Wild + Wonderful Alaska: A Journey By Land, Rail + Water

Fairbanks, Denali Nat'l Park, Talkeetna, Girdwood, Kenai Fjords Nat'l Park

With never the smallest groups in Alaska, deluxe rail journeys through remote wilderness, two nights deep inside Denali, and a wildlife cruise in Kenai Fjords National Park, our unique adventure for never more than 16 guests will show you more of Alaska's extraordinary landscapes and abundant wildlife. Native culture, farm-to-table dining and spending time with lifelong residents plumb lesser-known facets of life in the Far North.

Our prices start from

$ 7,599 LAND ONLY

10 Days • GUIDED • 19 Meals

Operated Tour

The Details

  • 9 nights accommodation
  • Services of a trip leader
  • All on-tour transportation and related fees
  • All gratuities are included except for your trip leader
  • Airport transfers (Restrictions apply)
  • 9 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 4 dinners

Itinerary

Engaging Experiences These special places and experiences are considered tour highlights. Look for them in the daily itineraries.

Day 1 - Welcome to Fairbanks - Enjoy Your Free Extra Night

River's Edge Resort - Riverfront Cottage

Our guests arrive today and will be met at the airport and chauffeured to our riverfront resort to enjoy their complimentary pre-tour overnight in a private waterfront cottage.

Day 2 - Enjoy Your Extra Day In Fairbanks

River's Edge Resort - Riverfront Cottage

Breakfast Included

After breakfast, our guests have this entire day to do as they wish. Enjoy some independent exploration or take advantage of the idyllic setting here at our riverfront resort. Our other guests will be arriving today.

Day 3 - Explore Fairbanks

A private tour at the Morris Thompson Cultural Center, led by one of the museum's docents, is followed by an exclusive talk about the Aurora Borealis and life in the 49th State.

River's Edge Resort - Riverfront Cottage

Breakfast, Dinner Included

Enjoy a tour of this riverfront city, with its thriving arts community and Alaska Native culture. Heading north of town, you'll also visit the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Viewpoint for an up-close view of this $8 billion engineering marvel. On a family farm in the Goldstream Valley, join the owner and their reindeer to explore the boreal forest and learn about this Far North ecosystem; the reindeer are domesticated but not trained, and sometimes decide to take their own route, so bring your spirit of adventure along with your camera! This afternoon we'll take you to the Museum of the North, located on the Fairbanks Campus of the University of Alaska. This is the only research and teaching museum in Alaska, and its highly regarded collection of artifacts and specimens showcase the biological diversity and rich cultural traditions of the North. Enjoy our "Taste of Alaska Dinner" at the Cultural Center before returning to our resort.

Day 4 - By Deluxe Dome Rail + Deep Into Denali National Park

As you journey along the Park Road deep into the wilderness of Denali, keep your eyes sharp for sightings of Denali's Big Five – bear, moose, caribou, wolves and dall Sheep.

Kantishna Road House

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Included

This morning, we'll take you to the Fairbanks Rail Depot to board the deluxe Wilderness Express train bound for Denali. From your luxurious reclining leather seat on the upper level, you'll have breathtaking 360° views through the full-length curved glass dome of these private rail cars. A freshly-prepared breakfast will be served in the lower level dining room as you make your way southward through the Alaska wilderness. Late in the morning, the spectacular vistas of the Nenana River Gorge signal our approach to Denali. Step off the train at midday and embark on the unforgettable overland journey that will take us 92 miles to the very end of the Denali Park Road - where it dead ends in the Kantishna Valley deep inside America's third largest national park. As you make your way over four high mountain passes and through all of Denali's major vegetation zones (taiga, moist tundra and dry tundra), you'll want to keep your eyes sharp for Denali's Big Five – bear, moose, caribou, wolves and dall sheep. The scenery, too, is amazing from the Riley Creek Railroad Bridge, a photographer's favorite, to the picturesque Yanert Valley that stretches through the mighty Alaska Range. And of course, there are the breathtaking views of Denali's impressive 20,000-foot peak! By early evening, in a remote sector of the Park where few are fortunate enough to venture, you'll be checked in to your deluxe, log cabin accommodations at the Kantishna Roadhouse, situated amidst grand wilderness just 25 miles from the base of Denali! There'll be time to refresh and take in this magnificent setting before you sit down to a congenial meal here at our inviting backcountry lodge. After dinner, our Lodge's guides and naturalists will help you plan your activities for tomorrow.

