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Forums » Alaska » Long Alaska Self Drive By Seniors - Comments, Please


Long Alaska Self Drive By Seniors - Comments, Please

by /bio/thebs »

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

Drive: Local

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

Drive: None

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

Drive: None

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

Drive: Local

Activities: AK Island & Ocean Visitors Center. Town visit. Tide Pooling Coal Point


Day 25: Sat., 21 Jul - Homer

Drive: Local

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

Drive: Local 

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

Drive: Local

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

Washington DC


RE: Long Alaska Self Drive By Seniors - Comments, Please

by /bio/pauline-frommer »

You need a bit more time in Denali. One of the top things to do there is to take a ranger-led hike and those you need to sign up for the day before (at least for the really exciting ones deep in the park). So you really need two full days there. Also: you seem to be giving short shrift to Anchorage. There are actually some worthwhile museums and restaurants to check out there.

Enjoy Alaska! An amazing place to explore.