Alaska Wilderness & Wildlife

Alaska Guided Walking Holiday

The Matanuska River flows below the Chugach Mountains in Alaska
Duration: 13 nights
Type: Worldwide Multi-Centre
Walking Grade: 3

A formidable landscape of towering glaciers, icy cold waters, snow-capped mountains and vast wilderness awaits. The vast Denali National Park stretches from forest in the lowlands through to snow-capped mountains, a diverse region that boasts an equally diverse mix of wildlife. Marvel at the 4000m peaks of Wrangell-St Elias National Park, take a relaxing cruise across Prince William Sound and enjoy spectacular scenery from the Alaskan Railroad train.

Holiday Highlights

  • Explore the virtually untouched wilderness of Wrangell-St Elias, home to the world's largest non-polar ice cap
  • Walk along the exit glacier on the Harding Ice Field Trail to the massive Pleistocene ice field that is its source
  • Panoramic views in the Matanuska Valley of the mighty Matanuska glacier and river
  • Spot some of North America's largest mammals in Denali National Park, including grizzly and black bears, caribou, moose and bald eagle

What’s included

  • 13 nights' accommodation in comfortable rooms (10 nights are en-suite, 3 nights in Kennicott are with shared bathrooms)
  • Full board from breakfast on day 2 to lunch on day 13, plus breakfast on departure day
  • A full programme of guided walks led by a specialist local leader
  • Sightseeing, entrance fees, travel by minicoach, ferry and scenic flight, and Alaskan railway journey
  • Tips

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDF’s for each holiday, please click the button below to find the right trip notes for your departure date.

On our Worldwide holidays, our day-by-day descriptions will help you understand where you’ll be exploring and what you’ll be doing. The itineraries are put together carefully to give you the best experience. While every effort will be made to adhere to the described itinerary, we may occasionally vary the sequence shown here or substitute an alternative to suit local conditions or for other operational reasons. In the wake of disruption caused by the Coronavirus outbreak to planning, this is particularly relevant to itineraries in 2022.

Arrival in Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city, where we meet our leader for our short transfer to our accommodation.

Following breakfast and an overview of the holiday with your local leader, we’ll take a short drive to the nearby mountains in Chugach State Park for our first walk. There are lots of good outings available here, and the walk chosen by the local leader will depend on the weather and other conditions.

From Anchorage we continue to Seward, where on arrival you can choose to join an optional wildlife viewing cruise (at extra cost, payable locally) or stretch your legs on a hike up Mount Marathon. We spend the next day in the Kenai Fjords National Park, walking the Harding Ice Field trail. We'll walk up and alongside Exit Glacier to its ice field source. This is one of the trip's best walks, and one of the most beautiful in all Alaska.

Cruise across stunning Prince William Sound and spot some of the wildlife that makes its home here: orcas, seals, bald eagles. The ferry ride may be changed for a scenic flight (depending on the ferry schedule). We arrive in Valdez, known as Alaska's 'Switzerland by the sea'.

Today we head north over the Thompson Pass and the Chugach Mountains for our first taste of the vast Alaskan interior as we travel to Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, the largest and among the most spectacular national parks in the USA. 

Our ultimate destination is the Copper Rush ghost towns of McCarthy and Kennicott (also known as Kennecott), home to what was once the world’s most productive copper mine. Now home to small but thriving and authentically-Alaskan communities, the population of the towns reaches a high of approx. 200 in the summer and falls to 25 in the winter. Regardless, the atmosphere here is pure Alaska and we’ll be greeted with a warm welcome, the feeling of which will continue throughout our stay in this incredible landscape.

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and part of the world’s largest internationally protected area, is home to nine of the sixteen highest peaks in North America, and the world’s largest non-polar ice cap. This is a vast, virtually untouched wilderness of exquisite beauty, the adventure playground of the true pioneer. We’ll spend the next two days exploring this beautiful area.

There are a variety of walks here and our local guide will choose the best selection for us, depending on the group and local conditions. Examples of possible walks include the Old Wagon Road/Glacier Toe Trail and Bonanza Mine Trail. There's also the possibility to arrange ice climbing courses or guided glacier treks (at additional cost, payable locally).

Exiting the Wrangell Mountains, we head west today out of the Copper River watershed and across Eureka divide to the Matanuska Valley. A walk to the top of the magnificent ‘Lion’s Head’ will leave you mesmerised with its unique, mountaintop eco-system and panoramic views of the mighty Matanuska Glacier & River and surrounding mountain ranges. This is a favourite walk of our local guides.

Onwards to our highlight destination, world famous Denali National Park. En route to Denali, we enjoy a scenic walk in Denali State Park up toward Kesugi Ridge, with possible views to the west of ‘The Great One’ – Denali – itself. We spend two days exploring the park: we've a good chance of spotting some of the large mammals that call the park home, such as bears, moose, wolves and caribou.

