Passport to Southeast Alaska: By Hiking Boot, Kayak & Boat
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.
Rating (5)
Program No. 22225RJ
10 days
Starts at
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10 days
9 nights
24 meals
9 B 6 L 9 D
Getting There
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Check-in, Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Sitka, AK
Westmark Hotel Sitka

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, and other important information. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in.

Dinner: At the hotel's restaurant enjoy dinner off a select menu including entrées, soup or salad and dessert, plus coffee, tea, or water.

Evening: Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures including contact numbers for key staff, and answer any questions you may have. This program will be led by the Group Leader and local experts unless specified otherwise. Transportation will vary each day between taxis, vans, small busses, or converted school busses. Scheduled free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Please be aware that program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Kayak Sitka Sound, Walk Downtown Sitka Field Trip
Sitka, AK
Westmark Hotel Sitka

Activity note: Our kayaking experts will choose the landing site depending on water conditions and land first, assisting participants to get in/out. Kayaking at a leisurely pace for approximately 2-1/2 hours; walking for approximately 1 hour on dirt/sand/gravel paths. Walking up to 2-1/2 miles in the afternoon.

Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant to include choices such as egg dishes, cereals, toast, yogurt, fresh fruit, plus coffee, tea, and water.

Morning: We will walk to the center of town and meet our kayak outfitter, Sitka Sound Ocean Adventures who will start with an orientation to the equipment. We'll then head out on our kayaking adventure in the sound. With our expert, we will paddle near fisherman, tug boats, and other vessels before heading out of the harbor to explore island shores and kelp forests keeping an eye out for wildlife. We'll then head to Fort Rousseau where we will explore on foot with our experts.

Lunch: Enjoy an early lunch picnic on the beach including smoked salmon, fresh fruit, veggies and dip, gourmet crackers and hummus and assortment of large homemade cookies plus bottled water.

Afternoon: We'll return to the hotel to freshen up and prepare for our walks to the Sheldon Jackson Museum and National Historic Park. With museum staff, we will explore the oldest museum in Alaska, founded in 1897 and learn about Rev. Dr. Sheldon Jackson’s collection and artifacts. At the National Historical Park, we will walk through Totem Park to learn about the totems and the symbols within them. One of Alaska's most charming communities, Sitka has a complex history. Kiksadi Tlingit people have lived in the area for 8,000 years or more. The protected harbor and rich natural resources made it attractive to European explorers. Serious Russian interest began in 1725 when Tsar Peter the Great sent Vitus Bering to explore the Pacific coast of North America. A Russian trading enterprise called the Russian American Company was eventually formed. After much fighting between Russian forces and the native Tlingit people, Sitka became the administrative center and remained so until the sale of Alaska to the United States in 1867. The name “Alaska” is a Russified version of an Aleut word meaning “great land.”

Dinner: We'll celebrate Sitka with a plated meal in a local restaurant, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Walk back to the hotel enjoying the sights and sounds of Sitka.

Sitka Sound Science Center, Hike in Sitka, Flight to Juneau
Juneau, AK
Prospector Hotel

Activity note: Walk to science center is 3/4 of a mile. Hike will be approximately 5 miles in length.

Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant.

Morning: This morning we will check-out and store our luggage at the hotel. We'll walk to the Sitka Sound Science Center for a discussion of tidal sea life in the sound along with a chance to enjoy the touch tanks with many different types of sea creatures. Following our visit here we will hike in Sitka through forested terrain watching for birds and wildlife such as deer. Large Sitka spruce, Alaska yellow cedar and western hemlock line the trail.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like on a late lunch in town.

Afternoon: Following our free time we will meet at a pre-arranged location and time and we'll return to the hotel to meet our shuttle to the airport for our flight to Juneau. Upon our arrival in Juneau, check into the hotel.

Dinner: At the hotel enjoy a late dinner.

Evening: At the hotel, learn about life in the last frontier.

Mendenhall Glacier, Free Time, Flight to Gustavus
Gustavus, AK
Glacier Bay Lodge

Activity note: Hike up to 4 miles on uneven terrain with moderate elevation gain.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel restaurant via vouchers.

Morning: We'll head to the Mendenhall Glacier to explore the area around the glacier’s base, including the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center which overlooks the Mendenhall Valley. Known as Sitaantaagu, meaning “the Glacier Behind the Town,” it is only 12 miles from downtown Juneau allowing easy access to the 13 mile long glacier. Mendenhall Lake was created by melting ice and runoff from the glacier, flowing out through the 6 mile long Mendenhall River. 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: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most in downtown Juneau. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. We will then gather to transfer to the airport for a short flight to Gustavus. We transfer to the lodge and check in for three nights.

