Travel along the stunning coast of the Kenai Peninsula, where glaciers tumble down from mountains towards the ocean. As we drive along the Turnagain Arm, keep an eye out for beluga whales playing out at sea, or catch a glimpse of volcanoes across the Cook Inlet. Upon arrival in Homer, opt to stretch your legs on a short hike outside of town.
Enjoy a free day in Homer. Stroll the quaint streets and check out the restaurants and art galleries along the Homer Spit, a 4.5-mile-long finger of land protruding into Kachemak Bay. Discover stories of life on the bay at the natural history museum or satisfy your adventurous side exploring Kachemak Bay by water taxi, kayak, on a self-guided hike, or perhaps trying your hand at the local sport of halibut fishing.
Leave Homer and travel the Kenai Penninsula to Kenai Fjords National Park, where the Ice Age still lingers. After lunch, hit the trail to view the impressive Exit Glacier and to witness the size of this natural phenomenon in person. Black bears frequent the area and are a common sight as well. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon free to explore the coastal town of Seward nestled in the majestic fjord of Resurrection Bay. Known for its abundance of sea life, often sea otters and harbor seals are spotted directly from the shore.
Today, visit the world-renowned Alaska Sea Life Center, an aquarium that collaborates with National Geographic on wildlife initiatives. We'll also set out by catamaran to cruise the glacial waters of Kenai Fjords National Park. Enjoy narration by a knowledgeable park ranger while scanning the sea for puffins, sea lions, colonies of seabirds, and whales (including, if we're lucky, orcas). See three types of glaciers and watch and listen for ice calving off the tidewater glacier. Spend the evening at your leisure; opt to go hiking or explore the town.
Keep your camera close during a scenic drive to Denali National Park, named for the highest mountain in North America??formerly known as Mount McKinley, at a dizzying 20,310 feet high. Settle into our rustic lodgings in the Denali wilderness and meet an instructor from the Denali Education Center, who will share the riveting history of mountaineering here.
Depart early and catch the shuttle into the heart of Denali National Park. As you make your way to the East Fork Bridge at (Mile 43) take in breathtaking views of the Alaska Range and snap pictures of wildlife such as caribou, grizzly bears, Dall sheep, moose, and wolves in their natural habitat.
Learn about the extreme conditions that shape life in Denali and its subarctic ecosystem, hearing stories of the resilient First Nations people who have survived here for generations. Head out on a guided hike with a naturalist and take in the rugged beauty of the Denali wilderness. Enjoy a free afternoon to relax and explore on your own. Opt to observe a dog-sledding talk and demonstration.
Enjoy the scenic drive back to Anchorage, following the Alaska Range southward along the picturesque Susitna River. Opt for a final dinner with your fellow travelers this evening, and reflect on your epic journey into the wild.