Alaska: Denali Delights

June 2020 • 8 Days • Price TBA

The centerpiece of Denali Delights is Denali National Park, with a nature walk in the park and a top-rated wilderness experience in search of wildlife (yes, grizzlies!).

Traveler Rewards Program: New Travelers receive a $200 discount on their Alaska: Denali Delights tour! Returning travelers receive our Alumni Traveler Discount of 5-10% off the main tour price. Terms, exclusions and conditions apply. Check out our Traveler Rewards page for more details.

Arctic Midnight Sun Extension

June 2020 • 3 Days • Price TBA

On this brief 3-day adventure, we cross the Arctic Circle at 66° 32′ N with great fanfare and interact with native Eskimos and hearty settlers in the Far North, traveling along the remote Dalton Highway and enjoying scenic flights through the Brooks Range.

Now accepting Early Bird deposits on this potential 2020 tour! If 25 Early Birds are received for this departure, we’ll add it to our official 2020 Schedule. An Early Bird is a $50 deposit that holds your spot during the planning stages of a trip, when we don’t have a set itinerary or dates. Early Birds are always refundable!

View Daily Itinerary

Combo Package:

This is a 2-part Alaskan tour. Travelers can join us for either the Kenai Peninsula or Denali Delights, or combine both parts in their exploration of The Last Frontier.

A Look Back at the Scouting Trip

Adventure Planner Scott Isom describes one of the walks he put together for the Kenai Peninsula portion of our Alaska tour.

The Alaska program is offered in two parts—Kenai Peninsula and Denali Delights.  To maximize your time and airfare and see even more of our largest state, join us for both parts of the tour!  Also consider journeying on into the Far North on our brand new Arctic Midnight Sun Extension, a 3-day bonus adventure from Fairbanks that will take us beyond the Arctic Circle!

Denali Delights

This part of the Adventure starts in Anchorage with the opportunity for a two-part walk that explores the wonderful green spaces and historic core of Alaska’s largest city. The centerpiece of the trip is Denali National Park, with a nature walk in the park and a top-rated wilderness experience in search of wildlife (yes, grizzlies!). We’re also hoping for views of that enormous, yet elusive massif — Mt. McKinley, tallest peak in North America! A relaxing and nostalgic dome car train ride takes us into Fairbanks where we spend three nights and take in worthwhile attractions like the Alaska Pipeline, Gold Dredge #8, Riverboat Discovery cruise, Running Reindeer Ranch, and Creamer’s Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge.

Arctic Midnight Sun Extension

The Arctic Circle, an imaginary line stretching around the globe about three-quarters of the way from the equator to the North Pole, has long been a bucket list destination for those who want to experience the Midnight Sun.  On this brief 3-day adventure, we cross the Arctic Circle at 66° 32′ N with great fanfare and interact with native Eskimos and hearty settlers in the Far North, traveling along the remote Dalton Highway and enjoying scenic flights through the Brooks Range.

This is a draft itinerary. Revisions will be made, and an updated itinerary with dates and pricing will be made available!

Alaska: Denali Delights

Including:

  • All land travel as outlined
  • Train transport from Fairbanks to Denali National Park (Alaska Railroad)
  • Superior tourist-class or better hotel accommodations
  • Porterage of luggage
  • 11 meals: 7 breakfasts, 1 lunch, and 3 dinners as denoted (BLD)
  • 4 walks
  • Fees for those collecting AVA Credit
  • Cultural, natural, and historical expertise of local guide throughout
  • WAI guide service throughout (2 guides)
  • All tipping for local guides, coach drivers and group meals
  • Pricing is based on double occupancy. A limited amount of single rooms are available for a supplement.

Visits to/Admission fees:

  • Alaska Native Heritage Center
  • Kahiltna Birch Works
  • Denali National Park
  • Denali Park Tundra Wilderness Tour
  • Alaska Cabin Nite Dinner Theatre
  • Alaska Pipeline
  • Gold Dredge #8 Mine
  • Riverboat Discovery River Cruise
  • Creamer’s Field
  • Running Reindeer Ranch
  • More fun and interesting stops than we can list!

