A trip to the last wilderness requires planning and time but it is always an incredible experience. This 7-day itinerary is for Summer time – which is from May to September and is inspired by our trip to Alaska this year.
Day 1 – Day 1 is all about reaching Alaska. Fly in to Anchorage airport and pick up your rental car (highly recommended) and depending on the time you land there – either check-in to the hotel & relax or explore the downtown.
You can take the trolley tour from Anchorage visitor center which lasts for about an hour & you get to learn a lot about the city. Then, have an amazing dinner at the 49th Brewery. Read more about it in detail on my post – https://travel-defined.com/2021/06/10/anchorage-lovely-day-in-the-largest-city-of-alaska/ .
Day 2 – Day 2 is about driving to Seward and then enjoying Kenai Fjords Cruise. Pick up Kaladi Brothers coffee and drive to Seward which is about 3 and a half hours drive from Anchorage – for the Kenai Fjords Cruise. You can take the 4 hours, 6 hours, 7 hours or 8 hours tours – to see the wildlife of Kenai Fjords, resurrection bay and get close to the glaciers.
A lot depends on the weather here, which is unpredictable -we booked the 6 hour cruise but it got cancelled the same day due to severe weather and we went for the 4 hour cruise instead. It was an amazing experience and should not be missed if you are visiting Alaska. Read more in detail here – https://travel-defined.com/2021/06/12/seward-the-stunning-kenai-fjords/ .
After the cruise, you can enjoy dinner at the Chinooks or Ray’s waterfront and end the day in the beautiful city of Seward with a night at the Seward Windsong Lodge.
Day 3 – Explore Seward city – see the waterfront park and complete the Tonsina Creek Trail taking you through the forest by the shoreline. Have a relaxing day.
Drive to Homer which is about 3 hours from Seward and take a bear viewing trip to Katmai National park. Fly or take air taxi from homer to the Brooke Falls and see the bears up close. In the late evening, drive back to Seward and don’t worry – the sun does not set in Alaska until midnight in summer.
Day 4 – Driving to Denali. Next morning, drive to Denali which is about 6 hours drive and you can enjoy your stay at the Denali Cabins or Mckinley Creekside Cabins – both of these are amazing & close to the entrance to the Park.
On the way, near Anchorage you can stop at the Mirror Lake, as the name suggests it reflects the sky and nature around it in a pristine way. And then stop in Talkeetna and take a helicopter ride over the Denali and land on Kahiltna Glacier Base Camp – this will be like killing two birds with one stone – you will get to do the glacier landing (must-do in Alaska) and see the base camp too. This can be booked with Sheldon Air service in advance and is an unforgettable experience.
Day 5 – This is the day of enjoying the great wilderness -Denali National Park. You have to book the bus tours early as these usually get full months before. The first bus tour is the Kantishna Experience which goes as further as possible in the park which is Mile 92 (end of the road). The 2nd one is Tundra Wilderness Tour which goes to Mile 62 – Stony Hill Overlook and the third one is the Natural History Tour which drives to Mile 25 -the Teklanika Flats. Depending on availability , you can book one of these narrated tours.
If you do not want/not able to get the bus tour you like. Then, you can take the free bus shuttles up to the Savage River (Mile 15) as beyond that only the bus tour or people who have permits can drive.
There are plenty of hikes available and you can also go to the Sled dog kennels there. You can read more about our Denali experience here – https://travel-defined.com/2021/06/26/denali-national-park-alaskas-great-wilderness/ .
For more info, check the National Park Service website – https://www.nps.gov/dena/index.htm .
Day 6 – Day trip to Fairbanks. Its just about 2.5 hours drive from Denali and you can start your day early and have breakfast in Fairbanks at the Crepery. And explore the beautiful city during the day and drive back to Denali by late evening.
You can check out the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum in Fairbanks and Running Reindeer Ranch which offers the walking tours all year round through the birch forests.
Day 7 – Last day of the trip, you can start your drive back to Anchorage in the morning after a delicious breakfast at the Mckinley Creekside cafe and don’t forget to try the amazing Straw-Rhub Coffee Cake (It is SUPER yummy !). It will be about 4 to 5 hours drive but with stops on the way to enjoy this beautiful landscape, it took us about 8 hours.
Hope you enjoyed this. Please let me know if you liked the Alaska Itinerary in the comments below.
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