From: June 11 to June 22, 2017

Destination: South Central Alaska

  • Grand Alaska Road Trip - FULL

    Alaska is a huge land, known for rugged landscapes, towering mountains, powerful rivers, and immense glaciers. Although exploring all of it would take months, a sampling of its finest can be seen on a road trip that starts in Anchorage and does a big loop through the interior. June is an ideal time to visit Alaska, with generally excellent weather, very long days, and fewer tourists. Maximum group size: 10

    THIS TRIP IS FULL. To get on a waitlist, register for the trip (no deposit required)
  • Sunday, June 11
    Welcome to Anchorage! We'll meet at 5 pm at our Anchorage hotel, have a trip orientation and then go out to dinner at a local restaurant. After completing any last minute preparations, we'll get to bed early. D

    Monday, June 12
    After breakfast we leave Anchorage for Talkeetna. Along the way we 'll stop for our first hike in Chugach Mountain State Park. Chugach is the third largest state park in the US and at over half a million acres, it is half the size of Delaware! We, however, will only see a small part of it as we hike one of the many trails it offers. We'll then hop back in the van and continue on to Talkeetna, the main staging area for Denali climbers and fascinating in its own right. For those who haven't quite seen enough, there is an optional (for additional cost) flight-seeing tour of this scenic landscape. The cost is approximately $450 plus tip. We'll eat dinner that night at a local restaurant that is a climbers' hangout. Overnight Talkeetna Cabins. B, L, D

    Tuesday, June 13
    We leave Talkeetna for Denali National Park, stopping to hike the Coal Creek Trail in Denali State Park. This trail offers a beautiful climb to the alpine tundra, starting in lush vegetation and then quickly ascending above tree line to alpine country and amazing views of mountains and glaciers, tundra flowers, and perhaps some bears. We eat lunch on the trail and then continue on our way to Denali, our base for the next three nights. If we arrive in time we'll stop by the Denali Visitor Center to get a good overview of the park. Overnight at Denali Grizzly Bear Cabins tonight and the next 2 nights. B, L, D

    Wednesday, June 14
    We'll board the bus today (the only vehicle allowed inside Denali National Park) and take it to Eileson Visitor's Center. More than just a bus ride, the bus provides an opportunity to see the subarctic wilderness interior of this magnificent park and lots of opportunity to see wildlife, including grizzlies, caribou, moose, and Dall sheep. The entire round trip is about 7 hours, with frequent stops and if weather cooperates, there are several short hiking options from the Center. Because people may return at different times, dinner is on your own tonight. Overnight Denali B, L

    Thursday, June 15
    We'll have a more relaxed pace today as we leave the morning open for you to choose what interests you most. How about a helicopter ride with a chance to walk on a glacier? A tundra buggy? Other possibilities include going to the dogsled demo in the park, or joining a ranger for a naturalist hike. Your guides will make sure you get where you want to go. In the afternoon we'll offer a choice of whitewater rafting on the Nenana River, an exciting class III/IV river; or go hiking on the 2-mile Savage Loop Trail. Whichever you choose, we'll reconnect for dinner that night. B, L, D

    Friday, June 16
    Today we'll leave Denali to start our drive across the Denali Highway, widely considered one of the most beautiful highways in the entire US (and for good reason!). Paralleling the southern side of the Alaskan Range, it is impossible to drive this gravel road across one of the most remote wilderness areas in the US without constantly stopping for pictures. Along the way we'll stop to hike across the tundra to a panoramic overlook. We'll be spending tonight at MacLaren River Lodge, about two thirds of the way across. If it sounds like it's in the middle of nowhere, that would be accurate. The lodging is rustic but has running water and the restaurant serves good food. Located on the MacLaren River, you will definitely know you have gotten off the beaten path. B, L, D

    Saturday, June 17
    This morning we'll start with some kayaking on the MacLaren River. This is a great way to see wildlife and to experience the remoteness of the area from a different vantage point. We the finish our drive to McCarthy. McCarthy was on the verge of becoming a ghost town until recently, when interest in Wrangell-St Elias park and the energy of some entrepreneurs revitalized it. It's still quiet though- the bridge across the river doesn't support autos so the town and the surrounding area have limited vehicles. It's a charming town and we'll have free time to explore the area before dinner. Overnight Ma Johnson's, where we'll stay for the next three nights. B, L, D

