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Alaska

Travel on Your Own

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Alaska

Travel on Your Own

Choose from any destination in the country and we can arrange a trip that you can enjoy on your own, including accommodations, transportation, activities and guides. Gain access to our full-service local offices and benefit from our expert local naturalist and biologist wildlife guides, trackers, vehicles, logistical support, and intimate destination knowledge. Please give us a call and we would be happy to craft a custom itinerary to meet your desires!

 

Alaska Activities

At a Glance

We know you've chosen to travel with us for our wildlife emphasis, so we've included a wide variety of adventure activities designed to educate, inspire, and bring out the wonder in you. All of our Alaska vacation's activities are flexibly designed to accommodate different skill levels and interests, while exposing you to a variety of unique eco-systems in order to see the most amount of wildlife. And did we mention fun?

Unparalleled Wildlife Viewing

Spot brown bears, moose, snowshoe hares, bald and golden eagles, mountain goats, spawning salmon, river otters, ptarmigan, sea lions, seals, Dall porpoises, humpback & minke whales, orcas and more.

Exclusive Wildlife Activities

Exclusive, Crowd-Free Grizzley Bear Viewing -

World-Class Grizzley bear viewing on Admiralty, Chicagof or nearby islands, with just 2-5 travelers per group!

Alpine Summit Walk -

Cross the border into Canada above treeline for an alpine tundra hike. Towering peaks loom in every direction, while glaciers, cascading waterfalls, and rolling tundra enchant us. During the peak of summer, enjoy multitudes of wildflowers! Golden eagles, ptarmigan, snowshoe hares, grizzly bears, and other wildlife frequent these areas. Your guide will choose from a variety of trail routes to best fit guest abilities.

Float Trip Through Bald Eagle Preserve:

At the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, you’ll experience the largest gathering of bald eagles in the world! Your specially-trained guides await to begin your rafting adventure (a gentle float, no whitewater!). You’ll float peacefully down the Chilkat River aboard an 18-foot inflatable raft – the best way to observe the eagles drawn to feed on the plentiful salmon. Bears and wolves are also occasional guests at the feast. Not only rich in wildlife, the preserve is also a place of incredible beauty, with towering mountains, hanging glaciers and lush forests.

Canoe Trip on Chilkoot Lake:

The Chilkoot River Valley offers incredible wildlife viewing. Brown Bears, eagles, mountain goats, and spawning salmon are commons sights. Our guides are expert naturalists and enjoy sharing their love and knowledge of the Alaskan wilderness. At Chilkoot Lake, you’ll be stepping into a Voyageur canoe, which is stable, comfortable and quiet; perfect for observing nature’s splendor and the wildlife that abounds around this peaceful lake. You’ll be out on the water for about 1.5 hours exploring the inlets, coves, salmon spawning streams and numerous waterfalls that spill off the mountains into the lake.

Chilkat Inlet Coastal Hike:

Enjoy this spectacular hiking adventure that immerses you in the remote beauty of Southeast Alaska, where you will be surrounded with amazing mountain, glacier, and ocean views. Once at the trailhead, the hike begins over rolling terrain through temperate rainforest. Your knowledgeable, naturalist guide will talk about the flora and fauna of the region. The trail is slightly rolling as we make our way towards Moose Meadows, aptly named for the occasional moose seen grazing along the seaside. As we step out onto the beach, we are treated with magnificent glacier views across the fjord. The total hiking distance is about dependent on the group and weather conditions.

Evening Wildlife Safari & Bear Viewing:

In the evening (one of the best times of day to see wildlife), we will journey north of Haines through the amazing Chilkoot Valley. The Chilkoot River is home to some of the best bear viewing in Alaska! The river’s huge salmon runs bring good numbers of bears every year. Situated among rugged glaciated peaks, it is home to numerous brown bears, mountain goats, salmon, river otters, and innumerable bald eagles. This area is a birdwatcher’s paradise with abundant local and migratory birds. Powerful spotting scopes or binoculars will often allow close-range views of mountain goats grazing in high alpine meadows and nesting eagles on this tour. After capturing images and experiencing the incredible natural beauty and wildlife of the Chilkoot River corridor at golden hour, we will head to the mouth of the Chilkat River, home to the largest concentration of bald eagles in the world. Our final stop of the tour is habitat to all five species of wild Pacific salmon, drawing all of Alaska’s predators to its shores. The four ice-capped mountain ranges that surround the Chilkat River provide unparalleled photography opportunities.

American Bald Eagle Foundation’s Raptor Center:

Take a trip to the American Bald Eagle Foundation’s Raptor Center, an interpretive wildlife education center. Here, we will watch a training session with the beautiful, majestic, and powerful bird that serves as America’s symbol – up close and in person! We will also learn more of the other native and local wildlife. We will also be treated to a live presentation with one of the foundation’s resident ambassador raptors.

