Alaska – the largest state in the United States – a pristine wilderness of forests, rugged coast line, virgin forests, towering mountains, glaciers and abundant wildlife. It would take a month or more to just begin to get to know this amazing state. Our 14 night/15 day tour attempts the impossible – Alaskan highlights in just two weeks! However, with careful planning it is possible to get a flavour of Alaska, to see the glaciers, enjoy the wilderness, to see some wildlife and visit some of the major attractions. We will be pleased to extend the tour for you, or to adapt it to suit your needs – just ask! Our Alaska Highlights tour operates daily between mid-May and August and can be adapted to suit your own needs and interests – just ask!.
Day 1. Arrive Juneau. Days, 2 & 3 Juneau. Day 4. Juneau – Seward. Day 5. Seward. Day 6. Seward – Denali National Park (approx 365 miles). Days 7 & 8. Denali National Park. Day 9. Denali – Fairbanks (approx 130 miles). Day 10. Fairbanks. Day 11 Fairbanks to Copper Center/Chitina (approx. 255 miles). Day 12. Copper Center – Wrangell – St. Elias National Park & Preserve. Day 13. Copper Center to Anchorage (approx.197 miles). Day 14. Anchorage. Day 15. Depart Anchorage.
Day 1. Arrive Juneau.
From the UK there are no direct flights to Juneau and most flights operate via Seattle. Your arrival into Juneau will be late on day 1. We recommend that you take a taxi to your hotel in the heart of Juneau. Overnight: Westmark Baranof Hotel (Standard & Superior).
Days, 2 & 3 Juneau.
Two full days to enjoy the many optional excursions available from your base in the capitol of Alaska – Juneau. We have detailed some of the more popular excursions here, and we particularly recommend the full day Glacier Bay National Park tour and the Four Glacier Adventure (by helicopter). There’s lots to do and see in and around the city including the Gold Rush Historic District, the Alaska State Capitol Building, St.Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, the Gastineau Salmon Hatchery, state and city museums, the Alaskan Brewing Company Brewery and the Mendenhall Glacier. Overnight: Westmark Baranof Hotel (Standard & Superior).
Day 4. Juneau – Seward.
Join your Alaska Airlines flight this morning bound for Anchorage. After collecting your rental car, take the short drive south to Seward (approx. 130 miles). Overnight: The Breeze Inn (Standard) or Seward Harbor 360 (Superior).
Day 5. Seward.
The town’s harbor bustles with cruise ships, fishing charters, wildlife cruises and sailing. A ‘must do’ excursion is the Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise and Just America will be pleased to pre-book this for you. Overnight: The Breeze Inn (Standard) or Seward Harbor 360(Superior).
Day 6. Seward – Denali National Park (approx 365 miles).
You begin to appreciate the sheer size of Alaska today as you set off on your journey to Denali National Park. Make a stop at the village of Talkeetna and visit the memorial to the mountaineers who lost their lives in their attempt to climb Mount McKinley – the highest point in North America. Overnight: Denali Cabins (Standard) or Denali Bluffs (Superior) both conveniently located near the national park entrance.
Days 7 & 8. Denali National Park.
Denali is large! Six million acres- approx. three times larger than Yellowstone and about the same size as the state of New Hampshire. Park visitors enjoy the wildlife viewing at Denali by taking the free shuttle buses that operate through the park. Overnight: Denali Cabins (Standard) or Denali Bluffs (Superior) both conveniently located near the national park entrance.
Day 9. Denali – Fairbanks (approx 130 miles).
Drive from Denali to Fairbanks. Overnight: Best Western Chena River Lodge (Standard) or Westmark Fairbanks Hotel (Superior).
Day 10. Fairbanks.
Fairbanks is Alaska’s second largest city with over 80,000 residents in the greater Fairbanks area. Located near the confluence of the Tanana and Chena Rivers, the town was originally founded in the early 1900’s as a trading post serving stern-wheeler riverboats and early gold prospectors. The town still plays an important supply role in Alaska due to its proximity to the Arctic region and North Slope oil fields. Fairbanks typically enjoys long sunny days during the summer months, with temperatures frequently passing the 70 degree mark. We recommend that you take the Riverboat Discovery cruise (see below) to learn more about the city and its fascinating history.
Day 11 Fairbanks to Copper Center/Chitina (approx. 259 miles).
Follow the Alaska Highway this morning as you make your way through the beautiful Alaskan wilderness to Copper Center – the gateway to the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve. Overnight: Gilpatrick’s Hotel – Chitina (Standard) or Copper River Princess Lodge (Superior).
Day 12. Copper Center – Wrangell – St. Elias National Park & Preserve.
