Itinerary - Visit Alaska

The Final Frontier

 
There is something so exciting about the thought of visiting a country that is just so far away.  It is dark and cold for much of the year – but there is a window when it is a great place to visit and it is well worth the trip to experience this fascinating part of the world first hand.  You can read about it, you can dream about it, but actually going there is what travelling is all about.
 
The variety is the most exciting thing about this trip: Seattle – city break Anchorage – a different city; Alaskan railroad train to Denali National Park; 1 night outside the park 1 bus a day into the wilderness (must be sure to be on time for that!);  3 nights in the Alaskan Wilderness; 5am bus back to park outskirts; a Panoramic bus trip back to Anchorage; Train to Whittier; Cruise for a week aboard the Sapphire Princess through Hubbard Glacier, Glacier National Park, Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan and finish in Vancouver.  
 
 
Marjorie Glacier Alaska America
Alaska Itinerary

Best time to visit Alaska

There really is a very small window for visiting Alaska. I think we timed our trip pretty well at the tail end of August and early September.  If you leave it any later than that, then it gets really cold and the days are long and dark – not great for exploring.  If you go in the Summer time, then you may get slightly warmer temperatures – but the mosquitos like those too and there are A LOT of them here!  They are a real nuisance – not to be taken lightly.  The locals told us you could almost write your name in the bugs they were so thick a week or two before we got there – Yuck!

Top Ten "Must-Dos" for a trip to Alaska

  1. See the Space Needle in Seattle
  2. Amaze yourself at the creations in Chihuly Gardens and Glass – Seattle
  3. Get a view of Mount McKinley – it’s elusive, but worth it!
  4. See brown bears in Denali National Park
  5. Travel the Great Alaskan Railroad
  6. See whales at play in their natural habitat
  7. Dine at the Chef’s Table on the Sapphire Princess (pre-booking essential)
  8. Watch a black bear catching his salmon at Ketchikan
  9. Listen to Hubbard Glacier calving.
  10. Sip a Kodiak Beer – “Like true Alaskans, we aren’t afraid of the dark!”

Where I Stayed

Links to Accommodation Reviews for all the hotels where we stayed on our trip are listed below:

Alaska Denali Backcountry Lodge
Denali Backcountry Lodge
Alaska Exterior of the Arctic Club Seattle
Exterior of the Arctic Club Seattle
Alaska The Sapphire Princess
The Sapphire Princess - Whittier

My Reading List

My reading material for this trip was  “Alaska Bound – One Man’s Dream, One Woman’s Nightmare, by Tammy Jones – www.AlaskaBoundTammyJones.com. 

It is a true story about building a log cabin in the Alaskan wilderness.  Intense cold, dark, icy water and bears all feature in it. True stories are always the best aren’t they – and it doesn’t come much more gripping than this one!

My Packing List

The luggage restrictions are really daunting for a trip with this much variety.  Packing was a real challenge – made harder by the fact that we were cruising for part of our journey, so we needed to pack evening dress as well as all the practical cold weather gear and hiking boots.

Don’t travel without:

Mosquito repellent

Mosquito net

A really good torch – there are no lights in the Alaskan wilderness!

Alaska Mosquito Net

Flora and Fauna

Wildlife

This is just a checklist of what I actually saw – to inspire you to go – but there is potentially so much more to see here!  Search for “Flora and Fauna” to find the relevant posts.

 

  • Black bear
  • Brown bear
  • Humpack Whale
  • Orca
  • Seals
  • Salmon
  • More to follow – website under construction …

Flora

  • Mountain tundra
  • Bluberries
  • Tiny fir trees
  • Lichen
  • Mushrooms
Humpback Whale Alaska
Black Bear fishing for Alaskan Salmon

Useful Websites

Sort out VISA waiver – ESTA approval – www.london.usembassy.gov

Tips for Future Travellers

  1. If you do take a cruise with Princess Cruises as part of your Alaska trip, Dining at the Chef’s Table is a great experience.  You need to sign up right at the start of your cruise though – before you unpack even – because the numbers are very strictly limited.
  2. Leaving the car at home was a great idea – doing the whole trip on public transport and finishing with the cruise made it a very relaxing holiday and there was nothing we missed as a result of not having a car with us.
  3. If you stay at Denali Backcountry Lodge, you need to get your name down very promptly as hiker numbers are strictly limited to preserve the wilderness feel of the place.

Read my full trip to Alaska:​

Getting There …

Our British Airways flight went from Heathrow to Seattle. Check-in time was 12.10 and departure a lengthy 3 hours later at 15.10 (groan). We drove…

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Alaska

Homeward Bound

Today is our last day. Disembarkation was, as I expected, a bit tedious. We had pre-booked a shuttle bus transfer to Vancouver airport which, with…

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Alaska