Alaska’s National Parks Tour by Car

Amazing scenery and wildlife viewing opportunities in Alaska's most popular national parks!

Tour Code: 1550CTA

Tour Overview

Tour four of Alaska’s best National Parks on this independent adventure by car! First, enjoy scenic drives along the Seward Highway to visit Kenai Fjords National Park, where you’ll take a whale, glaciers, and wildlife cruise. Then hop on the Glenn Highway to Wrangell St. Elias National Park. Stop in Denali National Park and see Denali’s amazing landscapes while scoping for wildlife on a bus trip into the park. Take a scenic flight up to Kennicott-McCarthy to tour a historic mining center. Conclude your in-depth Alaska road trip and self-driving tour by viewing bears in their natural habitat. Depending on the time of the year, you will visit either Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park or Lake Clark National Park.

Ask us about customizing this tour to include other Alaska national parks too!

What's Included
  • 13 nights accommodations (accommodation during the two-night stay in Wrangell St. Elias National Park may have shared bath only)
  • 13 days midsize car rental from Anchorage, including unlimited mileage (pick up on day 2/drop off on departure day)
  • Roundtrip scenic flights from Chitina to McCarthy
  • 7.5-hour cruise into Kenai Fjords National Park with lunch
  • 2.5-hr guided Historical Kennicott Tour in Kennicott
  • 4-6 hour bus tour into Denali National Park (depending on weather and road conditions)
  • Day excursion to Katmai OR Lake Clark National Park
  • All taxes and park fees
What's Not Included

Transfers in Anchorage, meals other than listed, optional excursions, and gratuities. Car rental coverage (such as LDW or liability insurance), additional driver fees, gas, and GPS rental.


Tour Itinerary

This tour specifically focuses on a visit to several of Alaska's national parks accessible by road as well as a great bear viewing fly-out adventure day.

Day 1
Anchorage Arrival

On arrival in Anchorage transfer to your hotel on own. Overnight in Anchorage.

Day 2

Today is yours to explore Alaska’s largest city. Pick up your rental car at your leisure from the downtown rental station. Go shopping, visit the Alaska Native Heritage Center, take a walk or bike ride along the Coastal Trail, or drive to Chugach State Park. Overnight in Anchorage.

Day 3
Anchorage to Seward

Today, drive to Seward along scenic Cook Inlet’s Turnagain Arm.  Few roads in the United States can match the diversity of scenic landscapes and unique natural feature. Take a leisurely pace with recommended stops along the route include the aerial tram up Mt. Alyeska, the Begich-Boggs Visitor Center at Portage Lake and the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. Just before you reach Seward you have a chance to visit Exit Glacier, one of the few glaciers that is an easy walk from the parking area.  This afternoon you may also choose a guided kayaking tour or dog sled ride (see Tour Add-ons). Overnight in Seward.

Day 4

Enjoy a leisurely morning before departing on a 6 to 7.5-hour cruise into Kenai Fjords National Park, one of Alaska’s treasures. As you cruise through the park and the Chiswell Islands National Wildlife Refuge watch for Stellar sea lions, harbor seals, puffins, eagles, and orca and humpback whales.  During the cruise you will see examples of Alpine, Cirque, Piedmont, and Tidewater glaciers.  A stop will be made at either Holgate or Aialik Glacier to witness ice falling off the glacier face with a thunderous sound into the pristine waters below (known as glacier calving).  Lunch is included on board during your cruise. Overnight in Seward.

Day 5
Seward to Sheep Mountain Area

Today you will travel back up the Seward Highway and continue into the lush Matanuska Valley and onto the breathtaking Glenn Highway. This is one of the oldest and most scenic highways in Alaska. The Glenn, as it is known by locals, follows the Matanuska River up to its beginning at the Matanuska Glacier. Along the way, there is an opportunity for a helicopter glacier dog sled adventure from Knik River Lodge (see Tour Add-ons). This is a perfect day to plan a picnic!  Overnight in the Sheep Mountain area or Copper Center area.

Day 6
Sheep Mountain Area to Wrangell-St. Elias National Park

Start the day with a drive to the small town of Chitina, where you will leave your rental car and board a bush plane for the scenic flight into Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.  At 13.2 million acres, Wrangell-St. Elias is the largest national park in the United States and equivalent in size to the country of Switzerland!  Your flight route provides a birds-eye view of this tremendous park which includes four mountain ranges containing 9 of the country’s 16 highest peaks along with massive ice fields. Overnight in Kennicott/McCarthy (standard program has room with shared bath).

Day 7
Wrangell St. Elias National Park

Take a step back in time today on a 2.5-hour historical tour of Kennicott, built by the Kennecott Copper Corporation in the early 1900’s. Catch a glimpse of what it was like to live and work in this remote wilderness and hearing tales of lucky fortunes, tenacious frontiersmen, and tragic endings. This afternoon you have plenty of time for an optional guided glacier hike (see Tour Add-ons). Overnight in Kennicott/McCarthy (standard program has room with shared bath).

Day 8
Wrangell St. Elias National Park to Fairbanks

You will return to Chitina by bush plane this morning then your day continues driving on the Richardson Highway.  This route was established in 1898 as a gold rush trail to Eagle, Alaska located on the Yukon River not far from the Klondike Goldfields.  The road follows the Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline, still known as one of the world’s greatest engineering feats.  Along the way there are several rest stops including historic roadhouses and scenic viewpoints. This evening explore the historic gold mining town of Fairbanks, also known as Alaska’s “Gateway to the Arctic”. Overnight in Fairbanks.

