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Alaska’s National Parks: From Denali to Kenai

Program Number: 1012RJ
Start and End Dates:
9/1/2013 - 9/12/2013; 5/24/2015 - 6/4/2015; 5/31/2015 - 6/11/2015; 6/21/2015 - 7/2/2015; 7/12/2015 - 7/23/2015; 8/9/2015 - 8/20/2015; 8/30/2015 - 9/10/2015;
Duration: 11 nights
Location: Denali National Park, Alaska
Price starting at: $2,598.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: National Parks
Meals: 32; 11 Breakfasts, 10 Lunches, 11 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Salt; Low Fat; Vegetarian    

In the Alaskan interior, grizzly bears walk lowland rivers, caribou roam the alpine tundra, Dall sheep cling to treacherous mountainsides and the magnificent golden eagle surveys all. To the south, the glaciers that built the cathedral fjords of the Kenai Peninsula continue to carve the landscape as they have for eons. These pristine wildernesses humble humankind, putting lifetimes in perspective and reminding us that, in some places on earth, we are but visitors. Join expert naturalists in the boreal forest, on the tundra and along the bay shores of two glorious Alaskan national parks.




Highlights

• Enjoy stunning scenery and unparalleled opportunities to watch grizzly bears, Dall sheep, caribou and Mount McKinley, the tallest mountain in North America, on a daylong journey in Denali National Park.
• Float down the Kenai River with interpretation of your inspiring surroundings narrated by a naturalist.
• Witness the splendor of the Kenai Peninsula firsthand on a study cruise and a hike to Exit Glacier.



Activity Particulars

Walking up to three miles on gravel and dirt trails. Elevations up to 3,900 feet.




Date Specific Information

9-1-2013

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Denali National Park, 6 nights; coach to Moose Pass, 5 nights; departure.



Coordinated by Denali Education Center




Denali National Park

Established in 1917, this 6 million-acre wilderness is home to 20,320 foot Mount McKinley, and wildlife such as moose, caribou, Dall sheep and grizzly bear, and is considered one of the most intact sub-arctic ecosystems in the world.



Moose Pass

 Moose Pass is a beautiful Alaska town nestled on the shores of Trail Lake in the heart of the Kenai Peninsula, 100 miles south of Anchorage. Surrounded by towering mountains, Moose Pass offers easy access to the trails of the Chugach National Forest and its pristine mountain lakes and breathtaking alpine vistas.



Accommodations
Denali: Two-room cabins near Nenana River with bathrooms shared by up to four participants. Moose Pass: Lakeside lodge with private baths.
Meals and Lodgings
   Denali Education Center
  Denali National Park 6 nights
   Kenai Peninsula Learning Center
  Moose Pass 5 nights
 Denali Education Center
Type: Cabin
  Description: The Denali Education Center campus was built in 1990 along the eastern boundary of Denali National Park, on the banks of the Nenana River. This quiet wooded campus, consisting of 12 cabins and Riverside Hall, was the first in the U.S. built exclusively for Road Scholar programs. All facilities are on the ground floor with four steps leading into each cabin. The longest walk from your cabin to Riverside Hall is about 200 yards on a gravel walkway, and the shortest is about 15 yards.
  Contact info: Milepost 231 George Parks Highway
Denali Park, AK  99755 USA
phone: 907-683-2597
web: www.denali.org
  Room amenities: Our location is idyllic, rooms and services are simple. Each cabin at the Denali Education Center has one bathroom that may be shared by up to four people. There is no housekeeping during the week, though fresh towels are available mid-week. Rooms do not have clocks, radios, TV’s, microwaves, or hair dryers. All rooms are non-smoking. There are no phones in the rooms, though cell phone reception is fine. Emergency calls may be received in the office, as needed. An answering machine will receive calls after hours or when staff is in the field.
  Facility amenities: Laundry facilities are available for $2 per wash and $2 per dry, laundry detergent included. Internet access is available nearby.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Bathroom: Each cabin has two rooms with one shared bath.
  Additional nights prior: $117/room/night plus tax Please call (907) 683-2597 or contact roadscholarprograms@denali.org to reserve a room for additional nights.
  Check in time: 12:00 PM

