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Alaska: Denali to Prince William Sound

  • Trip Type: Land
  • 8 Days | Fairbanks to Anchorage
  • Group Size: Max 26

Expedition Details


Encounter majestic landscapes and diverse wildlife on an expedition into the heart of Alaska’s untouched wilderness. Experience the rugged beauty of Denali National Park on naturalist-led excursions, and search for moose, caribou, wolves, grizzly bears, and Dall sheep. Hike amid the soaring peaks of the Alaska Range and journey along the stunningly scenic Seward Highway. Cap off your adventure with a cruise on Prince William Sound, home to humpback whales and towering tidewater glaciers.

Trip Highlights

    • Explore Alaska’s rolling tundra and taiga forests, spotting an array of wildlife, including caribou, moose, wolves, and Dall sheep.
    • Immerse yourself in the pristine wilderness of Denali National Park on a variety of hikes, taking in views of the mountain that gave the park its name.
    • Cruise through spectacular Prince William Sound to spot humpback whales and orcas, and experience the thunder of calving glaciers.
    • Stay in private cabins in the heart of Denali, and at a mountain resort surrounded by snow-dusted glaciers and peaks.

Itinerary - 8 Days

Days 1 & 2 — Fairbanks, Alaska/Denali National Park and Preserve

Arrive in Fairbanks and check into our hotel. The next morning, travel into the heart of Denali National Park in search of moose, caribou, gray wolves, grizzly bears, and Dall sheep. Settle into our remote lodge in the former mining settlement of Kantishna, surrounded by glacier-fed, braided rivers and the peaks of the Alaska Range.
Pike's Waterfront Lodge; Denali Backcountry Lodge (B,L,D)

Days 3 & 4 — Denali National Park and Preserve

Spend the next two days exploring Denali's magnificent interior. Set out on hikes or walks of varying degrees of difficulty, or try panning for gold. While in the park, keep your eye out for migrating birds, including golden plovers, arctic loons, jaegers, and eagles. Weather permitting, take an optional flightseeing trip around Denali, North America'™s highest mountain, or hike to viewpoints to photograph its soaring 20,237-foot peak.
(B, L, D daily)

Day 5 — Denali National Park and Preserve/Talkeetna

Take advantage of an early morning drive out of the park to spot wildlife during this active period. Then head to Talkeetna on the Denali Star train and explore this historic Alaskan village, a launching point for climbers headed up Denali.
Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge (B,L)

Day 6 — Talkeetna/Girdwood

This morning, drive south of Anchorage along the stunningly scenic Seward Highway, past Turnagain Arm and the snowcapped Chugach mountains, which seem to rise out of the mirrored waters of Cook Inlet. This is part of a route that National Geographic has named one of its “Drives of a Lifetime.” Continue to the scenic town of Girdwood, and explore this glacial valley on a hike through lush rain forest. Then meet with a member of the National Geographic-funded Eyak Language Revitalization Project.
Hotel Alyeska (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Prince William Sound

Embark on a day cruise on Prince William Sound, where the rich waters attract a variety of wildlife, from humpback whales and orcas to playful sea otters, puffins, and seals. Against a spectacular mountain backdrop, glide past towering tidewater glaciers, and listen for the telltale crackle and boom of impending glacier calving. Later this evening, celebrate your Alaska adventure with a farewell dinner.

Day 8 — Girdwood/Anchorage

Enjoy up-close encounters with Alaska’s wild residents at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, which rehabilitates injured and orphaned animals to the wild. After lunch, return to Anchorage and connect with your flight home.

Related Trips

National Geographic Expert

M Jackson

M JacksonGeographer, adventurer, environmental educator, and 2017 National Geographic Emerging Explorer M Jackson studies and writes about glaciers and climate change. M earned a doctorate from the University of Oregon in geography and glaciology, where she examined how climate change transformed people and ice communities in Iceland. A veteran U.S. Fulbright Scholar in both Turkey and Iceland, M currently serves as a U.S. Fulbright Ambassador. M holds a Masters of Science degree from the University of Montana, where she focused on climate change and Alaskan glaciers. M served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zambia, and is a nationally registered emergency medical technician with extensive experience "in search and rescue, firefighting, and removing cats from trees" in Southeast Alaska. She’s worked for more than ten years in Alaska and the Yukon Territory guiding backcountry trips and exploring glacial systems. Her 2015 book While Glaciers Slept: Being Human in a Time of Climate Change weaves together the parallel stories of what happens when the climates of a family and a planet change. M has led National Geographic Student Expeditions programs in Alaska and Iceland.

M will join the following departures:

Aug 22 - 29, 2017
Sep 01 - 08, 2017


  • Aug 22 - 29, 2017 (waitlist only)
  • Sep 01 - 08, 2017 (waitlist only)

Expedition Cost



Price is per person, double occupancy. For a single room, add $1,950.

Airfare to Fairbanks and from Anchorage, and the optional flightseeing trip around Denali are not included in the expedition cost.

Featured Expedition Moment

Activity Level


Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include city walking tours, visits to sites, game drives, or easy hikes, with options for more physical activities such as hiking, kayaking, snorkeling and biking.

Click here for a description of all activity levels.

What To Expect

This expedition is designed to accommodate guests at different activity levels. In Denali, guests can choose easy, moderate, or challenging hikes each day, ranging from one to nine miles.

Chugach National Forest note

This trip operates under a Special Use Permit in the Chugach National Forest. Backroads is an Equal Opportunity Provider.

Extend Your Stay

Extend your trip in Alaska with a stay at Winterlake or Tutka Bay, two members of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World collection. Please call for details.