Alaska! The ultimate wilderness destination with its majestic mountain tops, dazzling coastal scenery, some of the world’s largest glaciers, spread across an untouched, natural and vast landscape. A land of contrasts, Alaska – The Last Frontier – is characterized by its towering mountains, jagged shorelines, beautiful fjords, immense tundra, tumultuous rivers, and majestic glaciers. Boasting some of the highest summits in North America, Alaska is home to Mount Denali, the highest peak in North America at 6194 metres. An impressive amount of wildlife shares this region with Alaska’s mere 600,000 inhabitants, including moose, black bears, grizzly bears, caribou, wolves, Dall sheep, eagles, sea otters and more.
As if all this incredible nature wasn’t enough, you may witness the midnight sun. Foodies, prepare your taste buds for some delicious fresh fish and local delicacies. We will do it all: cross suspension bridges, hike to spectacular views along the edge of a glacier or deep within a moraine, visit an ancient gold mine, observe wildlife, see salmon jumping out of the water, and more! There are numerous incredible activities possible on this extraordinary journey. This unforgettable expedition really is the trip of a lifetime. See the Great Outdoors as you have never seen them before!
- Hike away from the crowds amidst spectacular mountain scenery in Denali, Wrangell St Elias, and Kenai National Parks
- Sleep in the heart of Alaska’s National Parks, in natural environment
- Get up close and personal with gigantic glaciers
- Observe abundant wildlife: bears, elks, moose, Dall sheep, humpback whales and more!
- Explore the vast territory of Denali National Park on bus
- Visit historic sites from the Gold Rush era
- Eat fresh fish cooked for you on the grill
Hotel ** or ***
Arrive in Anchorage. Free time to explore the city depending on your flight’s arrival time. RDV at the hotel with the rest of the group to meet your guide and hear the tour presentation. Independent dinner. Night at the hotel.
Camping with facilities
380km, 4.5hrs drive
We leave behind Alaska’s only big city to admire it from high up in the Glen Alps. We hike to the summit of Flattop Mountain for a first encounter with nature and incredible views of the ocean and the mountain range. En route to Homer, we make a quick stop to see a small Russian orthodox church in Nikolaevsk, a remnant of Alaska’s Russian colonial past. Arrival in Homer in the afternoon. Free time to explore the town and enjoy a walk on the beach where, at low tide, locals go clam digging. It is one of the region’s most popular outdoor activities. Each year more than a million clams are harvested by recreational fishermen! We set up camp for 2 nights. L, D
Camping with facilities
1.5hrs in water taxi
Short crossing in a water taxi through the pristine natural environment. Between towering mountains and deep blue waters we may see sea otters, eagles, cormorants and puffins. We are dropped off at the Glacier Spit where we will start our forested walk. Enormous cottonwood and Sitka Spruce trees line the path before we emerge in a large alluvial flat. We reach our destination, the Grewingk glacial lake, where icebergs float in perfect harmony with the serene scenery. On our way back to the bay, we may opt to continue hiking up Alpine Ridge trail for a magnificent view of the lake and glacier from above. Return to Homer by water taxi.B, L, D
Camping with facilities
July 240km, 3hrs / August 300km, 4hrs drive
We leave behind Homer and take the road north. We visit Kenai historical village, a mix of wooden fishing huts, churches and buildings frozen in time. We continue our drive through forested lands to the trailhead for Russian River Falls where we hope to watch sockeye salmon attempt to leap the falls to reach spawning grounds upstream. This phenomenon lasts for a short period and varies from one year to the next. In August, we will observe the salmon run from Tern Lake and Ptamigan Creek. In both cases, where there is fish there are often bears, so let’s be cautious! We set up camp for 2 nights near Cooper Landing. B, L, D
Camping with facilities
160km, 2hrs drive