 Kenai Peninsula Learning Center
Type: Motel
  Description: The Kenai Peninsula Learning Center is a full-service lodge located on the beautiful shore of upper Trail Lodge in the Chugach Mountains, 28 miles north of Seward. Travel between Moose Pass and Seward takes approximately one hour each day. Rooms are double occupancy with either two twin beds or one queen bed, and all rooms have private baths. Please indicate on the Supplemental form your bed preference and if you require first floor accommodations due to limited mobility.
  Contact info: PO Box 5
Moose Pass, AK 99631 USA
phone: 907-288-3101
web: www.traillakelodge.com
  Room amenities: A TV with limited channels is available in each room.
  Facility amenities: Internet access is available, but no laundry facilities at Moose Pass.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights after: $109 Rooms are available before and after the program. Rates depend upon the time of year. Call 907-288-3101 for rates and to make a reservation.
  Check out time: 10:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Check-in and register any time between noon - 5:00 p.m. on campus. Orientation begins at 5:00 p.m. You will be staying at Denali Education Center that night.
  End of Program:
After breakfast. Room checkout is 10 a.m. You will be staying at Kenai Peninsula Learning Center the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Participants must sign and return both the Participant Information & Supplemental forms.
  Parking availability:
Free parking is available at Denali Park and at Moose Pass.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Denali National Park
  Nearest city or town:  Fairbanks
  Nearest highway: George Parks Highway
  Nearest airport:  Fairbanks or Anchorage
  From End of Program
  Location:  Moose Pass
  Nearest city or town:  Seward
  Nearest highway: Seward Highway
  Nearest airport:  Anchorage
Travel Details
 

Anchorage

 

From Train Station

 
 

Service:

 

Train
Alaska Railroad
phone: 800-544-0552
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$150
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

7.5 hours 

   

Use a taxi to get from the airport or hotel to the train station in Anchorage. The Denali Education Center provides transportation from the train station to campus once you arrive in Denali. If you arrive via the Alaska Railroad, please make sure you have “Denali Education Center” and your name written on a tag on the outside of your luggage. There will be a program coordinator waiting at the Denali depot (there is only one stop in Denali) to meet you and bring you to our campus.

 

Fairbanks

 

From Train Station

 
 

Service:

 

Train
Alaska Railroad
phone: 800-544-0552
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$66 train from Fairbanks to Denali
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

4 hours 

   

Use a taxi to get from the airport or hotel to the train station in Fairbanks. The Denali Education Center provides transportation from the train station to campus once you arrive in Denali. If you arrive via the Alaska Railroad, please make sure you have “Denali Education Center” and your name written on a tag on the outside of your luggage. There will be a program coordinator waiting at the Denali depot (there is only one stop in Denali) to meet you and bring you to our campus.

 

Moose Pass

 

To Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Charter
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$65 including tax
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

2.5 hours 

   

Departs Moose Pass at 9:00 am. Scheduled to arrive at Anchorage airport at 11:30 am. PLEASE allow time for road delays which are common on Alaskan highways. Book a flight departing after 1:30pm. Reserve by calling (907) 288-3101, say you are with Road Scholar, and (with your travel details handy) ask for help with reservation on the charter bus to Anchorage.

 

Anchorage

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Park Connection motor coach
phone: 800-266-8625
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$80 - $90
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

5.5 hours 

   

The Park Connection motor coach picks up in downtown Anchorage. The same coach stops in Denali at the McKinley Village Lodge, a three minute walk from our campus. The Denali Education Center provides transportation, on request, from the McKinley Village Lodge to our campus.