Cultural interactions at Native Tlingits Village –

Long house, totem & canoe carving, salmon drying.

Scenic Flight to Gustavus:

Fly over glaciers, waterfalls, forest, and mountain peaks on our way to the remote town of Gustavus, the Gateway to Glacier Bay National Park. While most people see Glacier Bay and Gustavus from the bow of a ship, we will have the opportunity to experience these beautiful places in a gorgeously unique way – soaring from above. The professional pilots routinely fly in every kind of Alaskan weather and to remote towns along the coast of Southeast Alaska. They will point out features in the landscape below – including peaks, glacial icefields, waterfalls, towns, and more! – and keep an eye out for any wildlife we may fly past. Our flight may route through Juneau or go directly to Gustavus.

Day Boat Sailing to Glacier Bay National Park:

We will set sail on a high-speed catamaran from Gustavus for a 7-hour excursion that you will never forget. We’ll spend the day on the waters of Glacier Bay, see magnificent tidewater glaciers, ancient snow-capped mountains, whales, stellar sea lions, rare birds such as puffins, coastal bears, seals, eagles, and so much more. The landscape and ecosystems will change dramatically as we pass rainforests, lichen-covered rocks, and dramatic ice. We will linger by at the faces of the Margerie and Grand Pacific Glaciers, two towering masses of ice and snow rising 245 feet above the ocean and stretching another 100 feet beneath the water. The ice that calves from the face of the two glaciers is an average of 200 years old – watch the passage of time as they crash into the water. This incredible Alaskan tour will leave you speechless.

Other Activities

Mendenhall Glacier Scenic Flight & Glacial Ice Trek:

Explore the Mendenhall Valley, where we will have time to see the visitor’s center, hike through the Tongass National Forest, and view the famed Mendenhall Glacier.

Visit Local Salmon Hatchery:

Learn about the life cycles of salmon and their crucial role in Alaska's ecosystem.

Whale Watching:

Seek out sea lions, seals, Dall porpoises, humpback & minke whales, orcas and more aboard Fjordslands Ferry

Up Close Wildlife Interactions:

Visit the rescued orphaned Wolves, Arctic Fox, Lynx, Porcupine, Pine Martin, Mink, Reindeer, Wolverines, and more rare wildlife at the Kroschel Wildlife Center!

 

Alaska Wildlife

Rare or Endangered Possible Sightings

  • Wolves and Arctic foxes
  • Porcupines
  • Lynx
  • Beluga, Fin, Sperm and Blue Whales
  • Wolverines
  • Muskox

Likely Sightings

  • Whales (Orca, Humpback, Dall’s Porpoises)
  • Stellar’s Sea Lions
  • Harbor Seals
  • Sea Otters
  • Puffins, Bald Eagles, Owls, Ravens and a wide variety birds
  • Dall Sheep and mountain goats
  • Black and Grizzly Bears
  • Moose
  • Caribou
  • Ground Squirrels, Ermines and Ptarmigan
 

Alaska Guides

Chris Muse

Chris Muse, Naturalist Guide

Chris originally studied Law at Georgia State University, after a brief practice he changed up his career and began guiding in Alaska. He enjoys spending time on the remote rivers of Alaska & the Yukon. Chris’ river guiding experience spans from the remote Tatshenshini River here in the Yukon and Alaska to whitewater rafting trips in New Zealand. He enjoys sharing his extensive knowledge of the flora & fauna of Southeast Alaska with guests. He is an exceptional guide, often requested for family trips, his knack for finding the nooks frequented by wildlife along our route make him a highly requested guide.

Brooke Edwards

Brooke Edwards; Expert Naturalist Guide

Brooke Edwards started guiding in 1998 and has shared her travel expertise in various roles throughout the years. With a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Whitman College and a Master’s degree in Environmental Education specializing in Ecotourism from The Audubon Expedition Institute, she loves sharing her passion and knowledge of the natural world and wildlife with intrepid travelers, building meaningful relationships along the way. In addition to being an expert naturalist guide throughout The Last Frontier, Brooke can also be found guiding skiing tours in Japan or surfing in Central America. Her guiding has led her on adventures all over the world from Antarctica to Alaska. She calls Girdwood, Alaska home and looks forward to sharing her favorite Alaska stories with you, all while helping scan and point out Alaska’s charismatic wildlife along the way.

Josette Deschambeault

Josette Deschambeault, Naturalist Guide

Josette started guiding in Alaska in 2016. She is an avid hiker and an exceptional rafter. Josette is also a skilled writer and has published several articles on Alaska travel and gear reviews for various magazines. From observing the seasonal hooligan run to the various uses of Devil’s Club plant, Josette is a passionate naturalist with a deep knowledge of Southeast Alaska’s natural history.