    Sunday, June 18
    On Saturday we meet our local guide for a 4-6 hour hike out onto the Root Glacier. We will learn how to use crampons (pointy spikes that we strap onto our shoes) to stay steady on the ice, and enjoy a walk around the ice to see features such as crevasses, blue streams and pools, and moulins (holes drilled in the ice by flowing water). We'll have a picnic lunch and return to Kennecott by mid-afternoon. After a short break, we will spend 2.5 hours touring the 14-story mill building, where we will get a chance to see the original machinery used in the milling process and learn in detail about the history and mining processes found in Kennecott during its heyday as a copper mining town. There are a couple of fancy restaurants in town and this is the night to try one if you're interested. B, L

    Monday, June 19
    We totally change gears on Monday! We will meet our rafting guides in the morning to get geared up and head down the river. The first part of the river-rafting trip is splashy and fast with spectacular views of the Stairway Icefall. After a big, hearty lunch, we head into the mighty Nizina Canyon, where the river is squeezed tightly between limestone cliffs that cause it to surge around the corners in an impressive show of power. At the end of the canyon we stop for a short hike near the banks of the Chitina River, then cross the river to where our bush plane will pick us up. For a spectacular ending to the day, we enjoy a flight back up the river and over the Kennicott and Root Glaciers with marvelous views of Mt. Blackburn, the Stairway Icefall, and the tiny towns of McCarthy & Kennecott. B, L, D

    Tuesday, June 20
    We leave McCarthy today the same road but with a whole new appreciation of its history. Our destination today is Valdez, a small but important port on Prince William Sound that was completely destroyed by a tsunami following the 1964 earthquake and was rebuilt inland. During the drive we catch glimpses of the Alaska pipeline, the imposing 800 mile pipe that carries oil from the North slope down to the port of Valdez. Stopping along the way to hike the Goat Trail and Wagon Road, we stretch our legs on this moderate five-mile hike. We also stop for a close up look at the Worthington Glacier before arriving in Valdez. Perched on the edge of Prince William Sound and surrounded by towering mountain peaks, on a sunny day the setting is spectacular. B, L, D

    Wednesday, June 21
    We have a couple of options today, including kayaking in Prince William Sound or going on a wildlife and glacier-view cruise. Depending on choices, there will be some free time this morning to explore Valdez- both the Valdez Museum and the Earthquake Museum will help you understand more about the impact of the tsunami on both physical and social environment. If kayaking is appealing, this really is an amazing setting with options for seeing glaciers, waterfalls, marine birds, sea otters and harbor seals. for it. If kayaking doesn't sound appealing, then a wildlife and glacier-viewing cruise is another great way to explore the wonders of Prince William Sound. Whichever you choose, you will leave with a renewed appreciation for the beauty and fragility of Prince William Sound and why it is so worth protecting. Tonight we'll share our final farewell dinner, raising a toast to all we've seen and done. B, L, D

    Thursday, June 22
    Today we take the ferry across Prince William Sound to Whittier. There is no evidence of damage from the infamous oil spill to the casual observer. And although we have seen alot of wildlife by this point, we will still be watching for more, including whales and puffins. We'll arrive in Whittier early afternoon and, time permitting, have a little time to visit the "Strangest town in America" before driving back to Anchorage. We'll be back in Anchorage by 5pm, in time for an evening flight home. Or if you're not ready to leave (and you won't be), we highly recommend spending some additional time in this small city that is like no other. B, L
  • $4395 (see this page for travel discounts) $300 deposit. Single supplement (only necessary if you want to assure a room to yourself) are available for $960. You can read here about our payment and cancellation policies.

    Trip Includes

    • 11 nights lodging
    • All activities on the itinerary, including rafting, flight-seeing, ferries, and kayaking, unless specified as optional at additional cost
    • All breakfast and lunches and most dinners as specified on the itinerary
    • All transport within Alaska
    • Entrance fees to sites that are included in the itinerary

    Not included: Airfare to Anchorage, alcoholic beverages, two dinners, guide gratuities, an optional flight-seeing tour, travel insurance, items of a personal nature.
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  • Common Questions

    If you’ve never traveled with us before, you may have some questions about how we do things and what you can expect. We’ve answered the most common ones below and are always available by phone or email to answer any others.

    How do I pay for my trip?

    You can make the deposit by submitting a secure form with your credit card information after filling out the registration form or calling us with your card information. We will send you an invoice for the balance due with your Predeparture Information 4 months before an International trip and 3 months before a domestic trip. You can get a 3% discount for paying the balance by check.

