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Alaska

Passport to Southeast Alaska: By Hiking Boot, Kayak & Boat

Program No. 22225RJ
Alaska is one-fifth the size of all Lower 48 states combined but has a population smaller than Rhode Island. Come hike, kayak, learn about and explore this idyllic place.

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We want your Road Scholar learning adventure to be something to look forward to—not worry about. Learn more

Protecting the Environment

We offset a portion of the emissions created by your travel. Learn more

Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
climate
Plan ahead.
What kind of weather can you expect? Take a look!
itinerary
Please Note:
The itinerary for this program is different on certain dates.
Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Jul 21 - Jul 30, 2023
Starting at
6,399
Itinerary Note

This departure is 10 days / 9 nights and does not visit Mount Roberts Tram or the AK State Museum. Instead more time is spent exploring Haines. Meals: 25 total (9 B, 7 L, 9 D)

Aug 4 - Aug 13, 2023
Starting at
6,349
Itinerary Note

This departure is 10 days / 9 nights. Meals: 25 total (9 B, 7 L, 9 D)

Jun 7 - Jun 17, 2024
Starting at
7,399
Jun 21 - Jul 1, 2024
Starting at
7,399
Jul 5 - Jul 15, 2024
Starting at
7,499
Jul 19 - Jul 29, 2024
Starting at
7,499
Aug 16 - Aug 26, 2024
Starting at
7,399
Aug 30 - Sep 9, 2024
Starting at
7,299
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Jul 21 - Jul 30, 2023
Starting at
7,599
Itinerary Note

This departure is 10 days / 9 nights and does not visit Mount Roberts Tram or the AK State Museum. Instead more time is spent exploring Haines. Meals: 25 total (9 B, 7 L, 9 D)

Aug 4 - Aug 13, 2023
Starting at
7,499
Itinerary Note

This departure is 10 days / 9 nights. Meals: 25 total (9 B, 7 L, 9 D)

Jun 7 - Jun 17, 2024
Starting at
8,759
Jun 21 - Jul 1, 2024
Starting at
8,759
Filling Fast!
Jul 5 - Jul 15, 2024
Starting at
8,899
Jul 19 - Jul 29, 2024
Starting at
8,899
Aug 16 - Aug 26, 2024
Starting at
8,759
Aug 30 - Sep 9, 2024
Starting at
8,559

At a Glance

Southeast Alaska opens up to you on an extraordinary learning adventure in a land steeped in riveting lore, hardy culture and spirited days of up-close discovery by land and sea. Kayak in cold blue waters to one of Alaska’s most active feeding grounds for humpback whales. Hike in old-growth forest with views of towering mountains. Dine on native salmon. Be transformed in the wild outdoors and pure air of America’s 49th state.
Activity Level
Outdoor: Spirited
Kayaking up to two hours at a time on mostly calm waters, hiking up to four miles over varied terrain over a period of two hours. Rafting on relatively flat waters.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Take a quiet float through a Bald Eagle Preserve to a Klukwan village to learn about the Tlingit culture.
  • Explore the beautiful wildness of Glacier Bay National Park by boat, on foot and by kayak!
  • Hike through the Tongass National Rainforest and watch out for whales, otters, schools of salmon, and eagles flying overhead as you kayak in the waters along the Pacific coastline.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Guide to Marine Mammals of Alaska
by Kate Wynne
This book covers all 29 marine mammal species of Alaska. Each whale, porpoise, dolphin, seal, sea lion, walrus, sea otter, and polar bear is described and illustrated. Color photos and surface profile drawings show all Alaska marine mammals and compare similar species, and color range maps show distribution.
Guide to the Birds of Alaska
by Robert Armstrong
In the new 6th edition, this guide to the birds of Alaska includes more than 900 full-color photos, 22 new species, name and systematic changes made by the American Ornithological Union, updated status and distribution charts, map of Alaska's six biogeographic regions, and much more.
Field Guide to Alaskan Flowers
by Verna Pratt
With 350 color illustrations, it's slim enough to slip into your pocket.
Tlingit Tales: Potlatch and Totem Pole
by Lorie K. Harris
This book contains legends of the Tlingit Indians as told by Robert Zubov, Chief of the Beaver Clan of Angoon, Admiralty Island, Alaska.
Alaska: A History of the 49th State
by Claus Naske and Herman Slotnik
Claus-M. Naske is retired as Professor of History at the University of Alaska. A longtime resident of the state, he is the author of many works on Alaska history.
Roadside Geology of Alaska
by Cathy Conner and Daniel O'Haire
Since the first edition was published in 1988, there has been a lot of changes that have taken place in Alaska. The author discusses the latest findings from events that have taken place, such as volcanoes erupting, glaciers retreating, thawing permafrost, and geological interpretations that have changed.
Alaska's History: The People, Land and Events of the North Country
by Harry Ritter
This is a small, easily readable "digest" of Alaska's history. It is great for a quick overview and it is a good size for tucking into a suitcase or reading on a plane.
Collected Poems of Robert Service
by Robert Service
Collection of poems by novelist and poet, Robert Service. He was also often referred to as the "Bard of the Yukon" and best known for his writings that focused on the Klondike Gold Rush.
The Nature of Southeast Alaska: A Guide to Plants, Animals, and Habitats
by Robert H. Armstrong, Rita M O'Clair & Richard Carstensen
Learn about the flora and fauna of Southeast Alaska. A guide to the natural world and the unusual aspects of Southeast Alaska natural history.
Travels in Alaska
by John Muir
Take a trip to last century's Alaska through Muir's clean, easy-going, enthusiastic prose. He wrote the way he took pictures, with insight, attention, care and genuine feeling.
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11 days
10 nights
27 meals
10 B 7 L 10 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Juneau, AK
D
Baranof Downtown Hotel