 

Alaska FAQ

Alaska Facts for Visitors

Location:

Alaska is a U.S. state located on the northwest extremity of the North American Continent, just across the Bering Strait from Asia. An exclave of the U.S., it borders the Canadian province of British Columbia and territory of Yukon to the east and southeast and has a maritime border with Russia's Chukotka Autonomous Okrug to the west. To the north are the Chukchi and Beaufort seas of the Arctic Ocean, while the Pacific Ocean lies to the south and southwest.

Geography:

Alaska has more than three million lakes. Marshlands and wetland permafrost cover 188,320 square miles (487,700 km2) (mostly in northern, western and southwest flatlands). Glacier ice covers about 28,957 square miles (75,000 km2) of Alaska.[17] The Bering Glacier is the largest glacier in North America, covering 2,008 square miles (5,200 km2) alone.

Population:

Alaska is the largest U.S. state by area and the seventh-largest subnational division in the world. It is the third-least populous and the most sparsely populated state, with an estimated population of 738,432. Approximately half of Alaska's residents live within the Anchorage metropolitan area. The state capital of Juneau is the second-largest city in the United States by area, comprising more territory than the states of Rhode Island and Delaware.

Alaska's indigenous population is proportionally the highest of any U.S. state, at over 15 percent. Close to two dozen native languages are spoken, and Alaskan Natives exercise considerable influence in local and state politics.

Language:

English is the official language and is spoken commonly across the statee. According to the 2011 American Community Survey, 83.4% of people over the age of five spoke only English at home. About 3.5% spoke Spanish at home, 2.2% spoke another Indo-European language, about 4.3% spoke an Asian language (including Tagalog), and about 5.3% spoke other languages at home.

Entry Requirements:

Whether you can travel to Alaska without a visa will be determined by your country of origin. Meaning, if you are a citizen of one of the 39 countries member of the Visa Waiver Program you do not have to apply for a tourist visa to Alaska. Instead, you can obtain the ESTA Alaska by completing an online form with your personal details and passport info.

Though Alaska is not a common destination, it is still part of the United States and travelers must follow US immigration regulations and laws. Upon arrival in Alaska, travelers will be required to present a valid passport and a valid ESTA or US tourist visa.

Please contact your local US Embassy / Consulate for up-to-date entry requirements.

Banking and Currency:

The currency of United states is the United States Dollar (USD). Current exchange rates can be found at http://x-rates.com. Many, but not all, locations accept credit cards, mainly Visa and MasterCard.

Climate and Weather:

The climate in Southeast Alaska is a mid-latitude oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification: Cfb) in the southern sections and a subarctic oceanic climate (Köppen Cfc) in the northern parts. On an annual basis, Southeast is both the wettest and warmest part of Alaska with milder temperatures in the winter and high precipitation throughout the year. Juneau averages over 50 in. (130 cm) of precipitation a year, and Ketchikan averages over 150 in. (380 cm). This is also the only region in Alaska in which the average daytime high temperature is above freezing during the winter months.

The climate of Anchorage and south-central Alaska is mild by Alaskan standards due to the region's proximity to the seacoast. While the area gets less rain than southeast Alaska, it gets more snow, and days tend to be clearer. On average, Anchorage receives 16 in. (41 cm) of precipitation a year, with around 75 in. (190 cm) of snow, although there are areas in the south-central region which receive far more snow. It is a subarctic climate (Köppen: Dfc) due to its brief, cool summers.

Summer in Alaska begins in June and lasts through early September. Travel during these months is usually very comfortable. Each month has its features - June's daylight, July's flowers, August's berries, September's fall colors and northern lights - so there's always a "best time!"

Electricity and Plug Standards:

Electrical outlets, plugs and voltage are all exactly the same as in the rest of the United States (120V).

WIFI - All the hotels we use have wifi. Some places have faster/better service than others, but it is generally available.

Time Zone:

Most of Alaska falls withing the Pacific Time Zone (PST) while the western Aleutian Islands observe Hawaii-Aleutian Time, 1 hour behind the remainder of the state.

Sales Taxes:

The State of Alaska does not levy a sales tax; there are, however, several municipal governments that do. Inidividual municipalities have wide authority to set their own taxation rates, and sales tax can be as high as 7.5%.

Tipping:

Tipping is never expected, but always appreciated. General guidelines are:

  • Hotel housekeeping staff: US$2 per day per room
  • Guides: US$20/person/day
  • Drivers and Boat Captains: Half what you prefer to tip your guide
  • This Trip's Exclusive Wildlife Features:

    Choose Your Alaska Travel Style! Any of our wildlife adventures are also available as fully customizable private trips, honeymoons or family wildlife adventures.
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