    What if I’m coming alone?

    The majority of women who travel with us come by themselves. If you want to pay a single supplement to guarantee your own room, or if you want to share a room with someone with whom you are traveling, you can indicate that on the registration form. Otherwise we randomly assign roommates and rotate every time we change lodging – it’s a great way to get to know different women on the trip.

    Can you accommodate special diets?

    It depends on both the trip and on your specific needs. With advance notice, we can accommodate most dietary restrictions or allergies on our domestic trips, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten intolerant. This is not always true on international trips, so please contact us in advance if you have specific dietary needs. We've found that if you are willing to bring some of your own snacks and a couple of items to supplement what is on the menu (peanut butter is always good!) and possibly have less variety than you are used to at home, then dietary needs usually are no obstacle. If in doubt about your specific dietary needs, especially if you have Celiac disease, please give us a call (877/439-4042) or send us an email.

    What if I have to cancel my trip?

    The amount of your refund depends on how close to the trip you cancel and whether it is a domestic or an international trip. You can read our cancellation policies here. We highly recommend travel insurance because cancellations are always unexpected; we will send you additional information about insurance when you register.

    Will my family be able to get in touch with me in case of an emergency?

    Yes, we always send out emergency contact information. On a few trips, because of limitations in communication, the best approach is to give them the office number and let us make the contact.

    What other information will you send me?

    When you register, we’ll send you a Trip Summary that includes the itinerary, travel information, and a packing list. Three to four months before your trip we’ll send you Pre-Departure information that includes detailed information on how to get to the trip starting point, pre- or post-trip lodging suggestions, suggested books and websites etc. Four to six weeks before the trip, we’ll send you a list of everyone who is registered along with their travel plans; and a Pre-Trip letter with the name of your guide(s) and how to contact them if your arrival is delayed as well as any other important updates.

    Do you help with pre-trip and/or post-trip hotel reservations?

    For international trips, if you want to stay at the hotel where we’re staying the first night before the trip, or at the hotel we’re staying the last night after the trip, we’re happy to make a reservation for you. Otherwise our PreDeparture Information will have hotel suggestions. Our travel agent is also happy to help you with this.

    How does the waitlist process work and how often do people cancel?

    If you are interested in a trip that is full, you should sign up here. If there is a cancellation, we send out an email to everyone who has expressed interest and ask them to respond within 24 hours. If more than one person is interested, we give the space to the person who has traveled with us before or in the order of being put on the waitlist. Frequently, even when we have a long wait list, it is the last person to sign up who is still available to go. Whether or not there will be a cancellation is completely unpredictable, although not uncommon.

    What is the role of the guide(s)?

    On every trip, the primary roles of the guide(s) are to ensure your safety and to make sure that, to the extent possible, you are having the trip you want. The guide(s) will also make sure that you know what is happening each day and what you need to bring to be prepared. On domestic trips the guide(s) will also likely be driving, preparing picnic lunches and sometimes other meals, providing skills instruction, and giving you information about the natural history of the area. On any trip where we partner with another company (which is most international trips and some trips that require special equipment), the AGC guide will work with the local guide to make sure that the trip is conducted in accordance with the AGC philosophy.

    What if I have more questions?

    Give us a call (877/439-4042) or send us an email. A Program Manager is assigned to each trip. Once you have registered, she will send you a registration confirmation letter that includes her name and email, and she will be your primary contact. Her job is to make sure that you get all your questions answered and that you feel completely prepared for your adventure.

    What if I'm the oldest/youngest/heaviest/least in shape/only single woman/only mom on the trip?

    You might be. Someone has to be the oldest/youngest/heaviest/least in shape person on the trip. And while the great majority of our trips have both single and non-single women, and moms and non-moms, sometimes they don't. But it doesn't matter if you're "different" in any of those ways - what you will share with everyone else is a desire to experience adventure in your life, and an appreciation of the joy and camaraderie of being in an all women's group.

Trip highlights

  • Hiking in Chugach State Park and Denali and Wrangell-St. Elias National Parks
  • Kayaking on spectacular Prince William Sound
  • Staying in the charming town of McCarthy, walking on glaciers, and visiting an old mine
  • Driving the Denali Highway, Alaska's most beautiful
  • Seeing an amazing diversity of wildlife, including moose, bear, Dall sheep, caribou, whales, sea otters, sea lions and bald eagles

Register for this trip today

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