Alaska's Southcentral region serves as the main hub for the rest of the state. This region is a popular destination filled with attractions and highlights that appeal to virtually anyone visiting Alaska. The variety of services is almost limitless, whether visitors choose to spend their time in Alaska's largest city, along some of our world-famous coast communities, or in some of Alaska's most accessible wilderness areas. Due to the size of Alaska's Southcentral Region and the varied types of services available, we have divided the region into five smaller sub-regions. These sub-regions include Anchorage & Girdwood, Matanuska-Susitna Valley, Kenai Peninsula, Prince William Sound, and the Copper River Valley.


Anchorage & Girdwood
| Matanuska-Susitna | Kenai Peninsula | Prince William Sound | Copper Valley / Wrangell-St. Elias


Located in Southcentral Alaska on the shores of Cook Inlet, Anchorage stands as a sophisticated metropolis in the midst of rugged wilderness. Anchorage is the largest city in Alaska, where half of the state's residents live. It is one of the only places in Alaska with all the modern fixtures of American life such as a modern performing arts center, gourmet restaurants and numerous shopping malls. Moose can often be seen in Anchorage's urban parks and the city is home of North America's largest floatplane base, Lake Hood.

Travelling about 40 miles south of Anchorage you will find the small mountain community of Girdwood, nestled between the breathtaking Turnagain Arm and spectacular Mt. Alyeska. Girdwood, originally named Glacier City, was founded as a gold mining town at the turn of the century. This quaint town has evolved from a mining town into Alaska's only year-round resort community.

Accessibility

Anchorage is the most common point of entry into the region, hosting the state's largest international airport. In addition to year-round, non-stop service between Anchorage and cities including Seattle and Portland, during the summer months the scheduled air service increases significantly with increased traffic coming not only from additional US cities, but also with direct or nonstop flights from international carriers such as Condor and Icelandair.

Anchorage also serves as the primary hub for the Alaska Railroad, providing access by rail north to include the Matanuska-Susitna Valley communities of Wasilla and Talkeetna, and Interior destinations of Denali National Park and Fairbanks. South of Anchorage, the cruise ship ports of Seward and Whittier are also connected to Anchorage by the Alaska Railroad.

Due to its comprehensive infrastructure, Anchorage is the main hub for most activities, businesses, transportation, shopping, and medical centers. The downtown area is pedestrian friendly and offers good souvenir shopping as well as access to a variety of local attractions.

The small community of Girdwood is home to The Hotel Alyeska at Alyeska Resort. Set in the pristine wilderness just 40 miles south of Anchorage, Girdwood is home to towering spruce trees, tall mountains, and hanging glaciers. The combination of location, activities, first-class accommodations, and excellent restaurants make this a desirable destination that can often be substituted for Anchorage for visitors looking for a more secluded, deluxe experience.

