14-Day Ultimate Alaska Grand Explorer Tour

Trip Highlights

  • Our most complete Alaska Package!
  • Visit 4 National Parks.
  • Tour the stunning seacoast teeming with marine wildlife in the Kenai Fjords National Park.
  • Visit the town of Talkeetna and spend time to explore the splendors of Denali.
  • Visit Katmai National Park and see coastal brown bears in the wild.
  • Visit Denali National Park & travel 90 miles to the end of the Park Road. See Wonder Lake.
  • See the largest National Park, Wrangell St. Elias and explore the old town of Kennicott.

 


The Alaska Grand Explorer Tour (14-Days) - Visit Four National Parks

Day 1: Anchorage: Arrive in Anchorage and transfer to the hotel via courtesy shuttle. The rest of the day is free to wander around and explore this pleasant city and its shops. The hotel is located only ten minutes from the downtown shopping area. The hotel also offers a health club, pool and whirlpool for your convenience to help you unwind from your long flight up to Alaska.

Day 2: Katmai National Park*: This morning you will meet your guide and your fellow travelers in the lobby of your hotel. We will have a pre-trip meeting before heading out. This morning we depart aboard a scheduled flight from Anchorage airport. On arrival in King Salmon you will be transferred directly to a seaplane for a 30 minute flight to Brooks Camp. Brooks Falls in Katmai is world renowned for its large population of brown bears due to salmon migration to Brooks River.  Bears begin to arrive in Brooks Camp in June. After a short safety briefing on bears by a park ranger, you are free to enjoy the nature preserve. Viewing platforms are connected by walking trails and are strategically placed for commanding views of brown bear activity. Rangers are based at platforms and on trails to provide information, safety and to rotate viewing groups during busy periods. Return to Anchorage in the early evening. Overnight in Anchorage. (L)

Day 3: Anchorage to Seward: This morning you will meet your guide and your fellow travelers in the lobby of your hotel. We will have a pre-trip meeting before heading out. After our meeting we will board our comfortable van and travel south along the edge of the Turnagain Arm on the Seward Parkway. This road is considered to be America’s most beautiful and scenic road, crossing mountain passes and majestic valleys. Along the way we will try to spot moose, caribou, eagles and other wildlife. On our way we will make a couple of stops for photo opportunities at Beluga Point and the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. We will then continue south down the mountainous Kenai Peninsula towards Seward. We will arrive in Seward by mid afternoon. Seward is located just 5 minutes from many activities including Exit Glacier and the Harding Icefield. Exit Glacier is the only glacier in the Kenai Fjords National Park that it is accessible by foot. During the afternoon we will have the opportunity to look at this beautiful glacier. (L)

Day 4: Kenai Fjords National Park: At 9 a.m. we will board a sightseeing vessel to explore the wonders of Resurrection Bay and Kenai Fjords National Park. Learn about and experience this glacially carved region known for its tidewater glaciers, spectacular scenery, steep cliffs, and rich waters abundant with wildlife. This nine and one half hour tour will explore the heart of Kenai Fjords National Park. The tour includes a visit to a tidewater glacier where we will search for marine wildlife including sea otters, puffins and many other bird species, steller sea lions, harbor seals and whales. During the second part of the tour, a deli style lunch will be served while the exploration continues! The evening will be spent in Seward. (L)

Day 5: Seward - Talkeetna: After breakfast we will visit the Alaska Sea Life Center, a world class marine science facility. The center serves as a regional stranding center and it is equipped to rehabilitate sick, stranded and injured marine mammals and birds. Go nose-to-glass with many of the creatures you will only see from a distance on a cruise. This one of a kind research, rehabilitation and education facility lets you observe marine research as it’s being conducted. Watch seabirds, sea lions and harbor seals in their naturalistic habitats. After the tour, you will have a free day to enjoy local activities and shopping around Seward. Later this afternoon we travel back to Talkeetna. Overnight in Talkeetna.

