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Alaska’s National Parks: From Denali to Kenai

Program Number: 1012RJ
Start and End Dates:
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: $3,295.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: National Parks; On the Road
Meals: 32; 11 Breakfasts, 10 Lunches, 11 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Salt; Low Fat; Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

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.



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: Cabins near Nenana River with private bathrooms. Moose Pass: Lakeside lodge with private baths.
Meals and Lodgings
   Denali Education Center
  Denali National Park 6 nights
   Trail Lake Lodge
  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 (the dining and classroom facility), 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. Our campus is being newly renovated! All cabins no longer have a shared bath, they are all private.
  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 newly-renovated cabin at the Denali Education Center has two rooms with private bath. 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. We do not supply shampoo or conditioner, but do provide soap. There are no phones in the rooms, though cell phone reception is good. 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 (coins not required); laundry detergent included. Internet access is available.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior:  We do not offer additional nights on our campus, however there are two places within walking distance. You may contact Denali Grizzly Bear Resort http://www.denaligrizzlybear.com/. They offer everything from a soft-sided tent to a small, cozy lodge. You may also contact the Denali Park Village at denaliparkvillage.com Both are located within yards from the Denali Education Center campus.
  Check in time: 12:00 PM

 Trail Lake Lodge
Type: Motel
  Description: The Trail Lake Lodge is a full-service lodge located in the beautiful Chugach Mountains of Moose Pass, 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.
  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: There is internet, but no laundry facilities available at Moose Pass.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights after: $119 Please call 907-288-3101 or contact moosepass@alaska.com to reserve a room for additional nights.
  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 Trail Lake Lodge 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
  From End of Program
  Location:  Moose Pass
  Nearest city or town:  Seward
  Nearest highway: Seward Highway
  Nearest airport:  Anchorage
Travel Details
 

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 at the the Egan Center in downtown Anchorage and the airport. The same coach stops in Denali at the Denali Park Village Lodge, a three minute walk from our campus. The Denali Education Center provides transportation, on request, from the Denali Park Village Lodge to our campus. www.alaskatours.com

 

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.

 

Seward

 

To Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Charter

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

included
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

3 hours 

   

Departs Seward 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.

 
Driving Directions
  Anchorage or Fairbanks The Denali Education Center is located on the east side of the Parks Highway at Milepost 231, behind the Denali Park Village Lodge (240 miles north of Anchorage, and 125 miles south of Fairbanks). From the highway, turn into the Denali Park 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 Denali Park 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, May 31)
   
 Arrive To: Independent arrivals, noon to 5 p.m.
 Afternoon: Orientation.
 Dinner: At Riverside Hall.
 Evening: Introductions.
   
Accommodations: Denali Education Center
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Meet the sled dogs of Denali
(Monday, June 1)
   
 Breakfast: At Riverside Hall.
 Morning: Get oriented to the landscape and introduced to the history of Denali National Park on an interpretive exploration that travels the first 17 miles of the Park Road.
 Lunch: In the field.
 Afternoon: Meet the four-legged heroes of Denali and watch a mushing demonstration at the only park in the U.S. National Park Service system that has a kennel of working sled dogs.
 Afternoon: Explore Denali's state-of-the-art Visitor Center.
 Dinner: At 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, June 2)
   
 Breakfast: At 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: At Riverside Hall.
 Afternoon: Explore the the world's largest biome, the northern boreal forest, on an optional expert-led walk along the roadside or Rock Creek trail. Up to three miles and 400 feet elevation change.
 Dinner: At 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, June 3)
   
 Breakfast: At Riverside Hall.
 Morning: Enjoy stunning scenery and wildlife-watching opportunities on a daylong 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: At Riverside Hall.
 Evening: Free time.
   
Accommodations: Denali Education Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Wildlife of Denali
(Thursday, June 4)
   
 Breakfast: At 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: At 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: At Riverside Hall.
 Evening: Guest speaker TBA.
   
Accommodations: Denali Education Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Hiking near DEC campus
(Friday, June 5)
   
 Breakfast: At 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 an expert-led walk along the shores of the Nenana River, opposite our campus. The walk is two miles with 25 feet of elevation change. Or, opt for a more strenuous hiking adventure.
 Lunch: At 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: At 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, June 6)
   
 Breakfast: At Riverside Hall.
 Morning: Enjoy a scenic motor coach journey to Moose Pass on the Kenai Peninsula. Hope for a glimpse of Mount McKinley as you pass through Denali State Park. Rest stops en route are scheduled for photographs and lunch.
 Lunch: In the field.
 Dinner: At Trail Lake Lodge.
 Evening: Evening presentation: "Alaska ... A Global Perspective"
   
Accommodations: Trail Lake Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Exit Glacier and Behind-the-Scenes tour at Alaska SeaLife Center
(Sunday, June 7)
   
 Breakfast: At Trail Lake Lodge.
 Morning: Enjoy a behind-the-scenes exploration at the Alaska SeaLife Center. Learn about the center’s marine wildlife research, rehabilitation projects and life-support systems. Discover what it takes to care for seals, sea lions, octopus, seabirds and 154 species of fish.
 Lunch: At Alaska Sea Life Center, Bear Mountain Conference Room.
 Afternoon: Enjoy a ranger-led interpretive walk to the toe of Exit Glacier. Up to one mile and 50 feet of elevation gain.
 Dinner: At Trail Lake Lodge.
 Evening: Evening presentation: Glaciers & Glaciology.
   
Accommodations: Trail Lake Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Kenai River float trip and Trail Lake Hatchery
(Monday, June 8)
   
 Breakfast: At 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: At Trail Lake Lodge.
 Evening: Evening presentation: “My Alaska Experience” with Rosella Ikerd
   
Accommodations: Trail Lake Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Kenai Fjords National Park Marine Wildlife Cruise
(Tuesday, June 9)
   
 Breakfast: Trail Lake Lodge.
 Morning: Free time at Seward's Small Boat Harbor area.
 Lunch: In the field.
 Afternoon: Expert-led small boat exploration 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: Trail Lake Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Marine studies at the Alaska SeaLife Center
(Wednesday, June 10)
   
 Breakfast: At 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: In 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: At Trail Lake Lodge.
 Evening: Program wrap-up.
   
Accommodations: Trail Lake Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Independent departures.
(Thursday, June 11)
   
 Breakfast: At Trail Lake Lodge.
 Morning: Independent departures with 10 a.m. 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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