A free day to explore the national park. Four mountain ranges meet in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. This coastal park, at 20,625 square miles the nation’s largest national park. Nine of the country’s 16 tallest peaks are here, topped by Mount St. Elias at 18,008 feet. Bagley Ice Field is the continent’s largest sub-polar ice field, and Malaspina Glacier is larger than Rhode Island. We recommend that you take a float or white-water rafting trip through the park, or an escorted hike. Full details of the optional excursions can be found at http://www.copperoar.com Overnight: gateway to the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve. Overnight: Gilpatrick’s Hotel – Chitina (Standard) or Copper River Princess Lodge (Superior). Note: If you intend to take one of the Copper Oar tours you should base yourself at Kennecott Glacier Lodge so you are convenient for your excursion pick up (details available from Just America).
Day 13. Copper Center to Anchorage (approx.197 miles).
Follow scenic Highway 1 all the way to Anchorage. Overnight: Hampton Inn (Standard) or Westmark Anchorage (Superior).
Day 14. Anchorage.
A full day to discover the attractions, shops and restaurants of Alaska’s largest city – Anchorage. A short drive out of the city brings you to the Eagle River Nature Centre and the alpine scenery of Chugach State Park. At Eklutna Village Historical Park, tour St.Nicholas Russian Church and see brightly coloured “spirit houses”. In the city take the paved trail system that links several historical sites. See geographic reminders of the 1964 Good Friday earthquake at Earthquake Park. Visit the Alaska Native heritage Center with its artists, performers, interpretative displays and traditional village exhibits. Of course you just might want to do some last minute shopping and relaxing on your last day! Overnight: Hampton Inn (Standard) or Westmark Anchorage (Superior).
Day 15. Depart Anchorage.
Return your rental car at the airport before checking in for your return flight to the UK.
Standard Hotels Superior Hotels Prices per adult in £’s
sharing room type
Single Double Triple Quad Prices per adult in £’s
sharing room type
Single Double Triple Quad Prices from On request On request On request On request Prices from On request On request On request On request Location No.nights Standard Hotels Superior Hotels Juneau 3 Westmark Baronof Westmark Baronof Seward 2 The Breeze Inn Seward Harbor 360 Denali National Park area 3 Denali River Cabins (Cedar Lodge room) Denali Bluffs Fairbanks 2 Best Western Chena River (CB) Westmark Fairbanks Hotel Chitina / Copper Center 2 Gilpatrick’s Hotel Copper River Princess Anchorage 2 Hampton Inn (bkfst) Westmark Anchorage Hotel
CB = Continental breaksfast included.
* 14 nights hotel accommodation including local taxes.
* Alaska Airlines flight between Juneau and Anchorage (day 4).
* Maps, guides and itinerary.
Not included: Airfares (from UK to/from Alaska), airport taxes, car rental, petrol, travel insurance, excursions and national park admissions and personal expenses.
Tour prices:The prices shown in the price panels are for the accommodation elements only, they do not include flights or car rental (unless indicated). This enables you to choose the airline and car of your choice and add them to the accommodation package to create your holiday. Our reservations staff will be pleased to help you with flight availability, to suggest which is the best airline for your itinerary and to advise you of any special offers the airlines may have introduced.
Hotels:Hotels featured in our self-drive and independent tours are chosen for their location, value for money and facilities. Whenever possible we offer a choice of Standard or Superior hotels. There is no recognised 'star' system throughout North America for classifying hotels, motels and resorts. The hotel ratings for our tours are subjective and are provided to give you an understanding as to the level of facility. They are either the hotel's official categorisation as per the Official Hotel & Resort Guide, or Just America's. Standards vary from location to location, therefore ratings in the remote areas can differ from those in the cities. Standard hotels would be those classified as Moderate, and Superior hotels would be First Class, in the Official Hotel and Resort Guide. National Park accommodations are more rustic and are chosen almost entirely because of their location. It should not be assumed that because an hotel is listed as Superior that it has certain amenities. Often a hotel is classified as Superior due to its position, views or room standard, it does not always follow that a superior hotel will have a swimming pool, hair-dryers, golf course, room service etc. We will try to provide information on individual hotels on request although the internet is usually the quickest and most accurate source of information. Hotel rooms in North America usually have one or two double beds. Triple and Quad rooms have two double beds. Very few hotels in North America have three or four beds. It is sometimes possible to have a rollaway bed which can be requested, but cannot be guaranteed. Occasionally hotels are chosen purely for their location - i.e. half-way between two points of interest - and may be included as a one night stop to break up an otherwise long journey. Such hotels may not have the full facilities normally associated with a Standard or Superior hotel, but sometimes we don't have any other choice. Where possible hotels providing free car parking have been included, however in some locations, such as city centres, the hotels may make a charge.
Note:Hotels are not usually ready to accept guests until after 3 or 4 pm, so please try not to check in before mid-afternoon. Check out time is usually before 11 am or 12 noon. It is sometimes possible to arrange late check out, or the storage of luggage, but this is at the discretion of the hotel.
