Full Alaska Itinerary: 10 Days from Anchorage

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Planning to a visit to Alaska and in search of itinerary options? We bought you coated with our advised Alaska Itinerary: 10 days that may take you from Anchorage to discover a few of the prime sights in Alaska.

With such a large dimension, a street journey within the state of Alaska requires correct planning to profit from your expertise. We visited Alaska for 2 weeks in June and loved each second of our journey. Based mostly on our expertise, see beneath our journey suggestions and day-by-day itinerary for a 10 days street journey from Anchorage.  

This submit incorporates affiliate hyperlinks, which suggests we obtain a proportion in case you make a purchase order utilizing these hyperlinks – for gratis to you. These small commissions assist assist our weblog. 

Driving in Alaska

USA Alaska Itinerary 10 Days // Driving in Alaska

Alaska Itinerary: 10 Days Street Journey

See what our 10-day Alaska Journey contains, protecting Denali Nationwide Park, Anchorage, Wrangell-St. Elias Nationwide Park, Homer, and Kenai Nationwide Park. And since Alaska is an out of doors paradise, a few of the prime issues to do in Alaska will for positive embrace fjords kayaking, glacier mountaineering, and wildlife viewing.

The way to Select your Alaska Itinerary

Alaska is such a big state that deciding what you wish to see and the way lengthy you could have will decide your journey plans. Whereas the longer you may keep, the higher to discover and uncover new locations, we suggest a minimal of ten days to benefit from the area round Anchorage. Nevertheless, ought to you could have fewer days, take a look at our Alaska 7-day itinerary.

Notes on our Alaska street journey itineraries:

  • These itineraries all begin from Anchorage although we didn’t account for the arrival and departure time since these range relying on the place you reside.
  • With the climate having such an impression on the street circumstances, the really helpful seasons listed here are over the summer season months of June to August.
  • These street journey options can be utilized for each self-drive unbiased journey and arranged excursions.

USA Alaska Itinerary 7 Days // Driving to Denali National Park

Driving to Denali Nationwide Park

When reserving your automotive rental, be certain that the insurance policies cowl:

  • Limitless mileage: mileage provides up rapidly given the dimensions of the state
  • Insurance coverage: Most automotive rental insurances exclude driving on dust roads. Since a lot of the Alaska roads are product of dust, examine your insurance coverage cowl these roads.

Day 1: Anchorage

Anchorage is Alaska’s largest metropolis, and your gateway to the wilderness and mountains of Denali, Kenai, Talkeetna, and Chugach. Whereas Anchorage isn’t any New York Metropolis, a day is price spending there to discover the highest issues to do in Anchorage.

Ensure that to go to the Anchorage Native Heritage Middle. Not solely the middle gives wonderful data and show concerning the totally different Alaska Native traditions and language, however you may also catch one of many performances. Video games, dances, music – an effective way to study extra about Alaska heritage. We spent a few hours right here, longer than we initially deliberate due to their fascinating displays and performances. You should buy meals, tasting some native meals.

USA Alaska Itinerary 7 Days // Anchorage Native Heritage Center

Anchorage Native Heritage Middle

One other Anchorage issues to do price checking is the Anchorage Museum, the biggest museum within the state. There you may study concerning the historical past of Alaska but additionally admire native artwork and craft.

If you wish to pack on Alaska selfmade merchandise, Anchorage can be a superb place for purchasing on conventional Alaska Native artwork or native treats corresponding to salmon jerky. We packed a couple of samples of that tasty jerky, which made for nice snacks whereas we have been on the street! Jams of native berries are a must-try! Salmonberries, lingonberries, cloudberries anybody?