Day trip to the small coastal town of Seward located at the end of Resurrection Bay, a magnificent fjord of the Kenai Peninsula. Mount Marathon towers high above its quiet street and marina. Depending on weather and bear sightings, we can choose to hike to the summit for beautiful views of the fjord and nearby mountain range. This trail can be combined with a section of the Coastal trail where sea otters are often spotted. Our other choice is to hike Exit Glacier. It starts with an easy interpretive walk to the base of the glacier, and we can then continue to hike up to Harding Icefields. Its massive size, 3000km2 when you include all the tributary glaciers, is impressive. B, L, D
400km, 5hrs drive
Today we take the road north again. We stop half way on the shores of Eklutna Lake where we rent bikes. The trail follows the shore of this long glacier fed lake popular with local outdoor enthusiasts. The mountains around are beautiful, but we must keep an eye out on the ground for the abundant wildlife. We continue our drive on the renowned Glennallen scenic byway, deep in a valley left behind by the receding Matanuska glacier. Every turn reveals breathtaking scenery, along with remnants of the bygone eras of the gold rush and other pioneers. We stop at the state recreational area to appreciate the Matanuska Glacier from a distance. Walk on Edge Nature trail. Dinner in a typical local restaurant (not included). Night in a basic hotel. B, L
Hikes & Bike ride
300km, 5hrs drive
We continue on to Wrangell St Elias National Park and the extremely remote village of McCarthy. On the way, we stop for a hike in the Copper Center area. We breathe in the wonderful smell of coniferous trees as we follow the trail leading to the crystalline waters of Liberty waterfall. We trace our footsteps back to the vehicle. Accessing the heart of the park can be a bit long and difficult, depending on road conditions. We travel 100km on a dirt road to reach McCarthy, a gold rush era village that hasn’t changed a bit since. Here we find a few historic buildings and a handful of permanent residents. We set up for a night of rustic camping (no showers), not far from the village. We spend the next 3 nights at this camp. L, D
We spend the next two days exploring Wrangell St Elias National Park. This beautiful park is dotted with massive mountains, glaciers measuring thousands of square kilometers, endless untouched forests and tumultuous rivers. Wrangell is also home to nine of the sixteen highest peaks in the United States, including Mount Wrangell (4300m), Mount Sanford (4950m), Mount Blackburn (5025m), and Mount St Elias (5489M), the second highest peak in the United States. In addition to the two hikes planned for today (one on a mountain and one around a glacier) you have the option to board a small plane flight for a spectacular view of the park! (Not included). You could also opt to participate in a guided hike on a glacier (with climbing irons) or maybe visit the Kennicott mine and learn about this isolated region’s history (optional). The little gold rush era village of McCarthy and the Kennicott mine recount this picturesque region’s extraordinary human adventure. Night in rustic camping (no showers). 2B, 2L, 2D
380km, 6hrs drive
Last moments in McCarthy. We take the road early. Throughout the day, your guide will stop frequently so you can appreciate the best viewpoints along this scenic mountain drive. The many curiosities include intriguing natural formations and old remnants of human occupation of the territory. Like many trappers and gold prospector before us, we settle in an authentic but rustic lodge on the banks of Maclaren River at the end of the day. An unforgettable stay in a grandiose natural setting. Night in basic cabins. B, L, D
Camping with facilities
140 km, 2hrs drive
This morning we travel one of the most scenic roads in the USA and reach Denali National Park. At more than 5500m vertical drop – even greater than Mount Everest! – Mount Denali-McKinley is so high up that its peak is only visible a few times per month. An enormous variety of wildlife lives in the park: about 500 bears, 3000 caribou, 2000 moose and 160 wolves call this region home. Today we hike Mount Healy after seeing a dog sledding demonstration given by the Park Rangers (free, optional). We set up camp on the outskirts of the park for 2 nights.
