Alaska 2021: Trip Itinerary

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Solstice Glacier Exploration: Touring and Hiking in Alaska’s Wrangell-St.Elias National Park and Vicinity

Here is our planned itinerary. It could change due to weather conditions or other circumstances beyond our control. Included meals shown by B - breakfast, L - lunch, D - dinner.

Day 1 June 12, 2021 Anchorage

We meet today in downtown Anchorage. The largest city in Alaska is a gem in the summer, surrounded by mountains and filled with flowers. We’ll gather in the late afternoon for introductions and a trip orientation and afterwards take a short walk to our first meal on the trip, dinner at a restaurant with a rooftop terrace and sparkling views of Cook Inlet (weather permitting). D

Day 2 June 13 Kenny Lake Hike: 2 miles

After breakfast we set off on our 4 hour road journey along a National Scenic Byway heading for the Copper River Valley and the headquarters of the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. Making stops along the way to enjoy the natural beauty of the area, we’ll follow a glacial river through the Chugach Mountains to the Matanuska Glacier. Here we take our first short hike along the ridge to view the glacier before continuing on to the Copper River Valley. There will be an orientation to the park including its first inhabitants, the Ahtna people, at the park headquarters, before continuing on to the historic town of Copper Center. With a view of the majestic Wrangell Mountains, dinner will be at the cabin of our leaders, David and Lisa, in Kenny Lake. We will spend the night at a nearby establishment featuring cozy cabins some with bunk beds for a taste of rustic Alaskan life. B/L/D

Day 3 June 14 Kennicott/McCarthy Hike: 4 miles, 715 feet ascent

Today we drive into the park, stopping to view nature at its finest. Crossing the Copper River Bridge, traditional fishing techniques using fish wheels and dip nets to catch the legendary Copper River Reds or sockeye salmon may be seen. From the bridge, the gravel McCarthy Road stretches 60 miles into the park wilderness. Our total driving time today will be approximately 3 hours as we stop to take in scenic views and hike up to the Crystalline Hills and waterfalls. At the end of the road we leave our van behind taking the footbridge across the Kennicott River. From there, a shuttle will transport us to our lodging which is near the Park’s Interpretive Center. A short historical film and tour of the mine will complete our day before dinner. An evening stroll in the midnight sun is encouraged. B/L/D

Day 4 June 15 Kennicott/McCarthy Hike: 7 miles, 388 feet ascent

Today we turn our attention to the natural beauty surrounding us with a hike onto the Root Glacier. We’ll spend the day taking in the huge vista, blue ice caves and waterfalls. For those wanting a different adventure, optional flight-seeing or rafting excursions are available instead through a local guide service for an additional charge. B/L/D

Day 5 June 16 Kenny Lake Hike: 7 miles

A morning hike to the toe of the Kennicott Glacier brings us views of the surrounding peaks and the Stairway Icefall. The hike concludes at the town of McCarthy, a supply and recreation town which grew up to service the needs of the miners. This small remote town still very much retains the spirit and flavor of a bygone era. We say goodbye to the National Park, retracing our 3 hour route out of the park in the afternoon, stopping along the way at the 1911 railroad trestle and at the historic Chitina Hotel for dinner. We finish our day back at the cabins. B/L/D

Day 6 June 17 Valdez Hike: 4 miles, 1062 feet ascent

Today we travel the 2 hours to Valdez along another National Scenic Byway, the Richardson Highway. Stopping to hike at the Worthington Glacier in Thompson Pass we can witness a glacier that is receding at the slowest rate in Alaska due to the record breaking snowfall the area receives. The scenery is breathtaking in Thompson Pass with wildflowers in abundance gracing the mountain sides. In Keystone Canyon spectacular waterfalls drop hundreds of feet into the turgid Lowe River. The restaurant at our hotel in Valdez has a delightful view of the harbor. An evening stroll on the docks often turns up a visiting sea otter or two. B/L/D

Day 7 June 18 Valdez Kayaking (optional) 8 hours - no experience necessary

The Prince William Sound is our playground today. Teaming with wildlife and surrounded by snow-capped mountains, we will view the Columbia or Shoup glaciers up close from your choice of a tour boat or a kayak. Often seen along the way are sea otters, seals and sea lions, kittiwakes and puffins, waterfalls and fjords and possibly whales. Our farewell dinner will be at an iconic restaurant on the Valdez waterfront. B/L/D

Day 8 June 19 Anchorage

We’ll board the morning Alaska Marine Ferry to Whittier crossing Prince William Sound in 5 hours. The van will take us for the short hour and a half drive back to Anchorage. Arriving in the late afternoon, you will be delivered to the destination of your choice. There are many festivities planned for the solstice in Anchorage. You may want to extend your trip and take advantage of the fun. Be sure to book well in advance for this popular weekend. B/L

The trip leader will provide 4 trip bulletins prior to departure with more detailed and specific information to help you prepare for your adventure.

Click here to print off/ download a copy of the full trip brochure

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Trip Dates: June 12 - 19, 2021 | 8 day trip

NEW - Special small group size limited to 11 participants

Trip Price and Deposit:

Early-bird Price Sign up before October 15th 2020 $3,785 per person | Deposit: $946

Regular Price Starting October 16th 2020 $4,035 per person | Deposit: $1009

Remainder due March 11th, 2021

How to Sign-up:

  1. Pay your trip deposit - click on the yellow Buy Now button below.

  2. Send us your trip paperwork.