Activities & Attractions

  • Alaska Native Heritage Center - The permanent collections of Alaska's largest and most complete Native heritage center covers 10,000 years of culture, history, and adaptation to life in the north. Special exhibits explore themes such as boatbuilding and Native art. Storytellers, dancers, and other interpreters help bring Native cultures to life. For visitors interested in Native Alaska history or culture, the Heritage Center should not be missed.
  • Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center - A nonprofit organization that takes in injured and orphaned animals year-round and provides them quality care. Watch the animals display their natural, 'wild', behavior. Some of the animals you may see are coyotes, bald eagles, bears, wood bison, and moose.
  • Flightseeing - Lake Hood, the world's largest float plane base, is just a short drive from most Anchorage hotels. Numerous flight tours are available, including bear viewing excursions and trips to Denali National Park or Prince William Sound.
  • Glaciers & Wildlife - The close proximity to Seward and Whittier allows for day excursions to Kenai Fjords National Park and Prince William Sound. Both day trips are wonderful options for visitors with limited time and can be combined with Alaska Railroad transportation.
  • Guided Hikes - Between Anchorage and Girdwood lies the Chugach State Park, providing a number of guided hiking activities.
  • Museums - The Anchorage Museum is a world-class museum and one of the ten most visited attractions in Alaska. The Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum preserves and displays the historical aircrafts used by the pioneers in the early development of "The Last Frontier".
  • Portage Glacier - 50 miles south of Anchorage, at the end of Turnagain Arm, lays Portage Glacier. The Begich Boggs Visitor Center located at Portage is a great information resource on glaciology and geology of the region. Built on the remnants of terminal moraine left by Portage Glacier, the Visitor Center is staffed by Forest Service interpreters. The award-winning 20-minute film, "Voices from the Ice" is recommended.
  • Spencer Glacier - Accessible only by train, Spencer Glacier excursions include rafting, kayaking, and ice hiking or climbing. This remote destination provides a unique opportunity for visitors to experience the 'real' Alaska in an up-close and personal way.
  • ATV Adventures - Both Anchorage and Girdwood offer options for off-road enthusiasts. The web of trails winds through forests and mountain slopes, offering something for everyone.
  • Dog Sledding - There are opportunities near Anchorage and Girdwood to learn about and even experience dog sledding. A brief flight by helicopter or ski plane will take you to a dog camp on a glacier for the experience of a lifetime. Alternately, a short highway journey will take you to the home and kennel of an Iditarod race veteran for the opportunity to learn about what it takes to finish 'The Last Great Race.'
  • Eklutna Historical Park - Dating back to 1650, Eklutna is the oldest continually inhabited Athabascan site in the Anchorage vicinity. The Eklutna Village Heritage House contains historical displays portraying the Native lifestyles, plus examples of fine Native art from Southcentral Alaska.
  • Fishing - Anchorage offers a good variety of day-long fly-out fishing trips for sport fishing enthusiasts. Some excellent fishing waters are found just minutes away by air for visitors wanting to fish for salmon, trout, and grayling.

Accommodations

Anchorage offers the widest range of accommodation levels in the state, varying from tourist-class and first-class properties. While there are no 5-star properties anywhere in Alaska, Anchorage offers the highest level of hotel accommodations in the state, including Sheraton, Hilton, and Marriott brands. Many hotels offer basic amenities including fitness centers and wireless internet access; a few hotels also feature indoor swimming pools.

Girdwood's Hotel Alyeska is also home to the Alyeska Resort, arguably the finest hotel in the state.

Many properties provide price reductions during the shoulder seasons of May and September and winter rates offer great value.

Dining

Dining in Anchorage offers restaurants that will suit all tastes, including fine dining, ethnic restaurants, and outstanding brew houses.

The majority of properties have on site restaurants but there is a wide selection to be found in the city. Downtown Anchorage is home to a good choice of unique and Alaskan flavored restaurants that will work for most budgets. Closer to the midtown and airport locations, larger chains and buffet style restaurants offer guests other alternatives.

The Hotel Alyeska in Girdwood features a handful of restaurants, each with a unique focus and menu. The resort's Seven Glaciers Restaurant provides a one-of-a-kind first-class dining experience near the top of Mt. Alyeska. This AAA four-diamond award winning restaurant features scenic views and is accessible only by tram car.

Known locally as the "Mat-Su," the Matanuska-Susitna region lies 45 miles north of Anchorage and includes the towns of Wasilla, Palmer, and Talkeetna. The popular area was named after the Matanuska and Susitna rivers that join in the area. The Mat-Su is Alaska's richest farming country, and livestock may be seen grazing throughout the region. The fertile valley is famous for growing some of the world's largest vegetables, which can be seen on display at Alaska's largest state fair every August.

Wasilla

Long before Wasilla became one of Alaska's fastest growing communities, the town was a supply crossroads for gold mines at Willow Creek Mining District. Today Wasilla is best known as the home to the world-famous Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race and the nearby communities of Willow and Big Lake are home to a handful of sled dog kennels.

