ALASKA

Best of Denali and the Kenai Fjords

Homer Spit, Alaska
from £3468 12 nights | Jun - Aug Exc. flights See price details
  • Departs:
  • Jun - Aug

Overview

This self-drive itinerary focuses on two of Alaska's most beautiful regions – contrasting the marine life and glaciers of the Kenai Peninsula with the rugged mountain landscapes of Denali National Park.

Highlights

  • Spend 2 nights in the heart of Denali National Park
  • Take a full day cruise amongst the glaciers of the Kenai Fjords
  • Enjoy an unforgettable helicopter flight and dog-sledding adventure on a remote glacier

Starting and ending in Anchorage, this leisurely paced self-drive holiday offers plenty of time to explore scenic attractions and rural villages as you travel between overnight stays. From Seward you will take a memorable cruise deep into the Kenai Fjords, with the chance to see whales, porpoise and sea otters as well as countless glaciers. Time in Homer allows the opportunity for an optional bear viewing flight (additional cost) whilst a stay in the quirky town of Talkeetna provides the perfect introduction to the Alaskan interior.

From the Denali National Park Entrance join a tour into the heart of the park itself, taking in soaring peaks, sparkling lakes and the chance to see grizzly bears, caribou, wolves and bald eagles. A 2-night stay at a backcountry wilderness lodge provides a real immersion into this wild landscape, with a range of activities on offer in order to maximise your time in the park. Your holiday also includes a scenic float trip on the Kenai River and an unforgettable dog-sledding excursion on a remote glacier – the perfect way to experience the Alaskan wilderness.

Itinerary & Accommodation

Day 1: arrive Anchorage
Upon arrival in Anchorage make your own way to your hotel. Today is at leisure to enjoy the city sights.
Day 2: Anchorage - Seward (204 km)
This morning collect your rental car and travel along the Seward Highway towards scenic Turnagain Arm. Turnagain Arm is a body of water featuring the world's second highest tides at over 30 feet. Keep an eye out for beluga whales chasing salmon in the bay or Dall sheep along the highway. A great stop for lunch is the Alyeska Resort at Girdwood. Here you can take the tram up Mt Alyeska for spectacular views (optional). Another interesting stop is Portage Glacier and its visitor centre. On arrival in Seward a visit to Exit Glacier and the SeaLife Centre are highly recommended.
Day 3: Northwestern Fjord Cruise
A full day cruise into Kenai Fjords National Park is included today. Depart from Seward and travel further into Kenai Fjords National Park than with any other cruise. Visit the magnificent Northwestern Fjord, home to three amazing tidewater glaciers and numerous alpine glaciers. Kenai Fjords National Park boasts abundant wildlife, alpine and tidewater glaciers and breathtaking scenery. This cruise is the best way to see this pristine National Park and its inhabitants. A continental breakfast and deli-style lunch are included onboard
Day 4: Seward - Homer (270 km)
Continue your journey today following the Sterling Highway across the Peninsula to Homer. This route is a designated scenic highway, covering miles of spectacular landscapes made up of snowcapped mountains, active volcanoes and a magnificent coastline. Homer itself is renowned for its excellent fishing including king salmon, silver salmon and huge halibut, as well as for its prolific birdlife that frequents the Spit. To the south lies the breathtaking vista of Kachemak Bay and a backdrop of the rugged Kenai Mountains.
Day 5: Homer
From the very first glimpse of the Homer Spit from the Sterling Highway, visitors are struck by the beautiful natural stage on which the little city of Homer sits. The looming peaks of the Kenai Mountains, packed with ancient glaciers and brimming with abundant wildlife, stand sentry over Kachemak Bay. Excellent dining options, art galleries, museums, a live theatre and music venues give credence to Homer being the surprise cultural capital of south-central Alaska. Perhaps the biggest draw though is the easy air access to the Katmai coast, where grizzlies roam at leisure and provide excellent viewing opportunities for day trippers.
Day 6: Homer - Cooper Landing (193 km)
Leave Homer for the scenic drive to Ninilchik - the oldest settlement on the Kenai Peninsula. The Russian-American Company established Ninilchik in the 1820s for its elderly employees, who could not endure the long journey back to Russia. Other settlers soon congregated here, and in 1901 they constructed the community's Russian Orthodox Church. Continue to Cooper Landing and enjoy a relaxing two-hour float trip on the Upper Kenai River. Keep your camera handy as you watch for moose, eagles, Dall sheep, salmon and bears as your guide navigates you downriver, surrounded by snow-capped mountain scenery. The tour ends on the shores of a glacier-carved lake within the heart of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.
Day 7: Cooper Landing - Girdwood (106 km)
Make your way north, retracing your route on the Seward Highway to reach Girdwood. This afternoon you will take a scenic helicopter flight to a remote glacier base camp that serves as the summertime training ground for Iditarod sled dogs. Learn about mushing and entertain the puppies while the sled team is prepared, then take an unforgettable dog sled ride along a spectacular 3.25km glacier trail.
Day 8: Girdwood - Talkeetna (241 km)
Continue north on the Glenn Highway to Talkeetna. A stop should be made at the Alaska Native Heritage Centre. Talkeetna is a community of just 857 residents and is located at the confluence of the Talkeetna and Susitna Rivers. A turn-of-the-20th-century gold-mining centre, the town has retained much of its early Alaskan flavour. Log cabins, a roadhouse and clapboard storefronts line the dirt streets, colourful locals and bush pilots stroll the wooden sidewalks, while Denali looms overhead. Main Street, the only paved road in town, begins with a 'Welcome to Beautiful Downtown Talkeetna' sign at the town park and ends at the banks of the Susitna River.
Day 9: Talkeetna - Denali National Park
Drive the Parks Highway north to Denali (169 km), passing by incredible forest and mountain landscapes. Leave your vehicle at the entrance to Denali National Park and transfer by bus deep inside Denali National Park to your wilderness lodge (149 km). Look out for different animal species such as bears, caribou, moose, sheep, wolves and a variety of birds as you travel within the park. Dinner included.
Day 10: Denali National Park
Nestled in a snug valley, the Denali Backcountry Lodge is a true wilderness experience, with your own heated log cabin. The lodge is located at the end of the restricted Park Road with just a small bush airstrip and the vast interior of Alaska beyond. You can experience activities such as day hikes (casual, moderate or extreme), view and photograph Denali (formerly Mt McKinley), gold panning, botany walks, shuttle to Wonder Lake and mountain biking. You can also visit Fannie Quigley's Cabin, home of one of the original miners from the early twentieth century. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
Day 11: Denali - Denali National Park Entrance (149 kms by bus)
An early departure this morning gives you another opportunity to view the magnificent scenery along the route back to the Denali National Park Entrance. The rest of the day is yours to explore Denali Village. Breakfast included.
Day 12: Denali National Park Entrance - Anchorage (383 kms)
Depart at your leisure this morning on the George Parks Highway. Enjoy more Denali-area activities, or take a leisurely journey to Anchorage, exploring the many small villages along the way. A recommended stop is at Wasilla to visit the Iditarod Headquarters - home of the 'Last Great Race on Earth'.
Day 13 - Depart Anchorage
Upon check out of your hotel your tour concludes .