Day 6: Talkeetna: This morning you will have breakfast overlooking the great Alaska Range. After breakfast we will take an Alaska Wilderness Tour that offers a narrated tour of Historic Talkeetna and a rare opportunity to visit an original and remote Alaskan Homestead, 5 miles north of Talkeetna. In 1959 the DeVore family traded the comforts of their Michigan home for the harsh conditions of Alaskan homesteading. Dennis DeVore takes you back to yesterday on this fascinating and very unique tour of the "Old Family Homestead", accessible only by trail. During this "Talkeetna Alaskan Adventure", guests will enjoy a scenic ride driving their own ATV. You will view the original cabin and various implements and tools used, to learn how early day pioneers survived living in the wilderness of Alaska. Next, it is on to a lunch at Dennis' personal cabin on Wiggle Creek, on the back quarter of the homestead. After lunch you may choose to goldpan on Wiggle Creek, relax with a game of horseshoes, croquette, or berry picking (depending on the season). The fresh air, the silent serenity of the forest, and the murmur of Wiggle Creek takes you a million miles away. Weather permitting, you will have an excellent opportunity to capture photos of Mt. McKinley and wildlife. This tour includes lunch.

Later this afternoon you can take an optional scenic flight over Mt. McKinley (see below). This is considered to be the greatest flight on Earth! You’ll talk about this flight forever! This magnificent flight takes you around Mt. McKinley, the Sheldon Amphitheater, the Great Gorge and finally land on the Ruth Glacier. Experience the excitement of standing among great peaks where the immense scale will astound you. Enjoy the sun, snow and the unique sounds of the glacier. Listen as your pilot describes the natural wonders of Denali National Park. This is an unsurpassed photo opportunity, so make sure you bring plenty of film for your camera. At the end of our very exciting day, we will nestle back into our cozy lodge. (L)

Day 7: Talkeetna to Denali National Park: After breakfast, we will begin our journey north as we continue traveling through the Chugach State Park to Denali National Park. Weather permitting, we will enjoy views of the Alaska Range, including the highest mountain in North America, Denali. After lunch we will board the National Park bus for a 95-mile trip through Denali National Park's prime wildlife habitat. Most park visitors limit their visit and stay near the developed and crowded Denali park entrance. The more adventurous take one of the grandest drives on earth and stay inside the park. Winding through the Alaska Range, deep into the heart of the Denali park, the "Park Road" offers opportunities to see Denali's famed wildlife: Grizzlies, Caribou, Moose, Dall Sheep, Wolves, and Eagles. And, should the weather smile upon you, above all of it towers Denali itself, the highest point in North America (20,310 feet). At the very end of the Denali Park road, past Wonder Lake, you'll find a unique enclave in the park known as Kantishna. We will stay in Kantishna tonight. (L, D)

Day 8: Denali National Park: Today you have a day of leisure. Enjoy a full day of exploration and hiking in the Kantishna region of Denali National Park. The activities available at the Kantishna Roadhouse include guided hiking, natural history programs, gold panning, dog sled demonstrations, and mountain biking. Optional add-on flightseeing tours may be offered during your stay at the lodge. This activity is weather and space-dependent. Overnight in Kantishna. (B,L,D)

Day 9: Denali to Paxson via the Denali Highway: We will enjoy breakfast together this morning and later board the bus back to the Denali Park entrance. On arrival at the Park entrance, your Alaskan Adventure begins. The Denali Highway is the original route to Denali National Park. This road is lightly traveled, but in excellent condition, this 130-mile road has limited lodging and services along the way. Moose, caribou, grizzlies and timber wolves call this area home.The scenic Denali Highway offers some of the only alpine tundra available on the Alaskan road system. We will overnight in Paxson (B, L)

Day 10: Wrangell St. Elias National Park - Kennicott – McCarthy: Imagine yourself in America's largest National Park, overlooking miles of glaciers and 14 of the highest mountain peaks on the continent! Today you will be here at Kennicott Glacier Lodge, a premier Alaska wilderness lodge in the heart of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. Enjoy gracious hospitality, spectacular views, glacier hiking, flightseeing, and spectacular Alaska river rafting. This will be your best Alaskan wilderness vacation! You will have opportunity to explore the Ghost town at your leisure or go on an optional guided glacier hike.In the 1980s, Kennecott became a popular tourist destination, as people came to see the old mines and buildings. However, the town of Kennecott was never repopulated. Residents involved in the tourism industry often lived in nearby McCarthy or on private land in the surrounding area. The area was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986 and the National Park Service acquired much of the land within the Kennecott Mill Town in 1998. The National Park Service is currently stabilizing and rehabilitating many of the mill and town buildings. Some of the structures, as well as surrounding lands, remain under private ownership. Tours of the mill town are available three times a day.

