My journey to Alaska.
Intense, exciting, unique.
From Canada as far as the gate through the amazing Inside Passage, from the Glacier Bay National Park as far as College Fjiord, from Denali National Park as far as the Arctic Circle. And even from Anchorage as far as the suggestive Turnagain Arm and the Kenai Peninsula, as far as going up to the Alaska barn – the Mat-Su.
16 days, several means of transport used, one ship, two trains, one bus, one ferry, one 4×4 car and one car.
A total of 4000km covered, among them the 1667 ones of the amazing and unforgettable Alaska Marine Highway, form Vancouver as far as Skagway.
Many different experiences, feelings (often too strong) and discoveries.
A great certainty, a journey to the Last Frontier enriches and surprises beyond every expectation.
And an impartial tip: a such path has to be prepared over time and studied in the smallest details – I’ve told about it here in detail – stage by stage, for the personal safety first (The Last Frontier is boundless and rough for a good part) and for the success of what probably will be one of the most beautiful and satisfying journeys ever.
“But why Alaska? I asked her. It’s from an Aleut word, Alyeska.
It means ‘that which the sea breaks against’”
Find down here my detailed 16 days’ itinerary.
In the single stages there are deepener links tested personally (mostly useful websites looked up before leaving and other ones used for bookings), suggestions and any practical info necessary to plan your journey to Alaska at its best.
Day 1 – Leaving from Italy with a Lufthansa flight, stopover in Frankfurt and intercontinental flight to Vancouver, Canada. Arrival early in the afternoon, moving to the city by the Canada Line Sky Train. Tour of Gastown and Waterfront, stay overnight at the Auberge Vancouver Hotel.
Day 2 – Tour of West End and English Bay.
In the afternoon boarding on the Island Princess and leaving in the evening.
Day 3 – sailing (with amazing views) between Canada and Alaska entering the Inside Passage.
Day 4 – disembarkation at Icy Strait Point, tour of Hoonah – the Tlingit Natives village – and trekking of about 3 hours and a half discovering a part of the Tongass National Forest.
Day 5 – arrival in Juneau, tour of the capital of Alaska and the near Mendenhall Glacier. Trekking and brown bears sighting.
Day 6 – disembarkation in Skagway, historic small town of the Klondike Gold Rush. Passage through the Northern Territories of Canada by the White Pass Railway. Fraser, Carcross and Tormented Valley through Klondike Hwy.
Day 7 – a whole day exploring the Glacier Bay National Park.
Day 8 – a whole day exploring the College Fjord.
I’ve chosen (and I highly recommend it for the quality and the safety of the services used) to do private excursions organized by the Island Princess with the logistic support of Tlingit and Athabascan native guides.
On the contrary, I’ve visited totally alone towns, sites and villages near the disembarkation points.
Arrival in Whittier and boarding on the McKinley Express, the Alaska Railroad panoramic train as far as the picturesque small town of Talkeetna.
Tour and leaving by shuttle (provided by the Island Princess) for the McKinley Princess Lodge, trekking in the southern area of the Denali NP, stay overnight.
Entering the Denali National Park, Tundra Wilderness Tour and stay overnight at the Denali Princess Lodge.
Northern Lights sighting overnight.
Leaving from Fairbanks towards the Dalton Highway and the Arctic Circle, stay overnight at the Yukon River Camp and Northern Lights sighting.
It is highly not recommended to do this path by car alone: the Dalton Hwy is listed among the 10 most dangerous roads in the world. I recommend to book a private excursion by 4×4 car (or also in groups, if you want to save) with the 1st Alaska Tours, the local Tour Operator.
Return to Fairbanks in the morning and leaving with an Alaska Airlines flight for Anchorage.
Rental car at the airport. Overnight at Hyatt House Anchorage.
Leaving by car towards the Turnagain Arm, Girdwood, Portage Glacier and entering the Kenai Peninsula through the Beluga Point, Moose Pass and Prime Rose, stay overnight in Seward at the Best Western Plus Edgewater Hotel.
Leaving towards Kenai – passing through Cooper Landing, Sterling and Funny River – tour of the orthodox churches of the local Russian community and of Kenai Beach Dunes, return to Anchorage with a stop in Hope, the mining small town.
Stay overnight at La Quinta Inn and Suite Anchorage Airport.
Leaving early in the morning for the Mat-Su to the north of Anchorage and tour of the Palmer small town.
Late in the afternoon return of the car at the airport and return to Detroit with a night flight.