4 travelers in blue shirts overlook Brooks Falls where bears fish for salmon by a small waterfall on an Alaska wildlife safari.
Big brown grizzly bear opens its mouth as a salmon jumps up a waterfall, seen during the Ultimate Alaska Wildlife Safari.
Dark blue & gold Alaska Railroad engine & cars moves through verdant green field by snowcapped peaks on an Alaska wildlife safari.
Icy blue raft with travelers & guide floats in calm water past blue glacier & icebergs on the Ultimate Alaska Wildlife Safari.
Brown grizzly bear stands in tall green grass, seen on the Ultimate Alaska Wildlife Safari in Denali, Kenai & Katmai National Park.
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North America Alaska Land Tour

Ultimate Alaska Wildlife Safari

On this 12-day Alaska wildlife safari, travel farther afield from standard routes, for a genuine Alaskan wilderness adventure. With only 14 or fewer fellow travelers and in the company of top naturalist guides, sample some of Alaska’s highlights—with a few by private excursion.

Explore historic Talkeetna and fly from this mountaineering base to land on a glacier on the slopes of Denali, the tallest mountain in North America. Float among icebergs on the lagoon in front of Spencer Glacier and raft the gentle Placer River beneath the icy peaks of the Chugach Range. Ride the Alaska Railroad to Seward, then look for whales, otters and puffins aboard a chartered boat in Kenai Fjords, and stay in solitude on private Fox Island. At Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park, capture iconic photos of giant brown bears fishing for salmon. Get away from overdone routes and discover the real Alaska.

Insider-crafted highlights abound on this Alaska wildlife safari. Spend unhurried time with the brown bears of Brooks Falls. Fly in a bush plane to land on Denali’s icy flank, plus view the famous Kahiltna Base Camp where mountaineering expeditions begin. Search for wildlife among the spruce forests, tundra and broad river valleys of inland Alaska. Overnight at a secluded beachfront lodge on private Fox Island in Kenai Fjords. And cruise Kenai Fjords aboard a chartered boat, surrounded by glaciers, seabirds and marine wildlife.

Read on for details about this Alaska wildlife safari, or learn more about AdventureSmith’s Alaska land tours or all Alaska trips by land and sea.



Itinerary

Ultimate Alaska Wildlife Safari Itinerary

The Ultimate Alaska Wildlife Safari operates round-trip from Anchorage, with visits to Denali National Park, Alyeska Resort, Kenai Fjords National Park (including Brooks Falls) and Katmai National Park.

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Day 1
Arrive Anchorage, Alaska

The Alaska adventure begins in Anchorage, the state’s largest city and main transportation hub. On the shores of Cook Inlet, Anchorage is surrounded by vast wild spaces and backdropped by the icy peaks of the Chugach Range. Meet your expedition leader at a welcome dinner this evening.

Accommodations

Hotel Captain Cook (or similar)

Meals

dinner

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Day 2
Anchorage Heritage & Native Cultures: Talkeetna

With the expedition leader, explore highlights of Anchorage this morning, including Earthquake Park, a 134-acre nature site marking the place where an entire neighborhood slid into the sea during the infamous 9.2 earthquake that devastated the southcentral Alaska coast in 1964. Visit Lake Hood, the world’s busiest floatplane base, with more than 200 takeoffs and landings each day. Also focus on Alaska’s rich Native heritage with a privately guided tour of either the Alaska Native Heritage Center or the Anchorage Museum’s First Peoples of Alaska exhibit, depending on days of operation.

This afternoon, leave the city behind to enter the foothills of the Chugach Mountains, the northernmost of Alaska’s coastal ranges that create an icy barrier between the sea and the vast interior. In Chugach State Park, stop at Eklutna Lake, a turquoise jewel fed by the Eklutna Glacier. Here, hope to get your first glimpse of a black bear or a moose, although the latter are commonly seen in the Anchorage city limits, too. Continuing north, follow the Susitna River into the boreal forest to reach Talkeetna. Dinner at the lodge this evening features a panorama of the Alaska Range through the picture windows, including Denali itself, weather permitting.

Accommodations

Talkeetna Lodge (or similar)

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 3
Talkeetna: Private Denali Flightseeing

The rustic town of Talkeetna, founded a century ago as the district headquarters for the Alaska Territory’s new railroad, sits at the confluence of three rivers in view of Denali. An outdoor recreation mecca, Talkeetna’s economy thrives on rafting, flightseeing, mountain biking, hiking, climbing, camping, fishing and hunting. Quaint and quirky, Talkeetna was designated a National Historic Site with its pioneer “downtown” dating to the early 1900s.

