America's 49th state really has to be seen to be believed. Get ready for an itinerary packed with adjectives - we just can't help it! Alaska is not only the largest state in the USA, but it is larger than the three next largest states, Texas, California and Montana, combined. It is also the third least populous state, so that means an incredible amount of wide open space with not too many friendly locals. And the locals are extremely convivial and proud of their state. Alaska has 17 of the 20 highest mountains in the US and the only state capital not accessible by road. It's a state of extremes and exceptional beauty and we promise you will enjoy every moment.
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This road trip is seasonal and operates May to September. Some options above are subject to change. Please contact our team to discuss your ideal travel dates.
Even though the Russians are credited with settling and occupying Alaska for a hundred years before the territory was purchased by the United States, English explorer Captain James Cook is credited with first exploring the Anchorage area in 1784.
Today, Alaska's largest city boasts 120 miles of paved trails, 170 parks and over 2,000 moose - not your typical US city to say the least! Situated on Cook Inlet, Anchorage is known for it's cultural sites, including the Alaska Native Heritage Center which showcases the traditions of the area’s indigenous groups. Downtown Anchorage is fun to stroll and there's always a local brewpub to enjoy.
Anchorage is also the gateway to Alaska's wilderness and has a pretty impressive back drop itself.
Distance: 114 miles
Wind your way along the Glenn Highway northbound as the scenery show begins. Make a stop in Wasilla and visit the Iditarod Museum. The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is an annual race run in early March from Anchorage to Nome - over 1,000 miles. The Iditarod is regarded as a symbolic link to Alaska's early history and the many traditions commemorating the legacy of dog mushing.
The little town of Talkeetna, where oddly enough, a cat was once their Mayor, is said to be the inspiration for the fictional community of Cicely in the popular TV show Northern Exposure. This ex-mining town is artsy and outdoorsy and set in the shadow of North America's highest mountain peak - mighty Denali. Interesting, on the eve of the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary, the name of the highest peak in North America changed from Mount McKinley to Denali - the peaks name in the indigenous Athabascan language.
Distance: 153 miles
With snow-capped Mount McKinley looming in the background, your journey takes you north along scenic Parks Highway. Be sure to keep an eye out for grizzly bears, moose, wolves and Dall sheep on the way.
Six million acres of untamed wilderness is waiting to greet you at Denali National Park. With just one road into this vast park, you’ll experience solitude and peace on an enormous scale.
On your second day, you'll enjoy a fully guided coach trip into the heart of Denali National Park, with many stops for wildlife viewing and photo-ops. With the aid of an experienced guide you'll search for bears, moose, wolves and caribou and learn about the biology and geology of the region. For the return trip - you are in for a treat.....you'll board an Alaskan bush plane for a birds eye view of Denali.
Distance: 123 miles
Continue on the George Parks Highway 2 hours north to Fairbanks. In the afternoon, your first taste of life in the interior will be onboard the Riverboat Discovery. The 3-hour cruise, on the only authentic sternwheeler riverboat in Alaska, will highlight the area's history and Athabascan Indian culture. Local guides will provide a personalised tour of the Chena Indian Village and you'll have the opportunity to meet sled dogs!
Your second day in Fairbanks is at your leisure. The Arctic Circle is just under 200 miles from Fairbanks and a day trip can be prearranged. Try your luck at gold panning at Gold Dredge No 8 or head to Chena and soak in the natural hot springs of this geothermal powered resort. There is also a pretty cool ice museum - no pun intended! For a truly Fairbanks evening, head to the Howling Dog Saloon for dinner, drinks and dancing.
Distance: 310 miles
Settle in for a day of driving through some of Alaska's most diverse and dynamic landscape. On the Richardson Highway near Delta Junction you'll discover a large free-ranging bison herd. Bison are long-time residents of Alaska and at one time it's believed the most common large land mammal in the state.
Continue to Copper Centre where you'll turn east to the sleepy town of Chitina and the western boundary of the Wrangell - St Elias National Park and Preserve. This is the jumping off point for the flightseeing trip to McCarthy-Kennicott, Alaska's most famous gold-era ghost towns and the Kennicott Glacier.
