At 4:00 PM, we'll gather for brief introductions before dinner.Dinner: At the hotel.Evening: Get ready for the trip as your guide details highlights of your upcoming journey and provides an orientation to the program.Lodging: High Country InnMeals Included: Dinner
Each day your study leader will enhance your travels as he explores the geology and the natural and cultural history of each specific area you visit. Discussions abound, anecdotes flow and he will make sure to capitalize on whatever fun event presents itself!
Travel to the restored sternwheeler SS Klondike, which sits on the banks of the Yukon River. It is a perfect representative of the city as it reflects an age when Whitehorse served as a major transportation hub for this entire region, and a large fleet of sternwheelers carried miners, traders, and many other people, including tourists, to the Klondike and other mining areas along the Yukon River and its tributaries.Lunch: In WhitehorseAfternoon: Our afternoon will feature educational walks through our outdoor classroom: the Yukon Wildlife Preserve, where we will view and learn about Yukon mammals and their environments up close from a wildlife expert at the park. We will be sure to enjoy watching the muskox herd, which is a species that once roamed the Yukon’s ancient grasslands with woolly mammoths. We will also see woodland caribou, moose, and Dall’s sheep, among many other species.
Presentation: Northern Wildlife
Presentation: Great Parks of the Yukon and Alaska: What Lies Ahead!Dinner: Gather back together for dinner at the hotel.Evening: Enjoy free time this evening to explore the city at your leisure before we head out tomorrow.Lodging: High Country InnMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Our first day on the Alaska Highway will give you a good indication of the incredible scenic beauty you will encounter day-by-day throughout your travels. Several stops will be made at scenic and historic locations, including a broad view of the 7,000-9,000-ft. peaks of the Kluane Frontal Range as we near Haines Junction, a small community which borders Kluane National Park.Lunch: In Haines Junction in early afternoonAfternoon: Start the afternoon with an introduction to Kluane National Park at the Parks Canada Visitor Center. Kluane NP is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Still largely unexplored and pristine, it hosts a phenomenal variety of wildlife. Kluane NP is not only Canada's biggest national park, but is also home to the largest ice fields outside the Polar ice caps.
Presentation: Alaska Highway and WWII
Dinner: At the hotel in Haines JunctionEvening: Free time on your own for optional activities. Arrangements can be made here in Haines Junction for a flightseeing trip on a bush plane or helicopter to the impressive glaciers within the park. Vistas include Mt. Logan and often Mt. Kennedy and Mt. St. Elias.Lodging: Alcan Motor InnMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
After visiting the Tachal Dhal Interpretive Center you'll stretch your legs as we take off on a short, very scenic hike to Soldier's Summit, where the Alaska Highway was dedicated in 1942.Lunch: At a restaurant in Beaver Creek.Afternoon: Cross the border into Alaska. Alaska Department of Fish and Game will host us and give us a presentation at the Interpretive Center to the ecologically diverse 700,000 acres of wetlands, mountains, tundra, and forests of the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge.
We will continue to travel northwest to the small community of Tok. Local Native arts and crafts can be found readily here, and we'll stop for the night.Dinner: In TokEvening: We’ll take a Tok Bridge excursion to enjoy some scenery this evening.Lodging: Young's MotelMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
We thread our winding way through dramatic mountains throughout the morning, with breathtaking views along countless rivers, lakes, glaciers and finally the majestic Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, where we will take an interpretive walk with a Ranger. Four major mountain ranges meet here, and in this high country, land is snow-covered year around resulting in extensive ice fields and glaciers.Lunch: Picnic lunchAfternoon: Ready for a little hike? Worthington Glacier is one of the most accessible glaciers in Alaska, passing within a few feet of the parking lot and viewing shelter right off the Richardson Highway. Hike the one-mile Moraine Trail to get up-close to the blue ice. Explore the cracks and pools at the glacier terminus. Climb the Ridge Trail to explore the alpine tundra and drink in a spectacular view of the grand valley.
