Denali Adventure Details

The Grand Denali Adventure!

Day 1

Your Chauffeur Dave is at the Airport to greet you, our first stop is dinner.

Dine in an atmosphere of warm Alaskan hospitality. The Sourdough Mining Company Restaurant is a replica of an old mill house. Our menu offers a variety of selections; Fresh Alaskan Seafood, Barbecued Specialties, Salads, Sandwiches, and of course, our famous homemade Korn Fritters with Whipped Honey Butter. After your delicious dinner, don’t miss “The Adventures of Dusty Sourdough” in the sourdough Tent City Theater*. Dusty Sourdough will take you back to the gold rush days with song, storytelling and humor.

Call for ShowTime.

The Ulu Factory

The Eskimos lived from the land, and everything they ate, wore, lived in, or traveled on had to be fashioned from nature. In order to create even the simplest article, the Eskimo craftsman invented many interesting and practical tools, many of which are still in use today. Of all the innovative tools that came from the Eskimo culture, one is the foremost: the Alaska ulu knife. The ulu knife was their main cutting tool. It was originally made from flat, thin, rocks, slate, or even jade. Handles were fashioned out of wood, ivory, or bone and often decorated with distinctive markings of the craftsman.

Alaska Wild Berry Products, Worlds largest chocolate fall

Alaska’s very best chocolate and souvenirs are at Alaska Wild Berry Products. Our wild berry jelly center chocolates and candies are thoughtful gifts. Our wild berry jams and jellies are made here in Anchorage. Our gift baskets include delicious chocolates, wild Alaskan salmon, and Alaskan meats, perfect for friends, family or as corporate gifts. Check out our smoked salmon and smoked halibut, reindeer sausage, smoked cheese, We also have a large selection of souvenirs, DVD videos about the great Alaskan wilderness, authentic Native American ulu knives, ulu knife accessories, and other gifts from The Land Beyond. Thank you for letting us share a bit of Alaska with you, and honey, mustards, and sauces.

After your dinner and visits you are Chauffeured to the Valley where we will camp for the night.

Day 2

After a continental breakfast we will start our day with a scenic over look of the Matanuska River Valley.

Musk Ox Farm

In the 1940′s and 50′s wild musk oxen were a disaster or two away from extinction and the villages of coastal Alaska were being compared to some of the most impoverished in the world. Where others saw two utterly hopeless situations, John Teal’s eyes sparkled and a vision was born. In this windswept and inhospitable land he saw an opportunity for native people to live together peaceably with this animal such that both would thrive.

After more than a decade of research, Teal started what came to be known as the Musk Ox Project in Alaska. Supported by funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, as well as assistance from the University of Alaska and countless volunteers, the Project started Alaska’s first domestic musk ox farm in Fairbanks in 1964. Each year the herd grew. Each year their qiviut was combed and spun into exquisite yarn.

Independence Mine

GOLD! A magic word that time cannot tarnish; a soft metal with the strength to forge history. Gold was the magnet that drew thousands of adventurers to the last frontier. Though most Alaskans recognize that gold played an important part in Alaska’s history, they normally think first of Nome, Fairbanks, or the Iditarod country. But even before a quarter-of-a-million gold seekers began their stampede into those famous areas, gold was discovered just southeast of Anchorage in 1886. From there prospectors spread into the Susitna and Matanuska river basins, testing the creeks in the nearby mountains. They found hard rock (lode) gold scattered in quartz veins throughout the granite in the Talkeetna Mountains. These veins were created by hydrothermal action that filled fractures in the rock. Erosion loosened flakes of gold, and flowing water eventually washed the gold-bearing gravel into a stream. Throughout the history of gold mining, placer mining has preceded lode mining, and this area was no exception. The rough-textured gold found in the bottom of pans and sluice boxes hinted at something more: a nearby source, or mother lode.

