Why This Trip?
If you're driving through Alaska from Canada, this is the itinerary for you! You'll have 10 days to not only see some true Alaskan highlights but to really experience them. This trip gives you sampling of bustling Fairbanks and the chance to visit the Arctic before spending 2 full days among the iconic wilds of Denali National Park. You'll also visit charming Talkeetna, tour Anchorage, and finish with some fun outdoor activities around aptly named Glacier View.
Arrive in Tok - Overnight in Fairbanks
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You crossed over from Canada the night before and stayed in Tok; now it's a 3.5-hour drive to Fairbanks. Along the way, keep an eye out for wildlife and places to see the feat of engineering known as the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Once you arrive the largest city in Alaska's interior, start exploring. Take a walk along the stunning Chena River and visit the the University of Alaska Museum of the North; here, 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.
Day & Overnight in Fairbanks
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You'll have all day to experience the fascinating city of Fairbanks and try an 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.
Drive from Fairbanks to Denali National Park
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It'll take just over 2 hours to make the scenic drive to Denali National Park. 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.
Day & Overnight in Denali National Park
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You have another full day in Denali! Now that you've seen the length of the Park Road, spend this day taking a tour. You've got a lot of options. 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. Tonight is a great chance to experience dinner theater: It's a great meal, a fun show, and a dose of Alaskan history all at once!
Drive from Denali National Park to Talkeetna
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From Denali, make the 2.5-hour drive to charming Talkeetna. 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 take a tour. You're still close to Denali, so go flightseeing and check out the mountain up close, if you haven't done that yet; you could also take a guided walk, a rafting trip, try ziplining, or go for a thrilling jetboat ride.
Morning in Talkeetna - Overnight in Anchorage
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Spend your morning today enjoying Talkeetna. Grab another meal at the Roadhouse, explore the century-old general store, and imagine what it was like to be a trapper or miner here back then. And try an activity you didn't do yesterday. A jetboat ride, for example, speeds you deep into the wilderness where you can look for wildlife and see an authentic trapper's cabin. Or simply go for a hike; you'll find several great trails nearby, including one that loops around the town itself. Then head to Anchorage; the drive will take about 2 hours.
Day & Overnight in Anchorage
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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. 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.
Overnight in Glacier View
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From Anchorage, it's about a 2-hour drive to Glacier View—a wonderful drive through the fall colors. There's no actual downtown here, but it's a great place for adventures. The centerpiece is the mammoth Matanuska Glacier, one of Alaska's few roadside glaciers. Get right up to it and take a guided hike on the ice. You'll also find the two fastest ziplines in Southcentral Alaska here, as well as great opportunities for rafting and hiking.