Accessibility

Less than an hour north of Anchorage, the town of Wasilla lies along the Parks Highway. The Alaska Railroad also provides service to Wasilla, though very few guests embark/debark the train here.

Attractions & Activities

  • Dog Sled Tours - Some of the Iditarod's best-known mushers call this area home and open their kennels to visitors during the summer. In addition to an opportunity to learn about what it takes to participate in the 'Last Great Race,' visitors also have a chance to interact with the sled dogs and perhaps even hold a few puppies.
  • Iditarod Headquarters - The town is host to the famous Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race museum. The museum provides insight into the grueling, 1,049-mile race that takes place between Anchorage and Nome each March. A stop is highly recommended for all visitors traveling along the Parks Highway.
  • Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry - An impressive collection of planes, trains and automobiles.

Accommodations

There are a few basic hotels in Wasilla, however few programs will include an overnight stay here, due to its close proximity to Anchorage and Talkeetna.

Dining

There are a variety of chain and locally-owned restaurants in the Wasilla area, making it a convenient place to stop for lunch in route.

Talkeetna

Best known as the jumping-off point for Denali climbing expeditions, Talkeetna has become an important hub for a variety of popular tours. Talkeetna is an eclectic small town with colorful old buildings, funky bars, and restaurants. It has a frontier atmosphere that visitors love. There are many activities to keep people busy, and in good weather, the views of Denali are some of the best.

Accessibility

Approximately 14 miles from the Parks Highway, Talkeetna lies at the end of the Talkeetna Spur Road. Whether visitors plan an overnight here, or just a couple of hours to stretch their legs and catch a bite to eat as part of a longer journey, the detour is worth the time. Talkeetna is also a main station for the Alaska Railroad. Travel by rail provides a welcome break from highway travel.

Attractions & Activities

  • Alaska Railroad - In addition to scheduled passenger service, the Alaska Railroad provides transportation to locals who have used the tracks to reach their remote cabins since 1923. A day excursion from Talkeetna provides an opportunity to experiences one of America's last flag stop trains while the route threads its way along the Susitna River and through the Indian River Canyon.
  • Fishing - World-class fishing for rainbow trout and salmon draws many anglers to Talkeetna. Several charter companies provide jet boat service to the best fishing grounds.
  • Flightseeing - The best flight seeing options of Denali are from Talkeetna. Circle Denali or experience a glacier landing aboard a plane outfitted with skis.
  • Hiking - Guided programs are available to suit all activity/experience levels.
  • Jet Boat Tours - The Last Frontier comes alive in both luxury and comfort as you are whisked away on a Jet Boat to see Alaska in a different light. Cruise into Alaska's untamed wilderness while being captivated by great views of Denali.

Accommodations

The largest property in town is only open during the summer season and overlooks the Alaska Range and Denali. Other smaller hotels and inns welcome visitors year round.

Dining

In addition to hotel-based restaurants, dining options in Talkeetna include a few other local options including a restaurant and local brewery.

Palmer

A picturesque small town in the Mat-Su, Palmer is the hub of this agricultural region with a distinct down home, friendly feel. Located on the Glenn Highway the town is a natural stop for guests traveling from Anchorage to the east. The local Visitors Center and Museum is the place to stop to view gardens filled with beautiful flowers and vegetables.

Accessibility

Palmer lies along the Glenn Highway, approximately one hour away from Anchorage.

