Northern lights, dog sledding, and helicopter sightseeing
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|Trip Length||6 days/5 nights|
|Arrive/Depart||Fairbanks, Alaska/Anchorage, Alaska|
|Price||From $4,195 to $4,595|
|If you have questions about this journey or would like to receive a detailed trip brochure, call 800-445-2995 or click here.|
Day 1 (Fairbanks to Chena Hot Springs) Meet your guide and traveling companions this morning and begin to get a larger sense of your surroundings on the scenic drive from Fairbanks to Chena Hot Springs. After we arrive at our quaint hot springs resort, the remainder of the afternoon is yours to soak in the indoor or outdoor hot springs pools, or take the resort’s renewable energy tour, ice skate on the pond, or cross-country ski or snowshoe on the lodge’s 440-acres of well-marked trails. (Your guide can show you the basics, and ala carte equipment rentals are available.) Around 10 p.m., we board a snow coach for the 30-minute ride up to the viewpoint, which looks over the valley and is far from city light pollution. There’s a heated yurt there, where you can help yourself to a hot beverage (rustic outhouses are on-site). Word quickly spreads when the aurora is dancing outside, so we can step out to bask in the otherworldly glow of the phenomenal northern lights. Created by interaction between solar wind and the earth’s magnetic field, the lights dance, shift, shimmer, drape, and glow in hues of green, and sometimes blue and pink as they undulate in the sky. Many northern cultures interpreted the lights as spirits dancing, and you’ll understand why. The snowcoach takes us back to the resort at 2 a.m.
Day 2 (Chena Hot Springs) Sleep in this morning after last night’s aurora quest, and when you do get up, the day is yours to enjoy as you like. Dip in the outdoor hot springs “rock lake” (adults only) for a unique Alaskan experience, or relax in the indoor family pool. Along with the skating, skiing, and snowshoeing, you can (for extra cost) sign up for a horse-drawn sleigh ride, snow machine tour, dog sled ride and kennel tour, or even a 2-hour dog mushing school. And be sure to give yourself time to tour the ice museum, with its amazing ice sculptures. Tonight is another chance to view the northern lights, either from the hilltop yurt or hot springs pool.
Day 3 (Fairbanks to Girdwood) This morning we catch an hour-long flight to Anchorage, then drive about an hour to Girdwood, a gold-camp-turned-ski-town at the base of the Chugach Mountains. After lunch we’ll strap on some snowshoes and head out on the Winner Creek Trail, which is right behind the resort. It’s beautiful tramping through the quiet, snowy, temperate forest, watching for moose and other wildlife.
Day 4 (Girdwood and Prince William Sound) The sky’s the limit today on an eye-popping flight-seeing excursion into the backcountry of the Chugach Mountains and out over Prince William Sound. In the mountains, we’ll fly over glacially formed valleys and vast, translucent blue glaciers, and (weather permitting) land on a glacier or high on a ridge with a 360-degree panorama of mountains and glaciers. Our return trip takes us over the pristine waters of Prince William Sound, where the clear waters and rocky fjords offer breathtaking landscapes and excellent wildlife spotting opportunities. The afternoon will be at your leisure for downhill or cross-country skiing or taking advantage of the resort’s spa, fitness center, and shops.
Day 5 (Girdwood and Seward) A scenic hour and a half drive this morning takes us along Turnagain Arm and down to the little town of Seward. Just outside town we meet the Seaveys, a renowned (and winning!) Iditarod racing family. They’ll teach us the fundamentals of driving a dog team and before we know it we’re mushing our own teams through scenic wilderness to Exit Glacier. Don’t forget your camera! The scenery is incredible, and there’s a good chance of seeing moose and bald eagles on the 16-mile run. If there's time, we'll visit the Alaska SeaLife Center before we head back to Girdwood. Tonight we’ll celebrate this memorable trip with a farewell dinner at the fabulous 7 Glaciers Restaurant.
Day 6 (Anchorage for departures home) Shuttle back to Anchorage this morning for connections home.