A Quick Taste of Alaska

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A few short trips around Anchorage can go a long way. Perfect option for a pre-cruise or a post-cruise itinerary.

Day 1: Anchorage

Anchorage is not the capital of Alaska (that’s Juneau), but it’s by far the biggest city in the state, and home to about half of the population. If you arrive early in the day, consider a visit to either the Anchorage Museum of History and Arts, or the Alaska Native Heritage Center. Other good options include a walk along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, or – if you’re not too…Read more

Anchorage is not the capital of Alaska (that’s Juneau), but it’s by far the biggest city in the state, and home to about half of the population. If you arrive early in the day, consider a visit to either the Anchorage Museum of History and Arts, or the Alaska Native Heritage Center. Other good options include a walk along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, or – if you’re not too tired after a long flight – a hike up the popular trail to Flattop Mt.

Most car rentals companies offer airport pickup, with the exception of some local agencies who are located a short taxi ride away.

Overnight: Anchorage, AK.

Downtown Anchorage, Alaska

Day 2: Hike the Matanuska Glacier

The day starts with a drive east along the Glenn Hwy, which quickly becomes a winding, mountainous and super-scenic road. The highway follows the Matanuska River valley, parallel to the stunning snowy peaks of the Chugach Range. This beautiful drive takes about 2.5 – 3 hours. The afternoon will be spent exploring the Matanuska Glacier with local professional guides (no experience or equipment required). The “Mat”, as it’s known locally,…Read more

The day starts with a drive east along the Glenn Hwy, which quickly becomes a winding, mountainous and super-scenic road. The highway follows the Matanuska River valley, parallel to the stunning snowy peaks of the Chugach Range. This beautiful drive takes about 2.5 – 3 hours.

The afternoon will be spent exploring the Matanuska Glacier with local professional guides (no experience or equipment required). The “Mat”, as it’s known locally, is a 27-mile long glacier, the longest car-accessible glacier in the US. Your guides will take you to the glacier’s face, where you’ll don your helmet and begin the 3-hr hike. The glacier is constantly moving and shifting, creating a landscape rich with unique features such as turquoise pools, blue caves, crevasses and moulans (waterfalls emptying into an ice cave). Needless to say, this is a true highlight of every visitor to Alaska.

The day ends near in the Matanuska Glacier area, in one of the few remote lodges located in this beautiful corner of Alaska.

Overnight: Glacier view, AK

Matanuska Glacier, Alaska

Day 3: Girdwood

The day starts with a drive back west towards Anchorage. A great option for a scenic detour is the Hatcher Pass area, a beautiful off-the-beaten-track alpine area in the Talkeetna mountains close to the town of Palmer. Surrounded by green tundra and overlooked by impressive granite peaks, this is a great area for a short (or long) hike. You can also visit Independence Mine Historical Site, an interesting deserted gold…Read more

The day starts with a drive back west towards Anchorage. A great option for a scenic detour is the Hatcher Pass area, a beautiful off-the-beaten-track alpine area in the Talkeetna mountains close to the town of Palmer. Surrounded by green tundra and overlooked by impressive granite peaks, this is a great area for a short (or long) hike. You can also visit Independence Mine Historical Site, an interesting deserted gold mine from the 1940’s.

Your destination today is the town of Girdwood, about 45 minutes drive south of Anchorage. The road to Girdwood runs parallel to Turnagain Arm, a narrow bay known for its panoramic views and extreme tides. This is also a great area for wildlife viewing, especially beluga whales and Dall sheep. Girdwood itself, a ski town in winter, is a hub for local outdoor activities, with a great hiking trail system. If you have some free time, consider taking the tram to the top of Mt. Alyeska – the views from the top are excellent.

Overnight: Girdwood, AK

 

Hikers in Portage Pass, Alaska

Day 4: Seward

Your next destination is the town of Seward, about 2 hours drive from Girdwood. Seward is located at the edge of Kenai Fjords National Park, a coastal area dominated by the vast Harding Icefield. Glaciers extending from the icefield towards the sea created a series of deep fjords, rich in wildlife and extremely photogenic. On the way to Seward, consider a stop at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, where you…Read more

Your next destination is the town of Seward, about 2 hours drive from Girdwood. Seward is located at the edge of Kenai Fjords National Park, a coastal area dominated by the vast Harding Icefield. Glaciers extending from the icefield towards the sea created a series of deep fjords, rich in wildlife and extremely photogenic. On the way to Seward, consider a stop at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, where you can take a close look at some of Alaska’s charismatic fauna. Alternatively, you could stop for a hike in one of the many hiking trails along the way to Seward, or spend the afternoon on a stroll along the Seward waterline. If you like staring at big fish, Seward’s fishing charters typically return to the harbor around 6:00 pm; you can see the charters crews filleting their catch by the water, to the delight of outside visitors and local gulls alike.