Day 5 - Choose Your Adventure in Denali National Park

Kantishna Road House

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Included

Arise this morning in the heart of Denali's untouched wilderness, surrounded by secluded forests along the banks of Moose Creek. This is the farthest point inside Denali National Park accessible by road, and the closest you can get to the base of North America's highest mountain without hiking or flying in! This will be your base for the day as you tailor your wilderness exploration with the included fully-guided adventures of your choice: + HIKING AND NATURE WALKS: Setting out after breakfast, you can choose a 2-hour walk or take a picnic lunch and hike for up to 6 hours deeper into the wilds of Denali! Designed for beginner, intermediate and advanced trekkers these guided walks are led by experienced naturalists who will enrich your experience with their deep knowledge and passion for the wildlife and flora of the Kantishna Hills. + MOUNTAIN BIKING: Cover more ground as you explore the century-old mining roads that were built during the Gold Rush. Unforgettable vistas await in every direction and the road to Wonder Lake is especially rewarding. Helmets, daypacks and water bottles are available for your use on this exciting, guided adventure. + FLY FISHING: Arctic Grayling, a member of the trout family, are abundant in the crystal clear waters of nearby Moose Creek. With hip boots and rods available for your use, first-timers and experienced fishing enthusiasts alike can join our expert guide for catch-and-release fly fishing. Your first lure or fly is on us and a variety of other tackle is available for purchase at the Lodge. A fishing license is not required inside Denali National Park. + GOLD PANNING: Slip on a pair of rubber boots, grab a pan, and follow in the footsteps of those long-ago gold adventurers who flocked to the Kantishna Valley in the early 1900's. Our guide will be there to share some of the colorful history of the Gold Rush days and can each you the methods of those old-time prospectors. Of course, any gold you find is yours to keep.

Day 6 - Deluxe Dome Rail To Talkeetna

Today's deluxe rail journey south of Denali offers some of the best views of the mountain and also takes you over Hurricane Gulch on a 914-foot long bridge that spans a creek flowing nearly 300 feet below the train.

Alaska Lodge

Breakfast, Lunch Included

After breakfast, you'll make the return journey along the 92-mile Denali Park Road back to the National Park entrance. As with your inbound journey, the large windows and impressive height of the bus offer the perfect viewing platform as you meander through the Park's wilderness. Our experienced driver guides and wildlife spotters will stop the bus whenever an animal or view of Denali comes into range. In the early afternoon, board the Wilderness Express train and settle into your reclining seat with its 360° views through the full-length curved glass dome. Lunch will be served in the lower level Dining Room. On arrival in Talkeetna, you'll be escorted to our outstanding lodge. Set on a ridge just above this small community, it offers majestic views of Denali. This evening, you can explore the quaint town of Talkeetna at your own pace or just enjoy the ambiance of our Lodge, with its curated collection of Native art.

Day 7 - Tailor Your Stay In Talkeetna

Tailor this day to your own personal interests and taste for adventure with your choice of an included adventure.

Alaska Lodge

Breakfast, Lunch Included

After breakfast, tailor your morning to your personal taste for adventure with one of our included guided adventures: + JET BOAT EXPEDITION: Fed by clear icy waters of the Susitna Glacier, this eponymous river flows for more than 300 miles through South Central Alaska. With broad tranquil stretches and narrow rushing courses, its picturesque forested shores are home to diverse wildlife including beavers and bald eagles. Capable of navigating even through extremely shallow waters, our fleet of high-tech jet boats is one of the few ways to explore this otherwise impenetrable wilderness. Accompanied by our engaging naturalist, this 2-hour adventure offers plenty of excitement, great views of the Alaska Range, and another chance to really experience Alaska's wild and wonderful beauty. + FOREST ZIP LINE ADVENTURE: Covering vast swaths of the Northern Hemisphere, mostly north of the 50th Parallel, our planet's boreal forests are characterized by coniferous woodland of mostly pine, spruce, and larch. Here outside of town, you'll find a pristine boreal forest set on a ridge above the Talkeetna River. Setting out with an experienced guide, you'll explore this unique biome along with a carefully planned network of nine zip lines and three suspension bridges. Spectacular views of Denali and the Alaska Range are enhanced by heart-pounding adventure and a chance to learn more about the boreal forest and the formation of the Alaska Range and the area's glacial river valleys. After lunch at the Roadhouse Restaurant in Talkeetna, the balance of your afternoon is free to explore or relax as you wish. A variety of optional excursions are available including Flightseeing around Denali, river rafting, nature hikes and mountain biking.

