A comprehensive 2-week itinerary to search for bears, wolves and whales in some of Alaska’s best national parks, travelling by car, boat, plane, and the famous Alaska Railroad.
From the spectacular scenery of Kenai Fjords and Wrangell St. Elias National Parks, you cross the Arctic Circle to Gates of Arctic National Park to visit a Nunamiut village. Then the Alaska Railroad takes you to Denali National Park, where you stay at remote Kantishna area inside the park. Finally, you fly into Katmai National Park to see grizzly bears at the famous Brooks Falls.
Day1: Fly to Anchorage
Fly to Anchorage, arriving later the same day. On arrival, make your own way to your chosen hotel.
Accommodation: Hotel in Anchorage, 2-nights
Day2: Explore Anchorage
Today is free in Anchorage to explore the city and surroundings; you will also need to pick up your rental vehicle for your stay in Alaska.
Day3: Drive scenic highway to Seward
Drive the scenic highway south to Seward. Completed in 1951, this highway extends for 201 kilometres south from Anchorage to Seward, running along the north shore of Turnagain Arm through Chugach State Park and into Chugach National Forest as it crosses the Kenai Peninsula through the Kenai Mountains.
Accommodation: Exit Glacier Lodge, 2-nights
Day4: Boat into Kenai Fjords National Park
Today you take a six-hour cruise by boat into Kenai Fjords National Park to see towering glaciers and icebergs, and hopefully whales and orcas.
Day5: Sheep Mountain
Today is largely a driving day as you retrace your route to Anchorage then continue northeast on the Glenn Highway to Sheep Mountain beside the Matanuska Glacier.
Accommodation: Sheep Mountain Lodge, 1-night
Day6: Wrangell-St. Elias National Park
Drive to Chitina and return your rental vehicle, then take an air taxi to fly into Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, approximately 30 minutes flight.
Kennicot Glacier Lodge, 2-nights
Day7: Visit Kennicot; optional glacier walk
Enjoy a guided historical tour of Kennicot, and an optional visit to Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, home so several large mammals including black bear, brown bear, grey wolf and caribou. Mountain goat and Dall sheep are found in mountainous areas, and smaller mammals include wolverine, beaver, lynx, porcupine, marten, river otter, red fox and coyote. The waters along the coast host whales, porpoises, harbour seals and sea lions, including the endangered Steller sea lion, the largest of the eared seals.
Day8: Drive to Fairbanks
Today you fly back out to Chitina, pick up your rental vehicle again and follow the Richardson Highway - Alaska’s oldest highway, which connects Valdez and Fairbanks - as far as its northern terminal, Fairbanks.
Various optional activities are available during your stay in Fairbanks, including a full day excursion by road and plane to Gates of Arctic National Park, via the village of Anaktuvuk Pass.
In the evening, return your rental vehicle, in preparation for your trip to Denali National Park tomorrow.
Days10-11: Alaska Railroad to Denali National Park
This morning you board the Alaska Railroad train to head south to Denali National Park gate, followed by a long road transfer to Kantishna. Enjoy optional activities in Denali National Park such as a guided wildlife viewing tour by bus with a naturalist guide.
Today you transfer by bus along the Denali Park Road back to the park entrance. Alternatively,at an extra cost, you can arrange a spectacular scenic flight past Denali (formerly known as Mount McKinley). From here you take the Alaska Railroad train south to Anchorage.
Accommodation: Hotel in Anchorage, 2-nights
Day13: Visit Katmai National Park or Crescent Lake
Depending on the time of year, you take a full day trip to see bears in Katmai National Park (mid-June to mid-July), or to Crescent Lake (mid-July to end-August).
Day14: Depart Anchorage
Depart Anchorage on an overnight flight back to the UK
Day15: Arrive UK
Our trip ideas are offered to inspire you and can be tailored to suit your requirements.
Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 15 daysfrom £6,245 pp
Duration and price excluding international flights: 14 daysfrom £4,745 pp
Single supplement: From £2,115
When to go: Jun-Sep
Kenai Fjords offers excellent opportunities for whale watching, and the surrounding park has a variety of wildlife. Day cruises along depart from Seward, some 160 kilometres south of Anchorage. Towering glaciers drop into the sea and you can hear the constant cracks and rumblings of calving icebergs.
Alaska’s largest inland city is the gateway to Denali National Park. Its museums house interesting exhibits on Alaska’s cultural and natural history, as well as native crafts. In summer, daylight lasts forever. and in winter you can dog-sled and watch the spectacular Aurora Borealis.
Excellent for: Activity & adventure
One of the world’s greatest wildernesses, Denali lies around North America’s highest peak, Mount Denali. Famed for its wildlife which includes 39 species of mammal and 167 birds, spring sees bears stirring from hibernation and birds returning, whilst late summer sees bears feasting on the salmon run.
Where: Alaska interior
Ideal for viewing: American black bear, brown bear, caribou, moose, wolf
Excellent for: Bear watching
Katmai has two spectacular attractions: brown bears and volcanoes. Bears can be seen in huge numbers during the Sockeye salmon run in July, late August and September, whilst in August they can be spotted feeding on the shorelines. The park is home to the impressive Valley of 10,000 Smokes, lined with active volcanoes.
Where: Alaska Peninsula
Ideal for viewing: brown bear, moose, caribou, pine marten, orca
This major port and rail terminus lies in the coastal lowland beside a fjord, but extends up the Chugach Mountains. Birdwatching, whale watching, wilderness adventures, panoramic mountain ranges, majestic glacier and over 200 kiometres of trails can be found within easy reach of the city.