See Alaska's heartland on this adventure through South Central Alaska, Denali National Park, and Prince William Sound. If time allows, spend some time exploring Anchorage before continuing on your journey. Metropolitan luxuries mix with unrivaled natural wonders to make Anchorage an unforgettable destination. Anchorage has it all, so whatever you decide to do you will be sure to love it.
Anchorage to Denali State Park and Denali National Park & Preserve (+)
Anchorage to Denali State Park and Denali National Park & Preserve (-)
Fly into Anchorage and rent a car, RV, or motorcycle for the scenic drive to Denali. About halfway between Denali and Anchorage is Talkeetna, a historic village nestled at the base of Mt. McKinley and has an outstanding panoramic view of the Alaska Range that can be enjoyed and photographed from several places as you wander through town. As you depart Talkeetna, continue north toward Denali. Spend a couple days exploring Denali State Park and Denali National Park & Preserve. Whether you seek information, inspiration or just need to buy a bus ticket, you'll want to stop at one or more of the visitor centers. Adventures of varying levels of physical activity can be found during your visit to Denali. Beyond mile 15 the road is closed to private vehicles, so you'll need to be on a bus, bicycle, or on foot to access the full length of the Denali Park road. Activities in the park include, sightseeing, birding, sled dog kennel visits, flightseeing, mountaineering, biking, hiking, and backpacking. Choose your own adventure in Denali and get the most out of your time in this spectacular setting.
Denali to Fairbanks — Alaska's Golden Heart City (+)
Denali to Fairbanks — Alaska's Golden Heart City (-)
Then, continue on to Fairbanks. Just south of Healy, stop at the Nenana River Bridge Wayside. An interpretive kiosk provides information on natural and cultural history topics. Also visit the Alfred Starr Cultural Center or the Alaska Railroad Museum outside Nenana. Once you arrive in Fairbanks, visit a museum to learn about the natural and cultural history of the area. Tee off at one of a number of golf courses. Go birding and visit with wildlife biologists at a nearby research center or bike around Farmer's Loop. Hike the trails or relax in a natural mineral hot springs in the Chena River Recreation Area. Explore downtown and take a self-guided walking tour or check out the trans-Alaska oil pipeline and Pedro Monument.
Fairbanks to Valdez (+)
Fairbanks to Valdez (-)
After exploring the land of the midnight sun, drive the Richardson Highway to Valdez. Copper Center is a great stop for a hearty meal or sourdough pancakes made from 100 year old sourdough starter. At the visitor center, plan an adventure to America's largest national park, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, home to the highest concentration of peaks over 16,000 feet in North America. Worthington Glacier is the most visited stop on the highway, and is listed as a National Natural Landmark. Travel through Thompson Pass, site of world class ice climbing and extreme skiing.
Valdez — Even Mother Nature Has Favorites (+)
Valdez — Even Mother Nature Has Favorites (-)
Spend the day exploring Valdez. Go white river rafting through historic Keystone Canyon or enjoy sailing around Prince William Sound on a chartered boat or guided windrider excursion. Hike one of several historic trails or go ice climbing and rappelling on a glacier. Take a historical tour through old town and stop by the many museums to see exhibits on Native culture, gold rush history, Richardson Highway construction and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Go fishing in the freshwater lakes and streams or take a charter boat to fish the saltwater of Prince William Sound. Bike, boat and kayak rentals are available for exploring on your own.
Valdez to Whittier to Anchorage (+)
Valdez to Whittier to Anchorage (-)
Board the ferry for a six-hour cruise through Prince William Sound to Whittier. Make your reservation in advance as vehicle space can fill up quickly. The sound is made up of many deep fjords with tidewater glaciers and islands around every turn. Whittier is surrounded by the Chugach National Forest, the second largest in the United States, and water related adventures abound. Before departing Whittier be sure to check out the schedule for the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel, the longest combined vehicle-railroad tunnel in North America. You could be back in Anchorage before dinner, or spend the night in Whittier and do some more exploring of the area before heading off on your next adventure.