Day 8 - Scenic Byways To Mt. Alyeska

Our visit this afternoon to the Alaska Native Heritage Center will be led by a native Alaskan eager to share their knowledge and passion for Alaska's history and culture.

Hotel Alyeska

Breakfast, Lunch Included

The Matanuska-Susitna Valley is known to historians as fertile farmland settled by families who came here in the mid-1930s. As you depart Talkeetna and travel along the celebrated George Parks and Glenn Highways, you'll discover that it's also a land of pure Alaska wilderness; indeed, its farms and communities are set amidst towering mountains and deep glacier valleys blessed with waterfalls, rivers and abundant wildlife. Arriving at the Musk Ox Farm, our privately arranged visit offers a fun introduction to this Ice Age mammal that roamed the earth alongside saber-toothed tigers and woolly mammoths! Today, this once-endangered animal is prized for its dense undercoat that produces qiviut, one of the world's finest wools. Set on one of the 1930's-era farms in the picturesque Matanuska Valley, this not-for-profit organization is dedicated to the preservation and domestication of the musk ox, and to the promotion of qiviut production as a gentle and sustainable agricultural practice. See frisky calves and seasoned old bulls as you explore the property and learn more about these giant prehistoric creatures. The Valley's colonial-era farms are not just historic but known for their produce – which grows to incredible size due to the fertile soil and immense amount of summer sunlight. Taking a break from sightseeing, today's lunch features this locally-sourced, farm-to-table bounty. Continue along the Seward Highway, celebrated for spectacular views as it hugs the shoreline between the Chugach Mountains and the waters of the Turnagain Arm. Arrive in Girdwood and check in to your hotel. The evening is free and we provide a ticket for the Alyeska Aerial Tram. Departing right from the hotel, the ride up to the 2,300-foot peak of Mt. Alyeska offers sweeping views in all directions.

Day 9 - Kenai Fjords Wildlife Cruise

The tram ride up to the Seven Glaciers Restaurant is a thrilling and memorable way to begin your final evening in Alaska. Take in the breathtaking mountain-top views before sitting down to a wonderful meal, accompanied by a glass of wine or beer so you can raise a toast to your fellow travelers.

Hotel Alyeska

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Included

This morning's scenic journey takes you around the eastern end of the Turnagain Arm, the site of one of the world's most impressive bore tides. Continuing southward, we'll make our way over the Turnagain Pass, driving through the spectacular Chugach Mountains and the 6-million-acre National Forest that was established more than a century ago. The Turnagain Pass is the highest point along the Seward Highway and offers a great place to witness the tremendous power that glaciers have had on the Alaskan landscapes. Arriving in Seward, we'll continue to the harbor to embark our afternoon cruise into the dramatic landscapes of Resurrection Bay and Kenai Fjords National Park, home to calving glaciers and the massive 300 square mile Harding Ice Field. These waters are teeming with marine wildlife, and engaging guides are onboard to help you identify the animals - including stellar sea lions, harbor seals, Dall porpoises, sea otters and walruses. Humpback, killer and Minke whales also inhabit these waters, and the shores are home to bears and other Alaskan mammals. After this marine adventure, return to your hotel where you'll have time to refresh before a farewell dinner at one of our favorite restaurants in Girdwood.

Day 10 - Depart From Anchorage

Breakfast Included

After breakfast, we'll take you to the Anchorage Airport for your homeward flight.

2021 Tour Dates

July
28
|
$7,599
August
11
|
$7,599

2022 Tour Dates

June
1, 15, 22, 29
|
$7,599
July
13, 27
|
$7,599
August
10
|
$7,599

Pricing is per person, double occupancy, land and rail only, based on June 2, 2021 travel date.

All this makes it AAA Vacations®

AAA Complimentary Inclusion: Complimentary pre-night & breakfast in Fairbanks

Member Benefit: $115 per person savings

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