As the main base for climbing expeditions on Denali, Talkeetna has long been a takeoff point for fixed-wing flights to the mountain. Partake in that adventure today with a scenic air tour to Denali—meaning “The Great One” in the Athabascan language. An aerial vantage on the park and peak is thrilling, giving a sense of the vastness of 6-million-acre Denali National Park, one of the world’s great wilderness preserves. Its alpine tundra and taiga provide habitat for wolves, grizzlies, moose, caribou and Dall sheep, though with most of the park road inaccessible due to a landslide, your flight may offer the best opportunity to spot wildlife from the air. See famous Kahiltna Base Camp, Ruth Glacier and the massive sister peaks of Mount Foraker and Mount Hunter on the flight’s circuit to the mountain and back, with the added excitement of a glacier landing on Denali’s icy flank.

Please note: Flights and routings are always highly weather-dependent, and one must be prepared for contingencies. If unable to fly, you will pursue other activities in and around the Talkeetna Mountains, with a chance to look for local wildlife.

Accommodations

Talkeetna Lodge (or similar)

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 4
Musk Ox Farm Tour & Girdwood/Alyeska Resort

If by chance yesterday’s Denali flight was weathered out, this morning offers one more chance. Once you leave Talkeetna, head south through thick forests of poplar, willow and spruce on the way back to the coast. En route, stop at the Musk Ox Farm in the Matanuska Valley, the most fertile agricultural terrain in Alaska. The farm is dedicated to the domestication of this Ice Age mammal that once roamed the earth alongside saber-tooth tigers and woolly mammoths. Called oomingmak in the Inupiaq language, which means “bearded one,” the musk ox produces an annual harvest of qiviut, the finest and softest wool in the world. On a private tour, learn how these shaggy Paleolithic bovines were brought to Alaska in the 1930s, and touch the fiber from their coats that produces such exquisite yarn and woolen garments.

Following Turnagain Arm, look for beluga whales and keep an eye out for tidal bores that create waves big enough for local surfers to ride! At Girdwood, reach Alyeska, Alaska’s premier ski and summer resort area. Set in a green glacial valley in the Chugach Range, Alyeska offers nature and luxury in tandem. Explore the northernmost temperate rainforest in North America, and an optional tram ride to the alpine summit offers vistas of the ice-clad peaks and glacial-fed inlet far below.

Accommodations

Hotel Alyeska

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 5
Alaska Railroad to Spencer Glacier & Placer River Float

Today, travel a section of the Alaska Railroad, built in the early 20th century. The state-owned railroad’s mainline is 470 miles long, connecting Seward in the south with Fairbanks up north. Ride a small side section to the Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop, entering a lush tract of remote roadless wilderness. The rail spur expands access to some of Southcentral Alaska’s most beautiful coastal mountain terrain, with views of valley glaciers, waterfalls, deep canyons and dense forests. Disembark to survey the glittering tableau of Spencer Glacier, boarding sturdy rafts for a float on the iceberg-choked lake, followed by a gentle trip down the Placer River, turbid with glacial silt, before returning to Girdwood late this afternoon. Dinner is not included this evening, to give you a chance to sample your choice of restaurants in the Alyeska/Girdwood area.

Accommodations

Hotel Alyeska

Meals

breakfast, lunch

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Day 6
Alaska Railroad to Seward & Private Fox Island

This morning, board the train again for the scenic journey to the Kenai Peninsula. Revel in dramatic vistas while crossing Moose Pass en route to the fishing town and port of Seward. The corridor that the train follows winds through the Kenai MountainsTurnagain Arm National Heritage Area, a designation that recognizes the area’s unique cultural, geographic and historical features. From Seward’s small boat harbor, scout for sea otters frequently seen bobbing among the yachts and docks, while boarding a boat for the voyage across Resurrection Bay to Fox Island, a lushly forested private island on the edge of Kenai Fjords National Park. This isolated location, fronting a wild pebble beach, reveals the pristine side of Alaska that most visitors miss. The Kenai Fjords region is famed for its sea kayaking, and an optional paddling excursion is likely to reveal some of the area’s prolific marine life.

Accommodations

Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 7
Private Cruise in Kenai Fjords National Park

Iconic images of Alaska are on display from your private chartered boat while cruising through a marine wonderland where vestiges of the Ice Age still linger. Your small vessel enables approaching wildlife at close range, and Kenai Fjords National Park provides excellent opportunities for viewing humpback whales, orcas, Dall’s porpoise, sea lions, sea otters and puffins. Weave among islands and rocky cliffs where seabirds nest, and look for bald eagles in the treetops. Ice rivers wind from jagged mountain heights to the sea, and you may observe icebergs calving with a thunderous crash from a tidewater glacier’s towering blue face. Following the all-day outing, return to your secluded lodge on Fox Island for another night of peace and solitude in the wilderness.