Activity note: Hotel check-in available from 4:00 p.m. Remember to bring your nametag (sent previously).

Afternoon: Program Registration: 5:00 p.m. After you check in and have your room assignment, join us at the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff, get any updated information, and confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please locate your Group Leader and let them know you have arrived.

Dinner: In the hotel’s meeting space.

Evening: Orientation: 7:00 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. This program will be led by the Group Leader and local experts unless specified otherwise. Transportation will be by shuttle vehicles which vary each day between taxis, vans, small buses, and converted school buses. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

DAY
2
Canoe on Mendenhall Lake and Glacier's Edge Trek
Juneau, AK
B,L,D
Baranof Downtown Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a shuttle; minimal driving. Getting on/off a shuttle; minimal driving. Canoe for a total of 2 hours. Trek along the edge of the glacier for about 2 miles and 1.5 hours. The terrain is rocky, uneven, and can be slick.

Breakfast: In our hotel meeting space.

Morning: This morning we’ll get picked up at the hotel and transferred to our canoe outfitter for an orientation before we transfer to Mendenhall Glacier. We will divide into groups and get into our canoes with our guides. Each canoe holds up to 12 people. We will paddle across Mendenhall Lake for about one hour. We’ll take in views of Nugget Falls and paddle past Arctic Tern nesting grounds. We’ll land at the beach near Mendenhall Glacier. Following our local expert, we will trek along the rocky terrain of the glacier’s edge. We will learn about how the glacier is in a constant state of change. Our local expert will be sure to point out incredible ice features. We’ll then paddle our canoes back across the lake and transfer to our canoe outfitter where we will have lunch.

Lunch: We'll enjoy a boxed lunch.

Afternoon: You’ll have the rest of the afternoon to do what interests you the most in Juneau. Your Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: We will meet in the lobby and walk to a designated meeting space. We’ll board a shuttle and transfer to dinner. Tonight we’ll enjoy an all you can eat Alaskan buffet in the lush rainforest alongside a creek. Tables are covered and there are heaters but please be sure to dress appropriately.

Evening: Listen to the live music and explore the interactive gold rush mural before we transfer back to the hotel. Prepare for check-out and transfer tomorrow.

