Itinerary Details

Your adventure starts in Anchorage. Upon your arrival, you can easily get a taxi, Uber or Lyft car service towards downtown (about a 15-min drive, cost not included in the price), to reach your hotel: a boutique-style hotel within walking distance of favorite shops and eateries and the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail.

NOTE 1: Uber and Lyft pickup is upstairs at departures, rather than outside baggage claim. The taxis depart from the commercial lanes outside the Alaska Airlines baggage claim area, downstairs.

Note 2: If you arrive prior to the 3 pm (the check-in time), the inn will gladly store your bags for you until your room is ready. You will have special check-in instructions for your room that the innkeeper will message prior to arrival.

At 5:45pm you will meet your guide and the other team members at the Copper Whale Inn lobby and from there you will walk a short distance to the welcome dinner venue.

Welcome Dinner with Meet & Greet (6:00pm)

Enjoy a 3-course dinner in downtown Anchorage at one of the best local restaurants. It is highly recommended that you try Alaska seafood this evening - we encourage you to order off the menu, enjoy a salad or soup, an entree and one of their delicious desserts. In the meantime, your guide will brief you about the week ahead and you will get to know your fellow travelers.

Accommodation: Copper Whale Inn, Anchorage.

Take in spectacular views across Cook Inlet while enjoying downtown Anchorage’s vibrant urban scene. The friendly staff and personal service enhance the warm, relaxed atmosphere, creating a haven in the heart of the city. Enjoy unique rooms, delightful gardens and on-site bike rentals during the summer months, at this cozy downtown inn. This property is walking distance to the train station, the museum, the Performing Arts Center, restaurants, night life, shopping, the Coastal Trail, the Visitors Center and more.
Continental breakfast is served each morning in the main building. Breakfast hours are posted and if you are departing prior to breakfast, let the innkeeper know the day prior that you would like a breakfast bag to-go in the morning. All rooms have free Wi-Fi, Roku TVs, hair dryer, local coffee, complimentary bath products, and an in-room tablet for your convenience.

After breakfast, at 9am, you will embark on a historical tour of Alaska's largest city, starting from the shores of Ship Creek where Anchorage was born, evolving from a modest tent city to an industrial center. You will walk to the bronze Arctic art installation honoring Grandma Olga Ezi, a Dene matriarch who settled the Alaska Native village of Eklutna to the east. From Ship Creek, you will travel to the west end of Anchorage through Bootleggers Cove, stopping for a walk in Earthquake Park where in 1964, a 9.2 earthquake shook the city for almost five minutes and caused an upheaval of the silty shoreline and bluffs of town: the second-most powerful earthquake ever recorded. From the park, you will drive around Lake Hood, home to the world’s busiest seaplane airport and base. Finally, you will wind up your way to the Hillside neighborhood of Anchorage, toward a scenic overlook within the Chugach State Park system, which will be the final stop of the tour (overall duration: around 2.5 hours). Weather permitting, you may have the opportunity to take panoramic photos of Anchorage, the surrounding mountain ranges, and the stunning Cook Inlet. It is also not uncommon (though, obviously, not guaranteed) to see some wildlife, like an occasional moose or bald eagle.

At 1:30pm, you will head to a Chinitina Bay Bear Viewing (estimated to last around 6 hrs, including the flight). Located on the southern end of Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Chinitna Bay is home to a multitude of bears that come to the bay to feed on the sedge grasses, copious clams and fish. Listen as your expert guide shares tales of the resident bears and their families.

You will depart from Lake Hood Sea Plane base in Anchorage and will fly southwest over Cook Inlet on a 90-minute flight (on the way, you may enjoy a light snack prepared for you). Watch for the Chigmit Mountains, where the Alaska and Aleutian Ranges meet, and two active volcanoes – Mt. Redoubt and Mt. Iliamna – before landing on the beach in Chinitna Bay in Lake Clark National Park. You will fly out to a remote beach, where a local guide will bring you into bear country via 4wd bus. The bears will be fishing in the salmon-rich rivers, and you can watch as the bears wade through the water and catch a meal. Most commonly, though, on this bear viewing tour, the bears will be digging for clams and sunning on the beach or will be eating sedge grasses in the meadow.

Accommodation: Copper Whale Inn, Anchorage.

Prepare to embark today on what is, perhaps, the most popular adventure in Alaska: the exploration of the Matanuska Glacier. You will leave very early in the morning (at 7:30am), traveling north of Anchorage to explore the Glacier's many incredible features, such as moraine and glacial blue meltwater pools, in South central’s beautiful Matanuska Valley.

The Matanuska Glacier is a frozen 27-mile-long river of ancient ice. Thousands of years old, this massive glacier is tucked up into the head of the Matanuska Valley. You will spend 2 hours trekking with our glacier guides by your side, learning how the Matanuska Glacier was born and how it shaped the landscape in the Matanuska Susitna Valley. Explore blue meltwater pools and awe-inspiring formations.