 
Driving Directions
  Anchorage or Fairbanks The Denali Education Center is located on the east side of the Parks Highway at Milepost 231, behind the McKinley Village Lodge (240 miles north of Anchorage, and 125 miles south of Fairbanks). From the highway, turn into the McKinley Village Lodge driveway, continue downhill and straight ahead. Travel down the narrow one-way drive through the hotel property until it reaches a large parking lot. The Denali Education Center is located on the far side of this lot. After you check in and unload your bags you will be asked to park your car or RV in a free parking lot in front of the McKinley Village Lodge for the duration of your stay at Denali.
Elevation Note: Trip participants will travel to 3900 feet during a trip into Denali National Park.

Equipment Requirements: Waterproof footwear with ankle support and proper rain gear are highly recommended.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Independent arrivals and Introductions
(Sunday, September 1)
   
 Arrive To: Independent arrivals, noon to 5pm.
 Afternoon: Orientation.
 Dinner: Riverside Hall
 Evening: Introductions.
   
Accommodations: Denali Education Center
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Meet the sled dogs of Denali
(Monday, September 2)
   
 Breakfast: Riverside Hall
 Morning: Get oriented to the landscape and introduced to the history of Denali National Park on an interpretive tour that travels the first 17 miles of the Park Road.
 Lunch: In the field
 Afternoon: Explore Denali's state-of-the-art Visitor Center.
 Afternoon: Meet the four-legged heroes of Denali and watch a mushing demonstration at the only park in the US National Park Service system that has a kennel of working sled dogs.
 Dinner: Riverside Hall
 Evening: Guest speaker TBA. Schedule for expert local evening presenters in Denali will be announced on first day of program.
   
Accommodations: Denali Education Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Welcome to the Subarctic
(Tuesday, September 3)
   
 Breakfast: Riverside Hall
 Morning: Learn about the sometimes surprising, always extreme, conditions that shape life in Denali and define a subarctic ecosystem in “Welcome to the Subarctic.”
 Lunch: Riverside Hall
 Afternoon: Explore the the world's largest biome, the northern boreal forest, on an optional guided walk along the Roadside or Rock Creek trail. Up to 3 miles and 400 ft elevation change.
 Dinner: Riverside Hall
 Evening: Guest speaker TBA.
   
Accommodations: Denali Education Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Journey to the heart of the Park
(Wednesday, September 4)
   
 Breakfast: Riverside Hall
 Morning: Enjoy stunning scenery and wildlife watching opportunities on a day-long journey into Denali National Park by shuttle bus to Eielson Visitor Center.
 Lunch: In the field
 Afternoon: Want to hike independently in this pristine wilderness? We invite you to leave the bus behind and travel cross-country... at any time throughout the day.
 Dinner: Riverside Hall
 Evening: Free time.
   
Accommodations: Denali Education Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Wildlife of Denali
(Thursday, September 5)
   
 Breakfast: Riverside Hall
 Morning: Discover the extraordinary animals that call Denali home and learn about their marvelous adaptations to life at high latitudes in “Wildlife of Denali.”
 Lunch: Riverside Hall
 Afternoon: Explore the rich habitat of Horseshoe Lake. Join an expert naturalist for a 1.5 mile round-trip walk with 250 feet elevation change.
 Dinner: Riverside Hall
 Evening: Guest speaker TBA.
   
Accommodations: Denali Education Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Hiking near DEC campus
(Friday, September 6)
   
 Breakfast: Riverside Hall
 Morning: Explore the piece of the Park closest to your home away from home on your choice of trails. Join an expert naturalist for a guided walk along the shores of the Nenana River, opposite our campus. The walk is 2 miles with 25 ft of elevation change. Or, opt for a more strenuous hiking adventure.
 Lunch: Riverside Hall
 Afternoon: Free time to rest and relax, explore the park independently, or pursue optional activities like rafting, flightseeing or visiting the kennels of an Iditarod champion.
 Dinner: Riverside Hall
 Evening: Guest speaker TBA.
   
