Long Alaska Self Drive By Seniors - Comments, Please
My wife and I are active retired seniors and experienced travelers from camping and hiking at National Parks to exotic foreign travel. We are also very familiar and comfortable with long cross country (and continent) drives.
This summer we are leaving for a self drive (SUV) from Washington DC, through Canada and back home by way of Utah and New Mexico.
We like to hike and experience nature and have a strong interest in native and local cultures. Museums are great. We do not: fly within a country (or a state), take cruises, kayak, fish or hunt and try to avoid formal tours. We are fairly flexible but like to keep moving and down time (think hot springs or spas) doesn’t work for us.
We had thought that we could “just go” and make up the trip as the mood to do different things came to us — our research disabused us of that idea.
The drive times are AAA TripTik estimates (same as Google) and we understand that we may have to add 25% or so to to portions of them to adjust to local Alaska summer driving conditions.
With that in mind we would appreciate any thoughts the Alaska experts may have on the “still a work in progress” Alaska portion of the itinerary - see below.
Days 1-12 On Route to AK (thru Canada with stop at Steward BC/Hyder AK)
Day 13: Mon., 9 Jul - Teslin-Skagway-Haines
Drive: Teslin YT to Skagway & Haines AK (158 Mi/ 3.5 Hrs)
Activities: Walk Skagway, AK Ferry Skagway-Haines w/car
Day 14: Tue., 10 Jul - Haines
Activities: AM - Jilkaat Kwaan Heritage Center (Arrange tour of Center & traditional knowledge camp. PM - Kroschel Nature Center Tour 1:30-3:30. Tour totems in Haines. Hike: Battery Point Trail
Day 15: Wed., 11 Jul - Haines-Juneau
Drive: None - Fjordlines Express Ferry to Juneau dep 8:30 AM - arr 11:00 AM
Activities: Sightseeing cruise en-route. Mendenhall Glacier & hike to Nugget Falls. Walter Soboleff Center w/Sealalaska Heritiage Center.
Day 16: Thur., 12 Jul - Juneau
Activities: Adventure Bound Tracy Arm Cruise 8:15-6:00
Day 17: Fri., 13 Jul - Juneau-Haines
Drive: None - AK Ferry Juneau to Haines dep 7AM - arr 11AM
Activities: AK Ferry PM - Hike and walk in town
Day 18: Sat., 14 Jul - Haines-Burwash Landing YT
Drive: Haines-Burwash Landing (215 Mi/ 4.5 Hrs)
Activities: Kluane NP w/Klukshu Fishing Camp, Da Ku Culture Center (Haines Junction YT)
Day 19: Sun., 15 Jul - Burwash Landing YT-Willow Creek (Via Tok)
Drive: Willow Creek-Glacier View (385 Mi/ 7.5 Hrs)
Day 20: Mon., 16 Jul -Willow Creek-McCarthy/Kennicott
Activities: Day Shuttle RT (Wrangell-St Elias Tours). Kennicott Mill Tour 11:30-1:30. Rest of day Hike.
Day 21: Tue., 17 Jul -Willow Creek-Matanuska Glacier-Wasilla
Drive: Willow Creek-Glacier View (150 Mi/ 3 Hrs) Glacier View-Wasilla (68 Mi/ 1.5 Hr)
Activities: Glacier Hike w/MICA Guides 11:30-3:30.
Day 22: Wed., 18 Jul - Palmer-Portage-Cooper Landing
Drive: Palmer-Portage (100 Mi/ 2+ Hr) Portage-Cooper Landing (65 Mi/ 1.5 Hr)
Activities: Begich Boggs Visitor Center, Bryon Glacier Hike, AK Wilderness Conservation Center
Day 23: Thur., 19 Jul - Cooper Landing-Homer
Drive: Cooper Landing-Homer (120 Mi/ 2.5 Hrs) - Lots of stops en-route
Activities: AM - Russian River Falls - Ferry & Hike (2 Mi). Ninlichik (Old Russian village).
Day 24: Fri., 20 Jul - Homer
Activities: AK Island & Ocean Visitors Center. Town visit. Tide Pooling Coal Point
Day 25: Sat., 21 Jul - Homer
Activities: Kachemark Bay Park All Day - Water taxi & TBD Hike
Day 26: Sun., 22 Jul - Homer-Seward
Drive: Homer-Seward (170 Mi/ 3.5 Hrs)
Activities: Trail Lake Fish Hatchery (near Moose Lake). Possible Ranger Hike Kenai Fjords NP - Town walk.
Day 27: Mon., 23 Jul - Seward
Stay: Best Western Edgewater
Activities: Exit Glacier Hike - Marmot Meadow Hike. Alaska Sea Life Center.
Day 28: Tue., 24 Jul - Seward-Anchorage (Via Hope)
Drive: Seward-Anchorage (160 Mi/3.5 Hr)
Activities: Hope. AK Native Heritage Center. Possibly hike Lower Winner Creek Trail en-route
Day 29: Wed., 25 Jul - Anchorage-Talkeetna
Drive: Anchorage-Talkeetna (170 Mi/3.5 Hr)
Activities: Eklutna Historic Park Tour
Day 30: Thur., 26 Jul - Talkeetna-Denali (Healy)
Drive: Talkeetna-Healy (155 Mi/3 Hr)
Activities: Denali Visitors Center. Dog Kennels
Day 31: Fri., 27 Jul - Denali
Drive: Healy-Denali (15 Mi/ 1/2Hr)
Activities: Transit Bus Eielson Visitor Center 7AM-4PM. Stop & Hike
Day 32: Sat., 28 Jul - Denali (Healy)-Fairbanks
Drive: Healy-Denali (125 Mi/ 2.5 Hr)
Activities: U of AK Museum of the North
Day 33: Sun., 29 Jul - Fairbanks-Arctic Circle-Fairbanks
Activities: Arctic Circle Drive Adventure - North AK Tour Company. Dep 6:30AM Rtn 11:30PM
Day 34+ Return to USA - Drive thru Canada to USA via Tok and Taylor & Top of the World Highways
Nick & Gemma