20-Day Alaska Adventure in a Converted School Bus
- Explore the wilderness of Alaska, traveling by remodeled school bus
- Enjoy a range of outdoor activities from glacier hikes to ice kayaking
- Camp and cook under the stars and listen to the sounds of nature
- Drive along the only road in the Denali National Park looking for bears, moose, caribou, and wolves
- Canoe the Mclaren River
- Learn about the old copper mines and the last Gold Rush
- Try your hand at fishing for salmon
- Kayak around Seldovia Bay
- Add on optional activities such as scenic flights over Mt. McKinley
Welcome to the largest city of Alaska, most often thought of as the state's capital. Start off your vacation flying into stunning scenery overlooking the Chugach, Alaskan, Kenai, and Talkeetna mountain ranges. Although Mt. McKinley is only visible 20% of the year, there's a chance you could even catch a glimpse. Anchorage is Alaska's most populated area yet it's shared with the likes of bears, moose, and wolves. After your flight into this urban wilderness, make your way to your accommodations for the 18:00 pre-departure meeting followed by a group meal. Take this evening to get to know your fellow travelers and guides.
• Anchorage accommodation
• Welcome Meeting
Located on the east side of the Kenai Peninsula and Resurrection Bay, Seward is known as the "Gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park." Seward is about a half-day drive from Anchorage. In the afternoon you will have some free time to explore the scenic waterfront of Seward.
The following morning, experience the national park by boat, cruising among the glaciers and wildlife. After hopefully spotting as much wildlife as possible you'll get to see a calving glacier! On this 6-hour wildlife cruise, lunch will be served on the boat.
A visit to Seward would not be complete without hiking alongside the picturesque Exit Glacier with the high probability of seeing a few of the local black bear feeding on some berries. The top of the trail is a window to past ice ages – a horizon of ice and snow that stretches as far as the eye can see! If you don’t feel prepared to do the full 8.2-mile round-trip, there are shorter options with equally breathtaking views available.
• Kenai National Park Entrance
• Kenai Fjords National Park Wildlife cruise
• Calving Glaciers with lunch on boat
• Hiking Exit Glacier
Day 5: HOMER
Located on the western side of the Kenai Peninsula and Kachemak Bay, Homer is the launching point for the 2-night Adventure Camp. But, don't overlook this artist-inspired town with its many galleries along the spit. You'll arrive quite early so that there is enough time to explore the picturesque town and it's fishermen culture. For example, the Salty Dawg Saloon's lighthouse is a great place to sit belly-up to the bar along with posting your dollar bill on the ceiling or wall so that your friend, who will be by later, will have a drink on you.
On the way to Homer there will be enough time for some scenic photo stops and short hikes.
• Exploring the picturesque town of Homer and its fishermen culture
• "Halibut Fishing Capital of the World" USD 140 (half-day, for the following morning)
Day 6 – 7: ADVENTURE CAMP
Take a boat ride from Homer to Seldovia, landing on this lovely and relatively untouched beach of the peninsula. Camping is done in canvas tents with beds and all the amenities you'll need. There is a beautiful main house where meals, comfortable chairs, coffee and tea are always on tap. From there venture out into the pristine wilderness and explore the many coves and trails. The next day you'll have a half day of sea kayaking around Seldovia Bay, frequently visited by sea otters and harbor seals and watched overhead by bald and golden eagles.
On one of the evenings the owner Tony will be serving the famous salmon dinner!
• Water Taxi from and to Homer (30 minute ride)
• 2-night stay at the Adventure Camp, canvas tents with beds, luxurious main house
• Half-day sea kayaking Seldovia Bay, all meals cooked and served by Adventure Camp
Day 8: HOPE
In the morning you can either go on the optional flight to Katmai NP/Lake Clark to see the famous grizzlies or take the water taxi back to Homer to have a few hours in Homer before heading off to Hope. Hope is a quaint little town overlooking Cook Inlet/Turnagain Arm and is just a short drive from Anchorage yet; there is still plenty to do here from gold panning, hiking, and bird watching. In the summer during weekends there might be some live concerts going on in the local fishermen bars.
• Town Visit
• Time for souvenir shopping
• Bear Viewing Katmai or Lake Clark (USD 600)
• Gold Panning ( USD 20 – 60)
DAY 9: ANCHORAGE
Today it’s only a short drive around the Turnagain Arm back to Anchorage. You'll stop at the famous Beluga Point. You'll potentially be able to see Beluga Whales or Dall Sheep. In the afternoon there'll be time to explore Anchorage downtown. Anchorage is a lively city that houses almost 50% of the state’s 730,000 people. (Commonly it is mistaken for the capital of Alaska, but that would be Juneau.) Throughout the summer there are multiple festivals and plenty of live music in the evenings. Keep in mind that this city is situated right in the heart of the wilderness, where over 1,000 moose, 250 black bears, and 100 grizzly bears also call it home.
• Visit Beluga Point at Turnagain Arm
• Anchorage City Tour
• Heritage Center
DAY 10 – 12: DENALI NATIONAL PARK
In the morning you'll head off to the amazing Denali National Park. Whether it's flora or fauna you came to see, this is the place to fulfill your hopes of seeing large and small wild animals living as they have for ages. You'll set up your campsite and have opportunities over the following 2 days to take a bus ride through the national park along its only road and hopefully spot bears, moose, caribou, or wolves. For those of you who are looking for a heart pounding and more strenuous adventure, you’ll have the opportunity for trailblazing throughout the park’s 6 million acres. No trip would be complete without adding the optional activity of flying over Denali National Park and around Mt. McKinley (20,320 ft/6194 m.) In the evenings, sit around the campfire, listen to the sounds of the night and tell your adventures of the day.
