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Day 1 Anchorage to Talkeetna (181 km / 113 mi)
Drive the Glenn Highway north to Wasilla and on to Talkeetna. Stops can include a visit to the Alaska Native Heritage Centre. Talkeetna serves as a base camp for Mt. Denali climbers; the community of 857 residents 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.
Day 2 Talkeetna to Denali National Park Entrance (169 km / 105 mi)
Today, explore Denali’s south side or depart early for the drive to Denali National Park. You’ll have as much time as you like to experience the majesty of Denali National Park, take in the sights of the George Parks Highway or arrive at your hotel near the park entrance to take advantage of an optional excursion or a visit to the Denali Visitor Centre.
Day 3 Denali National Park Backcountry Adventure (Coach / Bush Plane Flight)
This full-day narrated coach trip explores the entire 148km /92mi of the restricted Denali Park Road on your way to the Denali Backcountry Lodge. During your journey to Denali Back Country Lodge, your experienced driver-guide will help in the search for bear, moose, caribou, Dall sheep and other wildlife while pointing out the biology and geology of the area. There are numerous stops for wildlife viewing, photography and to stretch your legs and enjoy complimentary snacks. Lunch is included on this full day journey at the Denali Backcountry Lodge and while at the Lodge you can take a nature walk or try panning for gold. You will return to the park entrance via a flightseeing tour in a small bush plane. If weather permits, you will fly close to Mount Denali. (Lunch is included today)
Day 4 Denali National Park Entrance to Fairbanks (198 km / 123 mi)
Short drive via Nenana (Alaska Ice Classics) to Fairbanks. Fairbanks, known as the Golden Heart City of Alaska, is the gateway to the interior and features almost 24 hours of daylight during the summer months. This afternoon you may want to visit the renowned Alaska University Museum featuring Alaska’s best natural history collection.
Day 5 Fairbanks – Free Day
In Fairbanks you have the unique chance for an optional day tour to cross the Arctic Circle and to visit the vast interior. Another option is to drive along Chena Hot Springs road (watch out for moose!), go on a hiking trip and visit Chena Hot Springs Resort. Here you can relax in the large heated indoor pool or the natural outdoor rock lake.
Day 6 Fairbanks to Tok (325 km / 202 mi)
Heading south, the Richardson Highway passes through stands of White birch and Black spruce, often photogenically close to the Tanana River. Soak up the raw beauty of the drive into the central Alaska Range, often paralleled by the Alaska pipeline. Tok’s role in the world has never expanded much beyond being a stop on the road. The town has built an economy of gas stations, gift stores, cafes, and hotels to serve highway travelers.
Day 7 Tok to Dawson City (297 km / 185 mi)
The Top of the World Highway (please note this is a partly gravel road) brings you through spectacular backcountry and gold mining areas. When the highway reaches its highest elevation incredible views into far-reaching countryside open up. Before you reach Dawson City, you’ll cross the Yukon River by the government- run ferry. With your arrival in Dawson City you might feel you just landed in a different century. Experience the old Klondike in its well-kept color and fame.
Day 8 Dawson City – Free Day
A full day to visit the various historical sights of Dawson City: SS Keno – the last steamer to run the Yukon River from Whitehorse, the Jack London Interpretive Center with the poets original cabin, the city museum with audiovisual presentations, Dredge #4 – build in 1912 on famous Bonanza Creek, the Grand Palace Theatre – home of the “Gaslight Follies Show“ and Diamond Tooth Gertie’s Casino with legal gambling tables and “Can-Can” floor shows. Do not miss the short drive on the Ridge Road to the top of the Midnight Dome with excellent views over Dawson, the Ogilvie Mountains, and the Yukon and Klondike Rivers.
Day 9 Dawson City to Whitehorse (532 km / 333 mi)
Going south, enjoy the raw beauty of the surrounding landscape. Stopover at the Five Finger Rapids and hike down to the shore of the Yukon River. In late afternoon you will reach Yukon’s capital city, Whitehorse – a city with a unique combination of pioneer values and urban sophistication.