Popular tourist activities while visiting Kennecott include glacier hiking, ice climbing, and touring the abandoned mill. Visitors may also hike to the abandoned Bonanza, Jumbo and Erie mines, all of which are strenuous full-day hikes, with Erie Mine being a somewhat terrifying scramble along cliffs overlooking the Stairway Icefall. The trip into Kennicott Glacier Mine is only half of the adventure. On our way there we will stop to look a fish wheels still used by Alaska Natives today. Overnight in McCarthy (D)

Day 11: Wrangell St. Elias National Park: Today, explore this magnificent and historic area on your own. Explore the abandoned mill or take a hike to the abandoned Bonanza, Jumbo and Erie mines, all of which are strenuous full-day hikes. If you are going to take one of these hikes, the lodge can prepare a bag lunch for you to take on your trek. (B,L,D)

Day 12: Kennicott to Valdez:  This morning we depart Kennicott Glacier Lodge and travel south along the Richardson Highway towards the seaside town of Valdez. Proclaimed as one of “America’s Most Scenic Roads” and known to Alaskans as the “Adventure Corridor,” the drive from Kennicott to Valdez provides breathtaking views of glaciers, waterfalls, towering mountains and incredible scenery. Valdez is the terminus for the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Our expected drive time to Valdez is approximately 3 hours. Overnight in Valdez. (B)

Day 13: Valdez to Whittier/Anchorage: Alaska's Prince William Sound is ringed by the coastal mountains of the Chugach Range and situated in the midst of the Chugach National Forest.  Its 2,700 miles of coastline is home to the towns and villages of Chenega Bay, Cordova, Tatitlek, Whittier and Valdez. At 7:00am we will board the Alaska Marine Highway (Alaska Ferry) and travel across Prince William Sound. We will arrive in Whittier at 12:45pm. You will have time for lunch in Whittier before we make our journey back to Anchorage. Overnight in Anchorage.

Last Day: Depart Anchorage.


Travel Information

ABOUT THIS TOUR: Adventure travel is exactly is as its name implies, an adventure! Although every attempt is made to adhere to these itineraries, participants need to acknowledge and willingly accept the unexpected route and itinerary changes due to factors beyond our control. Please keep in mind that due to Alaska’s extreme and fast climate changes, we cannot guarantee a glacier landing on our Talkeetna portion of this trip. *Depending on the time of year that you book this tour, we may go to Katmai National Park or Lake Clark National Park. We will choose location based on the most bear activity at the time.

WHAT IS INCLUDED & WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Transportation, lodging, transfers and baggage handling and meals as indicated on the itinerary. All rates are per person in U.S. dollars based on shared occupancy. Single supplement is $975 for this tour. Tour does not include Alaska taxes, air transportation to and from Anchorage or any optional tours, liquor, items of personal nature or purchases made on-board the vessels.

ACTIVITY LEVEL: MODERATE: Guests should be able to walk short distances on uneven ground. The longest required walk is two to three miles round-trip over a relatively flat trail, for the purpose of observing and photographing the brown bears. Trails surfaces for our various walks vary, from paved to uneven natural terrain. Tour participants must be able to walk this distance.

TRAVEL INSURANCE: We strongly suggest purchasing trip cancellation/interruption insurance to protect your travel investment at the time you sign up for one of our trips. This coverage will offset cancellation charges in the event of illness before or during your trip. Trip cancellation/interruption and baggage insurance is available at a supplemental cost. Click Here to purchase travel protection.

GRATUITIES: Planet Earth Adventure's tour leaders, staff and drivers and service providers are all paid salaries for their work. They will go out of their way to make your trip special and do not perform their jobs just for money. However, they do accept gratuities should you determine that they performed their jobs at an outstanding level. Gratuities should reflect your satisfaction with their level of service.

CANCELLATION POLICY: We consider the deposit non-refundable at the time of reservation; however, Planet Earth Adventures will try to be flexible in the event of a cancellation. Cancellation with less than 90 days prior to the flight and the deposit is completely non-refundable. Cancellation with less than 72 hours prior to the flight and 100% of the flight will be billed. A MasterCard or Visa is required to make your reservation online. Your card will be charged when you book your trip. We require at least 90-day notice for cancellations. Wildlife sighting is not guaranteed.


2018 Tour Dates, Cost & Optional Activities

TOUR DATES: Weekly Departures May - September

TOUR COST: $9,595 per person/double occupancy

B= Breakfast L=Lunch D=Dinner

CUSTOMIZE YOUR TOUR WITH THESE OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: