22254
Alaska
Choose Your Pace: Hike & Explore Denali’s Backcountry Wilderness
Explore one of Alaska’s premier parks as you hike at your pace, learn with Denali Education Center staff and travel deep into the heart of Denali to stay at the iconic North Face Lodge.
Program No. 22254RJ
Length
10 days
Starts at
4,999
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10 days
9 nights
26 meals
9 B 8 L 9 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Fairbanks, AK
D
River's Edge Resort

Activity note: Meet the group leader and enjoy your first group dinner in Alaska. Go over the program's itinerary and start getting to know the other participants.

Dinner: Enjoy a delicious buffet style dinner at the River's Edge Resort.

Evening: Orientation and Introductions- Start getting to know your fellow participants and get and overview of your upcoming adventures!

DAY
2
Take the train south, stretch your legs, and start learning!
Denali National Park, AK
B,L,D
Denali Education Center

Activity note: Ride the Alaska Railroad south to Denali and your new home away from home. After lunch and a short orientation to your Denali accommodations, enjoy a guided outing before taking some time to explore Denali's Visitor Center.

Breakfast: Enjoy a buffet Breakfast at the River's Edge Resort.

Morning: Ride the Alaska Railroad south to Denali, taking in sweeping views along the way.

Lunch: Home style buffet lunch at Denali Education Center's Riverside Hall.

Afternoon: Take in a short guided hike and get your first look at Denali National Park. Spend some time at Denali's Visitor Center or meet Denali's sled dogs and tour their kennel.

Dinner: Home made buffet dinner at Denali Education Center's Riverside Hall.

Evening: Hear from a local year-round resident about what it's like to live in Interior Alaska! Groceries, babies, and outhouses... we'll talk about it all.

DAY
3
Savage Alpine Trail Hike
Denali National Park, AK
B,L,D
Denali Education Center

Activity note: Stretch your leg and take in Denali's Alpine area with your first full day hiking opportunity.

Breakfast: Riverside Hall

Morning: Pick your pace! This day begins with your choice of either a moderate or strenuous hike. The strenuous will set off into the subarctic tundra along the newly-constructed Savage Alpine Trail in Denali National Park. Begin at the Savage River and gain approximately 1500 feet to the Mount Healy ridgeline. This will be the first opportunity to gain views of Mount Denali- weather permitting. During the hike be on the lookout for marmot, caribou, Dall sheep and possibly grizzly. Wildflowers and bird life abound in Denali- even at our higher elevations!This 4-mile hike, with up to 25 percent grade, concludes at the historic Savage River Campground. -OR- Decide on a Moderate hike. Our moderate hikers will explore a portion of the Savage Alpine Trail, taking in Denali's splendor while stretching their legs. Marvel at, and learn about, the scope of Denali from the tiny lichen that paint our landscape to the mountains that make up our skylines. Watch for arctic ground squirrel dashing around your feet and Dall sheep clinging to rocky slopes above. This trail offers an excellent opportunity to explore the diversity of flora that exists in the transition zone between our Boreal forest and subarctic tundra.

Lunch: In the field

Afternoon: Learn about the sometimes surprising, always extreme, conditions that shape life in Denali and define our subarctic ecosystem during this one hour “Welcome to the Subarctic" class.

Dinner: Riverside Hall

Evening: Guest speaker TBA. Schedule for expert local evening presenters in Denali will be announced on the first day of the program. Topics vary from natural history to mountaineering to lifestyle, and may be part of a community offering, integrating you into the local culture.

DAY
4
Boreal Forest: Mt. Healy(Strenuous) or Rock Creek(Moderate)
Denali National Park, AK
B,L,D
Denali Education Center

Activity note: A change of scenery and another chance to explore! Today's learning will focus on Denali's largest forested ecosystem, the boreal forest!