Dinner: At the lodge we'll have a plated meal to include an entrée, side dish, salad, dessert, coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Rest and relax this evening. The inn has bikes that you can take to ride out through the town, out to the beach, or wherever you would like!

Glacier Bay National Park Boat Trip
Gustavus, AK
Glacier Bay Lodge

Activity note: Our boat trip into the bay will be on a 150-passenger, high-speed Catamaran with covered areas. Boat trip will take approximately 8 hours.

Breakfast: At the lodge, enjoy a buffet breakfast, plus coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We'll board a heated, high-speed catamaran with a National Park 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 including a sandwich, fruit, cookie, plus coffee, tea, hot chocolate and water.

Afternoon: We'll continue our trip through the bay watching for calving glaciers, floating ice, and wildlife! Isn't that what Alaska is all about?!

Dinner: Plated meal at the lodge.

Evening: Evening to enjoy at leisure.

To Point Adolphus, Kayak Field Trip
Gustavus, AK
Glacier Bay Lodge

Activity note: Kayaking for 2-1/2 hours at a time. We will have a boat with us for those who want to rest and relax.

Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the lodge.

Morning: We will be picked up from the hotel and transfer to a water taxi to Point Adolphus for a kayak field trip. Once on shore, your 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 enjoy the true Alaskan wilderness!

Lunch: We'll head to shore for a special box meal provided by our kayaking outfitter.

Afternoon: After a great day of paddling, we will head back on the water taxi to Gustavus.

Dinner: Plated meal at the lodge.

Evening: At leisure. Enjoy a relaxing final evening around Glacier Bay National Park.

Hike, Glacier Bay Visitor's Center, Transfer to Juneau
Juneau, AK
Prospector Hotel

Activity note: Hike up to 3 miles over varied terrain.

Breakfast: Buffet at the lodge.

Morning: This morning will include some free time to check out of the lodge and enjoy a hike with your Road Scholar leader.

Lunch: At the lodge enjoy a plated meal.

Afternoon: This afternoon we will head to the airport for our return flight to Juneau.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: With our Group Leader, continue to learn about Alaska. Known as the Alaskan Panhandle, southeastern Alaska is a temperate rain forest rich in history, culture, and biodiversity.

AMHS to Haines, Alaska Indian Arts, Free Time in Haines
Haines, AK
Halsingland Hotel

Activity note: Walking up to 3 miles along even terrain.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We'll check out of the hotel and ride to the Alaska Marine Highway ferry and head up the Lynn Canal. Our staff will introduce us to the area from the deck of the ferry. North America’s longest and deepest glacial fjord, the Lynn Canal is surrounded by majestic mountains and abounds with wildlife. As we pass between hanging glaciers, keep an eye out for seabirds and eagles.

Lunch: Arriving in Haines we will transfer to the hotel and check in. We'll enjoy lunch at the hotel to include sandwiches, fruit, cookies and tea or water.

Afternoon: Following lunch we'll explore the area at Fort William H. Seward with a local expert to learn about the history of the fort which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, and was 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 and we will continue our exploration with a visit to Alaska Indian Arts, a nonprofit corporation dedicated to the preservation and continuation of traditional native craft and culture of the Northwest Coast Native Tribes, to see totem poles and a carving studio. This will be followed by free time to explore the town. Our group leader will offer some suggestions.

Dinner: At the hotel restaurant, enjoy a plated meal featuring creative and unique entrées prepared from locally caught and grown ingredients, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

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

Bald Eagle Preserve, Klukwan Village, Afternoon Hike
Haines, AK
Halsingland Hotel

Activity note: Getting in/out of rafts. Hiking up to 4 miles on mostly flat, groomed paths.

Breakfast: At the hotel enjoy a catered meal including your previously selected breakfast sandwiches, coffee, tea, fruit juice, water.

Morning: Today we will be picked up by Alaska Mountain Guides' experienced naturalists. They will go over a safety talk prior to boarding 16 foot oar rafts and heading out on the Chilkat River. 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 bottom land 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 for our group.

Lunch: We will have box lunches, plus soft drinks, water, served in the community room at the village.

Afternoon: We'll return to the hotel for a chance to refresh and take an afternoon hike through the rainforest, over boardwalks and bridges over creeks to Moose Meadows. Full of wildflowers in the early summer, it is bordered by the Chilkat River with views of the snowcapped mountains and Chilkat Inlet.

Dinner: Hotel restaurant plated meal.

Evening: Enjoy a sharing of stories of your adventure in wondrous Alaska!

Fast Ferry to Juneau, Program Concludes
Haines, AK

Breakfast: Enjoy a breakfast burrito at the hotel. Once on the fast ferry, additional breakfast snacks will be provided.

Morning: Checking out of the hotel, we will ride to the ferry and make our way to Juneau. When we arrive in Juneau, we will transfer to the airport. This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!

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