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Ultimate Alaska

Ultimate Alaska

Example 14 Day Tour
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This two week Alaska trip is designed for the avid adventurer desiring to minimize transit time and maximize remote active experiences while on vacation in Alaska. Hike Alaska's remote and unspoiled wilderness area of Wrangell - St. Elias National Park on a multi-day basecamp and hiking tour. Arrive by bush plane and explore the vast wilderness on your private and customized Alaska hiking adventure. Set up base camp and hike the alpine magicland around you. River raft, flightsee and try an ice climb on Root Glacier. Continue further south to the Valdez region for a multi-day kayaking and camping tour in Prince William Sound. Spend some days kayaking to explore the Columbia Glacier and Glacier Island as you spot some of the abundant wildlife in the region.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Arrive Anchorage
Day 2 : Fly McCarthy | Kennicott Tour
Day 3 : Root Glacier Walk or Ice Climb
Days 4-7 : Wrangell - St. Elias Backcountry Adventure
Day 8 : Raft & Flight-see Nizina Canyon
Day 9 : Fly Valdez
Day 10 : Heather Bay | Columbia Glacier
Day 11 : Columbia Bay
Day 12 : Glacier Island
Day 13 : Bull Head Wildlife
Day 14 : Fly Anchorage | Return Home

Highlights

  • Hike and camp in the vast wilderness of Wrangell - St. Elias National Park
  • Spot wildlife on a multi-day kayaking trip around Prince William Sound
  • Walk and ice climb on the Root Glacier in Wrangell - St. Elias Park
  • Raft down the Kennicott River and enjoy a flightseeing tour of the area

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Independent

Activity Level

Challenging

Trip Snapshots

Ultimate Alaska Ultimate Alaska Ultimate Alaska Ultimate Alaska Ultimate Alaska Ultimate Alaska Ultimate Alaska Sights from the bush plane

Day 1 Arrive Anchorage

Arrive to Anchorage. Transfer to your hotel and settle in for the night.

Day 2 Fly McCarthy | Kennicott Tour

Board a charter flight this morning in Anchorage for McCarthy*. Arrive in McCarthy and settle in at Kennicott Glacier Lodge. This Alaska 'ghost town' seems frozen in time. When the Copper Mine abruptly closed in 1938, inhabitants left behind equipment, buildings and even personal belongings. Come and see what it was like to live and work in this remote wilderness town. Set out on a group tour of the historic 14 story copper mine as you peer inside history itself.  

*Alternative ways to arrive in McCarthy are possible via commercial flight to Chitina connecting with a charter flight to McCarthy, or other self-drive options. Please contact us for more options.

Day 3 Root Glacier Walk or Ice Climb

Today you get to pick your way of exploring Root Glacier! Set out for a full day private tour with your guide today. Walk on Root Glacier as you explore its features or try your hand at ice climbing! Start out with a moderate 2-mile hike to Root Glacier. Explore the glacier features and use the ropes and harnesses to get views of areas that are not easily seen by just walking. See crevasses, glacial pools, and Jumbo Creek Ice Cave where you are surrounded by blue ice. Suitable for those who are ready for an adventure, but perhaps do not have all the technical knowledge required to try it alone. Try ice climbing along the walls of Root Glacier. This is perfect for the nervous novice or the seasoned climber, you can spend your time with our experienced lead climbers as you practice the sport at your level. Enjoy views of the 7,000 foot Stairway Icefall and the towering Mt. Blackburn peak.

Day 4-7 Wrangell - St. Elias Backcountry Adventure

  • 3 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 3 Dinners
The Wrangell – St. Elias Park is one of North America’s most expansive swaths of wilderness area remaining. These rugged snow covered peaks offer a backcountry paradise with glaciated valleys, clear alpine lakes, and high altitude tundra. The wildlife here is abundant and you get the sense that you truly are in their home. This trip gives backcountry enthusiasts a glimpse of this breathtaking alpine magicland away from the crowds of more frequented camping destinations.
 
Set out the morning of Day 4 on a bush plane with your guide to find the hidden and remote location that suits your preference and hiking level the best. Your guides are expert backpackers and very knowledgeable about the wilderness options throughout the vast park. Likewise your bush plane pilots stem from three generations of bush pilot experience in this part of the world, and they know the area like their own backyard. Find your perfect wilderness playground from which you set up camp for the next three nights. Instead of carrying heavy packs, you set out each day with your day packs and your guide towards whichever ridge or adventure seems best for the weather that day. This trip is customizeable, and perfect for hikers who don’t need a set day-by-day itinerary, but would rather be flexible while hiking to receive a personalized backpacking experience. Return to Kennicott the night of Day 7 to the comforts of Kennicott Lodge, or extend your trip a day or two for additional camping.

