Alaska Backpack and WildlifeExperience the best of the southern Alaskan wilderness

Alaska
Alaska
8 Days
8 Days
Intensity
7/10
22.0 miles
$2,895
$2,995 non-peak member
About the trip

Travel into the Heart of Alaska

The vast, expansive wilderness of Alaska has so much to offer. From its massive mountain peaks to its stunning ocean waters, the region is home to unbelievable landscapes and truly unique wildlife. Over eight unforgettable days, you'll join us as we hit the highlights of Southern Alaska.
Your adventure will take you from the tundra of the Kesugi Ridge and the wilds of Denali National Park to the shores of a glacial lake and the waters of Resurrection Bay. You'll backpack in the shadow of North America's highest peak and see the massive creatures that inhabit its lands. You'll bike stunning trails, hike alongside glaciers, and sea kayak alongside marine wildlife - all while learning about the history and ecosystem of this amazing destination.

Your Guide
Lauren Skonieczny
Senior Guide
Director of Operations

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Level 7/10
Alaska
8 Days

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Itinerary

Arrival in Anchorage

Today, you'll arrive at Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage to be greeted by your Discover Outdoors Guide. For arrivals between 8AM and 9PM, your guide will meet you outside of baggage claim to transport you to the city and your accommodations for the night. Today can be spent exploring the city or relaxing and preparing for your trip. (No meals provided)

Drive to Denali State Park

Today, you'll wake up and enjoy a relaxing and hearty breakfast before packing up your gear to hit the road. Your three hour drive from Anchorage to Denali State Park takes you through lush, green scenery where you may even spot a moose or two. If time allows, you'll enjoy a short hike to warm up your legs and test out your gear. Home for the night is Kesugi Ken campground at the base of the range, where your DO guides will cook up a delicious dinner over the fire. (Meals: B, D)
Hiking Distance: 3-5 MilesHiking Time: 3 Hours

Hike to Kesugi Ridge

An early morning awaits as today is perhaps the most challenging - and most rewarding - day of the trip. After a hearty breakfast and gearing up with the help of your guides, you'll being your ascent to Kesugi Ridge. The massive Denali stands just across the valley and, if She's feeling friendly, she'll greet you with breathtaking views as you climb. Your first few miles of hiking will take you uphill via switchbacks through dense vegetation, but you'll soon emerge to the vast tundra of the ridge. The trail will roll up and down small hills but the majority of climbing will be behind you for the day. After eleven miles, you'll arrive at your campsite next to a calm mountain lake and will sleep soundly for the night. (Meals: B, L, D)
Hiking Distance: 11 MilesHiking Time: 8 HoursElevation Gain: 3,000 Feet

Hike Kesugi Ridge

The sun greets you early during the Alaska summer, but you'll no doubt wake well rested after a night on the ridge. Today will be your second day of hiking along Kesugi. You'll start your day with a climb of Ermine Hill, taking in more views of the beautiful landscape that surrounds you before descending back into the valley. With only eight miles to go - much of it downhill - you'll enjoy a leisurely pace for the day before emerging at your trailhead again and heading to your campground for a celebratory dinner and rest. (Meals: B, L, D)
Hiking Distance: 8 MilesHiking Time: 6 Hours

Denali National Park Wilderness Tour

This will be your day to celebrate a successful hike with a wilderness tour of Denali National Park. After breakfast at camp, you'll take the short drive to the gates of the park before transfering onto a bus for a full day tour and drive. Keep your eyes peeled for grizzlies, moose, and even wolves as you drive in the shadow of the mountain. After your tour concludes, your DO guide will take you back to Anchorage for a well earned shower and dinner. (Meals: B)

Eklutna Lake Biking, Alyeska Resort and Tram

After a home cooked breakfast, you'll take a short drive into Chugach National Forest for a morning of biking along the shores of the glacial Eklutna Lake. While enjoying one of the most beautiful places to explore in the region, experienced bikers can opt to ride the full twelve miles to the foot of the glacier and back while novices can move at a more moderate pace to enjoy the views along the lake over a shorter distance. After your drive, you'll head south to the beautiful Alyeska Resort for a delicious lunch and a chance to take the tram to awe-inspiring views of peaks, glaciers, rivers, trees, and an array of wildlife. Evening tonight will be spent at the Hotel Alyeska. (Meals: B)

Wilderness Kayak in Seward, Hike Exit Glacier

Your final full day in Alaska awaits - and it is packed with adventure! Your DO guide will transport you to Seward where you'll experience a morning wilderness Kayak in Resurrection Bay, an area known for its abundance of marine life. Keep your eyes peeled for sea otters, marine birds, harbor seals, bald eagles and jumping salmon as you paddle alongside massive glaciers. After lunch in Seward, you'll enjoy a hike to the famous Exit Glacier for your final views of the stunning region. Tonight you'll rest your head at a lovely lodge along the water. (Meals: No meals provided)

