Best of Wild Alaska Multisport

About the Experience

Alaska’s landscape has forever enchanted the imagination of adventurers. Here, eyes drift across mountain ranges, braided rivers that weave into the horizon, cascading waterfalls, and the rugged valleys teeming with colour. There is so much space to thrive that your legs cannot help but follow in the prints of the moose, bears, and tiny collared pika before you.

This is a wild place in all of its angles, and your Wild Women guide will take you on a journey that glimpses every feature Alaska has to offer. Explore Prince William Sound from the cockpit of your sea kayak, don crampons and climb glacier ice in the Matanuska Valley, and board a float plane for a spectacular flight into Denali National Park, where you will hike and camp in the shadow of Denali, the highest mountain in North America. And in the evenings, you will delight in some of Alaska’s most famous lodges as well as your comfortable basecamp in the heart of Denali.

There is only one thing to do upon encountering a place like Alaska: savour it’s wonder and hold it close.

Click here to see the full itinerary!
Best of Wild Alaska Multisport

About the Experience

Alaska’s landscape has forever enchanted the imagination of adventurers. Here, eyes drift across mountain ranges, braided rivers that weave into the horizon, cascading waterfalls, and the rugged valleys teeming with colour. There is so much space to thrive that your legs cannot help but follow in the prints of the moose, bears, and tiny collared pika before you.

This is a wild place in all of its angles, and your Wild Women guide will take you on a journey that glimpses every feature Alaska has to offer. Explore Prince William Sound from the cockpit of your sea kayak, don crampons and climb glacier ice in the Matanuska Valley, and board a float plane for a spectacular flight into Denali National Park, where you will hike and camp in the shadow of Denali, the highest mountain in North America. And in the evenings, you will delight in some of Alaska’s most famous lodges as well as your comfortable basecamp in the heart of Denali.

There is only one thing to do upon encountering a place like Alaska: savour it’s wonder and hold it close.

DAY ONE: ARRIVALS

Your trip begins today in the heart of Anchorage, Alaska. You can arrive at any time and transfer to your hotel independently, or coordinate with your Wild Women guide for a complimentary transfer. Depending on your arrival time, the remainder of the day is yours to relax after your flight or to explore some of the city’s notable sites including the Anchorage Museum of History & Art or the city Park Strip.

 

DAY TWO: LION’S HEAD

This morning, you will meet your guides at the hotel at 8 am for a quick trip orientation and gear check then we make the 3-hour drive north along the Glen Highway past the mighty Matanuska Glacier. Just past the glacier, we’ll stop for a short but steep hike up the Lion’s Head. The Lion’s head is a geologic feature called a rôche moutonnée which is a rock feature created by the passing of a glacier. The views of the Matanuska Glacier and the surrounding Chugach mountains are amazing.

By late afternoon, we’ll check into either the Majestic Valley or Sheep Mountain Lodge where comfortable rooms include stunning views of the Talkeetna and Chugach mountain ranges.

  • Hiking Distance: 3-8 km or 2-5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 300m or 1000’
  • Mileage: ~175 km or ~ 109 mi

 

DAY THREE: GLACIER ADVENTURE

Today you’ll meet your glacier guides, strap on crampons and ice axes, and spend the day ice climbing on the mighty Matanuska Glacier.

Designed for just about everyone, this glacier adventure is suitable for beginners and experts alike. At over 27 miles long, the Matanuska Glacier is the largest glacier accessible by car in the United States. From its origins in the highest peaks of Alaska’s Chugach mountains, the Matanuska is fed by incessant winter storms that dump more than 100’ of snow each year in the Chugach.

From the moment you step onto the base of the glacier, expert guides will begin by teaching you the basics on moderate slopes, and by the end of the day, you’ll be scaling vertical walls of ice!

You’ll be on your own for dinner tonight to celebrate another adventure with an amazing meal at the lodge or at a restaurant in the vicinity.

  • Ice Climbing: 6 hours

 

DAY FOUR: MOUNTAINS AND MORAINES

After breakfast at the lodge, we’ll load into the van and continue our way through the magnificent Chugach Mountains en route to our next lodge in the heart of Thompson Pass. Continuing south, views of Alaska’s Chugach Mountains, the Wrangell Mountains, and the Alaska Range will accompany us along the way.

We’ll make a stop for a hike and picnic near the Worthington Glacier. The Worthington, a Natural Historic Landmark, is a spectacular glacier that tumbles from the Chugach Mountains, and our hike will take us up a sweeping moraine with stunning scenes of blue ice, crevasses of the glacier, and vistas of the mighty Chugach. Continuing north, views of Alaska’s Chugach Mountains, the Wrangell Mountains, and the Alaska Range will accompany us along the way.

By late afternoon, we’ll check into the Valdez Harbor Inn or Mountain Sky Hotel in Valdez.