• 2-Day National Park Entrance and Shuttle Bus services
• Hiking in Denali National Park (short, long, off the beaten track, you decide!)
• Flights over Mt. McKinley USD 210 – 320 plus USD 75 for glacier landing
Day 13 – 14: MACLAREN RIVER LODGE
From Denali, you'll take a drive down the lightly-traveled Denali Highway. First opened in 1957, this dirt road was the first to access Denali National Park (then known as Mt. McKinley National Park.) Located in the Maclaren river valley, you traverse through high alpine country on the state’s second highest highway pass. Here lies the Maclaren River Lodge run by Alan and Susie, who are fantastic hosts that will take you on a boat ride up to "The Glacier Camp." Embrace the wilderness where you'll find no mobile phone reception and no roads. Here you'll stay overnight exploring and camping out underneath the stars. The next morning, take a casual canoe trip back down the river for your next night at this beautifully situated lodge.
• Boat Ride up to Glacier Camp
• Guided overnight stay at Glacier Camp sleeping under the stars
• Canoe trip on Maclaren River
• Fishing (price determined by number of participants)
Day 15 – 17: WRANGELL/ST ELIAS NP
Here you’ll visit the largest national park in the United States and camp at the "End-of-the-road” campground. Literally at the end of the McCarthy Road, these 60 miles of gravel road were built along the old Copper River and Northwestern railways. Most remnants left of this once thriving area were a part of the copper mines, but most people forget this was where the last great gold rush happened in Alaska. There are many optional activities like hiking, ice climbing, glacier walks, guided mine tours, rafting, and scenic flights around 16,000-foot peaks, 25-mile long glaciers and massive ice-falls. So, days 16 and 17 are left for you to decide what to do: Take the optional historical tour and get carried away by the gold rush, hike on your own in the beautiful surroundings or try some crazy outdoor stuff like ice climbing, guided glacier hikes, or whitewater rafting.
• Scenic Drive
• Ice Climbing USD 125 (full day)
• Root Glacier Hike USD 70 (half day) USD 100 (full day)
• Three Rivers Raft/Fly-in USD 285 (6 – 8 hours)
• Kennecott History Tour USD 25 (2.5 hours)
Day 18 – 19: VALDEZ
Valdez is the terminus of the 800-mile trans-Alaskan pipeline that begins at Prudhoe Bay, Valdez is an important gateway to the interior of Alaska. Valdez was brought to the forefront of national media March 1989. The Exxon Valdez ran aground causing an 11-million gallon oil spill. For many years, flora and fauna were devastated by this environmental catastrophe. Thankfully, order has been restored and the Chugach Mountains set a gorgeous backdrop to this quaint little town. The next day is focused on optional activities. Highly recommended is the Columbia Glacier Sea Kayaking for it's beautiful scenery, mammoth icebergs and possibility of spotting all kinds of wildlife.
Venture out in the evening and see if you can find some bears feeding on salmon. Valdez is well-known for bears coming to the local salmon fish hatchery and the surrounding creeks.
• Hiking and Scenic Drive
• Glacier Hiking USD 110 (5 – 6 hours)
• Glacier/Iceberg Sea Kayaking (price to be determined)
• Glacier Wildlife Cruises USD 105 (half day)
Day 20: LAST DAY
Here you'll be left to your own devices. But not before you've crossed Thompson Pass with its stunning views on Worthington Glacier. The lunch stop will be at Matanuska Glacier before returning to Anchorage in the late afternoon.
- 20-day tour in overland vehicle
- Accommodations outlined for nights in Hostel/Campsites
- All meals cooked off the truck (19xBreakfast, 18xLunch, 16xDinner)
- Denali National Park wildlife buses to Toklat River and Eielsen Visitor Center (2 days)
- Maclaren Lodge/Wilderness Glacier camp
- Boat and canoe trips on Maclaren River
- Hikes in Denali NP, Wrangell/St. Elias NP, Seward and Valdez
- Kenai Fjords National Park wildlife cruise and calving glacier - Resurrection Bay Tour including lunch on boat
- 2-night stay at Adventure Luxury Camp – lodging and all meals
- Half-day Sea Kayaking at the Adventure Camp
- Admission to National Parks and Monuments
- Pre-departure welcome meeting to provide you with a good understanding of the trip ahead
- Services of 2 trained/commercially certified leaders/drivers
- High-quality 4-person tents (that will sleep just 2), camp chairs, and cooking equipment
- Flight to Anchorage
- ESTA fee
- Sleeping bag and mattress
Prepare for the activity
• Glacier hiking Valdez - USD 110 (5-6 hours); Glacier/iceberg sea kayaking (prices to be determined); Glacier wildlife cruises - USD 105 (half-day)
• Halibut Fishing Capital of the World tour Homer - USD 140 (half-day)
• Salmon fishing Hope USD 80 (gear rental and license)
• Please bring your own sleeping bag and pad or ask for rental gear