Day 2: Drive from Anchorage

  • Distance from Anchorage to Denali: about 250 miles (400 km)
  • How lengthy: About Four hours drive, round 6 hours with stops and sightseeing
  • What to see: Scenic Street from Anchorage to Denali, Denali Sled Canines, Denali Brief Hikes

Scenic Street from Anchorage to Denali Nationwide Park

To interrupt the lengthy drive from Anchorage to Denali, cease at these factors of curiosity:

  • Thea 200-foot (60 m) Thunderbird Falls by Previous Glenn Freeway, some 30 minutes north of Anchorage
  • Eklutna Lake and Eklutna Village, one of many oldest settlements inhabited Athabaskan Indian constantly since 1650
  • Talkeetna and Susitna River Bridge
  • Denali viewpoints, together with a number of alternatives from the Parks Freeway
  • Chulitna River

USA Alaska Itinerary 7 Days // Denali National Park Hiking Trail

Denali Nationwide Park Mountaineering Path

Half-Day in Denali Nationwide Park

Leaving Anchorage early within the morning will permit you to benefit from the park within the afternoon:

Since we had left Anchorage early sufficient, we have been capable of go to the canine kennel, hike the Savage space, examine the buses schedule at some stage in our journey, and even pitch our tents.

Be aware that the street solely goes contained in the park for the primary 15 miles (24 km), which is roughly as much as the Savage River trailhead. Past that time, park buses are required.

USA Alaska Itinerary 7 Days // Denali National Park Mount Denali

Denali Nationwide Park Mount Denali

Denali Nationwide Park Lodging

  • Throughout the park:
    • Campgrounds: E-book your website at one of many six Denali Nationwide Park campgrounds. We suggest you keep on the Savage River campground in your first evening for the reason that different campsites are additional into the park and require you to work alongside the bus schedule. Doable, in case you arrive early within the afternoon. You possibly can hire tents and sleeping gear at Denali Mountain Works by the Denali park entrance.
    • Lodges: A number of privately-owned chalets are on non-public lands throughout the park.
  • Outdoors the park
    Head both to Healy, 11 miles north of the park entrance, or Cantwell, 30 miles south of the park entrance, for accommodations close to Denali Nationwide Park. In these cities, you will see that lodging for all budgets, from motels, B&Bs, and to resorts. Widespread choices are the Denali Grizzly Bear Resort and Teklanika Campground if the campsites inside Denali are full. Every group has a spread of eating places obtainable.

Summer season months see the height of tourists coming in, so guide early to safe your room.

We beloved with the ability to benefit from the park at evening, particularly given the lengthy summer season days. Certainly, we went for a stroll alongside the river round midnight, and didn’t even want a headlamp!

Day 3: Denali Nationwide Park and Protect

When you have solely at some point within the park, be certain to take the primary bus out. They function from mid-Could to mid-September. No reservation is required, however we suggest you accomplish that when you have solely a restricted time within the park. Relying on the way you wish to discover Denali, select between a number of forms of buses: guided bus excursions, or shuttles to deliver you as much as trailheads and campgrounds.

USA Alaska Itinerary 7 Days // Denali National Park Wonder Lake

Denali Nationwide Park Marvel Lake

The way to discover Denali

  • A protracted bus experience (13-hour spherical journey to Kantishna, 11-hour to Marvel Lake) takes you as much as Marvel Lake Campground or Kantishna, the place the street ends. Although these lengthy days do not have a lot spare time to discover on any hike, you get to discover the entire park.
  • The Eielson Customer Middle could be a great spot to see Denali in its glory when the sky is obvious. In any other case, another choice is to examine from the street to Savage River.
  • Be a part of one of many ranger-guided actions and Denali nationwide park excursions
  • For those who resolve to forego the total day bus, head for a brief hike.
  • E-book your tickets to one of many a number of thrilling adventures round Denali: Whitewater Rafting, Ziplining, Backcountry Eating, Wilderness Exploration

We took the primary bus as much as Marvel Lake, the place we had lunch. Whereas this 11-hour return bus journey is prolonged, the bus takes by means of unbelievable surroundings. Hold your digicam useful as modifications of seeing caribou herds, coyotes, Grizzlies, and Moose, are fairly excessive. We even noticed a sow and her cub in the midst of the street. Pack your lunch and drinks as a result of there isn’t a meals within the park. Mosquitoes are fierce, a ache actually. They have been so aggressive and quite a few that we wore of head mosquito nets! They may not take advantage of dramatic selfies, however imagine me, they’re nice!