Arctic Midnight Sun Extension

Including:

  • Comfortable bus transport from Fairbanks to Coldfoot on the rugged Dalton Highway
  • Roundtrip flight from Coldfoot to Anaktuvuk Pass
  • One-way flight from Coldfoot to Fairbanks
  • Superior tourist-class or better hotel accommodations in Fairbanks
  • Rustic but clean and comfortable motel accommodations at Coldfoot Camp
  • 4 meals: 2 breakfasts, 1 lunch, and 1 dinner as denoted (BLD)
  • Cultural, natural, and historical expertise of local guide throughout
  • WAI guide service throughout
  • All tipping for local guides, coach drivers and group meals
  • Pricing is based on double occupancy. A limited amount of single rooms are available for a supplement.

Visits to/Admission fees:

  • Arctic Circle Trading Post in Joy, Alaska
  • Yukon River crossing
  • Trans Alaska Pipeline
  • Arctic Circle photo stop
  • Coldfoot Camp
  • Anaktuvuk Pass Nunamiut Eskimo Village and Museum
  • Gates of the Arctic National Park
  • Wiseman Wilderness Community Visit
  • More fun and interesting stops than we can list!

Optional Excursion:

  • Mary Shields’ Alaskan Tails of the Trail in Fairbanks (Day 2) – Price TBA

Adventure Pace

Tour Pace: 1 2 3 4 5
Walk Challenge: 1 2 3 4 5

Important Info

Group Size

25-30 travelers

Hotels

Strategically located Superior Tourist Class hotels or better for the most part

Meals

Breakfasts included with a selection of lunches and dinners as denoted (BLD).

Airfare

Not Included. Travelers fly into Anchorage and out of Fairbanks.

Transportation

Included. We use full-size motorcoaches with a seating capacity of 40+ seats.

Traveler Age

Our travelers usually range from 50–75 years of age. All ages welcome!

Your Guides

Walking Adventures Guides Todd & Chris JonesTodd and Chrissy Jones guide trips mainly during the summer. They have traveled in Asia, Europe, and North and South America, and are immensely grateful for opportunities to discover and appreciate new environments and cultures. During the school year, Chrissy works as a physical therapist supporting students with physical disabilities, and Todd teaches high school history, government and economics. Todd & Chrissy will be joined by a local guide throughout the Alaska tour. They look forward to sharing the highlights of our 49th state with you!

Itinerary

Alaska: Denali Delights

This is a draft itinerary. Revisions will be made, and an updated itinerary with dates and pricing will be made available!

Click on each day for more details.

Day 1: Arrive Anchorage

Denali Delights travelers arrive in Anchorage today from the “Lower 48.” Because travelers arrive throughout the day and evening, no group activities are planned. Your WAI guide team is finishing up the Kenai Peninsula (Part 1) segment of the Adventure. A representative of WAI will greet you tomorrow morning and transport you to meet this group of Adventurers.

Day 2: Activities from Anchorage (BD)

Your first activity today is a rendezvous with Kenai Peninsula travelers (Part 1) at the Alaska Native Heritage Center. Visitors to the Center experience Alaska Native culture first-hand through engaging storytelling, authentic Native song and dance, artist demonstrations, and Native game demonstrations. Leaving the Center, we enjoy vistas of lush Alaskan countryside on our drive back to Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city. After our arrival in Anchorage, we take in the town’s green spaces and historic core during our walk, with free time available afterward for you to explore this bustling city on your own!

