August 19 - 31, 2018
Registration information can be found here.
August 19th: Fly to Fairbanks, Alaska
Welcome to Fairbanks! The city is also known as “The Golden Heart of Alaska,” a reference to the discovery of gold in 1902 and its location in Alaska’s interior. Meet your Expedition Leader and traveling companions at a Welcome Reception, and prepare for your upcoming Denali activities and excursions.
Check in at Pike's Waterfront Lodge: Situated on the Chena River, Pike's Waterfront Lodge offers unbeatable views and warm, comfortable accommodations. Enjoy hotel amenities including an aromatherapy steam room, fitness room, restaurant, cozy lounge, ATM, 24-hour guest laundry and gift shop.
August 20th: Fairbanks/Alaska Railroad/Denali National Park
Along with your Expedition Leader, board the train to Denali National Park on the Denali Star Train route,
one of the most scenic stretches of the world-famous Alaska Railroad, as it cuts through the northern boreal forests of interior Alaska where gold miners came to seek their fortune.
Enjoy a rich panoply of views of America's northernmost frontier as you travel in your reserved seat and upgraded Goldstar, glass-dome train car. Upon exiting the train in Denali, take a short walk with your Expedition Leader to the Denali National Park Visitor Center for a brief Park orientation. View the Visitor Center's exhibits or sign up for ranger-led talks, hikes and other Park activities available during your Denali stay.
Afterward, take the courtesy shuttle to the Grande Denali Lodge. This evening, enjoy a lively dinner event where you'll explore fun and unique features of the Park with a presenter from the Murie Science and Learning Center.
Husky Homestead Dog Sled Presentation: A behind-the-scenes look at champion Alaskan Huskies and their training with Iditarod four-time winner, Jeff King.
Denali Glacier Landing Flight: 100-minute plane tour of Denali, viewing the continent's deepest gorge, glaciers, surrounding peaks and valleys and a landing on one of Denali's pristine glaciers.
Arctic Circle Flight: Enjoy expansive views of the Brooks Range, Yukon River, and Trans-Alaska Pipeline on this 6- hour plane tour. After your flight crosses the Arctic Circle, land in the Yukon-Koyakuk region and walk with a local resident guide as you tour one of only a few year-round, lived-in communities located this far north.
Check in at The Grande Denali Lodge, located just north of the Denali National Park main entrance on the slopes of Sugarloaf Mountain with unparalleled views of the surrounding Denali wilderness and the Nenana River Canyon. Spacious guestrooms, on-site dining and dedicated staff make the Grande Denali Lodge the perfect place to launch all your adventures. Amenities include a restaurant, a bar and lounge, convenient shuttle services, a guest laundromat, complimentary Wi-Fi, and an espresso/snacks stand.
August 21st: Denali National Park
After breakfast, participate in one of the optional excursions or enjoy free time to explore Denali.
Take advantage of the many self-guided hiking trails or informative ranger-led talks and activities offered in the Park, or simply marvel at the scenery. Later, reconvene and enjoy wine and hors d'oeuvres as you listen to an Alaskan homesteader recount his experiences of living a sustainable lifestyle and summiting Denali. This evening, enjoy dinner on your own.
August 22nd: Denali National Park Wilderness Excursion
Today, travel 66 miles along the Denali National Park Road on a naturalist-guided, back country adventure for incredible scenery and some of the best opportunities to view the majestic Denali (formerly Mount McKinley). This exclusive tour includes a guided walk inside the Park, so make sure you have your binoculars ready, as you watch for the Park's wildlife inhabitants. Enjoy a box lunch in this special setting. This evening is at your leisure.
August 23rd: Denali National Park/Alaska Railroad/Anchorage
After a leisurely breakfast or perhaps an early morning hike in the park, continue your journey to Anchorage aboard the Alaska Railroad and enjoy the sights from your GoldStar glass-dome seat. At 2,363 feet, Broad Pass is the highest point on the railroad and a migratory route for caribou. The track descends from the tree line and crosses Hurricane Gulch on the railroad's longest bridge spanning 918 feet and rising 296 feet above the creek. On your way to Talkeetna, the area offers great views of Denali, North America's tallest peak, weather permitting. The serpentine banks of the Talkeetna, Susitna, Knik and Matanuska Rivers offer more stunning scenery along the way before concluding in Anchorage.
