The Wrangell St. Elias Explorer Tour
10-Day Alaskan Wilderness Adventure
- Travel the waters of Kenai Fjords and view the face of a spectacular tide water glacier.
- Thrill at the extraordinary spectacle of crowded seabird cliffs. Cruise the pristine waters of Kenai Fjords National Park.
- See Humpback whales, sea otters, puffins and more.
- Visit the historic mining town of Kennecott. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places
Wrangell St. Elias Explorer Tour Itinerary - 10 Days
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. Overnight in Anchorage.
Day 2: Anchorage to Seward: At 9 a.m. 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 towards Portage Glacier, we will make a couple of stops for photo opportunities at Beluga Point and the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center.
After our visit to 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 where we will stay at the Seward Windsong Lodge and experience first-class lodging. Nestled in a secluded forest setting, this lodge offers spacious rooms and fabulous local dining. This lodge 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. Overnight in Seward. (B,L)
Day 3: Kenai Fjords National Park: At 11:30 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. (B, L)
Day 4: Seward: 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 Anchorage. We will arrive in Anchorage at around 6 pm.
Day 5: Anchorage to Talkeetna: After breakfast we depart Anchorage and along the way, we will we visit Vern Halter’s Dream a Dream Premier Iditarod Kennel. Vern Halter is an accomplished musher who presents his story of Alaska and the Iditarod in a provocative fashion that captures the essence of the Iditarod. Vern weaves in the history of sleddogs from early native use, gold rush use, the famous Serum run to Nome during the 1925 diphtheria epidemic-the focus is on the husky. The uniqueness of the Iditarod from the standpoint of length, diversity of competition and the “no help” rule are highlights. Training and care of Iditarod dogs is demonstrated. The logistics of the race and fooddrops, checkpoints, veterinarian care, the Iditarod Air Force and trail conditions inspire questions. Race strategy and the changes to the Iditarod Race Vern has seen in his twenty five years of racing elicit more dialogue. Clothing and survival gear along with sleds and equipment are topics that are backed up with demonstrations. You will have an excellent opportunity to learn about the Iditarod Race and Mushing Basics combined with the exhilaration of a sleddog ride. The Iditarod presentation is inspiring and educational. The mushing 101 course focuses on the equipment, sleds harnessing, commands and what to expect from our sleddogs.
Later, we continue north through the Chugach State Park to Talkeetna, a classic Alaskan small town with lots of history and tales about mountaineers and bush pilots. We will arrive this afternoon at the Susitna River Lodge. Head into town to visit this historical town and its local shops or sit back and relax the rest of the afternoon. Enjoy your own private cabin taking in the views of the Alaska Range, including the highest mountain in North America, Mount McKinley. The sunsets from this Lodge are always spectacular. Overnight in Talkeetna. (B, L)
Day 6: Talkeetna: This morning you will have breakfast overlooking the great Alaska Range. After breakfast we will take an Alaska Wilderness Tour which 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 in a modern style ATV drawn covered wagon. 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 gold pan 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 Denali and wildlife. Lunch is included. Later this afternoon you can take an optional scenic flight over the Alaska Range & Denali (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 Denali, the Sheldon Amphitheater and the Great Gorge. (L)
Day 7: Talkeetna-Copper Center: This morning we depart Talkeetna and head to the Matanuska Valley and the Copper River Area. This will be a scenic ride all the way to the Copper River area. We will make stops along the way and for lunch. On the way, we will make a stop at Matanuska Glacier. You will be outfitted with cramp-ons and other gear to safely walk on the ice. We will be on the Matanuska Glacier for about 3 hours. On this hike, you will learn about the history of glaciers in Alaska and about the unique formations on the ice. We will outfit you with the necessary gear such as crampons, helmet and trekking pole. This is an amazing opportunity to walk on 1000 year old ice! After our hike, we will make a stop for lunch. Overnight at Copper Center.
Day 8: 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.
Day 9: Kennicott-McCarthy: 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.
Day 10: Kennicott to Anchorage: – This morning we depart Kennicott Glacier Lodge towards Anchorage and head back home. This will be an early morning departure. Our expected drive time to Anchorage is approximately 8 hours. We will arrive intoAnchorage by 7:30pm. Overnight in Anchorage.
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.
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 onboard 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 Kennicott copper mine area. Trails surfaces for our various walks vary, from paved to hilly 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.