Alaska’s Scenic National Parks Self-Drive

enquire now 16 Days From NZD $10,880 pp twinshare
Independent traveller
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• Kenai Fjords • Talkeetna • Denali National Park • Fairbanks • Prince William Sound

From mountain peaks and glaciers to magnificent coastlines and abundant wildlife, this self-drive tour is an ideal mix of unforgettable Alaskan highlights.

Starting in Anchorage journey to Seward and the Kenai Peninsula before heading north to the vast interior of Alaska. View incredible scenery of snow-capped mountains, active volcanoes and magnificent coastlines before heading north into the wilderness of Denali National Park’s back country.

Other highlights include a bush plane flight over the vast wilderness of Wrangell-St Elias National Park, cruise Prince William Sound and Sheep Mountain Lodge.



Day 1 : Anchorage > Seward

Collect your rental car and travel along the Seward Highway towards Turnagain Arm, keeping an eye out for beluga whales in the bay or Dall sheep along the highway.

Day 2 : Seward & Kenai Fjords

Today embark on a full day Kenai Fjords National Park cruise. Visit the magnificent Northwestern Fjord, home to three amazing tidewater glaciers and numerous alpine glaciers.

Day 3 : Seward > Homer

Follow the Sterling Highway, covering miles of spectacular landscape. View snow-capped mountains, active volcanoes, deep ocean bluffs and a magnificent coastline. The area also offers excellent salmon fishing opportunities along the Kenai River.

Day 4 : Homer

A free day at leisure in the “Halibut Capital of the World”. Optional activities include kayaking, wildlife cruises and Katmai Coast flightseeing tours to observe grizzly bears.

Day 5 : Homer > Girdwood

On this morning’s drive north, stop at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Centre, which provides care and rehabilitation for injured and orphaned wildlife. Once in Girdwood, take an aerial tram up Alyeska Mountain for views of Turnagain Arm, “hanging” glaciers and the endless peaks of the Chugach Mountains.

Day 6 : Girdwood > Talkeetna

Pass through Anchorage and the agricultural region of the Matanuska-Susitna Valley on your way to Talkeetna, a former gold-mining centre that has retained much of its early Alaskan flavour. Today the small, picturesque town serves as a base camp for Mt Denali climbers.

Day 7 : Talkeetna > Denali National Park

Drive the Parks Highway north to Denali, where the massive peaks of the Alaska Range are in view nearly the entire route. Leave your vehicle at the entrance to Denali National Park and transfer by bus deep inside the park. Nestled in a snug valley, the Denali Backcountry Lodge is a true wilderness experience, with your own heated cabin.

Day 8 : Denali National Park

Spend a full day inside Denali National Park enjoying a naturalist-led guided hike or walk, panning for gold, mountain biking through the backcountry, or fishing. Activities are included with your stay at the lodge.

Day 9 : Denali National Park > Fairbanks

Return to the park entrance area by bus, then drive the Parks Highway north to Fairbanks. Along the way, pass through the communities of Healy and Nenana as well as the old mining camp of Ester.

Day 10 : Fairbanks

A free day at leisure. Optional activities include day tours to cross the Arctic Circle or relaxing in the heated pools at Chena Hot Springs Resort.

Day 11 : Fairbanks > McCarthy

Settle in for a day of driving through some of Alaska’s most diverse and dynamic landscapes. At Chitina board your bush plane flight to McCarthy, located in the vast wilderness of Wrangell-St Elias National Park. Along the way your pilot will describe landforms, point out wildlife and fill you in on a bit of the human history of the area.

Day 12 : McCarthy & Root Glacier

Spend the morning exploring the features of nearby Root Glacier on a guided trail and ice hike. The afternoon is yours to visit the Kennecott Mines National Historic Landmark and the funky-rustic enclave of McCarthy.

Day 13 : McCarthy > Valdez

Enjoy great views of the Wrangell Mountains on your bush plane flight back to Chitina. Continue your drive south where you enter the Chugach Mountains that ring the coast of Alaska from Prince William Sound. Admire the views of Worthington Glacier before beginning the descent into Valdez.

Day 14 : Valdez & Prince William Sound

Discover the magic of Alaska on a cruise of Prince William Sound. A local captain and crew will guide you through the Trans Alaska Pipeline Terminal and Columbia Bay before arriving at Columbia Glacier, the largest tidewater glacier in South Central Alaska. Look out for wildlife along the way; if you’re lucky you could spot porpoises, puffins, sea lions and sea otters.

Day 15 : Valdez > Sheep Mountain Lodge

Drive to Sheep Mountain Lodge, located along the scenic Glenn Highway between the towns of Palmer and Glenallen. The rest of the day is at leisure to enjoy the area. There are over 20 kms of trails near the lodge perfect for exploring. Birds and wildflowers abound, and maps are provided in each cabin for self-guided hiking.

Day 16 : Sheep Mountain Lodge > Anchorage

Take in the beautiful views of the Chugach Range on your drive back to Anchorage, where your self-drive journey ends.


Departs daily between late May and late August.


• Tailor-made self-drive journey
• 15 nights’ accommodation
• 16 days full size rental sedan
• Northwestern Fjords cruise
• Kenai River scenic float tour
• Scenic return flight Chitina > McCarthy
• Kennecott Mill town tour
• Denali Backcountry Adventure tour by coach
• Denali National Park entrance fee
• 2 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 2 dinners at Denali Backcountry Lodge



Images courtesy of World Journeys