Travel to the heart of Alaska
Travel to the heart of Alaska, an enticing destination filled with natural wonders. From the highest mountain on the continent to the fantastic wildlife that roams freely through the national parks, Alaska is an outdoor playground that is pure pleasure to discover. Relax as you sail across sublime fjords and travel through vast swathes of cinematic landscapes aboard the Grand Alaska Railroad.
After meeting our Tour Manager and group at London Heathrow airport, we fly to Seattle. On arrival at this United States seaport we take another flight to Fairbanks, the 'Golden Heart City'. We transfer to our hotel for a three-night stay, enjoying time to get a first look at our new surroundings. Founded in 1901, Fairbanks was soon established as a trading post and a haven for local gold prospectors, but is now known as an area of Alaska that helps transport America's precious black gold - oil, an important part of Alaska's economy.
Today, we enjoy a guided tour of this northern city. On the tour, we are likely to see a section of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, that stretches over 800 miles across the frozen tundra, as well as the Museum of the North, housed on the university campus, and perhaps even Santa Claus House. In an area of the city dubbed the North Pole, this is a familyrun institution that keeps the festive spirit going all year round. For over 50 years Father Christmas has been writing to children across the country from this unassuming house, situated just off the highway. Following our explorations you are free to continue sightseeing. Why not eat like a local, and indulge in a speciality salmon bake meal at one of the cosy nearby restaurants?
This morning we step aboard the Riverboat Discovery III for a traditional steam powered paddle boat cruise along the Chena and Tanana Rivers. As we sail we learn more about the history of these waterways and the Athabascan Indian culture once prevalent here. Our afternoon continues with a journey along the Tanana Valley Railroad, a popular route during the gold rush. The route leads us to an old mining site where we have the chance to pan for our own treasures.
We make our way to the railway station today where we board the Alaska Railroad, known as the 'backbone of the Last Frontier', for a remarkable journey to Denali With construction beginning in 1903, it was originally named the Alaska Central Railway and as the state's first, the route became a testament to the pioneering engineering spirit of the time.
As we leave the city of Fairbanks trailing behind us we head out into the true landscapes of Alaska, travelling along tree-lined valleys that tumble down beneath us into the winding rivers below. With the wilderness stretching as far as the eye can see and mountain peaks disappearing into the clouds, this is a true taste of Alaskan adventure.
We have the luxury of riding the rails accompanied by some wonderful opportunities to glimpse the wildlife that calls this unique yet remote part of the world home. We travel in the train's domed observation car, so keep your eyes peeled for sightings of bears, moose and even wolves as the train forges its way through seemingly impossible terrains. On arrival into Denali we transfer to our hotel, where we enjoy welcome drinks before bed this evening.
Today we can look forward to a tundra wilderness tour. With local guides on hand to help us identify the flora, fauna and wildlife we will no doubt encounter, as well as revealing the history of the park itself, this is an immersive experience into one of Alaska's most breathtaking settings. And you will be provided with a snack to enjoy during your time out on the prairies.
Travelling by rail, we travel from Denali to Talkeetna, as we traverse through the cinematic scenery of silvery creeks, mountains with their tops dusted by snow, and rolling green fir forests. We might spot a caribou that's stopped to take a drink, a family of grizzly bears walking along the path, or a herd of nimble-footed Dall sheep capering precariously along the rocky outcrops. We arrive into Talkeetna, on the banks of the Susitna River. A typical rural outpost filled with traditional charm, the population is just 800 and we spend the night here.
You are at leisure in Talkeetna today, to enjoy the relaxed pace of life that is evident here, whilst admiring the impressive backdrop of Mount Denali on the horizon, the highest peak in North America.
Leaving Talkeetna today, we travel by rail to Anchorage, one of Alaska's most important cities. On arrival, we take a guided tour. Travelling by coach, we unearth stories about the city's colourful history, including its time as a Russian territory, and the economic boom that came about in the 1920s with the introduction of the railways. From possible sightings of Anchorage's famous urban moose to the poignant Earthquake Park, there is plenty for us to see and learn on our tour.
This morning we journey to the city of Whittier by rail where, on arrival, we embark on a magnificent 'Glacier Quest Cruise'. With nature and wildlife the watchword of the day, we take to the calm waters of Prince William Sound, for the chance to get as close as possible to glaciers, see the majesty of whales surfacing for air, and to watch as porpoises frolic around the bow of the boat. Other animals that call these majestic glaciers home include sea otters, bald eagles and bears. Travelling on a specially designed electric catamaran, we're sure not to miss seeing any of the fascinating wild animals that decide to put in appearance. We return to Anchorage this afternoon after an exhilarating day that includes lunch.
Enjoy a full day at leisure today. Anchorage lies between the shimmering waters of the Cook Inlet and the allencompassing Chugach mountain range in south-central Alaska. As the gateway to the wilderness of this, America's most sparsely populated state, Anchorage is the perfect base from which to metaphorically dip your toes into the glorious nature these epic landscapes have to off er. Later this evening we enjoy a 3-course farewell dinner on our fi nal night in this wonderful region.
This morning, we bid this wild and fascinating region goodbye as we transfer to the airport for our flight from Anchorage to London via Seattle, arriving on Day 12.
Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.
An escorted experience and all travel arrangements
Comfortable accommodation in your destination
Delicious meals included
Exciting excursions and free time to explore
Travel to the heart of Alaska