USA Alaska Itinerary 7 Days // Denali National Park Bus Ride

Denali Nationwide Park Bus Experience

Our bus was one of many transit shuttle buses which are inexperienced to tell apart them from the guided tour buses. Be aware that, whilst you reserve your seat and particular departure time when going into the park, the return journey is first come, first serve. As a result of we needed to maximise our time within the park, we took the final bus within the afternoon, however it was full. We needed to look ahead to over an hour on the Eielson Customer Middle for an additional coach to return and choose us up. Talking concerning the Eielson Customer Middle, be certain to cease there. The view of the valley is unbelievable, and also you would possibly get an opportunity to see Mount Denali if the climate cooperates. You’ll perceive why Denali is the best mountain in North America, sitting proudly at 20,310 ft (6,190 m)!

USA Alaska Itinerary 7 Days // Denali National Park Grizzly Bear

Denali Nationwide Park Grizzly Bear

Denali Flightseeing

A substitute for exploring the park on the bottom is to find Denali by means of a flightseeing tour. A couple of of the native tour operators even land the aircraft on the glaciers.

Day 4: Drive from Denali to Chitina and McCarthy

  • Distance from Denali to McCarthy: about 350 miles (560 km)
  • How lengthy: About Eight hours drive, round 10 hours with stops and sightseeing
  • What to see: Scenic Street from Denali to Chitina by means of Paxson on the beautiful Denali Freeway

Be ready for a protracted day, but additionally to fulfill unbelievable sights! The Denali Freeway is unbelievably lovely and makes for the lengthy hours. Pack on gasoline, snacks, and drinks as cities are far in-between.

USA Alaska Itinerary 10 Days // Driving along Denali Highway

Driving alongside Denali Freeway

A few odd and interesting “lodges” could be discovered on the street for a welcome relaxation, and espresso lovers will likely be fortunately shocked to see a couple of stands of their favourite drinks. For those who needed to cease for an evening, the Denali Freeway Cabins round Paxson could be a good looking place to take action.

Each the Denali Freeway and the street from Chitina to McCarthy are tough dust roads. Whereas they’re sensible, many rental corporations is not going to cowl you in case of damages, so be certain to examine your insurance coverage for protection. On the Chitina to McCarthy part, look ahead to moose – the thick forest on either side of the street cover them nicely till they’re standing in entrance of the automotive!

The place to remain in McCarthy, Alaska

Whereas McCarthy is a small group, it does not lack in lodging. We stayed on the Lancasters Backpacker Lodge which is true on the principle and solely avenue of the small Alaskan city. Different choices embrace a campground, visitor homes, mattress and breakfasts, wooden cabins, as much as the Michelin Information really helpful Ma Johnson’s Lodge.

Day 5: McCarthy and Wrangell-St. Elias Nationwide Park

McCarthy is the gateway to the Wrangell-St. Elias Nationwide Park. The realm is full of historical past and mindblowing panorama, so you’re in for a deal with, a lot you would possibly resolve to not depart!

USA Alaska Itinerary 10 Days // McCarthy

McCarthy

Relying on the place your pursuits are, examine the enjoyable issues to do in Wrangell-St. Elias Nationwide Park:

You possibly can spend your second evening again in McCarthy or deal with your self on the Kennicott Glacier Lodge for a really feel of time previous.

Day 6: Drive to Valdez

One other early morning drive leaving McCarthy behind, aiming for Valdez as your subsequent vacation spot.

  • Distance from McCarthy to Valdez: 180 miles (290 km)
  • How lengthy: About 4-5 hours relying on what number of occasions you cease
  • What to see:  Worthington Glacier from the street

After arriving in Valdez, go for a stroll by the city pier, examine the peaceable surroundings as you watch fishermen and boats going about their each day routine. Head as much as the shores, the place you may admire the view of the mountains within the background. However look ahead to the occasional grizzly bear that may pop its head searching for salmons from the close by creeks and salmon farms.

