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Venture into the heart of Alaska, discovering remote corners of the far north explored by few others on Earth. Delve into the backcountry of Denali National Park and Preserve, and experience the wilds of the historic Iditarod Trail from your base at a stunning National Geographic Unique Lodge. Explore the rugged peaks and tundra valleys of the Alaska Range, seeking out moose and grizzly bears with a seasoned naturalist and taking in views of Denali’s lofty summit. Then see these epic landscapes from unique vantage points—on a scenic train ride and, if you wish, on a helicopter flightseeing experience.
Aboard the Denali Star, wind through the majestic valleys of the Alaska Range.
Hike or bike through Denali National Park’s backcountry with a naturalist guide.
Forage wild ingredients for a frontier-fusion cooking demonstration.
Itinerary - 8 Days
Day 1 — Arrive Fairbanks, Alaska
Arrive in Fairbanks and transfer to your hotel on the edge of the Chena River. Pay a visit to the University of Alaska’s Museum of the North, which features exhibitions on Alaska's biological diversity and cultural traditions. Pike's Waterfront Lodge
Day 2 — Denali National Park
Travel to Denali National Park and Preserve via private vehicle. Upon arrival, board a shared shuttle to your lodge, located deep in the heart of the Denali backcountry. This scenic journey lasts six hours and provides ample opportunities for spotting wildlife such as moose and herds of caribou. Settle into your lodge in Kantishna, where guides will brief you on the variety of available wilderness excursions, customized for every activity level. Kantishna Roadhouse or Denali Backcountry Lodge (B,D)
Day 3 — Denali National Park
Explore the wilds of Denali, joining the lodge excursions of your choice. Set out on a hike in the Kantishna Hills alongside a naturalist, learning about the tundra’s flora and fauna and taking in spectacular mountain views. You may also wish to discover these stunning landscapes by mountain bike, pedaling along old mining roads or riding to the mirror-like waters of Wonder Lake. Other available excursions include fly-fishing, panning for gold, and wildlife viewing. Kantishna Roadhouse or Denali Backcountry Lodge (B,D)
Day 4 —Denali Star/Talkeetna
Rise early to catch the lodge shuttle back to the park entrance. From here, independently board the Denali Star for a scenic train ride through the Alaska wilderness. Settle into a first-class cabin, and take in magnificent scenery through the domed, panoramic windows of the top deck. Glide across rugged landscapes blanketed in stately spruce and magnificent purple fireweed and intersected by shimmering salmon streams. Disembark in Talkeetna and transfer to your hotel, which offers views of Denali’s lofty peak—the highest in North America. Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge (B,L)
Day 5 — Winterlake Lodge: South-Central Alaska Wilderness
Board a floatplane to Winterlake Lodge, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World perched on the edge of a lake along the Iditarod Trail and accessible only by air. Settle into your split pine cabin and immerse yourself in Alaska’s breathtaking backcountry. Join a guide for an afternoon dedicated to the Iditarod, an opportunity arranged exclusively for National Geographic guests. Kayak across the lake to meet up with this historic trail, and learn about the pioneers who forged its path through the wilderness. You’ll also meet some huskies from the lodge’s dog-mushing school and watch a dogsled demonstration. After lunch, hike to Red Lake for a fly-fishing lesson, learn about wild edibles and forage with your guide, or relax by the lake. Return to Winterlake for the nightly wine tasting and a dinner featuring the award-winning cuisine of Chef Kirsten Dixon. Winterlake Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 6 — Winterlake Lodge: South-Central Alaska Wilderness
This morning, join a yoga class if you wish. Then venture out into south-central Alaska’s trail-free backcountry with an expert guide and hike to the top of Wolverine Ridge, where you’ll be rewarded with views of Denali’s summit. Explore the surrounding tundra, seeking out grizzly bears, wolves, and arctic ptarmigan birds. Return to the lodge for a frontier-fusion cooking demonstration. For an additional cost, you can also choose to board a helicopter that will whisk you away to a remote patch of wilderness for some alpine hiking, glacier trekking, white-water rafting, or fly-fishing. This evening, take a kayak or boat out onto the lake for wildlife viewing, or attend a talk by a naturalist. Winterlake Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 7 — Anchorage
Fly to Anchorage and take a private city tour, including a stop at the acclaimed Alaska Native Heritage Center. Spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure. Hotel Captain Cook (B)
Day 8 — Anchorage/Depart
Transfer to the Anchorage airport, and catch your flight home. (B)
About Private Expeditions
National Geographic Private Expeditions are specially crafted itineraries designed for independent travelers that combine guided excursions, fascinating insights into culture and wildlife, and top accommodations. Simply select a trip and decide whom you'd like to travel with and when you want to travel. We'll take care of the rest.