Breakfast: Riverside Hall

Morning: Again, choose your adventure with either a strenuous or moderate hike. Our strenuous hike will enjoy an invigorating climb up Mount Healy! Highlights could include views of the Alaska Range- weather permitting. As you catch your breath on the switchbacks, look for evidence of old ski runs used by soldiers in 1942 during times of recreation. Gain a birds-eye view above treeline with 1700 feet of elevation change, and up to 25 percent trail grade. The Mount Healy Trail crosses native soils with exposed rocks and roots. This challenging hike takes about 4-6 hours for the 4-mile round trip but can afford you sweeping views of the surrounding landscape that can make every step worth while. -OR- Decide to take in our moderate hike and explore the Rock Creek Trail as it winds through Denali's boreal forest. As you traverse the landscape, our field educator will highlight the ecology, botany, geology, and history that have shaped interior Alaska. Take time to investigate how life thrives in Denali and the subarctic. Rock Creek trail consists of compact gravel with some roots and rocks to navigate. This hike is approximately 3.5 miles in length with about 400 feet of elevation change and up to a 15 percent trail grade.

Lunch: In the field

Afternoon: Discover the extraordinary animals that call Denali home and learn about their marvelous adaptations to life at high latitudes in our one hour “Wildlife of Denali” class.

Dinner: Riverside Hall

Evening: Guest speaker TBA. Schedule for expert local evening presenters in Denali will be announced on first day of program.

DAY
5
Triple Lakes Trail Hike
Denali National Park, AK
B,L,D
Denali Education Center

Activity note: Spend the whole day away as you hike beside tundra lakes and take in our sweeping views.

Breakfast: Riverside Hall

Morning: The Triple Lakes hike starts in the boreal forest but climbs to alpine areas as this 9.5 mile trail winds through Denali's wilderness. Participants that would like to continue to stretch their legs with another strenuous hike will spend the day traversing the trail's entire length- gaining 1000 feet of elevation in the process. -OR- If you would like a more moderate option for your day, elect to enjoy a shorter hike on the Triple Lakes Trail. The moderate hike will trek out to the third lake, 5 miles round trip with 500 feel of elevation change, before heading back to Denali Education Center's campus. This section of the trial takes in sweeping views of the valley while winding through Denali's wilderness areas. Both the strenuous and moderate hikes could see beaver, moose, or a variety of waterfowl as they trek by the three mountain lakes that give this this trails its name. The trail surface is compact gravel with possible roots and rocks to navigate.

Lunch: In the field

Afternoon: Continue hiking and enjoying the Triple Lakes Trail

Dinner: Riverside Hall

Evening: Spend the evening at your leisure. Enjoy camaraderie and the view from the back deck overlooking the glacial-fed Nenana River.

DAY
6
Journey to the Heart of Denali: North Face Lodge
Kantishna, AK
B,L,D
North Face Lodge

Activity note: Travel the whole length of Denali's Park Road and learn about its rich ecology and history. This one-way journey ends at North Face Lodge- your home away from home for the next three nights!

Breakfast: Riverside Hall

Morning: Take the morning to rest and relax, spend your morning exploring the park independently, or with one of our field educators on an optional 3-mile guided hike at the park's entrance. Other optional activities include visiting the kennels of a local Iditarod champion or visiting the Murie Science and Learning Center.

Lunch: In the field

Afternoon: After an independent morning you will meet Camp Denali and North Face Lodge's buses at the Denali Railroad Depot. There, you will be greeted by the Lodge's drivers, who are also expert naturalists. Throughout the day, your driver will interpret Denali's geology, ecology, and history as they transport you along the length of Denali's 94-mile park road. This ride is a full day of adventure, with stops for restroom breaks, wildlife viewing, photographic opportunities, and a picnic dinner along the way. Keep your eyes peeled for caribou, Golden Eagle, grizzly bear or the peaks of the Alaska Range as participants will enjoy stunning scenery and opportunities for wildlife viewing on this journey to the heart of the Denali National Park.

Dinner: Savor a picnic dinner en route.

Evening: Upon arriving at North Face Lodge a host will greet and welcome you into their dinning room. Enjoy a warm beverage or some light refreshments as they explain some of the Lodge's amenities before the evening concludes.

