The landscapes of Alaska and the Yukon are among North America's most dramatic – towering mountain ranges and vast glaciers frame rushing rivers and ancient forests home to bears, wolves and moose. Starting in Anchorage, this fly-drive takes in Denali National Park – home to the continent's highest peak – and the Golden Heart City of Alaska, Fairbanks. You'll then follow the Top of the World Highway to Dawson City in the Yukon and travel the South Klondike Highway to Haines Junction before going in search of more wildlife in the magnificent Kluane National Park.
Day 1: Anchorage
Depart the UK on your daytime flight via Iceland to Anchorage. On arrival collect your rental vehicle and make your way to your city hotel. The remainder of the day is free to explore.
Day 2: Talkeetna
Drive the Glenn Highway north to Wasilla and on to Talkeetna. Stops can include a visit to the Alaska Native Heritage Centre in Anchorage and the Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry in Wasilla. Talkeetna serves as a base camp for Mt. Denali climbers; the community of 857 residents is located at the confluence of the Talkeetna and Susitna Rivers. A turn-of-the-20th-century gold-mining centre, the town has retained much of its early Alaskan flavour. Log cabins, a roadhouse and clapboard storefronts line the dirt streets, colourful locals and bush pilots stroll the wooden sidewalks.
Stay: Susitna River Lodge, Talkeetna
Days 3-4: Denali National Park Entrance
Explore the south side of Denali or make an early start for the drive to the Denali National Park. The day is yours to explore at your own pace so you have as much time as you like to enjoy the majesty of the park. You'll spend two nights here and on your second day we've included a full day tour deep into the park. Departing by coach you'll travel the full length of the restricted Denali Park Road with an experienced driver/guide who will help in your search for moose, bears, caribou and the numerous other wildlife that resides here. There will be plenty of stops for wildlife viewing, photography and to stretch your legs. Lunch is included at the Denali Backcountry lodge and there is time to try your hand at panning for gold or enjoying a nature hike. For the return journey to the park entrance you'll board a small bush plane for a scenic flight, which weather permitting, will take you close to Mount McKinley.
Stay: Denali Cabins, Denali Park Entrance
Days 5-6: Fairbanks
It's a short drive via Nenana to Fairbanks. The city is known as the Golden Heart City of Alaska and is gateway to the Alaskan interior, during the summer months you'll experience almost 24 hours of daylight. You have two nights in Fairbanks and there's chance to join an optional tour which takes you across the Arctic Circle to explore the interior. Alternatively take a drive along the Chena Hot Springs road (keep an eye out for moose), enjoy a hike or perhaps a dip at the Chena Hot Springs Resort.
Stay: Rivers Edge Resort, Fairbanks
Day 7: Fairbanks to Tok
Heading south, the Richardson Highway passes through stands of White birch and Black spruce, often photogenically close to the Tanana River. Soak up the raw beauty of the drive into the central Alaska Range, often paralleled by the Alaska pipeline. Tok’s role in the world has never expanded much beyond being a stop on the road. The town has built an economy of gas stations, gift stores, cafes, and hotels to serve highway travellers.
Stay: Cleft of the Rock B&B, Tok (Standard)
Days 8-9: Dawson City
Today sees you embark on a journey along the dramatically named Top of the World Highway, a road which takes you through spectacular backcountry and gold mining areas. As you reach the highest elevations you'll have incredible views of seemingly never-ending panoramas. Cross the Yukon River before arriving in Dawson City, which retains a true Klondike feel making you feel like you've travelled back in time. You'll spend two nights in Dawson City giving you an entire day free to explore the many historical sites - The SS Keno was the last steamer to run the Yukon River from Whitehorse, whilst the Jack London Interpretive Centre has the poets original cabin. Diamond Tooth Gerties is renowned as the infamous casino with 'Can-Can' floor shows.
Stay: Aurora Inn (Superior)
Days 10-11: Whitehorse
Continue south through the stark, raw landscape of the Yukon to Whitehorse. Take time to stop at Five Finger Rapids and enjoy a hike down to the shore of the Yukon River. You should arrive in the Yukon's capital city late afternoon.
Next day you have time to explore the region and take advantage of all that Whitehorse has to offer. Visit the Yukon Wildlife Preserve (included), a unique wildlife viewing property featuring 10 species of northern Canadian mammals in their natural environment. Encompassing over 700 acres with various natural habitats, the Yukon Wildlife Preserve offers unparalleled wildlife viewing and photo opportunities.
Stay: Best Western Gold Rush Inn (Superior)
Day 12: Whitehorse to Haines Junction
Follow the Haines Highway over the Chilkat Pass, passing Klukshu - a native summer fishing camp offering fabulous photo opportunities and the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve before arriving in the Kluane National Park. Kluane covers the largest non-polar icefield in the world and you can visit the Sheep Mountain Visitor Centre to learn more about the area.
Stay: The Raven Hotel (Standard)
Day 13: Haines Junction to Tok
This morning go on a short hiking trip before driving north along the shores of beautiful Kluane Lake. Stopover at the Sheep Mountain Visitor Centre with its interpretive programs about the flora and fauna. Viewing telescopes are available where you can spot Dall sheep on the mountain slopes Your journey c...
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