Day 8 Raft & Flight-see Nizina Canyon

Set out today for a rafting adventure on the Kennicott & Nizina Rivers. The full day excursion starts mid-morning from McCarthy. Travel to the put in and set out on the river after a short safety briefing. Make a landing to stop for lunch and to explore the flat river bar. A bush plane arrives at the junction of the Nizina and Chitina Rivers and takes you on a flightsee tour of the area you just rafted! Fly over the Root Glacier and Erie Mine before arriving back at McCarthy early evening.

Day 9 Fly Valdez

Set out from the Wrangell - St. Elias National Park via charter flight down south to the coastal city of Valdez. Spend the rest of your day free to wander the town or add an afternoon kayak along Duck Flats to spot local duck nesting grounds.  Rest up tonight at your Valdez hotel.

Day 10 Heather Bay | Columbia Glacier

  • 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Meet up with your guide this morning in town for a safety briefing and orientation. From here, board the water taxi for a cruise out to Heather Bay - the access point to the majestic Columbia Glacier.  This glacier is the largest tidewater glacier in Prince William Sound. Embark on your multi-day kayaking tour, paddling first through the massive floating icefield among towering icebergs to the island overlooking the glacier. Paddle away from Columbia Glacier keeping watch for a variety of marine mammals including harbor seals, sea otters, and maybe a rare glimpse of an orca! Tonight camp in Heather Bay and settle in for some tasty camp cuisine prepared by your guides.

Day 11 Columbia Bay

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Leave Heather Bay again this morning to explore Columbia Bay in more depth. Cross the main channel of ice escaping over the glacier's moraine. Keep your eyes open for wildlife all day today. It is common to see large groups of sea otters or harbor seals hauled out on the ice in this area, as well as to spot an orca trying to find his next meal! Paddle the western coastline of Columbia Bay with a visit to Granite Cove. Camp here if conditions allow.

Day 12 Glacier Island

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Enjoy breakfast this morning and a short hike in the area before setting out on kayaks towards Glacier Island today.  Explore the bays today located along the north side of the island and take advantage of the numerous short hike and beach-combing opportunities. You can opt to climb one of the ridges for an impressive view of Naked Island and Columbia Glacier, and possibly the snowy peaks of Montague Island.  Settle into camp again tonight after your guides prepare a delicious hot meal.

Day 13 Bull Head Wildlife

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch
Get an early start today to paddle around the corner of Glacier Island to Bull Head. Here find a colony of Stellar Sea Lions which can be seen feeding, sleeping and swimming. These great mammals were once thought to be extinct. Be on the lookout for puffins and cormorants along the rugged coastline. Stop at one of the beaches for lunch and take a hike through the rainforest. After lunch paddle off to Chamberlain Bay for more exploring before your water taxi picks you up to transfer you to Valdez this evening. Settle into your hotel for the night. 

Day 14 Fly Anchorage | Return Home

Hop a local commercial flight this morning and fly to Anchorage. Connect with your flight home or continue with your Alaska travel with a Denali Backcountry trip.

Clarion Suites Downtown

Kennicott Glacier Lodge

Valdez Harbor Inn

Per person starting at
$5,150

Notes

Select a Date
Rates based on group of 2 on private camping trip, and pooled small group tour for kayaking multi-day. Contact us for discounted rates for groups of 3 or more.
Some alternate travel options to charter flights are available.

Included

  • 6 Breakfasts, 10 Lunches, 6 Dinners
  • 13 Nights Accommodations
    • 3 Nights Hotel
    • 4 Nights Lodge
    • 6 Nights Camping
  • 10 Days Locally Hosted Guide Service
  • Gear Rental

Excluded

  • Internal Flights
    • $2,745 Charter Flights Anchorage - McCarthy - Valdez
    • $240 Estimate domestic Flight Valdez - Anchorage
    • Flight cost is subject to change
  • Both International Arrival and Departure Transfers are excluded.
  • International Flights
  • Guide Gratuities

Recommended Budgeting

  • $250 Meals not Included
  • $100 Optional Excursions
  • $270 Water taxi surcharge
    • In the event only 2 people ride out to Columbia Glacier, they will be charged an additional $135 each way. Typically this water taxi is combined with other travelers and not necessary to pay. It will be charged locally on site if necessary.
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Mary C

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Beyond expectations! Then again we weren't sure what to expect. Lovely stay at the lodge, met other like-minded travelers (many had their trips planned by Adventure Life) and the owner was a gracious hostess. It felt like you were one happy family, visiting with a favorite aunt.
Nancy Sin

When to Go

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.
Chance for unpredictable weather but with fewer visitors.
Typically not offered during this period because of weather conditions.

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