A morning walk takes us to the park's dogsled kennels - used to this day during the snowy winter months to help protect the park's herds of caribou, sheep and other species - where we'll enjoy a demonstration and a chance to meet the dogs. Then it's time to board the Alaska Railroad for a scenic wilderness train ride (approx. 8 hours) back to Anchorage: this is sure to be a pleasant way to relax, and a memorable end to your trip, after what we're sure will be an unforgettable holiday in the Alaskan wilderness.

After breakfast we transfer to the airport for our return flight to the UK.

Alaska Itinerary Map

Inlet Tower Hotel, Anchorage - Alaska

The Inlet Tower Hotel is a contemporary hotel with great views of the landscape surrounding Anchorage. It lies in a convenient location close to the airport and downtown, making it a quick transfer on our arrival and departure days.

Breeze Inn, Seward - Alaska

This motel is centrally located by the Resurrection Bay harbour with amazing views of the surrounding mountains. There is a restaurant on-site which is popular with locals and tourists alike, with many Alaskan influenced dishes.

Mountain Sky Hotel, Valdez - Alaska

Located in the centre of town, the Mountain Sky Hotel is a short walk to the harbour and other Valdez attractions. Fresh, local seafood is a specialty in the restaurant.

Kennicott Glacier Lodge, Kennicott - Alaska

Built in 1987, the Kennicott Glacier Lodge is a replica of one of the historic mining buildings from the copper mining boom town days. Located near the center of the ghost town of Kennicott, a company town built circa 1910. The Main Lodge has a 190 foot long front porch with a panoramic view of the Chugach and Wrangell Mountains and the magnificent Kennicott and Root Glaciers.

Majestic Valley Wilderness Lodge - Alaska

A small and comfortable family owned lodge right in the Alaskan wilderness amidst the Chugach and Talkeetna mountains. 

McKinley Creekside Cabins - Alaska

An intimate lodge and restaurant situated on beautiful Carlo Creek beneath the breath taking mountains of the Alaska Range. The Creekside Cafe has fantastic food, mountain views, and a great atmosphere.

Essential Information

Suggested equipment and items

As you’ll be carrying your own luggage at airports and between your transport and hotels we recommend you try to keep your luggage to a minimum.

These items are a general suggestion of what to pack for an active outdoor and walking holiday; depending on your destination, you may need more of some things and less – or none! – of others. We advise being prepared for all weather conditions, but you’ll know best what you prefer to wear when out walking or while taking part in other outdoor activities. Alaska is very, very informal, and “nice” clothing is not necessary. Comfortable clothes to change into after the day’s activities is all you will need.

  • Walking boots (worn in), with good ankle support and spare bootlaces
  • Walking socks
  • Walking sandals
  • Lightweight fleece, waterproof trousers and jacket
  • Shorts and short-sleeved t-shirts (non-cotton)
  • Long trousers and long-sleeved light-coloured shirts with collars to protect from the sun.

We recommend wearing walking boots on all our walks, as these provide the best ankle support and grip. Modern ‘approach shoes’ offer appropriate levels of grip and may be worn on some low-level walks, but users should be aware that they offer less ankle support. Lightweight trainers are not recommended for any walks.

Your clothing should ideally be pre-treated with insect repellent and in-built sun protection (available from specialist clothing stores such as Rohan, Cotswold Outdoor).

  • Warm fleece, scarf/buff hat and gloves
  • Comfortable clothes and shoes for evenings and sightseeing (keep to a minimum)
  • Sun protection – sun hat, sunglasses, high factor sunscreen and lip protection
  • Water bottle – at least 2-litre capacity
  • Lightweight survival bag
  • Small/medium rucksack (30 litre) and a liner or cover to keep contents dry
  • Insect repellent
  • Personal first aid kit including: personal medication, tissues, plasters, blister kit, painkillers, antiseptic wipes, Imodium, rehydration sachets; hand sanitiser

Essential items

  • Passport (and copies);
  • booking confirmation;
  • insurance cover note;
  • HF Holidays’ registration form

Please ensure you have access to emergency funds should you need them; carrying a credit card is probably the most convenient method.

Optional items and equipment

  • Trekking poles;
  • camera;
  • umbrella;
  • binoculars;
  • high energy food bars.

Please note that the HF Holidays’ leader reserves the right to refuse to take any guest on a walk should they consider that a lack of suitable clothing/footwear may affect safety

Guest Reviews

13 nights
Worldwide Multi-Centre
Walking Grade:

Fully Booked

020 3974 8865

For group bookings of 10+ people click here

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