Attractions & Activities

  • Agricultural Farms - The fertile silt left behind by glaciers combined with Alaska's long daylight hours contribute to the success of local farmers in this area. Enjoy a behind-the-scenes visit to one of the region’s most successful farms.
  • Alaska State Fair - The most celebrated attraction in Palmer is the Alaska State Fair which takes place during the last week of August and the first week of September. If the timing of your visit coincides, be sure to include it in the itinerary. Your group may love to photo the record-sized cabbages!
  • Knik Glacier - Accessible by jet boat or helicopter from Knik Glacier Lodge. Visitors traveling by helicopter have an opportunity to visit a dog kennel and ride a sled on the snow-covered glacier.
  • Musk Ox Farm - Located just outside of Palmer, the musk ox farm is home to a unique domestication project which began in 1954. This is an ideal place to observe and photograph these animals at close range. Learn about the history of the musk ox, a prehistoric remnant of the last great Ice Age, and how it has been domesticated on the farm.
  • Reindeer Farm - This family-owned farm is home to to 150 Reindeer, 35 Elk, 13 Horses, and even a bison, and is a great place to stop and enjoy a picnic lunch during a guided visit through the farm.

Accommodations

Other than for agriculture-based programs, few visitors will overnight in Palmer due to its close proximity to Anchorage and Talkeetna. Nearby Knik River Lodge is an exception as this property, located approximately 30 minutes outside of Palmer near the Knik Glacier, provides a unique wilderness experience.

Dining

Some of Palmer's more unique dining venues feature locally-sourced ingredients, providing locals and visitors alike a true 'taste' of Alaska.

The Kenai Peninsula lies along the southern coast of Alaska. The eastern portion is dominated by large ice fields, the Kenai Mountains, and the icy waters of Resurrection Bay. On the west, it flattens out with large lakes, rolling hills and a long coastline. For first-time Alaskan visitors, this area is a must see destination. The Kenai Peninsula is a fisherman's dream for salmon and halibut. The abundance of fish also brings out Alaska’s famous brown bear, which makes this a popular destination for bear viewing excursions.

Seward

Situated at the head of Resurrection Bay on the Kenai Peninsula, Seward is one of Alaska's oldest and most scenic communities. Known as the "Gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park," Seward is a picturesque town located 126 miles south of Anchorage.

Seward offers something for visitors of all ages, activity levels, and interests. The unique location offers great opportunities to see and learn about Alaska's unique coastal wildlife. Other attractions unique to this area include glacier viewing and exploring.

Accessibility

Situated at the head of Resurrection Bay on the Kenai Peninsula, Seward serves as a main cruise port for guests embarking or debarking cruise ships. So for many visitors, Seward marks the end or beginning of an Alaskan land program.

Though Seward does have a small public-use airport there is no scheduled air service to this community. The Anchorage Airport, approximately 126 miles away, serves as the closest airport.

For visitors not traveling by cruise ship, Seward is a recommended highlight to any Alaska visit and visitors can choose to access this coastal community by highway or scheduled rail service. Alaska Railroad offers daily service to Seward using their standard or deluxe rail cars. Whether guests choose to travel by train or highway, the scenic journey to Seward is not to be missed.

Attractions & Activities

  • Alaska SeaLife Center - Experience the miracle of the sea through underwater viewing tanks, interactive exhibits, and many other live displays. The center is a cold water marine institute dedicated to preserving the marine environment through research, rehabilitation, and education. Guests will see the endangered Steller sea lions, harbor seals, and sea birds.
  • Dog Sledding - Experience the thrill of a dog sled ride and meet an Iditarod Champion! Learn the basics of sled dog mushing and what it takes to compete in the Iditarod.
  • Exit Glacier - Take an easy walk to the face of a mountain glacier and gaze into its mass of brilliant blue ice. Interpretive displays at the ranger station, guided walks, and signs along the way offer insights into the flora and fauna of the area.
  • Wildlife Cruise - Kenai Fjords National Park encompasses over 600,000 acres of unspoiled wilderness on the southeast coast of Alaska's Kenai Peninsula. Vessels make frequent departures into the waters of Resurrection Bay and the Kenai Fjords National Park. Trips vary in duration and on most you are likely to encounter sea otters, sea lions, harbor seals, humpback and orca whales, marine birds, glaciers, and calving glacier ice.
  • Sea Kayaking - Experience Resurrection Bay and Kenai Fjords National Park up close and intimately on a guided sea kayak adventure trip. View glaciers, rugged shorelines, sheltered coves, and abundant wildlife.

