1012
Alaska
The Best of Alaska’s National Parks: From Denali to Kenai
Come explore the National Parks of Alaska with experts. Discover unique wildlife, stunning landscapes and ancient forests as you explore one of the most unspoiled regions on earth.
Rating (4.97)
Program No. 1012RJ
Length
11 days
Starts at
3,395
Print All
Map details are not available for this location.
View Map
Expand All
11 days
10 nights
28 meals
11 B 9 L 8 D
Getting There
See travel details and required documents
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Denali National Park
D
Denali Education Center

Activity note: Settle into life in Denali as we introduce you to our campus, orient you to your program, and enjoy a group dinner in our dining hall.

Afternoon: Get oriented to your home-away-from-home during an introduction to Denali Education Center by your group leaders and support staff. We will review the program theme, the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes. Learn about DEC's rich history with Road Scholar and take a short walk on campus to get familiarized with the landscape. Wildlife safety and emergency procedures including contact numbers for key staff will be addressed. Program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as soon as possible. We appreciate your flexibility and understanding.

Dinner: Enjoy your first healthy, home-cooked meal at Riverside Hall. All meals are served buffet-style. The menu varies greatly and is always healthy and balanced. Water, coffee, tea, and snacks are available at all times.

Evening: Introductions: start making connections and new friends as you learn more about your group leaders and fellow participants during this fun, informal meet-and-greet. Announcements will follow with details outlining the next day's activities.

DAY
2
Hike along the Savage River & meet the sled dogs of Denali
Denali National Park
B,L,D
Denali Education Center

Activity note: Hit the ground hiking as you explore one of Denali established trails with one of Denali Education Center's filed educators and start to delve into Denali's complex ecology.

Breakfast: At Riverside Hall enjoy a breakfast buffet with rotating choices such as eggs, hot and cold cereals, granola, and fresh fruit.

Morning: Get to know the landscape and history of Denali National Park on a 2-mile guided walk along the Savage River Loop trail, located 15 miles inside the park. Be sure to bring your camera, as this is a great spot to see caribou, Dall sheep, marmots, squirrels, and ptarmigan. Expect the Savage River Loop trail surface to be uneven and rugged in areas with no significant elevation change.

Lunch: Lunch will be a packed field lunch. We provide re-usable lunch sacks at Riverside Hall. Lunches are assembled after breakfast - choose your favorite sandwich fixings, snack bars, and fruit.

Afternoon: Explore Denali's renowned main visitor center complex that includes the Denali Visitor Center, the Morino Grill restaurant, and Alaska Geographic bookstore. The Denali Visitor Center features an impressive exhibit hall and regular showings of the park film, "Heartbeats of Denali," a 20-minute non-narrated film that shares with you the various seasons, landscapes and wildlife of this beautiful place.

Dinner: At Riverside Hall.

Evening: Evening presentation topics will vary depending on local speaker availability. Presentation topics could include learning about living in Denali, predator-prey relationships, or climbing the mountain. The schedule for evening presenters in Denali will be announced on first day of program.

DAY
3
Learn about Alaska's boreal forests on an interpretive walk.
Denali National Park
B,L,D
Denali Education Center

Activity note: Take some time to delve into the details of the subarctic before stretching your legs on a walk through one of Denali's boreal forests.

Breakfast: At Riverside Hall.

Morning: Learn about the sometimes surprising, always extreme, conditions that shape life in Denali and define a subarctic ecosystem. This 3-hour interactive program will explore how the complex geology of interior Alaska is connected to annual precipitation, why geographical location determines the adaptations of plants, and how the Native peoples survived for generations in one of the most formidable climates on Earth.

Lunch: At Riverside Hall.

Afternoon: Explore the world’s largest biome, the northern boreal forest, on an optional guided 2.5-mile walk on the Rock Creek trail. This quiet, forested trail is occasionally steep with 400 feet elevation change.

Dinner: At Riverside Hall.

Evening: Presentation by a local speaker.