Robert Lee Hatcher discovered and staked the first lode gold claim in the Willow Creek Valley in September 1906, and others soon followed. But lode mining was expensive for an individual operator; it required elaborate tunnels and heavy equipment, so companies merged to pool resources and reduce expenses. What is now called Independence Mine was once two mines: The Alaska Free Gold (Martin) Mine on Skyscraper Mountain, and Independence Mine on Granite Mountain. In 1938 the two were bought together under one company, the Alaska-Pacific Consolidated Mining Company (APC). With a block of 83 mining claims, APC became the largest producer in the Willow Creek Mining District. The claims covered more than 1,350 acres and included 27 structures. In its peak year, 1941, APC employed 204 men, blasted nearly a dozen miles of tunnels, and produced 34,416 ounces of gold worth $1,204,560; today $17,208,000. Twenty-two families lived in nearby Boomtown, with eight children attending the Territorial School in the new bunkhouse.

By 1942, the United States had entered World War II, and the War Production Board designated gold mining as nonessential to the war effort. Gold mining throughout the United States came to a halt, but Independence Mine continued to operate because of the presence of sheelite. Sheelite occurs in some of the quartz veins along with gold, and was a source of tungsten, a strategic metal. But because Independence Mine’s scheelite production was low, the exemption was short-lived. In 1943, Independence Mine was ordered to close. The wartime ban was lifted in 1946, but gold mining was slow to recover. After the war, gold could be sold only to the U.S. government at a fixed rate of $35 per ounce. Postwar inflation raged, and gold mining became an unprofitable venture. Finally, in January of 1951, after mining nearly 6 million dollars’ worth of gold, Independence Mine was closed by APC, and a chapter of Alaska’s gold mining history came to an end. In 1974, Independence Mine was entered into the National Register of Historic Places, a list of cultural resources significant to American history. In the late 1970’s, 271 acres of land were donated to the Alaska Division of Parks & Outdoor Recreation for establishment of Independence Mine State Historical Park. On January 16, 1980, title to the acreage was transferred to the State of Alaska.

After Exploring Hatchers Pass and a nice Lunch, we will chauffeur you to the Iditarod Headquarters

Iditarod Headquarters

Wasilla is home to the Iditarod Headquarters, which features a museum, gift shop, sled dog rides, and video viewings. Here you can learn the history of the Iditarod, view trophies and photographs, meet some sled dogs, and even take a ride with them down the trail. Experience the Iditarod by viewing the videos of actual footage along the Iditarod trail. Located at mile 2.2 of the Knik Goose Bay Rd, the Iditarod Headquarters is a great way to learn about a race over 1,150 miles long.

The Iditarod trail played numerous roles throughout history, beginning as a supply route and ending as a race of endurance and strength. The Iditarod trail began as a mail run in which mail and supplies for the mining communities in the Interior and Western coastal areas went in from the major ports of Seward and Knik. In 1925, the idea of a race was born, when a diphtheria outbreak in Nome called for a race against time. The serum was transported to Nome by dogsled, and today mushers and dogs still run that same historic trail as a test of vigor and stamina. The Last Great Race on Earth

Today the ceremonial start of the Iditarod begins in Anchorage and from there the dogs run to Eagle River. The official restart then takes place in Willow to mark the beginning of the long trek towards Nome. Ophir, the 13th checkpoint, signifies a split in the trail. Musher’s take the northern route going through Cripple, Ruby, Galena, and Nulato during the even numbered years and the southern route going through Iditarod, Shageluk, Anvik, Grayling, and Eagle Island during the odd numbered years. Kaltag marks the point where these two different routes meet back up and continue their journey to Nome.

The Official Iditarod Race Restart occurs over the first weekend in March and typically lasts 10 -17 days. It is a time of excitement and involvement in rural communities, stimulates learning and economic growth, and involves thousands of volunteers all over the state. Come and be a part of Alaska’s culture and history. Visit the headquarters, attend the ceremonial start, camp on the trail to cheer on the musher’s, or fly to Nome to see the grand finish. Make your Alaskan experience complete by attending “The Last Great Race on Earth.”

When you’re finished with the Iditarod headquarters Dave will make dinner and set up camp for the night.

