A $300 deposit per person is required for this tour. Cancellation requires a 95 day notice for a refund.
July 17-30, 2020
Day 1, Friday, July 17: This is the day we have been waiting and planning for! We fly into Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city, to start our journey. Our hotel for tonight is in Anchorage. Our hotel is situated next to Lake Spenard and Lake Hood where we can watch float planes land and take off.
Day 2, Saturday, July 18: Traveling on Highway 1, our first stop is a picture stop at the Matanuska Glacier. This is the largest glacier accessible by vehicle in the United States. Its terminus feeds the Matanuska River which we will be traveling alongside this morning. Continuing on, we stop at the Wrangell St. Elias Visitors Center. Here we learn about the largest National Park in the United States, Elias National Park. Worthington Glacier is our next stop. You may choose to view from a distance or walk up the trail for a closer view. We continue on into Valdez, making stops at Bridal and Horse Tail Falls. Staying in the heart of the Valdez, we are able to explore this fishing town located at the head of Prince William Sound. (B, L, D)
Day 3, Sunday, July 19: Late this morning we board the Stan Stephens Columbia Glacier Cruise, where we visit Prince William Sound and Columbia Glacier. At the Columbia Glacier area, we view history in the making as the Columbia Glacier retreats back into the Chugach Mountains. In addition to the amazing ice in Columbia Bay, we will see wildlife along the way that calls the Sound home. We learn about the mining, oil shipping, earthquake, and fishing history of the area. A light meal is served on board. (B, L)
Day 4, Monday, July 20: What an exciting day is in store for us! After breakfast, we depart for a unique day trip experience. We fly on a small charter plane into the community of McCarthy. On our flight, we see awe-inspiring views of Mt. Blackburn and Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve. A flyby of Kennicott and McCarthy before we land will help orient you to the area we are about to explore. We tour Kennicott Mine, an abandoned copper mining camp. Established in 1903, Kennecott Mining Corporation operated 5 mines in the area. Kennecott became a bustling mining camp filled with miners and their families. Here we view the giant red mill building from the old Kennecott Copper Company, which stands 14 stories above the Kennicott glacier. After our flight back to Chitna, we take a tour of the Fish Wheel on the Cooper River. This is a well-known area where Alaska natives get their winter supply of Copper Red Salmon. Dinner is at Gilpatricks in Chitna. (B, L, D)
Day 5, Tuesday, July 21: This morning we head up the Richardson Highway to Fairbanks. We make stops along the way, including the Pipeline. Lunch is served at the Gakona Lodge and an afternoon stop at North Pole, Alaska and the Santa Clause House. Upon arrival into Fairbanks, we have dinner at the Pump House situated along the Chena River. Overnight this evening in Faribanks for a two night stay. (B, L, D)
Day 6, Wednesday, July 22: Today you choose what you would like to do on your own. We have had many requests to experience “North of the Arctic Circle” since it is only about 150 miles from Fairbanks. There are some attractions right here in Fairbanks or it may feel good just to relax at the lodge for part of the day. We can help you make arrangements. (B)
Day 7, Thursday, July 23: Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before boarding the Riverboat Discovery for a trip that introduces us to a family who has made the rivers of Alaska a way of life for five generations. We will see a bush floatplane takeoff alongside the boat and be immersed into the ancient Athabascan Indian culture on a tour of the Chena Indian Village. No stop in Alaska is complete without talking about the Iditarod. We visit Susan Butcher’s home, Trail Breaker Kennels, for a hands-on dogsledding and Iditarod demonstration. Lunch is included. Leaving Fairbanks this afternoon, we are in store for an incredibly scenic drive as we head south on Highway 3. By late afternoon we arrive outside the Denali Park entrance for our two-night stay. Upon arrival, we can explore the area outside the park. (B, L)
Day 8, Friday, July 24: This morning we board the Park bus for a narrated tour deep into Denali Park. We visit Kantishna, the farthest point into the park guests are allowed to travel. An experienced driver/guide shares the natural and cultural history of Denali. Enjoy views of the Alaska Range while hearing stories of the historic climbs of Denali. If weather permits, we may enjoy a sighting of “The Mountain” and possibly some wildlife. Bring your cameras and binoculars for this taste of Denali! (B, L)
Day 9, Saturday, July 25: This morning we enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the hotel before boarding Alaska Railroad Goldstar for a scenic railroad ride to Talkeetna. We travel along the Nenana River and Denali Park for the first part of the journey before going over Broad Pass. We cross Hurricane Gulch at 296 feet above the creek. The bridge was built in 1921 and spans 914 feet, the longest on the railroad. As we enter Talkeetna, we cross the Talkeetna River near the confluence of the Talkeetna, Susitna, and Chulitna Rivers. Talkeetna is home for the next two nights. (B, L)
Day 10, Sunday, July 26: This morning we have breakfast at the world-famous Talkeetna Roadhouse before embarking on the Mahay’s Jet Boat. On the boat, we experience a 130-mile round trip river excursion through Denali State Park and into the nationally registered Wild River Park of “Devil’s Gorge.” Along the way we stop and see how the early settlers of the area lived. There is also a visit to an authentic trapper’s cabin with its original furnishings and view how trappers lived in "Bush" Alaska at the turn of the century. Dinner tonight is at the Denali Brewing Company with a guided tour. (B, L, D)
Day 11, Monday, July 27: This morning we leave Talkeetna and continue south, stopping at a Musk Ox Farm in the Matanuska Valley. After lunch stop in Anchorage, we continue to Seward with a few stops along the way. You have some free time in Seward this evening. (B)
Day 12, Tuesday, July 28: Today we cruise the Kenai Fjords National Park on our wildlife and glacier tour. We travel to towering walls of ice where you can hear the glaciers move as well as see the brilliant blues in the ice. The most commonly seen sea life includes otter, sea lions, seals, eagles, and possibly whales. Lunch is served onboard the vessel with dinner at Fox Island, an isolated corner of Kenai Fjords. We can walk its pebbled beach, skip rocks, or relax on the deck overlooking the inland lagoon. What a rewarding day! We return to Seward for the night. (B, L, D)
Day 13, Wednesday, July 29: Today enjoy touring in Seward as well as along the Turnagain Arm with additional walks and sightseeing. Return to Anchorage this afternoon with some free time prior to a farewell dinner overlooking Lake Hood at the Anchorage Lakefront Hotel. Tonight, we transfer to the Anchorage airport to catch your flight bound for home. One more last glance at the majestic mountains, unusual glaciers, thunderous waterfalls, and shimmering sea, as we soar into the blue skies. (B, D)
Day 14, Thursday, July 30: With wonderful memories of our awesome vacation in ALASKA! We arrive back in Wichita.