Accommodations: Denali Education Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Through the Alaska Range to Moose Pass
(Saturday, September 7)
   
 Breakfast: Riverside Hall
 Morning: Enjoy a scenic motor coach journey to Moose Pass on the Kenai Peninsula. Hope for a glimpse of Mt. McKinley as you pass through Denali State Park. Rest stops en route are scheduled for photographs and lunch.
 Lunch: In the field
 Dinner: Trail Lake Lodge
 Evening: Evening presentation: "Alaska... A Global Perspective"
   
Accommodations: Kenai Peninsula Learning Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Exit Glacier and Behind-the-Scenes tour at Alaska SeaLife Center
(Sunday, September 8)
   
 Breakfast: Trail Lake Lodge
 Morning: Enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour at the Alaska SeaLife Center. Learn about the Center’s marine wildlife research, rehabilitation projects, and life support systems. Discover what is takes to care for seals, sea lions, octopus, seabirds, and 154 species of fish.
 Lunch: Alaska Sea Life Center, Bear Mountain Conference Room
 Afternoon: Enjoy a Ranger-led interpretive walk to the toe of Exit Glacier. Up to 1 mile and 50 ft of elevation gain.
 Dinner: Trail Lake Lodge
 Evening: Evening presentation: Glaciers & Glaciology
   
Accommodations: Kenai Peninsula Learning Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Kenai River float trip and Trail Lake Hatchery
(Monday, September 9)
   
 Breakfast: Trail Lake Lodge
 Morning: Visit the Trail Lake Hatchery, which produces sockeye, coho, and chinook salmon for release at selected sites throughout the Cook Inlet watershed. The hatchery strives to help educate the public about salmon biology, fisheries management issues and various techniques used by fisheries technicians in the field.
 Lunch: In the field
 Afternoon: Raft the Kenai River on a serene two hour float. Watch for moose, eagles, Dall sheep, salmon, waterfowl, beaver, and bears as you float. Take in the snow-capped mountains of Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Hear the stories behind the sights.
 Dinner: Trail Lake Lodge
 Evening: Evening presentation: “My Alaska Experience” with Rosella Ikerd
   
Accommodations: Kenai Peninsula Learning Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Kenai Fjords National Park Marine Wildlife Cruise
(Tuesday, September 10)
   
 Breakfast: Trail Lake Lodge
 Morning: Free time at Seward's Small Boat Harbor area
 Lunch: In the field
 Afternoon: Guided small boat tour to Resurrection Bay in Kenai Fjords National Park: a great opportunity to spot marine mammals, shorebirds, and pelagic birds, in their strikingly beautiful natural habitat.
 Dinner: Trail Lake Lodge
 Evening: Free evening.
   
Accommodations: Kenai Peninsula Learning Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Marine studies at the Alaska SeaLife Center
(Wednesday, September 11)
   
 Breakfast: Trail Lake Lodge
 Morning: Learn more about the rich marine world of Alaska in a class at the SeaLife Center, Alaska's only public aquarium and ocean wildlife rescue center.
 Lunch: Seward
 Afternoon: Choose your own adventure. Recommended exhibits and presentations include: Qutekcak Native Tribe Culture Center; Native Alaskan Presentations & Stories from the Elders, Seward Museum for “The History of Seward,” and Two Lakes Trail nature hike with Carol Griswold.
 Dinner: Trail Lake Lodge
 Evening: Program wrap-up.
   
Accommodations: Kenai Peninsula Learning Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Independent departures.
(Thursday, September 12)
   
 Breakfast: Trail Lake Lodge
 Morning: Independent departures. 10 am check-out time.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Wildflowers of Denali National Park


Author: Verna E. Pratt


The Geology of Denali National Park and Preserve


Author: Michael Collier


Alaska: History of the 49th State


Author: Claus M. Naske


Last New Land


Author: Wayne Mergler


Mount McKinley: The Pioneer Climbs


Author: Terris Moore


Mount McKinley: Conquest of Denali


Author: Bradford Washburn


Coming Into the Country


Author: John McPhee


Arctic Dreams


Author: Barry Lopez


Two in the Far North


Author: Margaret Murie


The Wilderness of Denali


Author: Charles Sheldon


Two Old Women


Author: Velma Wallis


Arctic Village


Author: Robert Marshall


Wilderness and the American Mind


Author: Roderick Nash




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