8 Day Alaska Highlights for Extreme Adventurers

8 Days


May to Sept



Why This Trip?

For those who thrive on the pulse of excitement and the thrill of the unknown, Alaska’s untamed landscapes beckon with promises of unparalleled adventure. On this trip, you’ll explore Denali National Park through whitewater rafting, a scenic flightseeing tour, biking, and ATV riding. You’ll visit charming Talkeetna and discover mountain vistas and a vibrant cultural scene along with ziplining, then finish your trip by venturing onto the mighty Matanuska Glacier. Overall, this itinerary immerses you in Alaska’s natural wonders and offers heart-pumping fun along the way.


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Day 1

Fly into to Fairbanks & Drive to Denali National Park

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Fly into Fairbanks, Alaska’s second-largest city, grab your rental car and make the 2-hour drive to Denali National Park. Heading to Denali on your first day allows you to maximize your time in the park. Depending on what time you arrive, you may be able to do an excursion near the park entrance, like a Jeep or ATV tour, to kick off your trip. You’ll have the chance to splash through rivers and drive over rugged trails while being immersed in the region’s scenic beauty.

Accommodation options include hotels, bed and breakfasts, and campsites close to the entrance of the park.

Day 2

Day and Overnight in Denali National Park

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Crash­ through white­wa­ter on the Nenana River just out­side Denali National Park. Make sure you book the splashy whitewater section, with Class III and IV rapids. And if you want to be really hands-on, ask to do a paddle trip, where you get to help paddle the boat. Trips leave as early as 8 a.m., giving you lots of time for another adventure in the afternoon, like a hike. Two popular, challenging trails in the front-country area of the park include Healy Overlook and Triple Lakes.

Another fun water adventure is packrafting, which combines a hike with a rafting trip in your own inflatable packraft. Never tried this sport? No problem! Join up with Traverse Alaska or New Wave Adventures to learn how.

Then head back to your park accommodation and rest up for another exciting day tomorrow!

Day 3

Day and Overnight in Denali National Park

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Today, you’ll go inside the national park boundaries and explore the areas along Denali’s Park Road. Most visitors opt for a full-day bus tour, but we know that’s not your style, so here are some alternative options:

  1. Take a hike. Use the National Park Service hiker shuttle to access hiking trails within the park. Enjoy a hike, then meet another shuttle for your return trip.

  2. Rent a bike. Head to Bike Denali and grab a bike that requires pedal power, or get a little assistance with an e-bike. Pedal as far into the park as you’d like, or put your bike on the shuttle, then hop off and pedal out.

For a less-strenuous adventure afterward, go flightseeing—one of Denali’s most popular activities that affords you aerial views of the park and stunning Mt. Denali. It’s a fantastic way to round out your park experience.

Day 4

Day and Overnight in Talkeetna

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Go for a short hike in the morning, then drive from Denali towards Talkeetna. About an hour north of Talkeetna lies Denali State Park, which is just as beautiful as the national park but sees fewer visitors. Popular trails include Curry Ridge, one of the access trails that lead to the Kesugi Ridge Trail (which stretches for 27 miles, so make a plan to come back and hike the whole thing!).

Or stop at Byers Lake Campground and rent a kayak, canoe, or paddleboard. The lake offers stunning views of Mt. Denali on a clear day. After your adventure, continue on to Talkeetna. You may not have much time to explore this charming town today, so relax in your accommodation, visit the Denali Brewing Company, and enjoy a meal.

Day 5

Day and Overnight in Talkeetna

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Combine the captivating vistas of the Alaska Range with the exhilaration of ziplining at Denali Zipline Tours. Nestled amid the forested ridges overlooking the Talkeetna River Valley, the experience here includes nine exciting ziplines and traverses three suspension bridges while treating you to unparalleled mountain views. The 2-hour adventure is a great way to begin your day!

Then explore some of the rugged wilderness near Talkeetna. At Talkeetna Lakes Park, you can rent a kayak, canoe, or paddleboard. You could also rent a bike from the shop downtown and explore the trails around Talkeetna Lakes Park or ride the bike path that spans the 14 miles of the Talkeetna Spur Road. Or opt for a heli-hike or fly-in adventure before spending the night in Talkeetna.

Day 6

Travel and Overnight in the Palmer / Wasilla Area

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Make the 3-hour drive to Glacier View to see the Matanuska Glacier. Spanning 26 miles and full of stunning landscapes, the glacier is a prime destination for extreme adventure seekers. Activities include ice climbing on towering walls, ice trekking to discover crevasses and caves, and even ziplining. Add a scenic helicopter tour and land on the glacier for some hiking, or go paddleboarding or kayaking on a blue glacier pool. Tours range from 3 hours to a full day. No experience is required, and all of the glacier gear is provided if you go with MICA Guides or NOVA Alaska.

After your epic glacier adventure, backtrack an hour and spend the night in the Palmer/Wasilla area.

Day 7

Day in Palmer / Wasilla Area & Overnight in Anchorage

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Wake up and head to nearby Hatcher Pass, a stunning area of the Talkeetna Mountains. Popular hiking trails include Reed Lakes and the Gold Mint Trail. More challenging hikes in the Palmer area include Lazy Mountain, Government Peak, Matanuska Peak, and Pioneer Peak.

End your trip by driving about an hour back to Anchorage. Enjoy a meal and overnight in Anchorage.

Day 8

Depart from Anchorage

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Wake up refreshed and fly home. Depending on your flight time you may have time to do some sightseeing around Anchorage before you depart.