Accommodations

Most properties in Seward are located near the Seward Boat Harbor or in the downtown area close to the Alaska SeaLife Center, providing convenient access to a variety of activities. Other options are a bit out of the main 'town' area and feature more of a 'wilderness' experience. Seward is also the point of entry for some remote adventure lodges that are only accessible by boat.

Dining

Local cafés and independently-owned restaurants dot the Seward downtown and boat harbor areas. Seward's most popular dinner options feature an emphasis on locally-caught seafood, and a local brewery provides a bit of local flair.

Kenai/Soldotna

Located along the Sterling Highway, the towns of Kenai and Soldotna make a perfect base for exploring the Kenai Peninsula. Though technically each is its own town, the two have grown considerably over the years so that it is difficult to know where one ends and the other begins and have been referred to as the 'Twin Cities.' The central location and size of both cities create a center for services for all kinds of visitors.

Accessibility

Kenai and Soldotna are located along the Sterling Highway, just a few hours' drive from Anchorage. The city of Kenai is also home to a small airport offering scheduled regional air service.

Attractions & Activities

  • Fishing - The world famous Kenai River is one of the most popular destinations in the state. The Kenai River salmon are among the world's largest salmon and can be caught whether you are an accomplished angler or a recreational fisherman.
  • Horseback Riding - Try a horseback riding adventure deep in the mountains on the Kenai Peninsula. Ride spectacular trails through splendid landscapes with your local guides.
  • Rafting - The Kenai River offers participants a delightful raft trip through a beautiful valley in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. The breathtaking beauty of the river must be experienced to be appreciated. You can choose from a comfortable wilderness float or a whitewater adventure with Class II+ rapids.

Accommodations

Both Soldotna and Kenai are home to a handful of simple hotels.

Dining

You will find a number of 'chain' restaurants in these two cities, in addition to several unique independently owned restaurants and even a couple of local breweries.

Homer

Homer is "the end of the road" and is located among rolling hills overlooking Kachemak Bay. Known by local sport fishing enthusiasts as the Halibut Fishing capital of the world, Homer draws large numbers of local Alaskans and visitors alike. Kachemak Bay is a marine treasure as the waters foster some of the most prolific marine life found in Alaska.

Accessibility

Homer lies beyond Kenai/Soldotna at the end of the Sterling Highway. There is also a small airport in Homer providing scheduled regional air service.

Attractions & Activities

  • Bear Viewing - Homer provides quick and easy access by floatplane for some of Alaska's best bear viewing. Full and half-day tours take you along Cook Inlet and Katmai National Park coastline, and to Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park.
  • Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies - Home of the Carl E. Wynn Nature Center, easy guided nature walks are offered daily. Full-day excursions to the Petersen Bay Field Station by boat offer additional experiences including coastal forest trails, tide pools, touch tanks, and more.
  • Fishing - The Homer area offers some of Alaska's best halibut fishing from mid-May to September. You can also find great saltwater salmon fishing.
  • Halibut Cove - Accessible by water taxi from Homer, Halibut Cove is a quaint artist community with a variety of workshops and galleries available for visitors to peruse. The Saltry Restaurant is a popular dining venue for locals and visitor's alike featuring local produce and seafood.
  • Pratt Museum - With indoor and outdoor exhibits the museum features art, science, and culture.
  • Sea Kayaking - Homer's Kachemak Bay is a premier destination for sea kayaking. The bay is surrounded by picturesque mountain peaks, remote fjords, and abundant wildlife. The trip begins with a water taxi ride across scenic Kachemak Bay to the protected waters in Kenai Peninsula Kachemak Bay State Park.
  • Wildlife Cruise - Gull Island is one of the most viewable seabird colonies in Alaska. Every year thousands of people visit the island by boat to witness the spectacle of nesting seabirds. A narrated cruise is a great way to see puffins, cormorants, kittiwakes, and other migratory seabirds while you learn about their diets, habits, and migratory patterns.