A few minutes after leaving the Worthington Glacier, we go through Thompson Pass, the snowiest place in Alaska, recording 551.5 inches of snow a year on average. We'll make a stop there for the incredible views, then again in narrow Keystone Canyon at the bottom of the long hill - the waterfalls in the canyon are justifiably famous.
Arrive at Valdez, in its mesmerizing setting, framed by mountain peaks and nestled along the sea coast. It's also the terminus for the famous Trans Alaska Pipeline. The massive oil tanker loading facilities across the bay from the community are almost as impressive as the peaks that tower above.Dinner: Restaurant in ValdezEvening: Presentation: Effects of Climate Change on Wildlife PopulationsLodging: Mountain Sky HotelMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Stop at Willow to learn about life frontier-style from four-time Iditarod champion musher Martin Buser and spend some one-on-one time with his 75 sled dogs. You'll gain greater insight into how a large kennel works and the sport of dog sledding, as well as have the chance to see him hook up a team. As the dogs take off, you'll understand clearly that they "live to run!"
We depart for our lunch destination of Talkeetna, where you will have an opportunity on your own to arrange for a bush plane flight toward Denali if you choose.
Lunch: Restaurant in the quaint village of TalkeetnaAfternoon: The afternoon will bring you to the Visitors Center at Denali National Park and then to your hotel.Dinner: At the hotelEvening: Rest and refresh!Lodging: Motel Nord HavenMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Denali National Park has an incredible variety of wildlife. With a little luck, you will see "The Big Five" - caribou, moose, grizzly bears, Dall sheep and wolves - as well as many of the other 34 species that live in the park.
We'll return to the hotel late afternoon for some time on your own for optional activities.
Dinner: At the hotelEvening: On own to relax, explore, refreshLodging: Motel Nord HavenMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Fairbanks will be reached early in the afternoon.
Lunch: In FairbanksAfternoon: Explore Fairbanks, about 198 miles south of the Arctic Circle and our farthest point north on this itinerary! The city has survived many cycles of boom-and-bust, including settlement as a trading post, a stampede for gold in 1902, a fire that destroyed downtown in 1906, a flood in 1967, which brought wealth in its wake in the form of federal aid for rebuilding, and more recently the development of logging and petroleum resources.
Explore the magnificent Museum of the North at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, with its research collections containing 1.4 million artifacts and specimens, representing millions of years of biological diversity and thousands of years of cultural traditions in the North.
"Must-sees" are the 2,000 year spectrum of Alaska art, from ancient ivory carvings to contemporary paintings and sculpture; the state?s largest public display of gold; and Blue Babe, a 36,000-year-old mummified steppe bison.
Presentation: Northern LightsDinner: Dinner on own to explore local fare in Fairbanks.Evening: Evening on your own to explore Fairbanks. Perhaps you'd like to take a pleasant stroll along the Chena River!Lodging: Bridgewater HotelMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
You cannot get much farther from civilization than here between Tok and Dawson City. 100-mile views are a photographer's paradise from the Top of the World Highway.
Beyond the timberline, we will pass through beautiful tundra scenery and cross the border from Alaska back into the Yukon at Little Gold Creek. This is the highest elevation border crossing between the two countries.Dinner: CaféEvening: With 18-20 hours of sunlight per day, we’ll have plenty of scenery to view and photographs to take after dinner. We’ll culminate our drive with a short ferry ride across the Yukon River and arrive in Dawson City, a community of 2,000 people which is also a National Historic Site. You've come to the heart of the 1898 Klondike Gold Rush.
You'll feel like you've taken a step back into history in Dawson City, as the amazing atmosphere of turn-of-the-century excitement of the gold rush remains. The last great adventure of the era took place here, where in a brief period of 6 years, 50,000 people arrived to seek their fortune.Lodging: Westmark Inn Dawson CityMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner