Bear searching for salmon in Alaska (Dreamstime)
List Words : Wanderlust team | 29 March 2017

9 action-packed Alaskan adventures

With its epic landscapes and awesome wildlife, Alaska is one of the world’s last great frontiers. Explore its most breathtaking corners with these amazing trips

1: Explore Alaska’s spectacular Eastern Coves

Hubbard Glacier, Alaska (Dreamstime)
Hubbard Glacier, Alaska (Dreamstime)

This eight-day Alaska adventure cruise to the most remote areas of Southeast Alaska’s Inside Passage navigates the inner reaches of the Eastern Coves on a small ship. It's a unique chance to venture into rarely seen areas of this massive  and incredibly diverse state.

Exploring by kayak, skiff or on foot, you'll discover why Alaska’s Inside Passage is regarded as one of the state's hidden gems. While this is an adventure cruise, it's also one that is fully focused on providing an unforgettable experience. There's more wildlife than nightlife, but that's what makes it a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

Who: Grand American Adventures

When: Fortnightly from May to Sept

How long: 8 days

How much: From £1,809 (exc. flights)

2: Photograph Yukon’s Ice Bears

Close-up on bear in the Yukon (Wildlife Worldwide)
Close-up on bear in the Yukon (Wildlife Worldwide)

Watching Grizzly bears fish salmon straight from the stream is an iconic Alaskan wildlife experience, and there is no better place to witness it than at Bear Cave Mountain. 

Grizzly bears arrive here in large numbers each autumn, taking advantage of the thermal springs that warm the river, creating ideal conditions for salmon eggs to thrive. The result is an amazing annual spectacle, with up to 50 bears gathering to fish as the salmon make their way upriver from the Bering Sea to spawn.

By late September, winter sets in. If conditions are right, the bears' wet fur freezes as they emerge from the river. Their appearance is transformed but, even when caked with ice, they continue to fish long after other bears have gone off to hibernate.

Bear Cave Mountain is not easy to get to. It is close to the Arctic Circle and access is very difficult. This exclusive trip, with no more than four guests at a time at the modest riverside camp, allows you to capture astonishing photographs of bears in these unique natural conditions.

Who: Wildlife Worldwide

When: Between Sept - Oct

How long: 14 days

How much: From £9,395 (exc. flights)

3: Immerse yourself in Alaskan wildlife and wilderness

Float plane ‘parked’ in Alaska (Dreamstime)
Float plane ‘parked’ in Alaska (Dreamstime)

Enjoy the ultimate Alaskan active adventure complete with float plane flights, wildlife cruises, bear viewing and exhilarating wilderness walks. There's no better way to get close to the vast expanses of forests, colossal glaciers and thundering rivers that combine to create some of the most rewarding walks on the North American continent.

You'll take in a breathtaking view of  the highest peak in North America, Mt McKinley, on a walk beside the peaks and glaciers that form the Wrangell St Elias Mountains. A trip to Prince William Sound will introduce you to its abundant marine life and a flight deep into the wilderness will bring you face-to-face with Black and Grizzly bears.

Who: Exodus

When: 11 Jun, 23 Jul & 6 Aug 2017

How long: 16 days

How much: From £4,229 (exc. flights)

4: The complete Alaskan experience

Snowcapped mountains in Alaska (Dreamstime)
Snowcapped mountains in Alaska (Dreamstime)

Alaska remains America’s last truly unconquered frontier and this trip is designed to show you the state in all its vast, rugged beauty. 

Wildlife and epic vistas abound as you spend 15 days exploring this massive state, mixing hotel stays with cabins typical of the Alaskan wilderness.

Along the way, you’ll sample amazingly fresh seafood in Anchorage, hike Denali National Park, investigate mighty glaciers, and be taken aback by the awesome majesty of your surroundings. Prepare to have your mind blown.

Who: G Adventures

When: 17, 24 Jun, 1, 8, 15, 22, 19 Jul & 5, 12 Aug 2017

How long: 15 days

How much: From £2,007 (exc. flights)

5: Relive Alaska's  gold rush on the Chilkot Trail

Gold rush era cabin in the YUkon (Dreamstime)
Gold rush era cabin in the Yukon (Dreamstime)

There's gold in them there hills - possibly. Relive Alaska’s Gold Rush and retrace the Stampeders route over the Chilkoot Pass. Dotted with discarded equipment, grave markers and abandoned equipment, the Chilkoot Trail doubles as a breathtaking outdoors museum.