Day 10 Whitehorse to Skagway (176 km / 110 mi)
Today travel the South Klondike Highway which connects the Yukon Territory with the Inside Passage ferry system in Alaska. Also known as the Skagway – Carcross Road, todays drive offers some spectacular scenery as it descends from the White Pass to Skagway. The highway winds through the subalpine landscape of Tormented Valley to Tutshi Lake, Tagish Lake and the much photographed Emerald Lake. The rest of the day is free to explore the Skagway area.
Day 11 Skagway to Haines (Ferry duration 1 hr) / (Driving 8 km / 5 mi)
Spend the morning in Skagway and explore the old town buildings. Take the afternoon Alaska Ferry to Haines. It is a spectacularly scenic and relaxing ferry ride along the Lynn Canal, a fjord that is as beautiful and pristine as any in the world. Fjord walls steeply rise from sea level to 7,000 feet. Arrive in Haines, located in the Valley of the Eagles. Almost 4,000 American bald eagles gather along a 8 km stretch of the Chilkat River near Haines and Klukwan each fall. Attracted by a late run of salmon, eagles come from all over Alaska, British Columbia and as far away as the state of Washington. Starting in October, hundreds and hundreds of eagles can be seen along sand bars or in nearby cottonwood trees.
Day 12 Haines to Haines Junction (238 km / 147 mi)
The Haines Highway winds from Haines over the Chilkat Pass – the highest summit on this highway. Pass Klukshu, a native summer fishing camp offering great photo opportunities. Drive through the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve before arriving at Kluane National Park. The Kluane area covers the largest non-polar icefields in the world. Visit the Sheep Mountain Visitor Center with its interpretive programs about the flora and fauna. Viewing telescopes are available where you can spot Dall sheep on the mountain slopes.
Day 13 Haines Junction to Tok (467 km / 290 mi)
This morning go on a short hiking trip before driving north along the shores of beautiful Kluane Lake. Stopover at Sheep Mountain and look out for dall sheep gracing alongside the mountain slopes. Your journey continues on the famous Alaska Highway through endless wilderness areas. Arrive in Tok, often referred to as the “Dog Mushing Capital of Alaska”. Welcome back to Alaska.
Day 14 Tok to Valdez (407 km / 253 mi)
Your journey continues on the Glen Highway, offering an impressive view of the Wrangell Mountains – Mt. Deborah, Mt. Sanford and Mt. Drum. Once you have reached the Richardson Highway stopover at the historic roadhouse in Copper Center and watch native fish wheels at the nearby Copper River, providing an excellent salmon run. Shortly afterwards the Worthington Glacier peeks into view where a boardwalk leads to the toe of the glacier. Valdez – often called “ the Switzerland of Alaska” is a gateway for salmon fishing trips and narrated cruise tours to the magnificent Columbia Glacier. Visit the terminus of the Alaska Pipeline Terminal or enjoy some kayaking or short hiking trips.
Day 15 Valdez to Whittier (Ferry duration between 3 – 7hrs) – Whittier to Seward (386 km / 240 mi)
The Alaska Marine Highway ferry will take you through the waters of Prince William Sound to Whittier. During the sailing keep a watch for whales, otters and seals. From Whittier drive through the Whittier-Portage Tunnel (one-lane tunnel, open to traffic during certain hours only). A possible stop past the tunnel is the viewpoint of the Portage Glacier and the Portage Visitor Centre. Then continue on the Seward Highway to Seward. Before you reach Seward take a side trip to Exit Glacier.
Day 16 Seward to Anchorage plus Scenic Cruise into Kenai Fjord National Park (236 km / 147 mi)
This morning take a wildlife and glacier cruise into scenic Kenai Fjords National Park. Then head back to Anchorage taking in the sights of the Seward Highway as you go. Keep an eye out for beluga whales making their way towards the Cook Inlet or for Dall sheep combing the mountainsides. Enjoy a leisurely evening upon arrival into Anchorage.