The second day, we take the park’s school bus type shuttle, leaving early in the AM for a greater chance of wildlife spotting! We take the shuttle deep into the park for off trail trekking (not guided). 2B, 2L, 2D
We start the day with a hike on Little Coal Creek trail to K’esugi Ridge. We will be rewarded with fantastic views of Mount Denali. On the trail, we enjoy a temperate forest of ferns, white spruce and birch; glacially fed lakes, a beaver dam and possibly more wildlife. We emerge above the treeline and discover fragile tundra vegetation. Return by the same trail. In the afternoon we drive on the Hatcher Pass scenic road. We follow the edge of a crystal clear river, a carpet of tundra clinging to the mountain slopes. We settle into comfortable log cabins for 3 nights in a beautiful forest setting. B, L, D
40km, 1hr drive
The Castle Mountain fault is responsible for creating the high mountains surrounding us, but also for the presence of a gold vein that was once fruitful. We visit the Independence Mine historical park. At its peak in 1941, 22 families lived in the remote mining village. The district’s mining company produced a great quantity of gold until the United States entered World War II, when gold was declared nonessential to the war effort. The site was finally abandoned completely in 1951. We hike up to an overlook of the area. We then continue the adventure on another trail in the area for more great views of this remote mountain range. Night at the cabin. B, L, D
40km, 1hr drive
We reach Reed Lakes trailhead via a dirt road. This hike follows Reed Creek and has it all: stunning turquoise lakes, rushing waterfalls, wildflower displays and another abandoned mine. It’s important to be careful here inclement weather can make the boulder-crossing sections of this trail difficult. Once at the first lake, we decide if we continue to the second. All shades of green fill our eyes as we go deeper in this untouched alpine environment. We feel grateful to be one of the lucky few to enjoy such pristine wilderness. Back at the lodge, we enjoy the last group dinner of our adventure in the midnight sun country. B, L, D
Transfer to Anchorage in the morning. Depending on flight times, free time to visit the city. End of tour. B
Dates & prices
2 August 2020 3530 $US (USD) available
- Accommodation: 2 nights in 2-3* standard hotels/motels, 4 nights in cabins, 6 nights camping with facilities, and 3 nights rustic camping
- Ground transportation by 12-passengers minibus with enclosed trailer for 7 passengers or more
- Services of a bilingual driver-guide (French & English) for 5 to 9 participants and 1 driver + a bilingual guide for 10 to 12 participants
- Meals: 13 breakfasts, 14 lunches and 13 dinners prepared by guide
- National Parks entrance fees
- Shuttle bus ride in Denali National Park
- Wildlife observation lead by our guide
- Camping and cooking equipments: tents, mattresses, stoves, dishes...
- American taxes
- Airport transfers
- Optionnal activities
- Meals in Anchorage & Glennallen
- Flights and travel insurance
- Personal expenses
- Tips and gratuities
Groups are comprised of people from various part of the world, with different nationalities and backgrounds. Bilingual tours are given in both French and English.
A fluent bilingual (French & English) driver-guide who knows the area will lead the tour. Please note that it is expected of you to actively participate in the daily chores, like the preparation of picnics, the loading and unloading of the minibus with luggage and participating in suggested activities. One additional assistant guide for groups of 10 to 12 participants.
This is a moderate level hiking and discovery tour. Expect to walk from 2 to 6 hours each day. Hikes are mostly on mountain trails with some hikes around lakes or the sea. Climate in Alaska can change dramatically fast and this can affect hikes and the camping experience. Camping nights can be cold, humid, or rainy.
We suggest you have a healthy lifestyle and good physical shape to join this trip. You should be able to walk for 4 to 8 hours between a 0 to 2500 altitude. Some trails are harder than others, the hardest with an elevation of 900m.
2 nights in standard 2-3* hotel/motel, 4 nights in cabins, 6 nights camping with showers (sometimes for a fee) and 3 nights rustic camping in Wrangell National Park where there are no showers. During these nights, the guide will do everything possible to make you comfortable, shelter, water jugs, basins for washing dishes, etc…
D1 – Anchorage: standard 2-3* hotel close to the city center, double room
D2-3 – Homer: campground with facilities
D4-D5– Cooper Landing: campground with facilities
D6 – Glennallen: basic hotel/motel, double room, private bathroom
D7-D9 – Wrangell National Park, rustic campground near the park (no showers)
D10 – Paxson: basic cabins, double room, private bathroom
D11-D12 – Denali National Park, campground with facilities near the park
D13 – D15 – Hatcher Pass, cabins in double rooms, shared bathroom
Meals while camping are included and will be prepared by your guide; help from participants is always welcome. For lunch we mostly prepare picnics. Breakfast is generally prepared in a buffet style and dinner is cooked hot with local ingredients. All cooking equipment is included. The meals in Anchorage and Glennallen are not included. For meals not included, plan on about $10-15 USD for breakfast, $15-25 USD for lunch, and $18-35 USD for dinner (tips and alcohol not included in prices).
The variety and quick changes in the Alaksan climate can greatly affect the tour. Between the ocean, mountains, and the suns angle, Alaska has an extremely varying climate. In the central region it is generally less humid with moderate temperatures in the summer. June is drier than July and August, but always be prepared for rain! Night time can be quite cool.
(to be reserved once on location by your guide)
Wrangell National Park
- Glacier flight: 90 min $325 USD/person, 70 min $300 USD/person, 35 min $250 USD/person
NOTE: prices may change or vary without notice