The Ultimate Alaska Road Trip

Ultimate Alaska Road Trip

If your idea of the ultimate Alaska Road Trip includes planes, trains, automobiles and boats…then this adventure is for you. 

This seven day Alaska road trip includes camping, incredible excursions and hiking in the last frontier. You can easily alter this itinerary to include hotels versus tents, but tent camping was a big part of the fun. 

Fairbanks Alaska

Our group of ultimate Alaska road trippers started in Fairbanks, Alaska after arriving at Ted Stevens International Airport (ANC). The trip is a package that Bucket List Group Travel leads each Summer. In addition to the Ultimate Alaska Road Trip, Bucket List Travel also offers a package in the Winter to observe Northern Lights. This trip includes dog sledding and other adventures starting in Fairbanks.

The travelers were picked up at the airport (ANC) and enjoyed the first night’s stay in Fairbanks. Any supplies still needed were picked up locally. Some travelers brought their own camping gear while others opted to rent a camping package. 

Car Camping Supplies for The Ultimate Alaska Road Trip

You can’t go wrong with Coleman as a brand. This is a 4 person tent. Not appropriate for backpacking, but for car camping, it will be spacious and easy to set up.

My pink poles are durable and don’t break the bank. They’ve lasted me many miles! Remember to break them down and place the non-sharp tips on the end and to check them if possible. You should be ok if you place them in your carry on bag.

Osprey is also a trusted brand. They are well-known for backpacks. They have a lifetime guarantee. This stuff pack is easy to place in your carryon or checked bag. You will use it daily to place snacks, and your 10 essentials for day hiking.

The Ten Essentials for hiking…yes even day hiking. Learn more about them right here.

A rolling duffel is perfect when flying with your camping hear. 70-100 liters is a good size. 

Make sure your sleeping bag has the accurate weather rating for your next trip. This is a great option and highly rated.

You will be very grateful for investing in a comfy camp mat. This one is a good choice for packing in your suitcase.

This head lamp will come in handy for night time reading and walking to the bath house.

You will be ready for s’mores cooking by the campfire with this packable camp chair. 

Investing in high quality rain gear can be costly. This inexpensive suit is lightweight and packable. August in Alaska is the rainiest month. 

 

 

 

 

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Denali National Park by Train

Ultimate Alaska Road Trip
Alaskan railroad

The Alaska Railroad is a bucket list excursion. The train travels North and South between Seward and Fairbanks. We opted for the Fairbanks to Seward portion. This approximately 4 hour journey Southward was a perfect sampler. There is a sightseeing car with a domed glass viewing area. This is a relaxing spot to hear about the history and take in the amazing views along the journey.

After arriving at the Denali National Park train station, we hiked to our camp sites at the Riley Campground just inside the Park. We stored our food and scented items in the bear boxes and took off on a short scenic hike on the Horseshoe Lake Trail. We came back to camp to build a campfire (how to)  and cook dinner and s’mores.

It was an early to bed night. Remember a sleeping mask as the sun stays light until 10 p.m. in August. We needed a good night’s rest for the bus ride deep into the park the next morning. We were excited to get a glimpse of the “the great one” or the “high one”. This is Denali’s meaning as spoken by the Koyukon Athabascans, a Native Alaskan group from this region.

Denali behind the fog
With Clouds
Denali National Park
Without Clouds

If you are enjoying this post, click the green link to also read about planning a 6 day adventure to see the National Parks of the Pacific Northwest in Washington state!

 Our trip in mid August was excellent for wildlife viewing, but we were not lucky enough to see Denali due to cloud cover.  According to Alaska.org, here are the chances of viewing wildlife and Denali.

  • On a park road tour, 33% of visitors see the mountain for most of the day, and 40% get a partial view
  • 80 – 90% of visitors see bears, sheep, and caribou, though often from a distance
  • Only 20% of visitors see wolves
  • 35% see moose (but your chances double in the late season

We needed to move our bodies after the nature bus tour. A hike straight up on the Mount Healy Overlook Trail was the perfection solution. 

Mt. Healy Denali
Mt. Healy Overlook Denali

Anchorage by Way of the Denali Highway

On the next leg of the trip from Denali to Anchorage we took a coach bus. The bus driver offered us more details about the history of the area. We took another chance at seeing Denali from mile marker 134.5 in Trapper Creek. No luck, but it was a fun stop at a charming lodge with an interesting story.

Ultimate Alaska Road Trip
McKinley View Lodge

We chose Eklutna Lake Campground for our Anchorage area adventures. It was located between our sea plane excursion in Anchorage and the Matanuska Glacier hike. It was rustic with no bath houses, but a well-maintained campground and Lake Elkutna was stunning.

Ultimate Alaska Road Trip
Campground Lake Eklutna

Time to add the plane element to our “planes, trains and automobile” road trip. Boats are yet to come. A fun sunny morning was spent taking off in Anchorage in a sea plane exploring the Chugach Mountains and views of Anchorage. We also spotted some Dahl sheep. 

Next stop…Glacier hiking! We learned at Matanuska Glacier how glaciers are formed and how they move from a geology student tour guide. This is a very active tour that will take 2-3 hours. The outfitters will provide you with ice spikes and helmets, but I recommend bringing your hiking poles as well for more stability.

hiking at Matanuska Glacier
Ultimate Alaska Road Trip

Seward by Way of the Denali Highway

Time to head to Seward Alaska, a charming port town located on an inlet in the Kenai Peninsula. This is where we jumped on a boat to tour Kenai National Park to view humpback whales diving for food and to see the amazing scenery of Resurrection Bay.

We finished our road trip of a lifetime at the Resurrection South Campground with a view of mountains with Alpenglow. The grand finale was the Blue Moon setting over the bay. Early morning we took a quick hike to the Exit Glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park. We packed up and drove back to Anchorage for a late evening flight home.

Ultimate Alaska Road Trip
Ultimate Alaska Road Trip
Ultimate Alaska Road Trip
Ultimate Alaska Road Trip

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Judy Hughes

Judy Hughes

Hi there..I’m Judy and love travel and adventure. I placed my travels on hold while raising my family and decided that the empty nest is an opportune time to get out there and explore again! My blog has turned into travel tips, how-to, and thoughts on feeling empowered during midlife. I am a Realtor and vegan in real life, so I will dabble in home design, staging and leading a healthy lifestyle. ​Hoping you join me on this virtual road trip…....Thanks for stopping in! Judy

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