Once in the air, you'll fly alongside Mt. Blackburn, Alaska's fifth tallest peak. Then it's over the Kennicott and Root Glaciers, past Erie Mine to the Stairway Icefall - a vertical wall of ice sitting atop the glacier. Not only is it one of the most stunning natural phenomena, it's not something many people witness in their lifetime. These moments are what Alaska is all about.
Spend the morning exploring the dynamic features of the nearby Root Glacier on a guided trail and ice hike.
The afternoon is yours at leisure to visit the Kennecott Mines National Historic Landmark, Alaska's most famous ghost town. Stroll around the old mining town, that still has relics from the goldrush days, with a spectacular glacier carved backdrop.
Distance: 139 miles
Take a morning flight back to Chitina, collect your car and hit the scenic Richardson Highway north to the equally scenic Glenn Highway. It's this highway that takes you to your next overnight stop, Sheep Mountain Lodge. At an elevation of 6,223 feet, this remote lodge is only a short drive from the Matanuska Glacier, the largest glacier you can reach by vehicle in Alaska. This 10,000 year old glacier is a large ice flow, 24 miles long and an average of 2 miles wide. This glacier is a valley glacier which means it exists on the valley floor which is unique as the majority of glaciers in Alaska are smaller alpine glaciers which hang off mountain slopes.
Distance: 232 miles
The iconic Glenn Highway is 135 miles of glaciers, wildlife and mountains! Cruise along the verdant valleys and the Chugach Range. This impressive range is 250 miles long and 60 miles wide and extends from the Knik and Turnagain Arms of the Cook Inlet. Highlights today include Independence Mine in Hatcher Pass and the communities of the Mat-Su Valley.
Continue on through Anchorage along the Seaward Highway towards Turnagain Arm, a body of water featuring the world's second highest tides at over thirty feet. If you're lucky you'll spot Beluga whales chasing salmon in the bay. Just a twenty minute drive west from Seward leads you to Kenai Fjords National Park's Exit Glacier, one of Alaska's most accessible. Experience the dense, blue ice and unmistakeable crackle.
Your second day in this area is all about the northwestern fjords. The 9-hour Kenai Fjords National Park cruise, through Alaska’s crystal blue waters, showcases the jaw-dropping glacial scenery and array of marine life, as well as, providing insight into the area’s geological history from a wildlife guide. Breakfast and lunch on board are included.
Distance: 168 miles
The Sterling Highway takes you to the 'end of the road' in picturesque Homer. Running along the western edge of the Kenai Peninsula, the highway delivers extraordinary mountain scenery, active volcanoes, and deep ocean bluffs - this is a truly magnificent coastline drive. Take the entire day to stop and soak up Mother Nature's gifts.
Described as 'where the land ends and the sea begins', Homer is the 'Halibut Capital of the World and surrounded by epic scenery. This is a great spot to do some kayaking.
Alternatively, there are beaches galore to explore on the Homer Spit, and due to the remarkable tides, they are great places to explore for treasure and all sorts of marine life.
Coastal Katmai, just off Kodiak Island, is home to hundreds of coastal brown bears prowling the shorelines for fish and digging for clams in preparation for winter. This coast also has the highest concentration of black bears on earth. Flightseeing tours are available and your Bon Voyage consultant would love to book this once-in-a-lifetime excursion for you.
Distance: 221 miles
A fitting end to an incredible trip, is a visit to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Girdwood. The organisation provides care and rehabilitation for injured and orphaned animals. Get up close and personal with bison, elk, moose and more.
If time permits, take the aerial tramway up Alyeska Mountain and have lunch with the most incredible view.
Then it's back to the UK. Unless.......you'd like to include an Alaskan cruise along the Inside Passage, combine Alaska with a bit of British Columbia, Hawaii or California.
Bon Voyage holidays are tailor-made, so whatever your dream Alaska holiday looks like, we'll make it happen.