DAY
3
Guided hike, Flight to Gustavus
Gustavus, AK
B,D
Glacier Bay Lodge

Activity note: Getting on/off a shuttle; driving 18 miles, approximately 1/2 hour total riding time. Flight time under 1/2 hour. Walking under 1 mile; hiking approximately 5 miles in length.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will check out and store our luggage at the hotel. We will head back to Mendenhall Glacier where we will meet with local experts who will lead us on a hike. This hike will allow us to explore a different part of the park. Walking sticks will be provided but if you prefer hiking poles, you can bring your own. Following our field trip, we will return to Juneau.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Afternoon: After lunch we'll meet at the hotel to shuttle to the airport for our short flight to Gustavus. Upon arrival, we’ll check in to our hotel.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Glacier Bay National Park Boat Trip
Gustavus, AK
B,L,D
Glacier Bay Lodge

Activity note: Getting on/off a 150-passenger, high-speed catamaran with covered areas. Boat trip will take approximately 8 hours. Minimal walking.

Breakfast: At the lodge.

Morning: We’ll board a heated, high-speed catamaran with a National Park Service ranger to spend the day on the waters of Glacier Bay to view tidewater glaciers, snow-capped mountains, whales, stellar sea lions, seabirds, seals, eagles, and possibly some bears along the shore. We’ll travel to the face of the Margerie and Grand Pacific Glaciers, two of the many tidewater glaciers found in the National Park.

Lunch: Aboard the catamaran, we’ll enjoy a boxed meal.

Afternoon: We’ll continue our exploration through the bay watching for calving glaciers, floating ice, and wildlife. Isn’t that what Alaska is all about? After our stunning ride, we will return to shore and walk back to the lodge.

Dinner: At the lodge.

Evening: At the lodge, we will meet our kayak instructors for tomorrow’s trip and receive a short orientation for our coming adventures.

DAY
5
To Point Adolphus, Kayak Field Trip
Gustavus, AK
B,L,D
Glacier Bay Lodge

Activity note: Getting on/off a shuttle. Kayaking for 2.5 hours at a time, split in two alternating groups. Non-kayak boat for resting will accompany our kayaks. Extent and duration of free time activities according to personal choice.

Breakfast: At the lodge.

Morning: We will drive via shuttle to a water taxi headed to Point Adolphus for our kayak adventure. Once on shore, our experts will provide the essentials to paddle safely and efficiently. We’ll paddle out and watch for whales and other wildlife with plenty of time to take photographs, and to enjoy the true Alaskan wilderness. After a great morning of paddling, we’ll head back on the water taxi to Gustavus.

Lunch: En route to Gustavus, we will enjoy boxed lunches.

Afternoon: Those who kayaked in the morning will enjoy some independent time while the second group kayaks. Our Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: At the lodge.

Evening: At leisure. There will be another opportunity to attend a ranger-led lecture about Glacier Bay if we choose. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
6
Free Time, Hike, Transfer to Juneau
Juneau, AK
B,L,D
Baranof Downtown Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a shuttle. Hiking up to 2 miles over varied terrain. Extent and duration of walking and other free time activities according to personal choice.

Breakfast: At the lodge.

Morning: Free time. This period of time has been set aside for your personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Please note that the period scheduled for free time is subject to change depending on local circumstances and opportunities for independent exploration. We'll check out of the lodge this morning and store our luggage for our transfer in the afternoon.

Lunch: At the lodge.

Afternoon: We'll get moving again with a beautiful hike led by our Group Leader. After our hike, we will transfer to the airport for our late afternoon return flight to Juneau. Upon arrival, we will transfer to our hotel and check in.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Mount Roberts Tram, Fast Ferry to Haines
Haines, AK
B,L,D
Hotel Halsingland

Activity note: Getting on/off a shuttle. Getting on/off a ferry; riding for 3 hours. Hiking on groomed trails. Distance based on personal preference. Getting on/off a tram; ascending about 1,800 feet.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We’ll make our way to downtown Juneau, where we’ll have a chance to ride the Mount Roberts Tramway. In operation since 1996, the Mt. Roberts tram makes a six-minute ascent of 3,819-foot Mount Roberts from the docks to a height of about 1,800 feet. At the top, we will enjoy expansive views of Juneau and Gastineau Channel and have some time for exploration at the Mountain House, Chilkat Theater, and Raven Eagle Gifts & Gallery.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We’ll transfer by shuttle to the dock where we’ll board the fast ferry. We’ll enjoy educational commentary during the journey from Juneau to Haines, as well as make stops for wildlife viewing. We may be lucky enough to see eagles, whales, sea lions, and harbor seals. Along the way, we will also make a stop at the Eldred Rock Lighthouse, built in 1905 and the oldest original lighthouse in Alaska. There will be snacks available on the ferry but remember that we’ll have a delicious dinner waiting for us at the hotel when we arrive.