Accommodations

Homer offers a handful of small inns, B&B's, and hotels including the Land's End Resort, located at the end of the Homer Spit. Homer also provides access to other remote lodges and inns throughout Kachemak Bay State Park via water taxi.

Dining

In addition to the hotel-based restaurants there are a few other locally-owned restaurants in Homer, most of which feature local seafood. Homer is also home to a local brewery and a winery, both offering tours and tastings.

The Prince William Sound region has significant appeal and is often the subject of television nature programs. Imagine a vast sea of fjords, glaciers, islands, and abundant marine wildlife, plus a handful of colorful coastal communities. The sound is a stunningly beautiful region of Alaska as evident by its increasing popularity with the major cruise lines. Once under the global media microscope, the Sound gained both sympathy and publicity from the Exxon Valdez oil spill disaster. Fortunately, nature's remarkable healing ability has restored much of the region. Marine life has returned in numbers, year-round resident pods of orca whales are established, and visual evidence of the disaster is hard to find.

Prince William Sound's main ports are Whittier, Valdez, and Cordova. Whittier can be accessed from Anchorage or the Kenai Peninsula from the Seward Highway. Valdez is located at the end of the Richardson Highway. While Cordova does not have road access, there is a local airport that services jet flights from around the state.

The Alaska Marine Highway is the most common transportation between ports. The ferries vary in configurations but all have cafés and solariums. The Fast Ferries are also operating between Whittier, Valdez, and Cordova and provide a quick transition for groups with limited time.

Whittier

Whittier was established as a strategic military facility during World War II. The ice free port remains a focal point for marine activity and freight transfer for seatrain barges serving Southcentral Alaska. The completion of the Anton Anderson two-mile tunnel provides direct road access to Whittier. Prince William Sound's marine life and fishing are the main attractions.

Accessibility

Whittier is one of the most accessible cities in the Prince William Sound region. Whittier does have road access from the Seward Highway, and the city has an Alaska Railroad Rail Depot. This port town also has an Alaska Marine Highway Ferry Terminal, and a Cruises Ship Terminal. To access Whittier all road and rail traffic will travel the two mile long Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel. This "one-way" tunnel has a set schedule for incoming and departing vehicles. The tunnel is open to incoming traffic thirty minutes past the hour, and vehicles can depart Whittier on the hour.

Attractions & Activities

  • Glacier and Wildlife Cruises - The ships from Whittier vary in size, and have the capacity to handle all group sizes. Sea otters, porpoises, harbor seals, Steller sea lions, humpback, and Orca whales thrive in these waters.
  • Kayaking - There are sea kayaking excursions available for experienced or the first-time paddlers. The lengths of tours vary from two hours to five days. Chartered kayaks and guides can also be added to a private wildlife cruise.

Accommodations

Visitors do not generally overnight in Whittier, as there are very few services here. Most guests only visit Whittier during the day as the load or disembark the Alaska Marine Highway ferry. The closest overnight accommodations to Whittier are found in Girdwood, although many guests that access this port community are coming from Anchorage or Seward.

Dining

Whittier is home to a variety of simple restaurants which highlight Alaskan seafood.

Valdez

Valdez is the largest city in the Prince William Sound region, with a year round population of approximately 4,000 residents. Valdez is a picturesque Alaskan port town with a towering backdrop of the Chugach Mountains, which leads to the city's nickname, Little Switzerland. Valdez is rich in modern and ancient history, and has an assortment of activities and excursions for guests. From glacier cruises to private fishing charters, and even winter backcountry skiing, this active town offers travelers a variety of once in a lifetime excursions.

