Explorers Post: Embrace the Wild - An 8-Day Alaskan Adventure

Explorers Post: Embrace the Wild - An 8-Day Alaskan Adventure

Hey there, fellow adventurers! I'm Sandra, and I'm thrilled to share my passion for the great outdoors with you. Having called Alaska home for the past 8 years, I've fallen head over heels for its rugged beauty and untamed wilderness. Whether it's hiking through pristine forests, backpacking across remote mountain ranges, kayaking along serene coastlines, or camping under the midnight sun, I've dedicated myself to sharing some of the finest treasures of Alaska's natural beauty. 

I've curated an unforgettable journey just for you. Get ready to embark on an adventure of a lifetime, where towering mountains, glistening glaciers, and incredible wildlife await at every turn. This 8-day itinerary will showcase the best of the Kenai Peninsula, highlighting some of my absolute favorite spots along the way. The Kenai Peninsula is known to some as “Alaska’s playground”, and trust me, it lives up to the hype. So lace up your boots, pack your sense of adventure, and let's dive into the wild wonders of Alaska together! 

Day 1: Anchorage Arrival 

Touch down in Anchorage, the perfect gateway to Alaska's wilderness. Dive straight into adventure with a hike up Flat Top or O'Malley from the popular Glenn Alps parking area, both offer stunning views of the surrounding landscape. If you feel like taking it easy for your first night, downtown Anchorage awaits with its array or dining options. Be sure to stock up on any last minute needs before venturing into the wild. It’s just small towns from here on out! 

Day 2: Anchorage to Girdwood 

Hit the road south to Girdwood, a charming town nestled in the Chugach Mountains. The drive itself is an adventure, offering countless opportunities to pull over and immerse yourself in the breathtaking vistas. Take a quick break at Beluga Point, where you may catch a glimpse of Beluga whales gliding through Turnagain Arm or the sight of a rugged mountain goat traversing the mountainside. You’ll continue past Bird Creek, where you may spot many of the locals fishing for salmon - be sure you try some wild caught Alaskan salmon during this trip! 

As you arrive into Girdwood, you'll find yourself embraced by the charming ambiance of this mountain town. Experience the wonders of Alyeska Resort with a scenic ride aboard the sky tram, offering breathtaking views of at least seven glaciers. You can also check out Winner Creek with a hike through lush forests and alongside cascading waterfalls. Keep your senses keen, as you never know when you might catch a glimpse of a fairy dancing amidst the enchanting surroundings. 

Day 3: Girdwood to Whittier via Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center 

Begin your day with a visit to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center to get up close and personal with native wildlife. You’ll have the chance to see wildlife such as Black bears, Brown bears, Bull moose, Bison and even some Wolves. Then, continue to Portage to hike Byron Glacier before venturing through the famous Whittier Tunnel for a unique experience. Whittier tunnel is the longest one way tunnel in North America and is the only way to access Whittier - unless you arrive via boat or float plane. Set up camp in Whittier and soak in the coastal scenery. Prince William Sound is a sight to see! 

Day 4: Whittier to Seward via Portage Pass 

Get your day started with a morning hike up Portage Pass, offering breathtaking views of Prince William Sound and surrounding glaciers. After your hike, continue your journey to Seward, taking in the awe-inspiring scenery that lines the route. Along the way, be sure to pause frequently to admire the breathtaking vistas that stretch as far as the eye can see. Upon reaching Seward, unwind and recharge at Lowell Point, where the gentle rhythm of the waves provides the perfect lullaby for a peaceful night's rest. There are some great beachfront campgrounds in the area. 

Day 5: Explore Seward 

Spend the day exploring the wonders of Seward. Choose from a variety of activities, including a cruise through Kenai Fjords National Park to witness glaciers calving into the sea or hike to Caines Head for panoramic coastal views. Visit Kenai Fjords National Park to see Exit Glacier or hike Harding Icefield - it is a bit more challenging of a hike but you will be rewarded with some amazing views. Camp at Lowell Point for another night under the stars or head to Trail River campground if you feel like the river is more your vibe! 

Day 6: Seward to Cooper Landing 

Depart for Cooper Landing, a paradise for fishing enthusiasts and hikers alike. Spend the day casting a line in the legendary waters of the Russian River- known to be called “combat fishing”- or embark on a scenic hike through the surrounding wilderness. You may have the chance to see salmon jumping upstream on the Russian river trail. A memorable sight! Camp amidst the pristine beauty of the area, but be mindful of the high bear activity. Skilak lake area is near Cooper Landing and offers a variety of hiking trails, lakes and campgrounds. 

Day 7: Cooper Landing to Homer 

Head down to Homer, my favorite laid-back coastal town in Alaska, renowned for its artsy vibe and stunning scenery. Wander through the quirky shops and galleries dotted along Homer Spit – trust me, this town's charm is irresistible and will stay with you long after you've left. Don't miss out on the chance to hop on a water taxi and explore the picturesque Kachemak Bay or embark on a sea kayaking adventure – it's the perfect way to cap off your Alaskan adventure with unforgettable views and memories that'll last a lifetime. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife such as Sea lions, Orca whales, Beluga whales, and Minke whales. 

Day 8: Homer to Anchorage 

As your adventure draws to a close, make the scenic drive back to Anchorage. Take your time to stop at the numerous viewpoints and turnouts along the way to savor the beauty of the Alaskan landscape. If you enjoyed this itinerary share your experiences and review with @Alaskawithsandra, ensuring others can embark on their own unforgettable Alaskan journey. 

 

Photo Credit: Sandra Valencia
Check out more of Sandra's adventures at:
Instagram: @Alaskawithsandra  TikTok: @hikingalaska

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