Walking on ice is slippery fun, so you will be provided with helmets, a trekking pole (walking stick) and micro spikes that attach to your shoes. You should bring sturdy footwear (stiff-soled hiking boots or shoes) and an extra pair of socks. Don't be surprised if your shoes get covered with glacial flour. This glacial till is finely ground rock that the glacier has created - it makes for great facials! This tour does require walking on uneven hard ice surfaces for at least 2 hours, so participants should have a strong back, good knees and good balance for this activity. Elevation gain is approximately 140ft (around 43 m) but guests should be able to walk up 3 flights of stairs unassisted.

Your all-inclusive tour allows you to warm up with hot beverages and a hearty lunch at a local lodge as well as complimentary snacks and water throughout your adventure.

You will end the day back at your hotel, at around 17:30.

Accommodation: Copper Whale Inn, Anchorage.

After a very early breakfast (you should be ready by 5:30am), you will be transferred to Anchorage rail depot for the journey to Seward (carrying a day bag with the basic things you will need in the next 48 hours, including passport, camera, and any important medication required; you must have your passport to check-in in the Alaska Railroad journey). Note that the hotel may prepare for you a breakfast box, but there will also be breakfast on the train as well.

Your Alaska Railroad experience will be onboarding the Goldstar Service railcars. These upper-level glass-dome ceiling railcars allow you to sit in your spacious and comfortable assigned seating while panoramic views of Alaska unfold along the tracks. Your Alaska Railroad tour guide is stationed in the Goldstar railcar, providing narration and answering any questions you may have. You will also have access to the exclusive GoldStar open-air, 2nd story viewing platform, which offers fresh air and excellent photo opportunities. Onboard dining and bar service is included with your GoldStar ticket. Enjoy soft drinks and two complimentary adult beverages per person (for those over 21 years of age with valid government issued photo ID) at the bar on the upper level. Breakfast will be served in the lower level, full-service Dining Room. Choose from a variety of hot and cold meal selections. Depending on capacity, on busy days you may be seated four to a table to best accommodate all guests. Additional onboard purchases must be made with American Express, Discover, MasterCard, or Visa cards (including debit and gift cards). Cash payments are no longer accepted on the Alaska Railroad. Cash gratuities to Railroad representatives are still accepted and encouraged.

Discover for yourself why National Geographic Traveler ranked the Coastal Classic Train among their Top Ten Train Rides in North America. Departing Anchorage, the train winds along Turnagain Arm, where the steep mountains of the Chugach Range plunge directly to the sea. Following a brief stop in Girdwood, the train continues to the end of Turnagain Arm and veers away from the road system into the backcountry wilderness – and what many consider to be the most scenic stretch of the entire Railbelt. Upon a late morning arrival into Seward the train comes to a halt on the shores of Resurrection Bay. If you are arriving for a tour or boat trip, the shuttle will be at the rail depot to transport you to your activity.

Upon your arrival at 11:15am, you will walk immediately across the street to the Major Marine check-in kiosk to board the day cruise. There will also be a representative from Major Marine Cruises who will meet the 11:15am train arrival, in case you have additional check-in questions.

Prepare to experience the best of Kenai Fjords National Park with Major Marine’s speedy catamarans, which make the most out of this 6-hour tour. Providing a full narration to your journey, a uniformed National Park Service ranger will be your guide to the spectacular sights while answering any questions you may have.

You will receive an Explorer Journal which will provide information about the area and include activities that encourage reflection and exploration during the cruise which will travel through the protected waters of Resurrection Bay and continue around Cape Aialik (pronounced “I-al-ik) into Aialik Bay.

Keep an eye out for whales, porpoises, puffins, sea otters, the Stellar sea lion, and more. At the end of Aialik Bay, there is the mighty Holgate Glacier: an actively calving tidewater glacier. You will spend some time in front of the glacier to watch for calving, where giant chunks of glacial ice break off and crash into the water.

Lunch is included in the tour, and you can choose one of the following: Turkey, roast beef, vegetarian sandwich of hummus, lettuce, tomato and onion. Lunch also includes chips, apple, cheese, brownie and one complimentary soft drink. Hot coffee, hot tea and water are complimentary throughout the day trip. Souvenirs, cruising comforts, specialty cocktails, beer, wine and snacks are all available for purchase during the cruise at the onboard cafe.