Day 3: Anchorage – Denali National Park (B)

Talkeetna Lakes Walk – 6 km, rated 2B

Boarding our motorcoach for a scenic transfer north, we depart Anchorage on our way to Kahiltna Birchworks, where we learn about birch syrup and sample some tree-tapped tasty treats. Walking at Talkeetna Lakes introduces us to quiet, forested trails in the shadow of the Alaska Range before we continue through grand Alaska landscapes to Denali National Park, where we spend the next two nights.

Day 4: Activities in Denali National Park (BLD)

Today’s main event is an early-morning Tundra Wilderness Tour through Denali. Though wildlife sightings are never guaranteed, past WAI groups have spotted numerous animals and enjoyed surprisingly frequent views of remarkable Mt. McKinley (reportedly seen by only about 20% of visitors). Later this evening, we regroup at the Alaska Cabin Nite Dinner Theater; a memorable and zany look at the history of Denali, presented with an all-you-can-eat, family-style meal.

Day 5: Denali – Fairbanks (B)

Denali National Park Walk – 9 km, rated 2B

Today’s full slate of activities begins with a walk in Denali National Park. Nature trails in the environs of the park visitor center take us to Horseshoe Lakes and over Riley Creek Suspension Bridge, providing wonderful hiking through stands of birch and fir with a low groundcover of colorful wild blueberry bushes. After the walk, we board the train for a nostalgic four-hour journey aboard the Alaska Railroad through the Alaska Bush to Fairbanks. An optional “Dinner on the Rails” is available.

Day 6: Activities from Fairbanks (B)

We start the day with a stop at the iconic Alaska Pipeline to learn its secrets for carrying oil across miles of frozen tundra through a mind-boggling array of challenging terrain and seemingly impossible weather conditions. The Gold Dredge #8 Mine is our next exposure to Alaskan heritage, complete with a chance to try your hand at panning for gold! Following lunch, a fun, educational, and relaxing sternwheeler cruise takes us down the Chena River aboard the Riverboat Discovery. The ship’s crew enlists the help of a colorful group of locals to teach us about bush pilots, dogsled racing, and the native peoples of Alaska.

Day 7: Activities from Fairbanks (BD)

Creamer’s Field Fairbanks Walk – 7 km, rated 1A

We kick off our last full day in Fairbanks with a delightful stroll among birds and birch trees at Creamer’s Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge. The fun continues in the afternoon in the boreal forest of the Goldstream Valley as we enjoy a one-of-a-kind walk with reindeer at a local family farm. Wrapping up this memorable day, we savor a Farewell Dinner at the historic Pumphouse Restaurant along the banks of the Chena River.

Day 8: Depart Fairbanks for Home (B)

Our Adventure “Way up North” ends in Fairbanks, just 125 miles from the Arctic Circle. We return home with fond memories of our 49th state – its fabulous scenery, the fascinating story of its settlement, and its irresistible pull to return and explore more of “The Great Land.”

Arctic Midnight Sun Extension

Day 1: Fairbanks – Coldfoot (LD)

If the Arctic Circle is on your Bucket List, it’s time to scratch it off today during a very informative and interactive northerly drive to remote Coldfoot Camp. Our early morning departure from Fairbanks by motorcoach takes us up the rugged Dalton Highway along the route of the Trans Alaska Pipeline, crossing the mighty Yukon River for a memorable stop at the actual Arctic Circle. Completing our tundra trek in Coldfoot, we settle in for a rustic but relaxing evening at the northernmost truck stop in the world. Before turning in for the night, we savor a midnight sun adventure on a roundtrip flightseeing excursion through the Brooks Range to the Nunamiut Eskimo Village of Anaktuvuk Pass, nestled along the caribou migration routes in Gates of the Arctic National Park. This group of Nunamiut Eskimo is believed to be the last nomadic group of North Americans to transition to a year-round village lifestyle, and their post office is considered the most isolated in the United States.

