New itinerary samples the wider Alaska experience

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Alaska Wildland Adventures' new Alaska Explorer itinerary includes river-rafting in the Kenai Canyon.
Alaska Wildland Adventures' new Alaska Explorer itinerary includes river-rafting in the Kenai Canyon. Photo Credit: Alaska Wildland Adventures
Renee Brincks
Renee Brincks

Travelers with long to-do lists and limited vacation days have a new option in the Wild Alaska Explorer itinerary from Alaska Wildland Adventures.

Debuting in June, the six-day, five-night tour incorporates dog-sledding, glacier-viewing, gold-panning, river-rafting and wildlife-watching adventures, plus hiking and kayaking outings and a tram ride up Mount Alyeska.

"We kept hearing from potential and past guests who had a shorter window of travel time, but didn't want to feel like they were having a truncated Alaska experience," said Kelsey Clifford, senior marketing coordinator for Alaska Wildland Adventures. "We've packed a lot of activities into this family-friendly trip. Guests will get a lot of in-depth sea coast experience, and an immersive land tour that complements the coastal segments."

The Girdwood-based company operates a trio of Kenai Peninsula wilderness lodges, and the Wild Alaska Explorer tour includes stays at two of the three. Two hours south of Anchorage in Cooper Landing, Kenai Riverside Lodge is home to the Alaska Wildland Adventures fishing program. It's the outfitter's only property on the road system, and guests overnight there early in the trip.

Groups also spend two nights at Kenai Backcountry Lodge. Housed in an updated 1930s-era hunting lodge, the property is accessed by rafting in down the Kenai River and across the glacier-fed Skilak Lake.

"It's basically a whole-day raft trip down a really beautiful part of the Kenai River and through the Kenai Canyon. We call it mild Class II+ rapids, so it's not whitewater rafting, but there are a few bumps and it's very fun. Around midday, you get out of the raft, stretch your legs and have a picnic lunch before continuing down the river," said Clifford, adding that travelers might spot black bears, eagles and moose along the way. "Once you get to Skilak Lake, the raft gets hooked to our custom boat and it ferries you to the lodge."

Wild Alaska Explorer rates start at $3,395 for adults and $2,395 for ages 7 to 18. Parties of four or more may also customize the summer-season itinerary and travel as a private group.

Alaska Wildland Adventures will offer five additional set-itinerary tours in 2019, each ranging from seven to 11 days in length. All-inclusive options package guide services, meals and activities, along with transportation to and from Anchorage and between overnight accommodations. The company welcomes individual stays at its three lodges and tailors lodge-to-lodge trips, as well.

Late last year, Alaska Wildland Adventures also added a custom-built Finnish spa at its Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge property. Crafted using cooperage techniques similar to those reserved for whiskey barrels, the circular structure is outfitted with a wood-burning stove, warm stones and cedar benches.

For lodge and tour details, visit www.alaskawildland.com.

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