While most parts of this tour are in the protected bay, you will also venture briefly into the Gulf of Alaska, where the sea, being open, may be choppy. So, the cruise is not recommended for guests who are prone to seasickness. Weather and sea conditions may force this cruise to be cancelled or modified at the discretion of the USCG Certified Captain. Guests should be prepared with warm, waterproof layers of clothing and comfortable, rubber soled shoe

Accommodation: Harbor 360 Hotel

Harbor 360 Hotel will be your gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park in the scenic harbor town of Seward, Alaska. Located directly on the waterfront of the Seward Small Boat Harbor, Harbor 360 Hotel offers guests stunning 360 degree views of Resurrection Bay and the surrounding Kenai Mountains. The hotel is within close walking distance to Seward's finest restaurants, shops and the Alaska Railroad Depot.
The Harbor 360 hotel serves continental breakfast daily from 6am - 10am. Free WiFi throughout the hotel, an indoor pool and hot tub as well as direct access to the small boat harbor, make your stay easy to stay connected. A hotel courtesy shuttle is also available with service to/from Alaska Railroad Depot, Seward Cruise Terminal, and the central Harbor area. Complimentary parking is available at the 72-hour public parking across 4th Avenue from the Harbor 360 Hotel.
Rooms have a mountain view or city view. Each standard room features one king or two queen beds, TV, refrigerator, coffee pot, hair dryer, iron & ironing board and WiFi. ADA accessible rooms are available on request. Cribs and rollaway beds can be provided at the time of check-in and based on availability.

After a relaxing free morning in Seward, at 3pm, you will re-assemble to go on a Wilderness Dog Sled Ride and Tour (expected to last for about 2 hrs).

Your adventure begins with a 2-mile dog sled ride. Feel the power, excitement, and energy of the amazing sled dogs as they are harnessed to comfortable wheeled sleds on this 90-minute dog sled tour. Mush through the wilderness near Seward, Alaska to the base of Resurrection Mountain and along Box Canyon Creek. Your guide will explain how the dogs are trained and steered, and will share stories from the trail.

Upon return to the kennel, you will tour the beautiful kennel facilities, laugh as a guest is dressed up as an Iditarod musher and cuddle adorable husky puppies. Your guides will offer a delightfully humorous, behind-the-scenes look at the Seavey family’s training for the most demanding race on earth.

Accommodation: Harbor 360 Hotel

At 8:30am, you will be picked up from the hotel and will drive (in comfortable and clean Sprinter vans) northbound on the Seward Highway, stopping first at Exit Glacier Visitor Center for a leisurely nature walk with views of Kenai Fjords National Park's famous Exit Glacier.

Next, you will visit the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center: a 200-acre natural habitat that provides wildlife education and rehabilitation for some of Alaska’s most famous animals. This is Alaska’s only guaranteed wildlife viewing, close enough to observe and photograph some of the area’s favorite land animals, like moose, reindeer, bison, wolves, and musk ox. While viewing of bears cannot be guaranteed due to the size of their habitat, it is common to see both brown and black bears at the Conservation Center. Make sure to take photos of wildlife with the amazing backdrop of the Chugach Mountains and Turnagain Arm.

Then, you will stop in the quaint town of Girdwood and a favorite local eatery for lunch (included in the price). After lunch, you will ascend up the side of Mt. Alyeska on an aerial tram. From the top (weather permitting), you will be able to enjoy views of several glaciers and the upper reaches of this temperate rainforest.

You will continue along the Turnagain Arm, an All-American Road and National Scenic Byway. Look out for alpine scenery, hanging glaciers, and potential wildlife. Upon arrival in Anchorage and check-in in the hotel, you will have some time to relax before embarking, at around 10pm on the last adventure of this trip: an Anchorage Aurora Quest.

This tour is designed to help you enjoy the magic and mystery of the aurora borealis, or northern lights. Whether you want to learn how to photograph it, or simply enjoy viewing it, this tour is for you. The tour runs when the conditions allow for potential aurora viewing. You will be picked up from the hotel, heading for a nocturnal adventure to witness the magical lights rippling over snowy peaks and dancing across dark waters. It’s the perfect way to complement your trip to Alaska from August to early May. Led by a professional photographer guide, this tour also provides information to help you understand the science behind the aurora borealis. Photographic coaching and aurora portraits are provided for those who desire.

Enjoy the stories on the science and lore surrounding auroras provided by your guide, hand and toe warmers, light snacks and water (fresh water from a jug along with refillable cups to minimize plastic pollution) as well as a hot beverage selection including hot cocoa, apple cider, tea or coffee.

Please note that the aurora viewing tour may continue until 2am-4 am.

Accommodation: Copper Whale Inn, Anchorage.

Depending on your departure details, you will head to the airport for your flight back home (airport transfer is not included). You can request the hotel to schedule a taxi for you on the departure day.

Notes:

  • Hotel check out: 10 am.
  • Extra nights of hotel accommodation can be arranged if required, subject to availability (prices starting from 360 USD per night).