DAY
4
Day-long journey to the heart of the Park
Denali National Park
B,L,D
Denali Education Center

Activity note: Journey along Denali's Park road and out to the Eielson Visitor Center. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife as you take in the Denali's stunning landscapes via one of their park buses.

Breakfast: At Riverside Hall.

Morning: Travel to the heart of Denali National Park by shuttle bus on a day-long journey to the Eielson Visitor Center. Along the way, enjoy breathtaking views of the Alaska Range and its many peaks. Have your cameras ready as this tour offers a good chance to view Denali's wildlife, which may include caribou, grizzly bears, Dall sheep, moose, wolves, and more!

Lunch: Lunch will be a packed field lunch. We provide re-usable lunch sacks at Riverside Hall. Lunches are assembled after breakfast - choose your favorite sandwich fixings, snack bars, and fruit.

Afternoon: If you want to hike independently in Denali's pristine wilderness we invite you to leave the bus behind and travel independently through its wilderness. Anyone interested in this option will need to catch a later bus from the Eielson Visitor Center to the Park's entrance and back to Denali Education Center. This will necessitating that you get dinner on your own (your group leader will provide local suggestions that include shuttle service to DEC's campus).

Dinner: At Riverside Hall.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Wildlife of Denali class and Interpretive hike in the Park.
Denali National Park
B,L,D
Denali Education Center

Activity note: Take some time to learn about how Alaska's wildlife deals with the challenge of our subarctic climate before exploring a new Denali trail. Make sure to watch out for signs of wildlife along the trail and put your newly acquired knowledge to the test!

Breakfast: At Riverside Hall.

Morning: Denali is home to 39 iconic mammal species and an impressive 169 bird species. Join a Denali Education Center field educator as they discuss the extraordinary adaptations that allow these local wildlife to survive in the extreme subarctic climate. Examine several fur pelts, skulls, and hooves during this 3-hour hands-on educational program.

Lunch: At Riverside Hall.

Afternoon: Experience the rich and varied habitats along the popular 3.2-mile Horseshoe Lake trail. Watch for evidence of beaver as the trail descends to, and travels around the beautiful Horseshoe Lake. You can expect the trail surface to be primarily native soils and compacted gravel with 350 feet elevation change.

Dinner: At Riverside Hall.

Evening: Presentation by a local speaker.

DAY
6
Choose your hiking adventure as you pick your pace.
Denali National Park
B,L,D
Denali Education Center

Activity note: A day of options and opportunities await! The morning includes a guided outing while the afternoon includes free time to "choose your own adventure"!

Breakfast: At Riverside Hall.

Morning: Explore the piece of the park closest to your home away from home on your choice of trails. Opt for a day of adventure as DEC's field educators strike out on the Triple Lakes Trail. Groups will take their time as they climb the approximately 800 ft. of elevation and traverse the 1.5 miles out to the second of the trail's three lakes. (3 miles round trip). -OR- Those who would like a more leisurely day can opt to join a field educator on Denali's Oxbow trail. This 1.7 mile loop meanders around a peninsula along the glacier-fed Nenana River. Hikers should expect to travel on native soils, with rock and roots being present throughout the trail. There are no significant elevation change on this option.

Lunch: At Riverside Hall.

Afternoon: At your leisure - time to rest and relax, explore the park independently, or pursue optional activities like rafting, flight seeing, or visiting the kennels of a local Iditarod champion.

Dinner: At Riverside Hall.

Evening: Presentation by a local speaker.

DAY
7
Travel through the Alaska Range and south to Seward.
Seward
B,L,D
Breeze Inn

Activity note: As you travel from interior Alaska to its coast make sure to note the various changes and spectacular views that can be seen along the way.

Breakfast: Enjoy your last breakfast at Riverside Hall.

Morning: Journey 375 miles to the harbor town of Seward on the Kenai Peninsula and home of Kenai Fjords National Park. Along the way, hope for a glimpse of Denali as you pass through Denali State Park. Rest stops en route are scheduled for photographs and lunch on this 9-hour adventure.

