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Alaska’s Autumn Highlights

Glaciers, wildlife viewing, fall colors, and Northern Lights dancing through the night sky - experience the grandeur of Alaska in the fall without summer crowds.

Tour Code: 227CTA

Tour Overview

This classic Alaska autumn journey begins in Anchorage for a day cruise through the calm waters of Prince William Sound to view glaciers and playful sea otters. After two nights in Anchorage, it’s “all aboard” the Alaska Railroad for a bus tour of Denali National Park, home to Alaska’s “big five” animals: moose, caribou, Dall sheep, wolves and grizzly bears. Two nights in Denali provide time to hike, sightsee, and possibly take in an optional tour, like rafting or flightseeing. From Denali you will continue north on the Alaska Railroad to Fairbanks, passing through miles of birch forests that pop to life in the bright yellow hues of autumn. You will have time to sightsee the next morning before your guided van transfer to Chena Hot Springs Resort. Nestled in a wooded area about 1.5 hours away from Fairbanks, while rustic, the resort attracts visitors from around the world to see the aurora borealis. You’ll enjoy a guided aurora viewing expedition and two full days to enjoy the nature trails and relaxing spa pools.

What's Included
  • 8 nights accommodation, including two nights at Chena Hot Springs Resort (room in Moose Lodge buildings with private bath)
  • Prince William Sound 26 Glacier Cruise with lunch and roundtrip bus transfers from Anchorage
  • Train from Anchorage to Denali and Denali to Fairbanks
  • 4-6 hour bus tour into Denali National Park (depending on weather and road conditions)
  • Roundtrip transfers between Fairbanks and Chena Hot Springs Resort
  • 4 to 5 hour Aurora Viewing Expedition (in tracked, military style Small Unit Support Vehicle)
  • 2 days pool passes for Chena Hot Springs
  • All taxes and fees
What's Not Included

Transfers in Anchorage and Fairbanks, meals, and guide gratuities.

 

Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Anchorage Arrival

Arrive in Anchorage and transfer to your hotel on your own or by courtesy shuttle.  Anchorage is Alaska’s largest city, nestled between the Chugach Mountains and Cook Inlet. Offering shopping, cultural attractions, and gourmet restaurants, Anchorage provides an excellent start to your Alaska vacation. Depending on your arrival, you may have time to take part in an optional tour such as local photo tour. Overnight in Anchorage.

Day 2
Anchorage to Whittier - Prince William Sound Glacier Cruise

At 9:15am take a scenic 3 hour coach transfer along Turnagain Arm to the coastal town of Whittier. On arrival in Whittier, board a high-speed catamaran for your 5-hour 26 Glacier Cruise to see spectacular glaciers of Prince William Sound. On this cruise you will travel through glacier-filled College and Harriman Fjords viewing Alpine (hanging), Piedmont and Tidewater glaciers. Watch for glacier calving – when ice falls off the face of the glacier. As you cruise through the sound, keep watch for sea otters and birds. If you are lucky you may even spot a whale or even a black bear on the shoreline. Lunch and live narration by a Chugach National Forest Service Ranger are included on board. Return to Anchorage by coach at appr0x 7:30pm. Upon arrival in Anchorage transfer back to your hotel on your own. Overnight in Anchorage.

Day 3
Anchorage to Denali by Rail

In the morning transfer to the Anchorage train station on your own or by courtesy shuttle. Board the famous Alaska Railroad to Denali National Park. Stunning views from the train include the Alaska Range, Summit Lake, Hurricane Gulch, and – if the weather is clear – Denali’s 20,310’ peak. Upon arrival in Denali at 3:45pm, a transfer to your accommodations is provided. With a size of over 6 million acres, Denali National Park is one of the world’s greatest wild animal preserves. Here, protected from hunting, the animals roam freely in a region dominated by the continent’s tallest mountain. Most visitor facilities are grouped near the park entrance. Your evening is free for optional activities, or you can just relax and enjoy some leisure time. Overnight near the Denali park entrance.

Day 4
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 approx. 4-6 hours long and takes you approx. 30 – 43 miles into the park, depending on weather and road conditions. The rest of the day is free for optional tours, such as river rafting and flightseeing tours (see Tour Add-Ons). Overnight near the Denali park entrance.

Day 5
Denali National Park to Fairbanks by Rail

The morning is free to explore Denali or relax at your hotel. In the late afternoon you will depart on the train to Fairbanks.  Watch for eagles soaring through the Nenana River Gorge and moose in the rolling hills outside of Fairbanks.  Upon arrival in the evening, transfer to your hotel by courtesy shuttle or on your own. Overnight in Fairbanks.

Day 6
Fairbanks to Chena Hot Springs - Aurora Viewing Expedition

You will be picked up from your hotel around mid-day and transferred to Chena Hot Springs Resort, 90 minutes east of Fairbanks. While the facilities of the resort can be considered rustic and may not be up to date, the location of the resort offers great possibilities for Northern Lights viewing. In the mineral spring area, hot tubs and a warm indoor swimming pool provide a relaxing environment.  This evening, enjoy a 4 to 5 hour Aurora Expedition tour. The Aurora tour takes place on a tracked, military style Small Unit Support Vehicle*.  Overnight Chena Hot Springs Resort.

Day 7
Chena Hot Springs

The day is at your leisure to enjoy all the resort has to offer.  Relax in the indoor and outdoor spa pools, take a hike on one of the nature trails, or sign up for an optional massage service. You can also add an optional Ice Museum Tour, which is a highlight when staying at the resort.  Free geothermal tours are offered twice per day to learn about generating electricity from the hot springs water. The northern lights are usually most visible between the hours of 10pm and 2:30am (weather depending). Overnight at Chena Hot Springs Resort.

Day 8
Chena Hot Springs to Fairbanks

Today, you will be transferred 90-minutes back to Fairbanks. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure. Overnight Fairbanks.

Day 9
Fairbanks Departure

Transfer to the Fairbanks airport by hotel shuttle or on own.

* Please note that during the tour you will be sitting in a small confined space with other people.

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.

 

Personalize the trip. Make it your own! I liked that our trip was not a guided tour but a private tour for my aunt and me. All the necessary arrangements were made so all we had to do was be at the correct places at appointed times. All... Read more  

Mary | Trip Advisor