Tour notes and itineraries:On several of our tours the tour notes and itineraries are provided at the first hotel. On other tours this information is forwarded with the travel documents approximately 14 days prior to departure. We will endeavour to provide the best information we can to help you, but it is not our policy to provide mile by mile detailed route guides, the frequent changes to local road conditions, layouts etc., makes this impossible. We do provide maps, guides to the major attractions en route, and directions to hotels whenever possible. These are independent self-drive holidays and you will be required to read a map and locate attractions and hotels. Sat.Nav. is available from the car rental companies - at a charge - and you may find this useful, however all technology is prone to failure so we always recommend that you keep the maps handy.
Tailor-made holidays:We will be pleased to discuss your own ideas and itineraries and help you plan your holiday. If you would like to email, fax or mail an outline of your tour with dates, number of people, ages of children etc., to us we will be happy to advise you. We request that you include your daytime telephone number on all correspondence. Where you have chosen the route and we have designed a tailor-made holiday for you, it may not be possible to provide you with a detailed tour itinerary. We suggest that you read up about the area you are planning to visit well in advance, preferably before you book the holiday. Insight Guides cover almost every region of North America and are about the best on the market. Just America can also provide a some tourist information subject to availability, but we do not have detailed route information to cover every area of the Continent. You might find the internet to be the best source of free, up-to-date information.
National Park Passes:Both the US and Canada charge entrance fees for their national parks, and if you are visiting a number of parks, this cost can add up to a significant amount. We recommend that you purchase a Parks Pass at the first national park you visit. For the US the pass currently costs $80 for up to four adults (children under 16 are free). In Canada a family pass currently costs $136.40. Both passes provide unlimited visits to that country's parks for 12 months. The passes can only be used in the country of purchase. Full details available at www.nps.gov (for USA) and www.pc.gc.ca/index_e.asp
For full details of excursions in Alaska inc. prices click here:
Juneau area Optional Excursions:
Glacier Bay National Park – an early start (approx.6am) from Juneau airport as you take the small aircraft flight to Gustavus. On arrival a local shuttle transfers you to Glacier Bay Lodge. Board the Spirit of Adventure and depart Bartlett Cove for a full-day cruise into Glacier Bay National Park. Lunch is included. As this is a relatively small boat, you are able to get closer to the glaciers, ice-floes and wildlife than the larger cruise ships. Late afternoon your cruise returns to Bartlett Cove for the transfer to Gustavus airport and the return flight to Juneau.
Four Glacier Adventure
An hour long helicopter journey through the stunning scenery close to Juneau. Get a bird’s-eye view of the city, the cruise port and Gastineau Channel, before sweeping low over the glaciers. The highlight of the tour is a landing on one of the glaciers and the opportunity to walk out over the ice and peer down a few cravasses before enjoying the stunning scenery on the flight back to Juneau.
A three-hour long tour including transfers from Juneau. This tour provides the opportunity to to share time with some of the most wonderful animals on earth, surrounded by Alaska’s majestic scenery. Depart from the harbour nearest to the whale feeding grounds. Mammal-friendly jet boats staffed by professional, knowledgeable crew, and a minimum of two hours on the water to enjoy the whales and other marine mammals.
Seward Area Optional Excursions:
The Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise – a 6-7 hour cruise into the Kenai National Park with a hot lunch. Miles of beautiful fjords and coastal landscape and home to a variety of marine mammals such as Orca (killer whales) beluga whales, Steller Sea Lions, puffins etc.
Denali Area Optional Excursions:
We recommend that you pre-book the Tundra Wildlife Tour – a tour by bus from the park entrance approx. 53 miles into the Denali with an English speaking naturalist driver/guide. A packed lunch is included.
Other Denali area excursions – which can be pre-booked through Just America include:
a 50 minute tour to view Mt McKinley.
or a 75-minute Helicopter Glacier Expedition with glacier landing
a 2-hour scenic float trip on the Nenana River.
a 2-hour white-water trip on the Nenana River
Riverboat Discovery Cruise. Board the authentic sternwheeler Riverboat Discovery III for a fully-narrated 3 1/2 hour cruise along the Chena and Tanana Rivers. Alaskan Native guides will take you ashore to an authentic Athabascan Indian village where you’ll discover traditional Native lifestyles, enjoy the work of an Athabascan beadwork artist and meet Susan Butcher’s famous Iditarod sled dog team. See a bush pilot demonstration, watch a fish wheel in operation, and see the ‘Wedding of the Rivers’ where the Chena and Tanana Rivers converge.
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve:
Take a look at the activities and excursions available with local outfitter and operator ‘Copper Oar Alaska’s Wilderness Rafting & Adventure Company’ at www.copperoar.com
Just America specialises in tailor-making holidays and we will be pleased to design this or any of our tours to your specifications. We can provide prices and make reservations for optional sightseeing excursions mentioned in the itinerary. All mileages are approximate. Hotels are subject to availability at the time of booking.