South Central Express

This trip combines some of Alaska’s most special and iconic experiences. You’ll strap on climbing harnesses and crampons to traverse a glacier, receive a personal introduction to the sport of dog sledding and “The Last Great Race on Earth”, and stand among granite peaks as you take in the immense scale of the mountains surrounding you. You’ll get a chance to fish along the Talkeetna River, which boasts the second largest run of migrating fish in the world, and view Denali up close on a flightseeing tour. Everywhere, you’ll enjoy some of the most spectacular scenery on earth. With three nights each at Hotel Alyeska and Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge, your days will be full but the pace will be kept leisurely.

Scroll down for a detailed itinerary

 

The Itinerary

Day 1

Upon your arrival at the airport in Fairbanks, you will take a courtesy shuttle to your hotel, you’ll make it an early start tomorrow. Accommodations are at Springhill Suites by Marriott.

Day 2

Following another short shuttle, you’ll catch the 8:15 Alaska Railroad GoldStar dome train bound for Denali National Park and Preserve. From the open-air platform or glass-covered observation deck, you’ll soak up views of tundra, deep river canyons, and mountains. Upon arrival, meet the North Face Lodge bus for your trip deep into the heart of Denali. Watch for black bear, grizzly, moose, caribou, Dall sheep, wolves, and more as you journey 90 miles into the Park. Accommodations are at North Face Lodge, in a Lodge Room.

Days 3-4

Apart from enjoying views of Denali (on clear days) and six other major peaks, your two days at North Face Lodge will afford you opportunities for independent adventures or naturalist-guided excursions. With countless alpine valleys and lofty ridges within your reach, you may opt to hike, bike along the park road, fish for Arctic grayling or Mackinaw trout, paddle a canoe along Wonder Lake, observe unique birdlife, or photograph Denali bathed in alpenglow. Accommodations are at North Face Lodge, Lodge Room.

Day 5

Mid-morning, meet your pilot for a scenic flight back to the park entrance. You’ll soar through the awe-inspiring Alaska Range, over glaciers, and past the North Face of Denali. From Denali National Park depot, you will board the Alaska Railroad GoldStar dome train bound for Talkeetna. In Talkeetna you will transfer to Fish Lake to board a floatplane bound for your next adventure. Accommodations are at Winterlake Lodge, in a Cabin.

Day 6

Engage in any number of activities at the Lodge: hike along the historic Iditarod Sled Dog Trail, or along Wolverine Ridge, which offers views of Denali and the chance to spot black bears, moose, and wolves; go kayaking or canoeing; take a yoga class or therapeutic massage; or enjoy a cooking class with the resident chef or perhaps lodge-owner, Kirsten Dixon. Accommodations are at Winterlake Lodge, in a Cabin.

Day 7

Today’s adventures are supported by a Robinson R-44 helicopter—allowing you to explore the pristine backcountry surrounding the lodge. Your options include sportfishing, rafting on the wild Happy River, hiking to a glacier ridge, glacier trekking on a rarely visited section of the Alaska Range, or dining on Wolverine Ridge. Accommodations are at Winterlake Lodge, in a Cabin.

Day 8

Take a scenic floatplane flight through the Tordrillo Mountains and Triumvirate Glacier to Redoubt Bay Bear Sanctuary. A trained naturalist will take you by boat for an up close and safe view of the feeding brown or black bears. Late afternoon, board another floatplane to Lake Hood in Anchorage, from where you will be transported to your hotel. Accommodations are at the Hotel Captain Cook, in a Junior Suite.

Day 9

Your driver will transport you from your hotel to the Anchorage airport in time for your return flight. Safe travels!

 

Download PDF Itinerary

The Route

 

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