Lunch: Lunch will be a packed field lunch. Assemble your lunch after breakfast - choose your favorite sandwich fixings, snack bars, and fruit.

Afternoon: Get oriented to you new home-away-from home at the Breeze Inn in Seward. Meet your Seward group leader, review the daily schedule and any changes, discuss safety guidelines and emergency procedures including updated contact numbers for key staff. Check into your rooms before dinner.

Dinner: Enjoy a welcome dinner at the Breeeze Inn.

Evening: Evening presentation: "Alaska ... A Global Perspective"

DAY
8
SeaLife Center Behind-the-Scenes tour and Exit Glacier Hike
Seward
B,L
Breeze Inn

Activity note: Today serves as a great first introduction to Alaska's coastal ecology. Take some time to look around you at the landscape. How is it different from the interior? How is it the same? You're about to find out!

Breakfast: At Breeze Inn.

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 that are all housed at the SeaLife Center.

Lunch: At Alaska Sea Life Center.

Afternoon: Enjoy a ranger-led interpretive walk to the edge of Exit Glacier and learn about the ecosystem that surrounds this iconic feature. The trail is considered moderately strenuous, with some steep inclines and rocky terrain. It is 1.2 miles in length and benches are available in some locations along the way.

Dinner: On your own - enjoy choosing from Seward's many dining establishments. Your group leader will also be available to provide you with some dining suggestions if you have questions.

Evening: Evening presentation: Glaciers & Glaciology.

DAY
9
Return to the SeaLife Center or choose your own adventure!
Seward
B,L
Breeze Inn

Activity note: Takes some time to enjoy the options available to you in in this coastal town.

Breakfast: At the Breeze Inn.

Morning: Spend the morning learning 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. If you would rather stretch your legs on one of Seward's trails or walking tours, your group leader would be happy to help you make the most of your time in Seward.

Lunch: At a restaurant in Seward.

Afternoon: Choose your own adventure. Explore Seward independently and stop by the Seward Museum to learn about “The History of Seward" or take in historic down town Seward. There may be opportunities to schedule an independent guided activity at this time. Be sure to inquire with your group leader for more information on available guided outings if this is of interest to you.

Dinner: On your own - a night to explore Seward's fresh seafood and various dining establishments.

Evening: At leisure - explore the small boat harbor and watch as fishermen bring in their daily catch, weigh, and fillet fish. Take a walk along the paved harbor trail that connects the harbor to downtown Seward and reflect on your time spent exploring Alaska. A free shuttle from the harbor to downtown.

DAY
10
Kenai Fjords National Park Marine Wildlife Cruise
Seward
B,L,D
Breeze Inn

Activity note: Spend a day on the water and enjoy the sights, sounds, and hopefully wildlife of Alaska's coastal marine ecosystem.

Breakfast: At the Breeze Inn.

Morning: Explore Kenai Fjords National Park on this expert-led 7.5-hour small boat exploration in Resurrection Bay. This can be a great opportunity to spot whales, sea otters, Steller sea lions, harbor seals, puffins, eagles, and more- so be on the look out as you travel through their strikingly beautiful habitat. You will also be able to view two active tidewater glaciersm, the Holgate and the Aialik, during your voyage.

Lunch: Enjoy a delicious Alaska salmon and prime rib feast served buffet style during the Kenai Fjords boat tour.

Dinner: A farewell dinner at the Breeze Inn

Evening: The evening will conclude with a celebration of your time spent exploring two of Alaska's best national parks. Share highlights of your time together, tell stories, sing songs, and perhaps start planning your next Road Scholar adventure!

DAY
11
Program Concludes
Seward
B

Breakfast: At the Breeze Inn.

Morning: A chartered motorcoach bound for the Anchorage Airport will depart Seward at 7:30 a.m. The coach is expected to arrive at the airport at approximately 11:30 a.m. Please do not make departure flight reservations before 2:00 p.m. The coach will make drop offs at major hotels in Anchorage for those guests that choose to extend their stay in Alaska.






Click here to provide website feedback
Website Feedback