Accessibility

Located at mile zero of the Richardson Highway, Valdez is an important freight and passenger port. The city is accessible by road, air, and the all-important Alaska Marine Highway ferry service.

Attractions & Activities

  • Glacier and Wildlife Cruises - The locally based vessels offer trips to view marine life, glaciers, and maritime scenery. Most travel near the Alaska Pipeline, offering a different viewpoint. Also featured is a sea lion haul out and remnants of the great earthquake.
  • Alaska Pipeline - The terminus of the Alyeska Pipeline is in Valdez. The terminus is not open to the public but the pipeline can be viewed from the Sound and the Richardson Highway.
  • Glacier Kayaking - Glacier kayaking tours offer an intimate experience at one of Alaska's beautiful tidewater glaciers. Climb aboard a motor boat for a taxi ride to Shoup Bay where you will begin this scenic journey. Over the course of the day you will paddle past floating ice, past a nesting colony of Black-Legged Kittiwakes, and up to the face of the glacier. Enjoy a short walk on the beach and a lunch spot with a colorful glacier view (you bring your own lunch). At the end of the paddle you will be picked up by the motorboat for the ride back to Valdez.
  • Worthington Glacier - Located in Thompson Pass, 28 miles north of Valdez, this glacier is a popular stop along the Richardson Highway.

Accommodations

Valdez offers two moderate level properties for overnight accommodation. Both are similar in services and amenities and are located in the "downtown" district.

Dining

Valdez is home to a variety of restaurants which mainly highlight Alaskan seafood.

Cordova

Cordova is a distinctive and unique Alaskan community set against a mountain backdrop close to the Copper River. The port of Cordova has a great history which includes a railroad link with Kennicott until 1938. Today Cordova is a commercial and sport fishing town with a rich cultural heritage and a great future, as tourism increases.

Accessibility

With no highway access, the community relies entirely on the Alaska Ferry and airlines for transportation.

Attractions & Activities

  • Bear Viewing - A short journey by plane or boat will take you to some of Alaska's best bear viewing locations. Your guide will take you to where the bears are feeding on salmon and/or berries for unique photographic opportunities.
  • Bird Viewing - In spring wildlife lovers and birders from all over the world come to explore the Copper River Delta near Cordova. In early May, the tidal flats of the Delta shimmer with the activity of hundreds of thousands of shorebirds. Up to five million shorebirds rest and feed here during spring migration and has inspired Cordova's annual Shorebird Festival.
  • Childs Glacier - Childs Glacier is one of the most awe-inspiring glaciers in Alaska. Because the face of the glacier is undercut by the swift-moving Copper River, this is a very active glacier that regularly calves large chunks of ice. Viewing of the glacier takes place from a public recreation area with picnic tables, restrooms, and plenty of room to walk around.
  • Rafting - Sheridan Lake is created by the melting ice of the Sheridan Glacier and is the starting point as you paddle around giant blue icebergs in the water. On the Sheridan River class II & III rapids are big enough to be exciting but not scary. Wildlife viewing and scenic vistas are the highlights of this trip.

Accommodations

Guests traveling to Cordova will stay at an adventure eco-lodge located 3 miles outside of the city center.

Dining

Cordova has a wide variety of restaurants, and breakfast, lunch, and dinner are also prepared by the lodge's restaurant.

At 13.2 million acres, Wrangell-St. Elias is the largest national park in the United States. The park is six times the size of Yellowstone and larger than Vermont and New Hampshire combined. Wrangell-St. Elias is Alaska's newest and largest national park, called by Congress "the premier mountain wilderness in North America." The most remarkable statistic of the national park is that nine of the sixteen tallest peaks in North America are found there.

The Wrangell-St. Elias National Park can be accessed via the Richardson Highway. Traveling north from Valdez or south from Fairbanks, the region can be easily included in your itinerary. The town of Glennallen is located at the junction of the Richardson and Glenn Highways with easy access to the Copper River.