Accommodations

Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 8
Seward: SeaLife Center Private Tour & Anchorage

After a last morning on serene Fox Island, board your private boat for the return voyage to Seward, where you have lunch and a private tour of the Alaska SeaLife Center. Dedicated to marine research and education, the center features a public aquarium and is the only permanent marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation facility in the state. From Seward, travel north by road, with the flexibility to stop for photos and exploration. The landscape inspires awe, with the mountain ranges of the Kenai Peninsula rising one after another, sourcing some of Alaska’s richest salmon rivers. Reach Anchorage by late afternoon, with rest of the evening at leisure. Dinner is on your own, so you can try your choice of the many outstanding options available in the city. Local seafood is always a highlight! Tap your expedition leader for recommendations.

Accommodations

Hotel Captain Cook (or similar)

Meals

breakfast, lunch

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Days 9 - 10
King Salmon, Katmai National Park & Bear Viewing at Brooks Falls

Fly across Cook Inlet to King Salmon and check in to a classic lodge on the Naknek River. Deluxe log cabins offer a comfortable base for wilderness bear-viewing in nearby Katmai National Park. Reach the park by floatplane, offering access to world-renowned Brooks Falls, one of the best places to view Alaskan brown bears in their natural habitat. Katmai is home to the world’s largest population of these enormous omnivores, with some 2,200 individuals inside the park. As many bear populations around the world decline, Katmai’s 4 million acres of wilderness provides some of the last pristine habitat to sustain them.

Within Katmai’s protected bounds, bears live largely undisturbed and visitors have unparalleled viewing opportunities. From the safety of platforms built over world-famous Brooks Falls, get a close look at one of the world’s most iconic wildlife spectacles: bears standing in the rushing whitewater, jaws gaping, trying to catch the salmon that leap up the falls once spawning season starts. June and July departures offer a good chance to see fishing bears, since this is when the salmon are running, but viewing is excellent in August and September, too, with even more (and fatter!) bears in the vicinity, wandering up and down the Brooks River. Each day, break for lunch at Brooks Lodge, an easy walk from the falls. In the evenings, shuttle back to King Salmon by floatplane to spend the night enjoying “rustic luxury” at your lodge.

Accommodations

Alaska's Gold Creek Lodge

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 11
Katmai, King Salmon & Anchorage

After a last morning round of bear viewing in Katmai, fly back to King Salmon, then on to Anchorage, where your expedition leader hosts a farewell dinner to celebrate your Alaskan adventures.

Accommodations

Hotel Captain Cook (or similar)

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 12
Depart Anchorage, Alaska

Your grand Alaska wildlife safari comes to a close today as you transfer to the airport for homeward flights or ongoing travel for those who have booked extensions.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

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Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

Accommodations; meals from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on the final day (except for dinner on Days 5 & 8); services of expedition leader, local guides and lodge(s) staff; Denali flightseeing flight; dome car train from Denali to Talkeetna; airport transfer on Day 1 and final day; most gratuities; all activities, permits, entrance fees, service fees and taxes.

Exclusions

Dinner on Days 5 & 8; travel to and from the start and end point of your trip; alcoholic beverages; some gratuities; passport and visa fees (if any); optional activities; items of a personal nature (phone calls, etc.); airline baggage fees; airport and departure taxes (if any); required medical evacuation insurance; optional travel protection insurance; insurance of any kind; cost of internal air, which includes scheduled (jet) flights from Anchorage to King Salmon and float plane flights between King Salmon and Brooks Falls ($1,987 per person in 2023, to be added to your invoice).

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a nonrefundable deposit of $500 is required per person at time of booking. Deposit may be transferred to a new departure date of this trip anytime before the balance of the trip price is due, 120 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms apply. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person penalties, based on number of days prior to departure:
Up to 121 days – 100% of deposit
120 to 61 days – 50% of total trip cost
60 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Vaccination Requirement
To join this trip, all eligible guests must provide proof of being fully vaccinated (at least 14 days after your final COVID-19 vaccine shot). There may also be COVID-19 testing or other requirements to participate; your Adventure Specialist will provide details of current policies upon booking.