Upon your arrival in Anchorage you will check in at Hotel Captain Cook. Built by former Secretary of the Interior and two-term Alaska Governor Walter J. Hickel to help Anchorage's economy recover from the devastating 1964 earthquake, this renowned hotel boasts Alaskan history from its reclaimed teak interior features, to artifacts and art illustrations from Captain Cook's 18th-century voyage. Expect exceptional Alaskan hospitality and service at its four restaurants—including local favorite Crow's Nest and its 10,000-bottle wine selection — on-site shops, athletic club, and spa.
August 24th: Depart Anchorage/Arrive in Juneau
Prepare for an early morning departure. Guests with a flight per the suggested time will take a complimentary group transfer to the Anchorage International Airport and continue to the Discover Southeast Alaska main program.
Before embarkation, explore the newly renovated Alaska State Museum. Peruse the museum's artifacts and art objects that tell the tale of Alaska's history. Then visit the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center to view the fascinating glacial mass.
Afterwards, take a short bus ride to the Admiralty Dream for your embarkation. Enjoy your first dinner on board as you get to know your Expedition Leader, crew, and travel companions.
Accommodating 66 guests, the 143-foot Admiralty Dream was designed to go where large ships cannot—navigating guests to the best views possible of the surrounding nature-filled landscape. Experience Alaska up close as you watch for wildlife from skiffs or kayaks, and learn about the indigenous peoples of the region. On board the ship, are your knowledgeable crew, your expedition leader, and expert naturalists who share their hospitality, uncanny knack for spotting wildlife, and fascinating secrets behind the bountiful beauty that surrounds you.
The ship's intimate and unassuming style allows travelers to experience the true heart and soul of Alaska. The Admiralty Dream's two levels of wrap-around and covered upper decks, spacious bow, and relaxed cruising speed are ideal for viewing the seemingly endless surrounding fjords, glaciers, and wildlife. Nothing will be missed as you leisurely traverse the channels, bays, and islands of Southeast Alaska. After an exciting day of exploration, enjoy the convivial atmosphere within the lounge and dining room as you get to know fellow travelers and share stories of the day's adventures. Delight in 5-star dining at every meal.
August 25th: Glacier Bay National Park
Arrive in Glacier Bay National Park, where scientists have found exposed rock that's believed to be more than 200 million years old. While at Bartlett Cove, visit the park lodge and visitor center or participate in a guided forest hike. Meet a National Park Service Ranger and a Native Huna Tlingit Cultural Heritage Guide who will come aboard and accompany you during your time in Glacier Bay National Park. Watch for puffins, sea lions, mountain goats, bears, and eagles, and take in some of the most spectacular scenery in Alaska.
August 26th: Glacier Bay National Park
This morning, relax on deck with your binoculars and a hot cup of cocoa in search of wildlife, including orca (killer whales), Steller sea lions, seal, porpoise, and the magnificent humpback whales.
Then set out for another full day navigating the park, including a stop to view the impressive Margerie Glacier—known for its dramatic calving displays. A ranger from the Glacier Bay National Park Service narrates today's program, and a Native Huna Tlingit interpretive naturalist joins the group to reveal traditional cultural ties to the park.
August 27th: Sitka
Explore beautiful Sitka—often regarded as one of the most scenic communities in Alaska. The town features views of majestic Baranof Island to the east and the mighty Pacific Ocean to the west. Visit sites that highlight the area's rich Alaska Native and Russian history.
August 28th: Eastern Baranof Island/Kake
Experience a rare tour of the Hidden Falls Hatchery and learn about the release of Chinook and Coho salmon fry and smolts, and the vital role fishing has held in Alaska for centuries. In the evening, share the day's adventures
with your fellow travelers over dinner.
August 29th: Petersburg/Frederick Sound
This morning, visit charming Petersburg, a fishing village founded by a Norwegian fisherman in the late 1800s. At the Sons of Norway Hall, see customary Norwegian dances and taste traditional home-made pastries and cookies.
After lunch on board or in town, take a skiff across Wrangell Narrows for a beautiful hike on the Petersburg Creek Trail.
August 30th: Tracy Arm Fjord
This morning, experience Tracy Arm, a narrow fjord that winds through towering mountains and massive glaciers. Witness the “calving” of glaciers as gigantic chunks of ice break and crash into the water. Watch for harbor seals that often dot the floating platforms and mountain goats on nearby perches. In the afternoon and conditions permitting, glide through and discover coves or bays by kayak or skiff, soaking in the splendor of some of the most untouched wilderness in the world.