, tiny settlements and towns, as well as picture postcard scenery. It will make the drive pass in no time.Day 8 Denali (1B, 1L)Begin the day with with a visit to Eilson Visitor Center. Along the journey into the park (approx. 4hrs) stop and admire the wildlife and views at various stops. Arriving at the visitor centre around 11am, stop for lunch and explore the area. There are good hiking trails around the visitor centre with the sight of Mt. McKinley towering overhead. In the afternoon make the return journey back out of the park.Day 9 Denali (1B, 1L, 1D)Take the morning to relax and enjoy the scenery, before a change of pace in the afternoon. Begin an overnight rafting trip in the afternoon, taking stops along the route down river to get the most out of the scenic route. The rafting here is not too strenuous, so admire the surrounding forest and keep an eye out for wildlife as you paddle. Camp overnight by the side of the river, a picture perfect location to spend the night.Day 10 Anchorage (1B, 1L)Waking up to the sound of the river rushing by this morning, enjoy a delicious breakfast by the water, before continuing downstream. Raft along the river this morning, before taking out and enjoying a delicious barbecue lunch. Return to Anchorage for the evening.Day 11 AnchorageDepart at any time.
DepartingFrom 01/01/2015 to 22/08/2016
Highlights of Alaska
Alaska has sweeping mountain and glacial scenery, with vast tracts of wild places. Its largely pristine environment is a testament to nature. Cruising Alaska is on bucket lists the world over – and once you've been here, you'll understand why.
A few of the highlights of cruising Alaska:
- On Alaska's south coast, Anchorage is one of the world's northernmost cities. Tucked between the foothills of the Chugach mountains and the sea, and lit by almost 20 hours of sunlight per day in summer, this has a magical atmosphere. The area is home to home to moose, brown and black bears, dall sheep, and many migratory bird species but the best bet for seeing bear in the wild is to tour to the Denali or Katmai National Parks.
- Glacier Bay National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site with mountains reaching beyond 4,500 metres, protected coves, freshwater lakes and tidewater glaciers. This is a summer playground for migratory humpback whales and minke and killer whales are also found in the protected waters. Amid the seals, moose and bear have also been seen 'dogpaddling' in the bay! Even so – or perhaps because of this – hiking and kayaking in the area is an experience to treasure.
- Skagway's population swelled in the late 1800s with the Yokon gold rush – from 2 to 20,000 in just a decade. Today this town trades on its historic building facades and sense of a bygone era. As a day trip you can enjoy a train ride on a section of the White Pass and Yukon Route which formerly transported miners to their gold. A regional tour by plane on a clear day is also a magical sight.
Be prepared for one season colder than the time you are traveling. This is especially important for those who travel early and late in the season. The average temperature range is from overnight lows of 4c to daytime temperatures of 17c. The Inside Passage has an annual rainfall of over 50inchs but Anchorage rainfall is only 16inch pa.
The Alaska Cruise season begins in May and ends in September. Although July and August are the warmest months to experience these incredible sites, autumn and spring are the most fun, the most beautiful and the savings are the best.