  • Driving Distance: ~305 km or ~ 190 mi
  • Hiking Distance: Up to 5 km or 3 miles
  • Elevation Gain: Up to 400m or 1300′

 

DAY FIVE: SHOUP BAY KAYAKING

You will spend today sea kayaking in Shoup Bay. After a thorough kayaking orientation and a 1⁄2 hour water taxi ride, you’ll hop into a sea protected body of water.

You will kayak by the largest Black-Legged Kittiwake rookery in Prince William Sound, and lunch near the foot of an ancient tidewater glacier as it cracks, grumbles, and potentially calves massive blocks of ice into the surrounding salt water. Sea kayaking among the floating miniature icebergs makes for a fun obstacle course to test your paddling skills as does riding the swift current of the connecting stream on an outgoing tide.

Tonight, you’re free to enjoy dinner on your own at one of Valdez’s many restaurants. This walkable town offers many options just steps from your hotel.

 

DAY SIX: DENALI

After an early breakfast, you’ll make your way down to the ferry terminal to board an Alaska State Ferry for the cruise to Whittier. Your crossing of Prince William Sound will take you past Black-Legged Kittiwake rookeries, near the faces of large tidewater glaciers, and through the pristine waters of Prince William Sound. From Whittier, you’ll travel by van to Anchorage along the Seward Highway and the Turnagain Arm of Cook Inlet – one of the most scenic drives in the world. Beluga whales cruise the waters of the arm, and glaciers cling to the rugged mountains of the Chugach Range.

Once in Anchorage, you’ll head to the shop for a quick trip orientation and gear check before heading to board a floatplane bound for the wilderness of Denali National Park and your home for the next 3 nights. This 1+ hour scenic flight will take you over alpine tundra, braided rivers, and cascading waterfalls, near Denali Mountain, the highest peak in North America, and finally up toward the mighty gorge of the Ruth Glacier, the deepest trench on earth!

Your skilled bush pilot will then take you down to a small lake nestled in a cleft between the Ruth and Tokositna Glaciers, where your group will unload the gear on a small beach and wave to the airplane goodbye.

You’ll set up camp just beyond the lake, basking in the new found solitude, and then take a short early evening hike before dinner.

  • Distance: 2.5 km or 1,5 miles 
  • Elevation Gain: Up to 30m or 100′

 

DAY SEVEN: PEAKS AND VALLEYS

The options are staggering! With almost unlimited daylight, you’ll head for the tundra hills above camp, destined for magnificent views of the Backside Glacier, Ruth Glacier, and if weather permits, “The Great One,” 20,320 foot Denali Mountain. On today’s hike, you’ll practice the skills necessary to hike off-trail in the Alaska wilderness – including reading topographic maps, choosing the best route, using trekking poles, and travelling efficiently. After a full day of exploration, you’ll tally your wildlife and mountain peak sightings as you enjoy a filling meal in the wilderness.

  • Distance: 8-10 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1500’-2500’

 

DAY EIGHT: BACKSIDE GLACIER

After a hearty breakfast, grab your day-pack and head out in search of adventure in Denali. Today, you’ll make your way up onto the Backside Glacier. With the sheer size of the surrounding glaciers, you’ll quickly understand why this area draws mountaineers from all over the world. While not at all technical, your trek on the ice will give you the chance to see firsthand the glacial features of this frozen river of ice, the valley that bears the scars of thousands of years of glacial activity, and the more recent visual indications of climate change on the Alaska landscape.

  • Distance: 8-10 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1500’-2500’

While Wild Women Expeditions endeavours to follow our itineraries as written however the expeditionary factors at play quite often compel our guides to deviate from the written itinerary.  Guide considerations could include weather conditions, group preference, individual ability, specific safety considerations, or unforeseeable circumstances; collectively what many have called “The Alaska Factor.” Flight times into and out of the wilderness may also vary based on any number of similar factors. Therefore we strongly suggest that you approach any adventure in Alaska with an open mind.

 

DAY NINE: UP AND AWAY

Another breakfast and a hot drink will fuel you for your last few hours in the wilderness. After breaking camp, and moving to the lakeshore, you’ll await your ride back to civilization. As the floatplane lifts off, you’ll depart knowing that this amazing place will stay buried deep within you for the rest of your life.

Return to Talkeetna by early afternoon, enjoy a short walk around town, and by 4:30 pm you will board the Alaska Railroad’s Denali Star train bound for Anchorage. This 3-hour trip will take you through the beautiful Matanuska-Susitna Valley, through south-central Alaska’s boreal forests and small farms & homesteads, and finally to Anchorage by 8 pm.

Note: Accommodations are not included this night.  Options to postpone your train ride back to Anchorage and stay in Talkeetna for an extra night are available.   If returning to Anchorage, and departing this evening, please book your return flights for no earlier than 10:00 PM.  Additional night accommodations in Anchorage can also be booked upon request.

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