Day 3

Continental breakfast, chauffeured from Wasilla to Talkeetna

Grand Denali Talkeetna Air Taxi

This tour covers more of Denali National Park than any tour available. View the many geological changes as you complete a circumnavigation of Mt. McKinley, and its ridges and faces.

  • Includes the features of the South Face McKinley tour and the Base Camp McKinley tour
  • Cross over the divide of the Alaska Range revealing the arctic alpine tundra of the north side of Denali Park’s remote interior
  • Wickersham Wall of McKinley, the greatest continual vertical relief in the world

Flight seeing

We hear daily from our customers that the Mt McKinley flight in Denali National Park is the highlight of their trip to Alaska and for some a life changing event! Come see why Denali flight seeing is continually rated the #1 tour in Alaska and considered the greatest mountain flight in the world.

In this area of few roads, air travel is the only way to view the remote regions of Denali National Park. Your chance of seeing Mt McKinley is greatest by air.

All of our flight seeing tours are spectacular; choose the one that best fits your schedule and budget. Embark on one of the great mountain flights that have inspired countless visitors and explorers.

Our flights focus on Mt. McKinley and its complex ridges and glaciers. Taking one of our longer tours allows our pilots more opportunity to share summit views, especially if one side of the mountain is in clouds.

The greatest advice we can offer is to add a glacier landing to your Denali flight seeing tour; stand among the great peaks and gain the rare perspective that only climbers experience.

Reasons To Fly TAT

  • Window seat & personal headset for everyone
  • 100% refunds (no-rebooking fees) if the weather isn’t good
  • Taking the extra effort & time to reschedule your tour when the weather demands
  • Free transfers to/from Talkeetna town site, lodging & Bus/Rail stops
  • Goretex over boots for glacier landings
  • An opportunity to meet/see climbers as they prepare for or return from their climbs of Denali (we fly approx 70% of the climbers)
  • Experienced at coordinating flights for independent cruise passengers
  • Insider tips & recommendations for food, lodging and other fun things to do

Lunch at Byers Lake

This quiet, family campground is nestled on Byers Lake at the foot of Kesugi Ridge. The area offers spectacular views of Mt. McKinley. It is located 147 miles north of Anchorage and 90 miles from the National Park Service entrance. Burbot, Lake and Rainbow Trout fishing. Byers Lake has three Public Use Cabins for nightly rental.

Also available at Byers Lake Campground is the sale of firewood: see the Campground Host. Byers Lake is closed to boats with gasoline operated motors and aircraft to insure the tranquility of the area. Canoe and kayak rentals are available on location from Denali Southside River Guides, call 733-7238 to rent a canoe and/or a kayak at Byers Lake. Denali Southside River Guides are private contractors and do not have park information.

From here we make it to our camp spot for the night, Grizzly Bear Resort and have a nice cook out. We are also going to prepare you for your long day that’s about to come.

Day 4

Continental Breakfast,

Explore Denali By Bus

92 miles long, the Denali Park Road parallels the Alaska Range and travels through low valleys and high mountain passes. It is the only road in the park. Along its route, beautiful landscapes can be seen at every turn, and there are many opportunities to view Mount McKinley – if the normally cloudy skies permit. Wildlife can often be seen, too, though sightings are not guaranteed – they are, after all, wild animals roaming an unfenced land.

During summer, roughly late May through early September, private vehicles may drive the first fifteen miles of this road, to a place called Savage River. The road to Savage River is paved, and features numerous pull-outs for folks to stop and snap some scenic photos. Mount McKinley can be seen as early as Mile 9, if the day isn’t too overcast, and animals of all sorts can sometimes be seen on this stretch of road – although chances to see wildlife increase greatly with a bus trip farther down the Park Road.

Beyond Mile 15, the road turns to gravel and traffic is primarily restricted to buses. We encourage all visitors to take some kind of bus trip while in Denali, as it is a great way to experience the park and build lasting memories.

Deep in the Alaskan interior is over six million acres of preserved wilderness that includes massive expanses of forest, glacial lakes, frozen tundra, and towering mountains – including North America’s tallest mountain, Mount McKinley. Originally established as Mount McKinley National Park in 1917, the park’s boundaries have pushed outward to include Denali National Monument and Denali Preserve.