Dinner: At the hotel restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Bald Eagle Preserve, Klukwan Village, Afternoon Hike
Haines, AK
B,L,D
Hotel Halsingland

Activity note: Getting on/off a shuttle; driving about 44 miles, approximately 1.5 hours total riding time. Getting in/out of rafts; rafting 1.5 hours total. Hiking up to 4 miles on mostly flat, groomed paths.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Our expert naturalists will give a safety briefing at the hotel. We will then board our 16-foot oar rafts and heading out on the Chilkat River. We will be joined by a naturalist, who will discuss topics like local ecology, the history of Haines, and more. From the Alaska Department of Natural Resources: “The Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve was created by the State of Alaska in June of 1982 to protect the world’s largest concentration of Bald Eagles and their critical habitat.” The preserve consists of 48,000 acres of river bottomland formed by the intersection of three rivers and is home to Klukwan, the mother village of the Tlingit Nation. After our float, we will pull out at the site of a Klukwan village, where elders will provide a presentation about Tlingit culture and history. We will view the historical collection of the Whale House Clan. They will go on a walkthrough of the Traditional Knowledge Camp, where we will learn about adze carving for tribal canoes and smoking salmon. We’ll then listen to historical storytelling presentations. Afterwards, we will return to the hotel by shuttle.

Lunch: At the hotel, we will have boxed lunches.

Afternoon: Our expert naturalists for today’s adventure will meet us at the hotel and lead us on a hike through the rainforest, over boardwalks, bridges, and creeks to Battery Point. Full of wildflowers in the early summer, it is bordered by the Chilkat River with views of the snowcapped mountains and Lynn Canal. We will then return to the hotel.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure. Rest and relax or take a walk through town.

DAY
9
Chilkat Lake State Park, Sheldon Museum, Free Time
Haines, AK
B,D
Hotel Halsingland

Activity note: Riding in a shuttle for 2.5 hours.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: This morning we'll be met by our local expert at our hotel. We'll board our shuttle and set off to explore Chilkat Lake State Park with our local expert. They will make stops along the way for scenery and wildlife viewing. Binoculars and spotting scopes will be provided. There will be time to explore Haines on your own before we transfer to the dock for our fast ferry back to Juneau.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Afternoon: We’ll then explore the area at Fort William H. Seward with a local expert to learn about the history of the fort, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 and declared a National Historic Landmark in 1978. It was authorized by President William McKinley in December 1898 to house infantry until it was closed in 1945. Currently, the fort houses an art colony. We will then walk to the nearby Alaska Indian Arts, a nonprofit corporation dedicated to the preservation and continuation of traditional native craft and culture of the Northwest Coast Native Tribes. A local expert will lead as we observe totem poles and a carving studio. This will be followed by time on our own to explore the town. Our Group Leader will offer some suggestions.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for checkout the next morning.

DAY
10
Fast Ferry to Juneau, AK State Museum, Sealaska Heritage
Juneau, AK
B,L,D
Baranof Downtown Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a ferry; riding 3 hours. Walking approximately 1.5 miles on paved walkways. Standing as much as you want in museums.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We’ll check out and transfer to the dock, where we’ll board our fast ferry that will take us back to Juneau. We’ll enjoy interpretation from an expert and keep our eyes peeled for wildlife sightings. When we arrive in Juneau, we'll transfer to our hotel.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Following lunch we will head to the Alaska State Museum for a docent led exploration of the Museum, which is the repository for the state's history, highlighting the distinct native cultures of Alaska. Next, we’ll walk to the Sealaska Heritage Center where we will enjoy self – guided exploration of the exhibits highlighting the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian peoples.

Dinner: In the hotel meeting space. Share favorite experiences and enjoy camaraderie with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: We’ll have a program wrap up sharing our favorite memories with our fellow Road Scholars. Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
11
Program Concludes
Juneau, AK
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 11:00 a.m.

Breakfast: At the hotel. This concludes our program.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on another rewarding program in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.