Day 9

Today is at your leisure to explore Fairbanks and surroundings, or add an optional excursion to see Alaska’s Arctic region, including tours crossing the Arctic Circle. Overnight in Fairbanks.

Day 10
Fairbanks to Denali National Park

Drive south on the Parks Highway to the Denali National Park entrance area. Accompanied by incredible forest and mountain landscapes you will drive through the communities of Healy, Nenana and Ester, an old mining camp. At 6 million acres, Denali National Park is one of the world’s last great frontiers for wilderness adventure. Your hotel will be at the park entrance, where most of the park services and hotels are located. This afternoon you have the opportunity to enjoy optional tours include rafting trips and flightseeing by helicopter or bush plane. Overnight near the Denali park entrance.

Day 11
Denali National Park

Today, depart on a narrated bus tour into Denali National Park.  As you travel through the pristine wilderness, look for wildlife, such as bears, caribou, and moose, as well as views of the Mountain. Your experienced driver/guide will provide commentary.  The tour is approximately 4-6 hours long and takes you approximately 30 – 43 miles into the park, depending on weather and road conditions. The rest of the day is free for optional tours at the Denali National Park entrance. Overnight near the Denali park entrance.

Day 12
Denali National Park to Anchorage

You will drive south to Anchorage today. Take your time and enjoy the drive. Along the way are some scenic viewpoints where you can stretch your legs and make some breaks. Then reach Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city. Overnight in Anchorage.

Day 13
Anchorage - Bear Viewing

For many Alaska visitors, seeing bears in the wild is the highlight of their vacation. Today’s planned trip to bear country is programmed to offer you best possibilities and varies by location depending on the time of year. Please keep in mind that even though we endeavor to schedule the bear viewing to the best possible areas for good viewing, we cannot guarantee any bear sightings. Transfers to and from your hotel are on your own.  Overnight in Anchorage.

Visit to Katmai National Park – overall itinerary start dates June 8 to July 19
Depart Anchorage in the morning between 7:00 and 9:30am aboard a scheduled flight to King Salmon. Upon arrival, a local representative will transfer you to a seaplane for a 20-minute flight to Brooks Camp. At Brooks Camp, you will meet with Park Service staff for a brief orientation in bear safety before spending about 4-6 hours exploring Katmai National Park viewing brown bears from observation platforms and hiking to Brooks Falls. Your return flight to King Salmon will depart this afternoon, typically between 3 and 4pm. You may not return to Anchorage until 9:30 pm. The tour is approximately 10 to 12 hours long in total.

Visit Lake Clark National Park – overall itinerary start dates July 20 to August 26
Depart from Lake Hood Sea Plane Harbor in Anchorage and fly southwest over Cook Inlet toward the Chigmit Mountains. Enjoy spectacular views of the Alaska and Aleutian Mountain Ranges and two active volcanoes – Mt. Redoubt and Mt. Iliamna – before landing in Crescent Lake within Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. You will disembark at Redoubt Mountain Lodge where knowledgeable guides escort you by boat to lakeside areas to view bears feeding on spawning Alaska salmon. About 6 to 7 hours will be spent of guided bear viewing. This bear watching flight safari offers a great adventure for wildlife enthusiasts of all ages! The tour is approximately 10 to 12 hours long in total.

Day 14
Anchorage Departure

Depending on your departure flight, you may have some free time for souvenir shopping or add-on additional excursions. Return your rental car and depart or add an additional program.

Tour Map


Dates & Rates

*Child prices are valid for children 11 years and younger, sharing a room with at least 2 full paying adults with the existing bedding. Maximum of 4 people per room.

Our Standard Program Includes:

2 and 3 star hotel accommodations.

The program will include a combination of hotels or motels that are considered moderate to standard tourist class. Please be aware not all hotels have shuttle services.

Standard train car seating on all rail services (reserved seats).

If you would like to book the standard program but with upgraded rail seating, the option and surcharge will be listed when you save to your cart.

Our Upgraded Program Includes:

* 3 and 4 star hotels (best available) wherever possible.

The program will include standard rooms at this category of hotel where possible. Alaska has very limited hotel choices in remote areas and small towns. The properties will typically offer a wider range of services such as a full-service restaurant, room service and perhaps a pool or spa facilities. Please be aware the upgraded accommodations in downtown Anchorage do not have hotel shuttle services. Many of the upgraded hotels also offer guaranteed view rooms for additional cost. If you would like a specific room type, in addition to the upgraded program, please ask us about availability and cost difference.

Deluxe dome train car seating between Anchorage, Denali and Fairbanks, or Anchorage and Seward.

All journeys between Anchorage and Whittier are in standard seating as deluxe dome cars are not available on that route.

Children must be 7 years old to participate in this tour.

Standard program: Accommodation during the 2 night stay in Wrangell St. Elias National Park has shared bath only. Families or parties of 4 wanting to share a room and book the standard program, please contact us!


Tour Add-ons

Browsing optional excursions for the Alaska’s National Parks Tour by Car:

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rhonda275 | Trip Advisor