Day 2: Coldfoot – Fairbanks (B)

Before heading south this morning, we visit the quirky and fascinating wilderness community of Wiseman, the only village along the Dalton Highway that is occupied year-round. Learn how these hearty and resourceful residents carved out a unique lifestyle along the banks of the Middle Fork Koyukuk River. By late morning, we re-cross the Arctic Circle on a scenic flight back to Fairbanks. The afternoon is free to enjoy a number of activities in town! Or consider joining us on an optional afternoon excursion to the home of Mary Shields, the first woman to ever complete the Iditarod Sled Dog Race. After meeting her family of happy huskies, you’ll hear Mary’s incredibly inspiring stories of life in the Alaskan wilderness and learn about her amazing sled dogging exploits. Trip Advisor has routinely rated this experience with Mary as the #1 activity in Fairbanks!  Price TBA

Day 3: Depart Fairbanks for Home (B)

Our brief Arctic Extension has given us a newfound appreciation for the hearty souls who have braved the elements to forge a life in this starkly beautiful land. We return from Fairbanks to the “Lower 48” with warm memories of our fortnight in the frontier of Alaska!

More Details

Click on each heading for more details.

How do I lock in my place on this Adventure?

Call or mail in your refundable Early Bird ($50) to save your spot! A maximum of 30 travelers will be accepted on this Adventure.

Early Bird deposits are refundable $50 deposits which serve to hold your spot on a tour until dates and pricing have been confirmed. Once all details on a tour have been finalized, travelers can then register with an additional $450 deposit to bring their total on a tour up to $500.

Traveler Rewards Program

New Travelers receive a $200 discount on the Alaska: Denali Delights tour! Returning travelers receive our Alumni Traveler Discount of 5-10% off the main tour price. Terms, exclusions and conditions apply. See the Traveler Rewards page for more details or contact us with any questions at 800.779.0353 or [email protected].

Note: The New Traveler and Alumni Traveler Discounts apply only to the main tour price. The Arctic Midnight Sun Extension is not eligible for these discounts.

How is airfare arranged?

Travelers on either the Kenai Peninsula or Denali Delights will fly into the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) to start their tour. Travelers joining us for the Kenai Peninsula only will finish in Anchorage as well. Travelers continuing on to the Denali Delights will fly out of the Fairbanks International Airport (FAI). More details about flight arrangements and travel agent contact information will be made available after this tour has been confirmed.

What about the walks?

Walks on this Adventure are guided walks and we generally walk at a pace of 2 to 3 miles per hour. In most cases, we are not “strolling.” We are walking at a relaxed but steady pace. Your experience will be significantly affected by your level of physical fitness. The success of the walks is predicated upon walkers having this minimum level of fitness. If not walking regularly at home, we strongly recommend that you make a priority of “training” beforehand in order to both enjoy the trip and avoid medical issues due to overexertion. If you have questions about your ability to participate, please talk with our office at 1-800-779-0353.

We have adopted a walk difficulty rating system which contains a numeric indicator for trail incline and an alpha indicator for trail terrain. The explanation for this system is presented below:

INCLINE

1. Very small hills or very little stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: up to 200 feet.
2. Some moderate hills and stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 200-1000 feet.
3. Some significant hill or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 1000-2000 feet.
4. Lots of significant hills or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 2000-3500 feet.
5. Many steep hills. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: more than 3500 feet.

TERRAIN

A. Almost entirely on pavement.
B. A significant part of the route is on well-groomed trails with very few obstacles.
C. A significant part of the route is on somewhat difficult terrain (rocky / rooted paths or soft sand).
D. A significant part of the route is on very difficult terrain.
E. The majority of the route is on very difficult terrain.

What happens next?

We are revising the itinerary for this Adventure. Once the itinerary is released, we will accept registration deposits ($500) to save space.

If you have Early Birded with a refundable $50 deposit, your spot on the tour will be held for 2 weeks after the itinerary is published while you make a decision on whether or not you’d like to register with an additional $450 deposit, bringing your total on the tour up to $500. If you decide not to join us for this tour, your Early Bird can be refunded or transferred to another tour.