In 1976 President Jimmy Carter designated the park as an international biosphere reserve, focusing on ecosystem conservation and prudent use of national resources. Finally, in 1980, Mt. McKinley National Park and Denali National Monument were incorporated to establish Denali National Park & Preserve.

Today the park attracts over 400,000 visitors annually, who travel for the astounding Denali wildlife, breathtaking scenery, and an opportunity to immerse themselves in the pure, untamed wilderness of Alaska.

The highest point on the North American continent is in Alaska and reaches a spectacular 20,320 feet above sea level. The local Athabaskan Indians reverently called the perpetually snow-covered mountain Denali, “The High One.” But in 1896, when the region was still marked as “unexplored” on official maps, a prospector dubbed it Mount McKinley, after the presidential candidate he happened to be supporting.

The Alaska Lands Act of 1980 would greatly affect Mount McKinley National Park, nearly tripling it in size by adding 2.4 million acres to the park itself, plus an additional 1.3 million acres in two adjacent national preserves. The original park was officially designated a wilderness area, bringing even greater protections to the land and animals Murie had championed. The park’s name was changed to Denali, to reflect its deeper history.

While you’re away on your adventure the motor home is cleaned, bed linen’s are changed and any laundry you might want done is all taken care of.

Day 5

Hot Breakfast

Explore Denali Visitors Center

Take a nice hike, stretch your legs, try casting a fishing line, then have lunch, relax take it all in. Spend the day in camp, eat drink and be very merry.

Day 6

Hot Breakfast before your Chauffeur will take you back to Talkeetna for,

Mayhays

Don’t miss the Scenic-Three Rivers Tour! Your 3 1/2 hour exciting trip will begin aboard the“McKinley Queen” as it whisks you into the heart of the wilderness in comfort. These are the most technologically advanced river jet boats in Alaska designed to safely navigate rivers that were previously inaccessible. The trip will take you on three rivers: the Talkeetna, Chulitna, and Susitna. You will travel through the Chulitna River Gorge and experience an Alaskan braided river, with a number of channels separated by small and often temporary islands. If Mt McKinley is out, you will be afforded one of the best views in the State, as she is framed by the very picturesque Tokosha Mountains.

As you travel sixty miles of river you will have opportunities to view nesting bald eagles and beaver activity. You just might see black bear or grizzly bear roaming the shore, but as always, there are no guarantees with the wildlife, as we have no control over nature.

During the 1/4 mile leisurely nature walk you will see an Indian Encampment of the Dena’ina’s, who were the earliest native settlers in the area and visit an authentic cabin of a trapper, who was the earliest white man settler in the area. You will see its rustic furnishings and see how the trapper lived in the “Bush” at the turn of the century. Naturalists will acquaint you with the wildflowers and plants that grow in abundance along the river system and you will learn about the edible plants that were used by the Native Indians for cooking and medicines and what we still eat today.

The folklore, artifacts and panoramic view of Denali in the Alaska Range combined to make this an unforgettable and unique Alaskan river adventure.

You will also have the option to disembark at the Mt. McKinley Wilderness Princess Lodge.

Be sure to bring your camera and comfortable walking shoes to capture this amazing experience.

This tour also includes a locally baked snack and beverage.

  • Departs Daily: 3:30 pm
  • Length: 3 1/2 hours
  • Travel Distance: 60 miles
  • Check in time: 1/2 hour before departure

Canoe and kayak rentals are available on location from Denali Southside River Guides, call 733-7238 to rent a canoe and/or a kayak at Byers Lake. Denali Southside River Guides are private contractors and do not have park information.

After your Mayhay’s adventure a campfire and a nice dinner awaits.

Day 7

Unfortunately your time is coming to an end, enjoy a hot breakfast, your chauffeur will now start the way back. We stop in Wasilla for a nice meal at the Great Bear Brewing Co.

Onto Anchorage for last minute souvenir shopping, then to the Airport.

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