Featuring: Fairbanks, Arctic Circle, Chena Hot Springs, Delta Junction, Copper Valley, Wrangell St. Elias, Valdez, Anchorage
Some of Alaska's most astounding sites are within reach via its excellent road system. Take this epic 6-day road trip through Interior and Southcentral Alaska for stunning views, cultural history and the thrill of the open road surrounded by unfathomable miles of wilderness.
Day 1 Fairbanks
Start the day with a riverboat cruise aboard a sternwheeler. This cruise is more than just a boat ride; see a dog sledding presentation, watch a bush plane perform aerial stunts and learn about life at an Athabascan Indian village. Afterwards, pan for gold on a tour at one of two area gold mines. On the way back to town, stop by the free Trans-Alaska Pipeline Visitor Center for an up-close look at this engineering feat. And be sure to visit the University of Alaska Museum of the North; it’s one of the top 10 attractions in the state. Here you can learn about Alaska’s exciting gold rush history, the dynamic aurora borealis and the people that have made Alaska the diverse place it is today.
Day 2 Far North
Rise and shine early for your adventure north to Alaska’s Arctic. Several companies offer tours along the famed Dalton Highway, the only highway in the U.S. to cross the mighty Yukon River and to connect the highway system to Prudoe Bay and the Arctic Ocean. View the majestic Brooks Range, walk on spongy Arctic tundra, and keep your eyes peeled for caribou, bears and other wildlife. You’ll return to Fairbanks with an incredible experience, and an official Arctic Circle Certificate!
Day 3 Chena Hot Springs
This morning, drive one hour to a local hot springs. Be sure to bring your swimsuit so you can enjoy a leisurely swim in the outdoor springs, where even 40-below weather will feel warm. While at the hot sprints, visit the Aurora Ice Museum, which is the largest year-round ice environment in the world. It is created from over 1,000 tons of ice and snow, all harvested around Chena Hot Springs. Curl up on an ice bed, photograph an ice sculpture or pull up a stool at the Aurora Ice Bar and sip an appletini in your very own sculpted ice glass. Be sure to bring a jacket! After a hearty meal at this historic resort, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife and/or the northern lights. Overnight in Chena.
Day 4 Delta Junction-Copper Valley
Depart Chena through Fairbanks and head south on the Richardson Highway and enjoy a scenic drive to Rika's Roadhouse. Stop by for historical tours, good food and unique gifts. Keep driving until you reach the Copper River Valley, famous for its salmon. Relax at a lodge or fly into the largest National Park in the United States, Wrangell St. Elias National Park. It equals six Yellowstones with four major mountain ranges that include nine of the 16 highest peaks in the U.S. Take in this spectacular scenery with a flightseeing trip into McCarthy. Explore the historic mining town of Kennicott and take a tour of the old copper mill or a walk on a glacier. Overnight in McCarthy or Kennicott or return to Copper Center.
Day 5 Valdez
Continue south on the Richardson Highway to the seaside town of Valdez, known for the dramatic mountains that surround it. En route, stop to view mighty Worthington Glacier. Valdez is also the gateway to Prince William Sound. Take a day boat cruise to Columbia Glacier, the second largest tidewater glacier in North America. Or book a full day or half-day fishing trip. Exciting guided rafting trips are also available through Keystone Canyon past towering waterfalls. Valdez also offers museums highlighting its history of the Gold Rush and the Good Friday Earthquake of 1964. Sleep tight at one of the many B&Bs or hotels.
Day 6 Anchorage
Catch the ferry from Valdez to Whittier, and then drive the hour to Anchorage. You’ll travel through the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel, which at 2.5 miles is the longest road/rail tunnel in the U.S. Once in Anchorage, experience our rich culture and heritage at the Alaska Native Heritage Center, Anchorage Museum or the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum. Enjoy fine dining and shopping, take a flightseeing tour to Denali, take a day trip on a small boat cruise or explore the many trails Anchorage has to offer.