DAY
7
Explore the areas surrounding North Face Lodge.
Kantishna, AK
B,L,D
North Face Lodge

Activity note: Explore remote alpine valleys and tundra-covered ridges on day-long guided outings. Each day you will have a choice of an easy, moderate, or strenuous guided hike in the trail-less terrain of Denali’s wilderness.

Breakfast: North Face Lodge prides itself on offering a variety of wholesome meals that are made from scratch by their talented kitchen staff. Each breakfast includes a plated hot option or a cereal bar which includes house made yogurt with hot and cold cereal options.

Morning: After picking your preferred hiking pace for the day you will strike out on a day-long naturalist guided hike into the heart of Denali's wilderness. The hikes offered by North Face lodge can include both on and off trail hiking options. Whether your goal is to top a ridge line to take in the surrounding views or meander in a lush valley looking for ground-nesting birds and meadow flowers, Denali is able to offer all of this and more.

Lunch: Before embarking on your hike, each day you will pack a lunch to go and tailor it to your tastes. Start with some of the lodge's house made breads, add some in-house roasted meat, and let your stomach choose from there. Gorp, fruit, carrot sticks, and freshly baked cookies are some of the options frequently offered by the lodge to include in your lunch.

Dinner: Each dinner at North Face Lodge is plated and served. Throughout your stay you will sample a range of the creations all made with love by their kitchen staff. Each dinner includes either a soup or a salad to start, a vegetarian or meat option, as well as a home made dessert with coffee or tea.

Evening: Enhance your understanding and appreciation of the Far North by joining lodge staff for an evening presentation or set out on your own on a quiet evening walk or ask your North Face Lodge hosts about other evening opportunities that are available to you

DAY
8
Hike, Bike, Fish, or Fly: The Sky's the Limit
Kantishna, AK
B,L,D
North Face Lodge

Activity note: Spend the day hiking with the group, or opt to strike out on your own independent day activity. Choose to spend the day biking the Park's road, canoeing on Wonder Lake, or fishing for trout in one of Denali's streams.

Breakfast: North Face Lodge served breakfast cereal bar.

Morning: Join an expert naturalist for a day-long hike exploring the high alpine area of the park. Experience a variety of geologic formations, wildlife habitat and scenery throughout the day. -OR- Choose to spend the day on your own with an independent activity. Optional activities for the duration of your stay at North Face Lodge include: fishing in Moose Creek or Wonder Lake (for Arctic Grayling or Mackinaw Trout, respectively), bicycling the Park Road, canoeing Wonder Lake, or reserving a flightseeing tour of Denali.

Lunch: To-Go lunch In the field

Dinner: Plated and served dinner at North Face Lodge

Evening: Once again join the Lodge staff for an optional evening presentation that seeks to explain some of the wonders of the Far North.

DAY
9
Depart from North Face and Transfer back to River's Edge.
Fairbanks, AK
B,L,D
River's Edge Resort

Activity note: Enjoy an early breakfast before you start the journey back to Denali's east end. Take in lunch at Denali's depot before journeying back to Fairbanks and the River's Edge Resort.

Breakfast: Enjoy an early morning breakfast before departing North Face Lodge.

Morning: Travel back along the park road from Camp Denali & North Face Lodge to the Denali Railroad Depot. Take this time to reflect on your time in Denali, savor the stunning scenery, or watch for wildlife viewing opportunities on this journey from the heart of the park back to Denali's entrance area.

Lunch: At Denali's Railroad Depot

Afternoon: After a short break at the Depot and a chance to stretch your legs you'll travel by coach back to River's Edge Resort for the night.

Dinner: Enjoy dinner at River's Edge Resort in Fairbanks before your final evening in Alaska.

Evening: Spend the evening reflecting on your time in Alaska and Denali with your fellow participants.

DAY
10
Breakfast and independent departures.
Fairbanks, AK
B

Activity note: Enjoy a buffet style breakfast before you depart for your next adventure!

Breakfast: Buffet style breakfast at River's Edge Resort.






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