Alaska: An Adventurous Luxury Vacation in the Wilderness

No matter where you go in Alaska, you can guarantee it will be jaw-droppingly scenic. Towering mountain ranges, plunging river canyons and expansive ice fields; everything here is on a grander scale. And that extends to the adventure too. We’ve laced up our hiking boots and donned our crampons to scour this adrenaline-packed state and have come out the other side to compile this – our Alaskan Grand Adventure. Spend nine nights getting to grips with America’s Last Frontier as you heli-hike through Boreal forests, scramble across glaciers and soar above snow-capped peaks. Complete with a dusting of isolated luxury lodges, this is a trip that really does have it all and we can guarantee you’ll fly home leaving no stone unturned.

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Mountain High, Valley Low

There could be no better place to start your Alaskan discovery than surrounded by snow-capped peaks and hanging glaciers. Equipped with their own aerial tramway, Hotel Alyeska takes you 2,300ft up the valley to give you breathtaking views of the Chugach Mountains and Glacier Valley – not to mention access to some of the best hiking trails around. So, alongside an expert guide, it’s off into the wilderness as you hike along the scenic ridgeline with incredible views of Turnagain Arm below. In Glacier Bowl, you’ll then hike high up on to the glacier snowfield, or the remnant rock covered glacier come late summer, and channel your inner pioneer.

The Port of Adventure

Today you’ll head off on a coastal adventure as you cruise the 127 scenic miles down to Seward. Stop off en route at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, a preserve dedicated to safeguarding Alaskan wildlife, and see the many injured and orphaned bison, bears, eagles and more that call this place home. Once in Seward, you’ll have Alaska’s rugged coastlines at your fingertips as you head out to sea and into the Kenai Fjords National Park where 587,000 acres of glistening watery beauty awaits. Look out over the thousand-foot thick ice of Harding Icefield, the nesting seabirds of the cliffs, the playful porpoises in the water and the Wolverines that roam the shorelines. This is Alaskan coastal wilderness in all its glory. After a final night at Hotel Alyeska, you’ll continue south tomorrow.

Take Time at Tutka Bay

Following the scenic Seward Highway, you’ll eventually reach to coastal town of Homer from where it’s a just a short water taxi across Kachemak Bay to Tutka Bay Lodge. Spend the next few days taking in the surrounding coastline, with deep fjords, towering mountains, deserted beaches, sprawling green forests and waters flowing and bulging with the tides. Helping  you get to grips with it all is a hearty dose of adventure a you fish for halibut and wild salmon, ocean kayak, hike the unique trails, and tidepool, seeing all the fascinating organisms and creatures that rest on the coastline at low tide. Don’t forget to also check out the adjacent Cooking School at Tukta Bay, where expert local chefs will introduce you to new cuisine and help prepare a sea to table feast.

Bear Watching in the Alaskan Wilderness

Our highlight of our time at Tutka Bay, however, is always the bear viewing with the area home to Alaska’s largest population of brown bears. Jumping aboard a light aircraft, you’ll fly over active volcanoes, giant glaciers – and maybe the off migratory whale – to touch down on a remote beach, where you’ll walk along the same trails as the bears do, sit on the same riverbanks as they do, and observe them as they go about their day-to-day life. Depending on the time of year, you can see bears grazing on sedge grass, digging up clams, playing together, courting, resting or fishing.

The Ultima Conclusion

A trip as epic as this deserves an epic conclusion – and that’s exactly what Ultima Thule delivers. Deep in the Alaskan wilderness of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, 100 miles from any road, steeped in luxury yet centerd on adventure, it’s truly off-the-grid (they don’t even have a phone). There’s no such thing as an itinerary at Ultima Thule, it’s adventuring as it’s meant to be, pure and simple. Boasting their own fleet of light aircraft and some of the most passionate guides in the state, you can quite literally go wherever the wind takes you. Find yourselves exploring abandoned gold mines one day, kayaking and fishing for salmon the next. Trek through Boreal rainforests, hike across a mountain ridge, camp out in the wilderness – you can even enjoy a cheese and wine tasting on the Icefield. We can’t think of a better way to end this Alaskan Grand Adventure and, to be honest, we don’t want to.