Only 50 people a day can start from Dyea. This is to keep damage to the trail to a minimum and maintain its 'wilderness' feel. Make sure to reserve well in advance if you’re traveling from mid-June through mid-August. This is when pressure on the trail is the heaviest and you wouldn't want to miss out.

Who: Windows on the Wild

When: Departures June-August

How long: 9 days

How much: POA

6: The ultimate Alaskan wildlife safari

Up close with Grizzlies (Dreamstime)
Up close with Grizzlies (Dreamstime)

Fully escorted by a qualified natural history guide, this trip has been designed to ensure that you enjoy the most exceptional wildlife-viewing opportunities that Alaska has to offer. With an average group size of just 14 passengers, you will get closer, more often, to the iconic wildlife that make this state famous.

Highlights include sleeping on a private island among the glaciers, icebergs and marine wildlife of Kenai Fjords National Park, searching for bears, wolves and moose in the heart of Denali National Park, and close encounters with Grizzlies at Brooks Falls, Katmai National Park. It truly is the ultimate wildlife adventure.

Who: Discover The World

When: 20, 22 Jun, 1, 6, 13, 15, 18, 25 Jul & 23, 29, 31 Aug 2017

How long: 12 nights

How much: £9,007 (exc. flights)

7: Discover the spirit of the Yukon by canoe

Canoe in the Yukon (Dreamstime)
Canoe in the Yukon (Dreamstime)

This is the perfect introduction to touring by kayak. This 370-kilometre tour (including approximately 170 kilometres on the Yukon River) cuts through the solitude of the Teslin River. It's one of the most popular canoe adventures around. Best of all, it is especially suitable for the novice canoeist

Well-trained guides will introduce you to the proper paddle techniques on this class I-II river. The trip starts at Johnsons Crossing on the Alaska Highway, where the Teslin River winds its way through the mountains of the Southern Yukon towards the confluence with the Yukon River.

By travelling along the river, wildlife encounters are assured. Expect to see moose, caribou, wolf and eagle. During August and September, when thousands of salmon spawn in the Teslin River, Grizzly bears are abundant too. 

You'll camp on riverbanks and gravel bars and dine on fresh Arctic grayling, salmon and northern pike, grilled over an open fire. Hiking trips into the mountains and creek valleys round out this exciting river journey.

Who: Windows on the Wild

When: Departure Jun-Aug

How long: 10 days

How much: From £1,235 (exc. flights)

8: Encounter Polar Bears in the high Arctic

Alaskan Polar Bears (Wildlife Worldwide)
Alaskan Polar Bears (Wildlife Worldwide)

Join this exclusive small group tour to see polar bears on the remote shorelines of the Alaskan High Arctic. By viewing the bears by boat, you’ll have plenty of opportunities for close-up encounters and photography.

Your base will be the remote village of Kaktovik on the Beaufort Sea. Led by an expert naturalist and experienced wildlife photographer, you'll travel in a small group in a small boat, ensuring an intimate encounter with these iconic beasts. August is the best time to see them, when the bears are at their most active, wrestling with each other and patrolling the coast, waiting for the ice to form.

Who: Wildlife Worldwide

When: 21, 24, 27 Aug 2017

How long: 7 days

How much: From £9,195 (exc. flights)

9: A Grizzlies, Orcas and Black Bears self drive adventure

Whale tails in Alaska (Dreamstime)
Whale tails in Alaska (Dreamstime)

Discover your very own version of Alaska as you explore the state at your own pace, venturing off the beaten track and getting away from the crowded tourist spots. Happen upon a vista that takes your breath away? Linger a little longer. Your itinerary is entirely in your hands.

After three nights exploring the delights of Vancouver, including a guided bicycle tour of Stanley Park, you will head for the wilds of Vancouver Island and Glendale Cove. 

Here, you'll spend a night at Knight Inlet Lodge, famed for it's incredible Grizzly bear viewing. From here, you can spend time on the rugged west coast of the island, exploring the Pacific Rim National Park before finishing with a few nights in the charming city of Victoria, famed for its Victorian architecture.

Who: Wexas

When: Flexible departures May – Oct 2017

How long: 11 days

How much: From £2,635 (inc. flights)

Main image: Bear searching for salmon in Alaska (Dreamstime)