Return to Anchorage, Departure

Say goodbye to Alaska today! Your DO guide will transport you one final time back to Anchorage for flights departing after 12 PM. Bid farewell to your new friends and take in one final view of the magical land before heading back home.
Planning

Here’s what you need

Bring

Essential Gear
  • Backpack, sized 55-70 L
  • Backpacking Tent (available to rent for an additional fee)
  • Sleeping Bag, rated 0 degrees or lower (available to rent for an additional fee)
  • Sleeping Pad (available to rent for an additional fee)
  • Water bottles or Camelbak, 3L total minimum capacity
  • Headlamp
  • Mug, bowl, and utensil
  • Small towel or facecloth
  • Toiletries
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
Recommended Gear
  • Trekking Poles
  • Camera
  • Book
  • Journal
  • Sleeping bag liner
  • Gaiters
  • Head net for mosquitoes

Wear

Essential Clothing
  • Hiking boots, waterproof with sturdy soles
  • Wool hiking socks, multiple pairs
  • Long sleeve base layers (synthetic and moisture wicking)
  • Long pant base layer (synthetic and moisture wicking)
  • Light synthetic shirt or tank for warmer days
  • Hiking pants or shorts (at least one pair should be long pants)
  • Insulating mid layers (fleece jacket or vest, down jacket)
  • Waterproof, windproof shell
  • Light gloves
  • Warm hat
  • Balaclava or buff
  • Casual clothes for camp
  • Comfortable athletic clothing and shoes for biking and kayaking
  • Casual clothes for dinners at lodges or travel to town

Trip Package

Included
  • Transportation between all locations
  • Licensed and medically trained guide team
  • Accommodations
  • Meals as outlined in itinerary
  • Group equipment
  • Denali Wildlife Tour
  • Bike rentals at Eklutna Lake
  • Kayak tour in Resurrection Bay
  • Park permits and fees
Not included
  • Airfare to Anchorage
  • Personal gear and equipment
  • Meals not outlined in itinerary
  • Gratuity for guides

Flights

All flights should be booked through Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, unless you are extending your trip. Please plan to arrive on day one of the itinerary. Your Discover Outdoors guide will pick you up at the airport any time between 8AM-9PM. If you arrive outside of that window, a car hire will cost approximately $40 to your accommodations in Anchorage. Departure on day 8 must be after 1 PM to provide ample time to return to Anchorage from Seward. If you are extending your trip through an early arrival or late departure, your guide will arrange pick up or drop off at your accommodations in Anchorage.

Lodging

Evenings in Anchorage (nights one and five) will be spent in a guesthouse with two person shared rooms. On the trail, you will be sleeping in your backpacking tent for three nights total, including one in the backcountry and two at a campground with essential facilities. Nights six and seven will be spent in full service lodges with full amenities in two person shared rooms unless a single supplement is purchased.

Weather

Expect daytime temperatures in the 50s and 60s - sometimes lower at higher elevations. As nights are short due to extended daylight hours, the nighttime temperature does not typically drop lower than about 40 degrees, but you should be prepared for temperatures as low as freezing. Overcast skies and rain are not uncommon in July so waterproof gear, a pack cover, rain pants, and a waterproof shell are essential.

Training

This trip does not require technical climbing skills or experience. It does, however, require a moderate to high level of physical fitness. We strongly encourage our hikers to experience hiking on rugged trails, particularly up and down steep hills, while carrying weight. The difference in difficulty while carrying the weight of a fully loaded backpack can sometimes come as a surprise to hikers, so you are encouraged to try challenging day hikes with a weighted backpack. Those who are in good shape are more likely to enjoy the experience and the views along the trail.

Give yourself adequate time to prepare, particularly if this form and intensity of exercise is new. For three days a week, focus on an hour or more of aerobic exercise such as running, cycling, swimming, etc. Gym equipment such as stairmasters and rowing machines can supplement cardiovascular training. Day hikes or other longer endeavors will help you prepare for the endurance required for a backpacking trip. Carrying a 20 to 30 pound pack uphill on trails or stadium steps will simulate the real climb better than anything. Lifting moderate weights to increase core body, leg, and arm strength is also essential for injury prevention.

Upon registration, a member of the DO team will consult on your experience and fitness and will recommend a regimen for training.

Why this trip?

Recommended for...

This trip is recommended for individuals with hiking experience looking to develop new skills and experience an immersive wilderness adventure. No backpacking experience is required but those with a strong level of fitness or who are able to train in advance will enjoy the weekend most.

Dates and Prices

The right trip,
at the right time.

Start
Finish
Availability
Price From
Sunday
Jun 30, 2019
Sunday
Jul 7, 2019
Inquiry
$2,895
Limited Spaces Remaining
Wednesday
Jul 10, 2019
Wednesday
Jul 17, 2019
Inquiry
$2,895
Limited Spaces Remaining
Sunday
Jul 21, 2019
Sunday
Jul 28, 2019
Inquiry
$2,895