Overnight: Seward, AK

Hikers overlooking the Harding Icefield, Alaska

Day 5: Scenic day cruise in Kenai Fjords National Park

Today’s plan is to spend the morning on a cruise to the nearby Aialik Glacier, and then use the rest of the day to continue exploring the Seward area. With the exception of one road leading to Exit Glacier, Kenai Fjords National Park is only accessible by boat or aircraft. A day cruise along the rocky shoreline of this wild park allows for the best chances to view its abundant…Read more

Today’s plan is to spend the morning on a cruise to the nearby Aialik Glacier, and then use the rest of the day to continue exploring the Seward area.

With the exception of one road leading to Exit Glacier, Kenai Fjords National Park is only accessible by boat or aircraft. A day cruise along the rocky shoreline of this wild park allows for the best chances to view its abundant wildlife and incredible glacial landscape. The cruise offers excellent chances to view whales and orcas, as well as other marine mammals. Aialik Glacier is a big wall of white ice, and you can rest assured that the captain will allow for ample time next to the glacier, where you can photograph big chunks of ice crashing into the calm water of the bay. The cruise departs Seward in the morning and returns 6 hours later, leaving you lots of time to enjoy the rest of the day. The prominent options in the area are the Harding Icefield trail, Caines Head trail (coastal walk) or some section of the Lost Lake trail. If the weather is iffy and not very suitable for hiking (this is Alaska after all), you could spend some quality time in the Alaska Sealife Center learning about the local marine biology.

Optional upgrade: kayaking in the Bear Glacier Lagoon

Bear Glacier flows out of the Harding Icefield towards the ocean, but its terminus rests in a beautiful glacial lagoon, filled with icebergs. This tour starts with a jet boat ride from Seward to the lagoon; chances of viewing the local marine wildlife (whales, orcas, sea lions and more) along the way are pretty high. After a safety brief, you get your own double-seat ocean kayak and go on a guided adventure among the icebergs. You could choose one of two options:

  • Half-day tour: the classic choice. 5.5 hours total, out of which about 2.5 hours are spent kayaking. Upgrade cost: $110 per person.
  • Full-day tour: folks in good shape looking for a full day trip can go for this option – 9 hours total, 5.5 of which are spent kayaking all the way to the glacier’s face. This trip ends with a gorgeous heli ride back to Seward, hence its more hefty price. Upgrade cost: $375 per person.

Overnight: Seward, AK

Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska

Day 6: Anchorage

Drive back north to Anchorage and enjoy another look at the beautiful views along the Turnagain Arm. The trip ends at the Ted Stevens International Airport in town, where you return your rental car and begin the journey back home.

Drive back north to Anchorage and enjoy another look at the beautiful views along the Turnagain Arm. The trip ends at the Ted Stevens International Airport in town, where you return your rental car and begin the journey back home.

Willow leaves with fall colors, Alaska

Why choose this tour?

This tour is a perfect choice for travelers who lack the time to tour Alaska in depth, and it could be a great fit for cruisers looking for a pre-cruise or a post-cruise tour in Alaska. It’s built around the Matanuska Glacier (3 hrs east of Anchorage) and the Kenai Peninsula (up to 2 hrs south of Anchorage). The itinerary begins and ends in Anchorage, but if you want it to start or end in a cruise port of call, just let us know – that shouldn’t be a problem.

The tour package includes

1 Guided hike on the mighty Matanuska Glacier

2 Scenic day cruise in the beautiful Kenai Fjords National Park

Still not sure?

You’re more than welcome to contact us, we’ll be happy to chat and help you pick the right tour.

Total cost

  • $1,830 Per Person, double occupancy.
  • Taxes and fees included.

Deposit / Cancellations 

  • Covid-19 Policy! Yes, these are special times:
    • Deposit: $100 (for the whole trip, not per-person)
    • Balance is due 60 days prior to departure.
  • Cancellation fees:
    • Up to 60 days prior to departure: NO CANCELLATION FEE except for the $100 deposit.
    • 59-30 days prior: 10% of the trip cost + cancellation fees charged by vendors.
    • 29-1 days prior: 20% of the trip cost + cancellation fees charged by vendors.

Trip cost includes

Accommodations

  • 5 nights in hotels, lodges (usually rustic cabins) or B&B’s.
  • Breakfast is not included unless specifically mentioned.

Transportation

  • 6 day Fullsize car rental with unlimited mileage.

Tours

  • Guided glacier hike on the Matanuska Glacier (4 hrs).
  • Scenic day cruise in Kenai Fjords National Park, inc. lunch (6-7.5 hrs).

Not Included

  • International and / or domestic flights.
  • Rental car additional costs: insurance, additional driver, gas.
  • Meals.
  • Tips.
  • Optional excursions or admission to optional sites (museums, trams, etc.).
  • Anything not specifically mentioned under “trip cost includes”.

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