8 Day Denali and The Arctic
Mid-May through mid-September
Why This Trip?
This itinerary gives you the opportunity to really explore Alaska's stunning interior. In addition to the authentic pioneer town of Talkeetna, you'll spend time amid the gorgeous wilderness of iconic Denali National Park. You'll then head to bustling Fairbanks and have the chance to witness the rugged beauty above the Arctic Circle.
Arrive & Overnight in Anchorage
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Welcome to Anchorage! Take today to explore Alaska's largest city. Walk or bike the dramatic, 11-mile Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. Go on a city tour via trolley or bike to get an overview, or join a brewery tour and sample some of the innovative suds being brewed here. Then get an in-depth picture of the city and state at the Anchorage Museum, or visit the Alaska Native Heritage Center for a dose of history and culture. Of course, you'll also want to experience the city's fantastic bars and restaurants.
Day & Overnight in Talkeetna
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Travel to charming Talkeetna by car (2 hours), train (3 hours), or bus (2.5 hours). Then explore the one-block main street, ducking in and out of the quaint shops and restaurants, like the legendary Talkeetna Roadhouse, which has been around since the early 20th century. And definitely take a tour. You're close to Denali, so go flightseeing and check out the mountain up close; you could also take a guided walk, a rafting trip, try ziplining, or go for a thrilling jetboat ride.
Travel from Talkeetna to Denali National Park
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Depart from Talkeetna for iconic Denali National Park, either by car (2.5 hours), train (4.5 hours), or motorcoach (4 hours). Head to the park's visitor center to start getting acquainted with this vast expanse of nature. And try an activity! Go flightseeing and get a bird's-eye view of the vast Alaska Range as well as the summit of Denali. Enjoy some river rafting, go for a guided hike, or take a Jeep/ATV tour and drive yourself over the tundra.
Day & Overnight in Denali National Park
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Today, you'll spend all day exploring the beauty of this park. Private vehicles are not allowed beyond mile 15, so you'll explore by bus. Opt for the National Park Service's hop-on, hop-off transit bus, or take a narrated tour. Spend 7-8 hours traveling 62 miles into the park on the Tundra Wilderness tour, or take 12 hours and go all 92 miles to the end, at Kantishna. Along the way, look for wildlife and of course, North America's tallest peak.
An alternative to a bus on the Park Road is to ride a bike! Bike Denali offers afternoon, full-day, and multi-day rentals. Bike from the park entrance, or put your bike on a shuttle to catch a ride into the park and then pedal out!
Travel from Denali National Park to Fairbanks
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Travel from Denali to the largest city in interior Alaska by car (2 hours) or train (4 hours). If going by train, you'll get in in the evening. If you're driving, though, you have the flexibility to arrive earlier. Take the extra time and check out the University of Alaska Museum of the North, where you'll get a fascinating glimpse of the cultures and wildlife that call this part of Alaska home, as well as a deep dive into contemporary Native Alaska art. You can also drive over to see the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and witness this feat of engineering.
Day & Overnight in Fairbanks
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Take another day to explore the fascinating town of Fairbanks and try another fun activity, like a jet boat ride or dog sledding tour (these run even in summer, when the sleds are on wheels). You could also take this opportunity and do something very special: a tour of the Arctic Circle! Fly, drive, or do a combo trip north, where you'll get a real sense for not only this rugged landscape, but also for the people and culture in this unique area.
Day & Overnight in Fairbanks
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Spend another unforgettable day in Fairbanks! Take advantage of whatever you didn't do yesterday. If you didn't visit the Arctic, this is your chance: A full-day trip there is a fascinating window into northern Alaskan life. If you did that yesterday, opt for another formal activity, go for a hike, or just relax and take in all the beauty around you.
Fly from Fairbanks to Anchorage
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Today you'll take the one-hour flight back to Anchorage. Board your connecting flight home, or if you have time, make a final pass through Anchorage and pick up any souvenirs to remember this amazing experience.