USA Alaska Itinerary 10 Days // Valdez

Valdez

Issues to See in Valdez

  • Checking the Worthington Glacier
  • Admiring the Bridal Veil Waterfalls
  • Exploring the location of Previous Valdez City 

The place to Keep in Valdez

We stayed on the Finest Western Valdez Harbor Inn, which was positive for our one-night keep. However different choices exist, just like the Glacier Lodge or Tsaina Lodge.

Click on right here to examine the newest offers in Valdez lodging.

Day 7: Glacier Kayaking and Cruising

Get able to see some glaciers up shut! From Valdez, you could have the choices to cruise to the Columbia Glacier, the biggest tidewater glacier in South Central Alaska, or kayak as much as the Valdez Glacier.

Test costs for the Columbia Glacier cruising.

We did each! Effectively, my in-laws went on a Columbia Glacier cruise whereas Bruno and I joined a Valdez Glacier kayaking journey. Completely different experiences however all of us had a blast. Seeing these glaciers as nearly touching them made us really feel so small!

USA Alaska Itinerary 10 Days // Glacier Kayaking

Glacier Kayaking

USA Alaska Itinerary 7 Days // Prince William Sound Glacier Cruising

Prince William Sound Glacier Cruising

Day 8: Ferry to Whittier and Kenai Peninsula

Crossing the Prince William Sound on a ferry from Valdez to Whittier, admire the long-lasting Alaskan surroundings. Passing by extra glaciers, watching birds and doubtlessly whales and orcas, you’ll attain Whittier for about 6 hours, relying on the ocean circumstances. Be aware that the ferry does not run each day so plan your journey accordingly.

USA Alaska Itinerary 10 Days // Porpoise in Prince William Sound

Porpoise in Prince William Sound

From there, drive by means of the Kenai Peninsula as you make your option to Homer, on the very tip of the peninsula.

  • Distance from Whittier to Homer: 180 miles (290 km)
  • How lengthy: About 3-Four hours relying on what number of occasions you cease

USA Alaska Itinerary 10 Days // Homer Peninsula

Homer Peninsula

The place to Keep in Homer

We spent the final nights of our Alaska journey on the Holland Days B&B and Cabins Homer. The lovable wooden cabins are a brief drive from Homer and are individually set with their kitchen, terrasse, and hearth grill. We had gone fishing throughout one among our days round Homer, and savoring the salmon we caught and grilled ourselves was a delight!

However Homer affords loads of lodging: lodges, mattress and breakfasts, inns, cabins, you title it.

Click on right here to search out out concerning the newest offers on Homer lodging.

Day 9: Homer and Katmai Nationwide Park

Homer is a captivating little coastal city that deserves a go to for itself. Go as much as the tip of the peninsula, stroll by the beautiful small homes, espresso locations, and eating places – an space known as Homer Spit, or stroll by the shore for but once more beautiful views of the Kachemak Bay and the mountains.

USA Alaska Itinerary 10 Days // Brown bears at the Brooks Falls, Katmai National Park

Brown bears on the Brooks Falls, Katmai Nationwide Park

The group can be a hub for flightseeing excursions to the Katmai Nationwide Park, the place you may wander the grounds along with brown bears and watch them catching salmons on the well-known Brooks Falls. A must-do whereas in Alaska, we will not suggest the expertise sufficient!

Click on right here to examine costs on a Brown Bear journey.

For those who do not fancy seeing one of many largest bears on the earth too shut, Homer affords different fascinating issues to do within the space:

  • Go salmon fishing in one of many Kenai Peninsula rivers
  • Board a ship to fish within the ocean

Day 10: Seward and Kenai Fjords Nationwide Park

Early morning on the final of your Alaska Itinerary 10 days street journey, head to Seward and the chance to discover one other prime Alaska attraction: Kenai Fjords Nationwide Park.

  • Distance from Homer to Seward: 170 miles (270 km)
  • How lengthy: About Three hours relying on what number of occasions you cease

The Kenai Fjords Nationwide Park is known for the large Harding Ice Subject from which about 40 glaciers emerge. Some of the common is Exit Glacier, which could be accessed from the north of Seward. Drive as much as Exit Glacier to admire the glacier up shut, and even go on one of many close by mountaineering path, together with the Glacier Overlook Path.