Accommodation Options

Historic Anchorage Hotel, Anchorage

  • Grade: Simple
  • Type: Unique and Boutique

The only hotel in Anchorage on the National Register of …

Seward Windsong Lodge

  • Grade: Standard
  • Type: Unique and Boutique

Not far from the entrance to Kenai Fjords National Park …

Alyeska Resort, Girdwood

  • Grade: Superior
  • Type: Hotel

This resort is the perfect spot to relax.

Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge

  • Grade: Standard
  • Type: Hotel

With Denali National Park on the doorstep, the 212 room …

Denali Backcountry Lodge

  • Grade: Standard
  • Type: Unique and Boutique

In the heart of Denali National Park, this lodge offers …

Denali Grizzly Bear Resort

  • Grade: Simple
  • Type: Hotel

At the gateway to Denali, there are 20 cabins and 72 hot…

Accommodation

The above is a selection of accommodation available for this holiday. Other options are available based on your preferred category. Please contact us for further details.

Prices & Dates

Departure dates
Departs daily, 07 June to 24 August 2018

Prices
From £3,468 per person, based on twin-share standard accommodation and compact rental vehicle.

Prices Include
8 nights room only accommodation in the category of your choice (Standard or Superior) • 2 nights accommodation at the Denali Backcountry Lodge including return transfers, 2 dinners, 1 lunch & 2 breakfasts • 2 nights Budget accommodation in Homer (best available in this area) • 12 days car hire (choose from compact, midsize, fullsize or 4WD) with unlimited mileage & LDW (excludes taxes - payable locally) • 2 hr Kenai River Scenic Float Tour in Cooper Landing • Full day Northwestern Fjords Cruise with breakfast & lunch • 2-hour Kenai River Scenic Float Tour • Glacier Dog-Sledding Helicopter Excursion • Comprehensive travel documentation and information package including itinerary, driving descriptions and a Lonely Planet Guide to Alaska

Prices Exclude
Flights & airport taxes • Car hire taxes - payable locally • Additional meals and excursions not specified above • Airport-hotel transfer on arrival – some hotels offer an airport shuttle service; taxis are also readily available at the airport • Travel insurance • Gratuities & items of a personal nature

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