Plenty of travelers who come to Alaska crave an independent adventure—the freedom to explore the wilderness themselves, without being led around in a large group. But many of those same travelers will admit one thing: Alaska can be pretty daunting at first. Traverse Alaska is a private, custom tour operator based in Denali Park that walks the fine line between offering travelers some structure, while also empowering them to enjoy Alaska on their own terms.
In short, Traverse Alaska can craft fully-guided custom adventures, or set you up on a trip into the Alaska wilderness arming you with some know-how—and providing you with the independence to freely explore. Traverse Alaska’s owner, Joe and his local team can help facilitate stays in lodges, cabins, tents or yurts, and provide the necessary gear and instructions for anything from hiking to backpacking, packrafting to rafting, on an independent or fully-guided trip.
The most important piece of gear though, is your own empowerment. One of Traverse Alaska’s most popular experiences, for instance, is a hiking adventure in the Denali area. You can come with a private group, or ask to join a group (maximum six people). Your guide will take you into the backcountry on the first day, leading you through the boreal forest along a moose or caribou trail up to the tundra, while discussing Denali’s unique natural history, geology, and cultural history. You will cover safe travel protocol among the wildlife and trail-less backcountry of Alaska.
Your guide will make sure that by the end of the day, you are confident and prepared for your own, self-guided hiking adventure in Alaska’s backcountry. You will have all the tools necessary for a successful independent trip in Denali National Park (map, bus system explanation, etc.). At the end of that second day, people come back exhilarated—having successfully explored the backcountry on their own.
Choose Your Multi-Day Adventure
That same format extends to Traverse Alaska’s multi-day adventures, which might focus on hiking, rafting, packrafting, or backpacking between small local lodges. Maybe you’ll start with hiking on that first day, then learn a new skill the next day with your guide—like packrafting, which involves putting on a dry suit, inflating the packraft, then navigating class I to class II water.
No matter the adventure, Joe and his local guides help create a trip catered to the abilities and your group’s appetite for adventure. If your group is athletic, maybe you’ll climb a mountain peak. If you’re traveling with a multigenerational family with various mobility levels, perhaps you’ll set out on the tundra to pick berries and play games. The goal is to challenge you at whatever level you and your group are at, learn new skills, and have a fun and safe adventure.
Special for 2020! Drive The Denali Park Road
Now you can witness the majesty of Denali in a socially distanced way—driving a comfortable SUV, on a tour led by an expert guide driving a separate vehicle. Before 2020, guided trips past Mile 15 on the Park Road were only available via a shuttle bus. But a special new permit, which Traverse Alaska has secured, allows privately guided trips to go to Mile 66 from July 1 to September 17. Now, you and your group (up to 8 of your family and friends in a vehicle) can take the wheel of your own Suburban for this 8- to 9-hour tour, while an expert guide leads you (and up to one other vehicle) in a separate car. The guide will be narrating via two-way radio, pointing out the park’s highlights—like snow-capped Mt. Denali, on a clear day—and looking for the park’s famous wildlife (bears, wolves, caribou, moose, Dall sheep, and more) along the way. At Mile 66, you’ll have time to explore the area around the Eielson Visitor Center, walk a trail if you’d like, and relax before driving back.
About Traverse Alaska
Traverse Alaska is a small company based in Denali Park, Alaska comprised of local, professional adventure enthusiasts. All guides live in Alaska year-round pursuing the myriad activities that the changing seasons afford. Their mission is to provide excellent quality service while inspiring a connection to the natural world through human powered adventure. They believe in using solid, functional equipment to assist in their adventures, and safety remains a top priority in any endeavor. The custom designed trips focus on deep exploration and education, giving clients the opportunity to experience true, wild freedom at their own, unique pace.
Joe says that the transformations among guests can be incredible. After guests learn some basic Alaskan skills, travelers beam with pride—and start making plans to come back and keep exploring on their own. “I literally pushed myself to new heights,” wrote one traveler in a review, “tested my emotional limits and hiked with an indescribable sense of accomplishment—facilitated by Joe, but all made by me!”