A Song from Beyond the Wall

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A classic 10-day self-drive trip. Includes a visit to Denali Park, a hike on Matanuska Glacier, sailing in the fjords of Seward and of course bear watching in Katmai Park. A winning combo.
"May the Great Sun dazzle your eyes by day and the Great Bear watch over you by night" (Beyond the Wall: Essays from the Outside, Edward Abbey) .
  • Tel Aviv – Anchorage

    Flight via USA, landing in Anchorage, Alaska. Picking up the rental vehicle and sleeping in Anchorage.

  • Anchorage – Denali

    leaving Anchorage in the morning and heading north towards Denali. This park is one of the most popular attractions in Alaska. It’s named after the highest mountain in North America (20,320 feet), which is located within the Park. En route to Denali we’ll make a stop at Talkeetna, a town that’s famous for being the local logistics center for mountain climbers. Talkeetna is also known for its community life, and rumor has it that the town inspired the TV series Northern Exposure. Continuing north and arriving to the park in the evening. Accommodations near the Park’s entrance.
    Optional addition: Flight over the Denali.
    a scenic flight leaves from Talkeetna and heads over the Denali peak and the surrounding Alaska Range – an hour and a half of glacial views, snowy peaks and granite cliffs. the high point of the flight is landing on one of the glaciers, where you could leave the aircraft, walk around and take some amazing photos. Price: 290$ a person (short flight), 350$ a person (long flight).

  • Denali Park

    The Park spans over 6 million acres, and allows you to encounter the rich wildlife of Alaska. Only one dirt road crosses the width of the Park, and we dedicate this day to riding along this road. Riding on the Park’s buses allows you to see bears, caribou, moose, mountain sheep, wolves, etc. The dramatic mountain views, including the chance to see Denali’s peak, provide wonderful photo-ops. Accommodations near the Park’s entrance.

  • Denali – Sheep Mountain

    Driving south to Palmer and turning east on the Glenn Hwy, which becomes a winding mountain road at this point. The road runs parallel to the wide Matanuska River, and on the other side you can see the snowy peaks and glaciers of the Chugach Range. The day ends in an isolated lodge called Sheep Mountain, named after the mountain that towers above it. The mountain’s unique color is caused by exposed mineral deposits, which draw herds of mountain sheep (hence the name). The lodge’s accommodations are well-kept wooden rustic cabins – a true Alaskan experience.

  • Sheep Mountain – Valdez

    A morning hike on Matanuska Glacier guided by local guides (easy hike, no experience or equipment required). The tour utilizes designated equipment that will be supplied by the guide (crampons and helmets), to walk on the ice itself. During the trip you can take pictures of unique glacial phenomena such as hidden waterfalls, ice caves and ice arches. The tour lasts for three hours, two of them on the ice.
    Later, driving east along the diverse views of Glenn Hwy, and then south to Valdez. The road traverses the mountain views of Thompson Pass, and continues to Keystone Canyon with its large waterfalls. Valdez itself sits at the shore of Prince William Sound, a beautiful bay full of wildlife and glaciers. It rose to fame about twenty years ago when the Exxon Valdez oil tanker ran aground there and caused a catastrophic environmental disaster. Accommodations in Valdez.

  • Valdez – Whittier – Homer

    In the morning, a ferry ride from Valdez to Whittier, a small town on the west side of Prince William Sound. Near Whittier there’s a glacial valley called Portage Valley, with an interesting visitors center and nice and easy hiking trails. After visiting the valley, driving towards Homer, on the southwestern side of the Kenai Peninsula. The road crosses the Chugach Mountains and continues parallel to Cook Inlet. Along it there are many viewpoints the overlook the inlet and (in good weather) the big volcanoes (11,500-13,000 feet) on the other side of the road. Accommodations in Homer.

  • Watching Bears in Katmai Park

    Katmai Park is one of the best places in the world to watch bears in the wild. When the salmon arrive, you can see big concentrations of bears along the rivers, fishing and competing with each other over select fishing sites. The bears are observed from a very short range (they are not aggressive towards humans), and the experience is unforgettable.
    Reach the observation sites and return to Homer by a light marine plane. The flight provides a lookout on the mountainous coastline of the Park. The airline chooses the exact site of the tour, based on the locations of bear concentration, which change along the season according to the location of the salmon. The tour is usually lead by the pilot itself, unless it’s in Brooks Camp – where park rangers oversee the site and direct the visitors. The day ends back in Homer in the late afternoon.

  • Homer – Seward

    Driving from Homer towards Seward. Seward is located by a deep fjord, and is straddled on both sides by glacier-covered mountains. The town’s location near the Chugach mountain range and the Kenai Fjords Park makes it especially attractive. Spend the afternoon in the Sealife Center and on Exit Glacier adjacent to the town from the north. Accommodations in Seward.

  • Kenai Fjords Park

    Kenai Fjords Park is almost inaccessible by land, and sailing is the main way to experience its views and diverse wildlife population. The day is dedicated to sailing between the fjords. The marine animals common to this region include whales, sea lions, seals, various water birds and sometimes even orca whales. Accommodations in Seward.

  • Seward – Anchorage – Tel Aviv

    Driving from Seward to Anchorage. The last bit of driving before Anchorage is a proper ending to the trip – the road runs parallel to Turnagain Arm, which demonstrates one of the most extreme tidal ranges in the world, and you drive down a narrow road between the sea and the coastal cliffs. You can often see pods of beluga whales in the waters along the road, or herds of mountain sheep on the cliffs on the other side of the road. After arriving the Anchorage, return the rental car at the airport and fly home.

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