Arrival & Departure

The Ultimate Alaska Wildlife Safari begins and ends in Anchorage, Alaska (ANC). Plan flights to arrive to Anchorage by 4:00pm on Day 1 of the itinerary, ahead of a 5:30pm orientation and 7:00pm dinner. Plan to depart Anchorage anytime on the final day of the itinerary. Airport transfers are included on Day 1 and on the final day of the trip.

Activities

The Ultimate Alaska Wildlife Safari does not require a high degree of physical fitness. However, a diverse slate of activities does require general mobility and fitness. In order to get the most out of your experience, you must be able to climb into and out of small planes and walk at least two miles without assistance. You must be able to carry all your own gear, including daypacks and camera equipment. There may be the opportunity to participate in optional kayaking, on Fox Island, weather permitting. Though no prior kayaking experience is required, general fitness and mobility, including the ability to get into and out of a kayak, are essential. Travelers are not required to participate in every activity, but all participants must be generally physically fit.

Room Configuration

Single travelers wishing to book a double-occupancy room may do so at a $3,395 supplement in addition to the per-person listed rate in select cabins upon availability. Solo travelers willing to share, please ask your Adventure Specialist about the possibility of matching with a roommate; this program allows you to pay the per person double-occupancy rate whether or not a roommate is found.

Families & Children

Due to the expedition nature and isolated location of this program, children must be 12 years old at time of departure.

Travel Insurance

Emergency medical evacuation insurance is mandatory for this trip, with a minimum recommended coverage of $250,000 per person. If you decline the operator’s insurance, then you must provide proof of third party insurance. Trip cancellation insurance is optional but highly recommended. Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. Coverage for a pre-existing medical condition is also available if you purchase the Travel Select plan within 15 days of the initial trip payment; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.

Itinerary & Bear Viewing Notes

Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife, national park regulation or at the captain’s/expedition leader’s discretion. The ability to be flexible makes this type of small ship cruising and land tours unique. Bears are attracted to the Brooks River at multiple times during the summer, and their precise location varies depending on seasonal elements including weather and fish movements. More intimate experiences with bears (due to fewer tourists) tend to happen in late August and September (versus late June and July), when bears are found throughout the area, rather than primarily fishing atop the falls.

Rates & Dates

Trip Rates & Dates

Jun 22 - Jul 03, 2023
12 days
From $14495USD
Per Person
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Jun 26 - Jul 07, 2023
12 days
From $14695USD
Per Person
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Jun 30 - Jul 11, 2023
12 days
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Jul 02 - Jul 13, 2023
12 days
From $14695USD
Per Person
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Jul 08 - Jul 19, 2023
12 days
From $14695USD
Per Person
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Jul 10 - Jul 21, 2023
12 days
From $14695USD
Per Person
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Jul 14 - Jul 25, 2023
12 days
From $14495USD
Per Person
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Jul 16 - Jul 27, 2023
12 days
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From $14695USD
Per Person
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Jul 22 - Aug 02, 2023
12 days
From $14495USD
Per Person
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Aug 22 - Sep 02, 2023
12 days
From $14495USD
Per Person
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Aug 24 - Sep 04, 2023
12 days
From $14495USD
Per Person
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Aug 26 - Sep 06, 2023
12 days
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From $14495USD
Per Person
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Aug 28 - Sep 08, 2023
12 days
From $14495USD
Per Person
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Aug 30 - Sep 10, 2023
12 days
From $14495USD
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Accommodations

Learn About the Lodges & Hotels on Your Itinerary

Lodge
Alaska's Gold Creek Lodge

Alaska's Gold Creek Lodge is a fly-in property on the Naknek River, near Katmai National Park. This "bush luxury" property caters to adventurers of all types with options to fish, hike, paddle and hop a floatplane to nearby Brooks Falls for prime bear viewing.

Lodge
Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge

Book your stay at Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge, an 18-guest property on Fox Island in the Kenai Peninsula. A scenic 45-minute boat ride leads to this remote property that features log cabins, kayaking, a sauna, cozy spaces and gourmet food.

Lodge
Talkeetna Lodge

Set on a ridge above the small community of Talkeetna on the south side of Denali, the 212-room Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge offers unforgettable views of Denali and the Alaska Range, spacious rooms, casual and fine dining and hiking, sightseeing and activities right out the front door.

Hotel
Hotel Alyeska

Nestled amongst mountains and glaciers near Girdwood, Alaska, the Hotel Alyeska at the Alyeska Resort offers luxurious accommodations, direct wilderness access and a celebration of Alaskan Native culture.

Book with the confidence that comes from experience.

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Ultimate Alaska Wildlife Safari

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