The Wrangell-St. Elias region is visually spectacular, surrounded by rugged mountains, active glaciers, and steep-sided valleys. Throughout the vast region, moose, bear, sheep, and mountain goats may be found. The destination is recommended, but it is not for everyone. We feel most adventure-minded guests will enjoy the experience and find it rewarding. The focus is nature, scenery, however, rather than deluxe services. Numerous outdoor activities are available.

McCarthy/Kennicott

Located on the edge of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park is the charming town of McCarthy. The town was originally a support community for the Kennicott copper mine until its closing in 1938. Since then, the McCarthy/Kennicott region has remained a virtual ghost town, frozen in time until the 1970's. Funky buildings, restaurants, bars, accommodation, and souvenir shops can all be found in McCarthy.

McCarthy is a memorable town with great character perched below the mountains of the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. The Copper River & Northwestern Railway steamed through town and connected the Kennicott mine with Cordova, hauling copper ore and passengers. Although the railway is no longer in operation, enthusiasts can find old memorabilia and faded photos in the museum. In 1998 the National Park Service acquired Kennicott, and it became an official National Historic Landmark.

Accessibility

The small unpaved road into McCarthy is suitable for privately owned vehicles at a slower pace, however, tour vehicles will stop in Chitina and guests would then fly into McCarthy.

Attractions & Activities

  • Flightseeing - It takes just a few minutes from McCarthy to reach an endless vista of mountains, icefields, and glaciers. The flightseeing from McCarthy is arguably the best value anywhere in Alaska.
  • Glacier Hikes - Explore the Root Glacier (crampons provided) while learning of glaciology and geology. An excellent opportunity to see glacial streams and the blue pools up close!
  • Hiking - The proximity to nature allows for guests to literally hike from their doorsteps. The mountain slopes are inviting and a variety of trails lead either upwards, or along flat ground to the glaciers and river valley. The destination is great for hikers, trekkers, and walkers.
  • Ice Climbing - Experience the thrill and chill of ice climbing! No experience is necessary. Your instructors fit you with crampons and teach you some basic climbing skills. Learn some of the technical skills utilized in climbing the high peaks in a "natural classroom" setting with a 360 degree view of the surrounding peaks.
  • Kennicott History Tours - Take a step back in time as you visit inside the 14-story Kennicott Mill building. During the tour you will gain a sense of what it was like to live and work in a remote mountain setting.
  • Rafting - Glide past immense glaciers, see natural vistas, and watch the sun setting on mountain peaks. A river float trip through beautiful scenery and your professional guide will provide an informative and entertaining commentary as you float.

Accommodations

In Kennicott you will find the Kennicott Glacier Lodge which is a replica of the one of the historic copper mining buildings. There is also a hotel in nearby McCarthy.

Dining

In addition to the lodge restaurants there are a couple locally-owned dining establishments in McCarthy.

Glennallen

Located at the junction of two highways and near the meeting of two rivers, Glennallen is a natural hub for tours. Glennallen provides a base for exploring the Copper Valley and Wrangell-St. Elias region with accommodations and dining rooms large enough to suit every tour.

Accessibility

The Richardson and Glenn Highways provide year-round road access to this small community. There is also a small airport used primarily for local, small aircraft.

Attractions & Activities

  • Flightseeing - Varying lengths of tours and with several different scenic routes including Bagley Icefield, Mount St. Elias, or the peaks of the Wrangell Mountains.
  • Rafting - A river journey through a breathtaking landscape and views of Wrangell Mountains. Your local guide will share stories with you as you choose a float or whitewater rafting.

Accommodations

There are a few hotels in town offering basic accommodations, however few programs will include an overnight here.

Dining

Dining options in Glennallen are limited to the hotel-based restaurants and a couple local options.


Alaska Regions:

Southcentral | Southwest | Southeast | Interior | Far North | Yukon, Canada

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