11-Day Grand Journey Full Itinerary
Arrival: Arrive in Alaska at least the day before your trip begins and plan to overnight in Anchorage.
Day 1: Meet your Trip Leader and fellow travelers at 6:30 a.m. in the hotel lobby (meeting location confirmed with reservation). Enjoy a scenic drive south along Turnagain Arm and through the Chugach National Forest to Seward, a picturesque seacoast town situated at the head of Resurrection Bay. Embark on a marine wildlife and glacier cruise bound for Kenai Fjords National Park, home to an array of glaciers and marine wildlife such as whales, Steller sea lions, sea otters, puffins and more! Enjoy lunch in front of a tidewater glacier before arriving at our exclusive lodge destination: Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge.
Nestled in a protected tidal lagoon area, the Glacier Lodge offers miles of pristine beachfront for combing and views of the stunning Pedersen Glacier. This afternoon, meet your guides for a tour of the lodge and property and settle into your private cabins. Enjoy dinner and evening presentations. Overnight at Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge. (L,D)
Days 2 & 3: Enjoy two full days of exploration at the lodge and choose from an array of activities to match your interest and energy level. Guided options include interpretive nature walks, sea kayaking amid glacial ice, canoeing in the lagoon and coastal explorations. Or relax at the lodge by the wood stove, peruse the natural history library or take a leisurely stroll along the beachfront. Overnight at Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge. (B,L,D)
Day 4: This morning allows for another opportunity to kayak, canoe or beachcomb for a half-day before boarding our boat for the return wildlife cruise to Seward. Enjoy a fine dinner with your group and spend the evening relaxing at our Kenai Riverside Lodge in Cooper Landing. After dinner, enjoy the wood-fired sauna, relax on our riverside deck, or try fishing in our eddy on the Kenai River. Overnight at Kenai Riverside Lodge. (B,L,D)
Day 5: Gear up for a scenic raft trip into the heart of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Along the way, watch for moose, bears, bald eagles and other bird species. The Kenai River is famous for its salmon and, depending on the time of your visit, you may witness their incredible spawning runs. Enjoy a delicious picnic along the river or on the shores of Skilak Lake. Arrive at Kenai Backcountry Lodge in the late afternoon and settle into your accommodations. Overnight at Kenai Backcountry Lodge. (B,L,D)
Day 6: Spend a full day exploring the remote wilderness of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Hike a secluded trail and travel through several fascinating ecological communities. At the top of the trail, explore the tundra and enjoy splendid views of the lake and surrounding wilderness. Return to the lodge in the afternoon and enjoy the wood-fired sauna or simply relax at the lodge. Depending on the weather, options for the evening may include an exploration of the lake by sturdy touring kayak or fireside natural history presentation by one of the lodge's guides. Overnight at Kenai Backcountry Lodge. (B,L,D)
Day 7: Cross the lake in the morning, and say farewell to Kenai Backcountry Lodge. Begin the journey north through the scenic Chugach State Park to Talkeetna, gateway to the Alaska Range. Once in Talkeetna, you'll have the freedom to choose from several activities, including a guest favorite - flightseeing. Take to the skies on an optional flightseeing tour of Mt. McKinley (Denali) and its adjacent glacial canyons, or wander through "downtown" Talkeetna and learn about mountaineering and Talkeetna's history. Tonight, you have the flexibility to dine with the other members of your group or enjoy a great meal on your own. Overnight in Talkeetna. (B,L,D)
Day 8: After breakfast, continue traveling north to Denali National Park and stop for lunch at the Denali Park entrance. After lunch, board the a private bus and embark on a 5-6 hour Denali wildlife drive through the park. Watch for caribou, moose, Dall sheep, grizzly bears, resident and migratory birds and - if weather permits - gaze upon the splendor of Denali (Mt. McKinley). Upon arrival to Denali Backcountry Lodge, enjoy dinner and settle into your cabin accommodations. (B,L,D)
Days 9 & 10: Enjoy two full days of exploration and hiking in the Kantishna region of Denali National Park. The activities available at Denali Backcountry Lodge include guided hiking, natural history programs, gold panning and mountain biking. Optional add-on flightseeing tours will be offered during your stay at the lodge. This activity is weather and space-dependent and does not require advance reservations. Overnight at Denali Backcountry Lodge. (B,L,D)
Day 11: Following an early breakfast, embark on a return Denali scenic drive and watch for wildlife while heading for the entrance of the park. Bid farewell to Denali and board the first-class cars of the Alaska Railroad (GoldStar rail cars) for your comfortable return journey to Anchorage, arriving at approximately 8:30 p.m. Anchorage transfers not included. (B,L,D)
Departure: You will arrive at the Anchorage train station by approximately 8:30 p.m. on the last day of your journey. See the "Alaska Travel Information" section of your Trip Planning Booklet for recommended lodging. If you choose to fly home this night, we suggest you book a flight that departs after 11:30 p.m. in case of possible transportation delays.