USA Alaska Itinerary 7 Days // Kenai Fjords National Park Exit Glacier

Kenai Fjords Nationwide Park Exit Glacier

Discover the Kenai Fjords Nationwide Park:

  • Board one of many boat excursions that cruise alongside the waters round Kenai Fjords and Resurrection Bay, and spot sea lions, whales, and seals.
  • Kayak the Kenai Fjords, although the icy and the altering circumstances make it extra really helpful for skilled kayakers.
  • Go on one of many ranger-guided applications
  • Glacier hike: Apart from the reasonable Glacier Overlook Path, one other extra strenuous and difficult path is the Harding Icefield Path, which takes at the least 6 to eight hours. Click on right here to guide a guided mountaineering tour to the Harding Icefield.
  • Take a flightseeing tour to admire the mountains and glaciers from excessive up

We hiked the path to Exit Glacier, which isn’t too strenuous, and allow you to come near a glacier with out truly having to put on crampons. The trail would possibly get busy so attempt to go early for a extra peaceable hike. Look ahead to any warning notes as typically patches of the glacier cut up and would possibly make for harmful circumstances.

It is time to depart Seward and drive to Anchorage to finish your Alaska journey. It will likely be a protracted day, however this lets you see the well-known Kenai Fjords Nationwide Park. One choice to keep away from the 2 drives on the ultimate day is to go away Homer the evening earlier than and keep in Seward the evening earlier than.

  • Distance from Seward to Anchorage: 90 miles (150 m)
  • How lengthy: About 2 hours

USA Alaska Itinerary 7 Days // Kenai Peninsula Sunset

Kenai Peninsula Sundown

Finest Time to Go to Alaska

The height season to go to Alaska is from mid-Could to mid-September. The temperatures range from 60°F to 80°F (15°C to 25°C) and even increased. Alaska climate can change quickly throughout the day. Whereas we have been there finish of June, we skilled snow and ail at some point, to be in a short-sleeve t-shirt a few days later.

Because of its place within the Arctic Circle, days are additional lengthy, and you’ll nonetheless expertise twilights at midnight on the finish of June.

Mosquitoes could be problematic in June and July when the grounds are nonetheless moist from the snowmelt. Come August; the soils have dried, the bugs are fewer, which makes for an fulfilling time to go mountaineering.

USA Alaska Itinerary 10 Days // Hiking in the Kenai Peninsula

Mountaineering within the Kenai Peninsula

Alaska Journey Ideas

  • The times are usually lengthy in Alaska in summer season, providing you with loads of time to benefit from the space, and drive round. Nevertheless, notice that it’ll disorientate you, as will probably be 9 pm or 10 pm whenever you assume it’s 5 pm.
  • Mosquitoes in Alaska are notorious, and never a legend! Carry sturdy mosquito repellent. A face mosquito web will come in useful, particularly within the Denali space
  • Climate change quickly – once more, not a delusion. You possibly can expertise 4-seasons in at some point. So layer up.
  • A great waterproof jacket, fleece, hoody, and gloves will likely be helpful
  • In case you are planning on mountaineering, gaiters and mountaineering poles is likely to be of worth as you journey by means of doubtlessly muddy and slippery trails
  • Don’t feed animals and please, please look ahead to bear security measures. Not solely in your security after all, but additionally for the bears and different wild animals. They are going to scent your rubbish baggage, your snacks, and left over. The nearer they arrive to human meals and human interplay, the much less scared they’re, and thus the extra doubtless of assaults from the animals to the people. When this occurs, the animals pays for human carelessness. Rangers and wildlife service would possibly resolve to kill the animals to stop additional assaults. So please please, pack it out, pack it tight, and depart the wild animals be wild.


Keen on street journeys? Test our Alaska Itinerary 7 days street journey, or driving over the ice street of the MacKenzie River to Tuk, or prime locations for automotive tenting within the US.

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