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Exploring Alaska in 8 days: An Epic Journey through the Last Frontier

Updated: Apr 27

I just got back after 8 days of an amazing adventure in Alaska! It was an unforgettable experience and one I will never forget! Alaska has been on my bucket list for a few years, so when I had the opportunity to go, I booked flights as soon as I could! When most people visit Alaska, they usually visit via a cruise ship, but we went by plane and visited our family in Anchorage. They have lived in Alaska for over 40 years and were our tour guides during this trip! I will share some highlights from my trip and itinerary in this post!


Day 1: Roadtrip to Whittier, Alaska


About 1 hr and 20 minutes southeast of Anchorage sits a quaint fishing village located in the Passage Canal. During World War II, Whittier was constructed and operated by the U.S. military, and a railroad tunnel was built to act as a main supply route for goods. The railroad tunnel named the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel is 2.5 miles and is the longest highway tunnel in North America. It is still in use today and is the only way to access Whittier by land.

Once you arrive at the tunnel entrance, you will have to pay a toll fee of $15 dollars. The fee gives you round-trip access through the tunnel. The town itself is pretty small and has a few shops and restaurants. They also have other activities such as jet skiing, fishing, and hiking.


The bay in Whittier , Alaska
Whittier, Alaska

When traveling to Whittier make sure to stop along the way at Beluga Point, a scenic view of the mountains and Turnagin Arm. It's named for the white beluga whales that are often seen in this location from mid-July through August.


Beluga Point in Alaska
Beluga Point

Day 2- Day 3: Camping near the Susitina River and Exploring Talkeetna, Alaska.


On our second day, we hopped in our Cousin's RV and took another road trip 2 hrs north to the Sustina River (locals call it "The Big Su") where we set up camp for the night. Our campsite was nestled along the river and offered beautiful scenery of the surrounding forest and mountains. This is a great place to camp that is not too crowded and offers great trails for four-wheeling.

The next day we packed up the RV and drove to Talkeetna a small town located in the Mat-Su Valley. In 1910 Talkeetna was a riverboat steamer station during the gold rush that supplied miners. The town now offers visitors a bustling main street filled with shops and restaurants. When you go, stop by Roadhouse for some delicious pastries. There is also a riverfront park and on a clear day, you can see views of Denali.


Sustina River
Campsite at the Sustina River

Talkeetna Riverfront Park
Talkeetna Riverfront Park

Day 4: Exploring Anchorage, Alaska


We spent most of the day exploring Anchorage. During the Summer from May to September, the city hosts the Anchorage Market on Saturdays and Sundays. We spent an hour or so walking around, stopping at different tables to look at local art and goods. After we left the market we went downtown and did some souvenir shopping at Polar Bear Gifts before heading to our Trolley tour. We did the one-hour Trolley tour that took us through downtown and around the city all while the driver provided a narrated history and shared interesting facts about the city.

Street in downtown anchorage
Downtown Anchorage

Day 5: Hacther Pass and Independence Mine. Hiked Flattop Mountain.


After a day of exploring the city, we decided to take another road trip and we drove about 1-hour northeast toward Hatcher Pass. Located in the Talkeetna Mountains, Hatcher Pass is a beautiful scenic mountain drive. On the journey, there stop at the Little Su, a viewpoint of a clear stream that flows out of the Talkeetna Mountains. It's a great spot to take photos or breathe in the fresh air before you continue the drive up the mountain. As you continue the drive you are surrounded by the most picturesque mountains. Toward the top of the mountain is a 272-acre abandoned gold mine, Independence Mine State Historical Park. This mine was built in the 1930s by the Alask-Pacific Mining Company and closed in 1951. It's free to explore the site and there are a few buildings that are still intact.



A picture of the Little Su River
Little Su


Mountain viewpoint in the Talkeetna Mountains
A view point in the Talkeetna Mountains

Photo of the Independence mine located in the talkeetna mountains
Independence Mine

After we returned to Anchorage later that evening, we decided to enjoy some more time in the outdoors and hike Flattop Mountain Trail. Flattop is a 3.3-mile strenuous trail located in Chugach State Park. It was a pretty tough hike but the views were worth it. The higher we climbed the steeper the trail was. Once you get close to the top, there is a section with rock scrambling. This is a very popular trail and can get a bit crowded. We went at around 8 p.m. and there was only a handful of people on the trail.


Flattop Mountain Trail
Views along the Flattop Mountain Trail

Day 6: Visited the Alaska Wild Life Conservation Center


The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is located in Portage Valley about 50 min from Anchorage. The center works to preserve Alaska's wildlife through conservation, education, and animal care. It has over 200 acres of animal enclosures filled with bears, reindeer, buffalo, wolves, and more. It was a really cool place to visit and I definitely recommend a trip there during your visit to Alaska.


Reindeer at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
Reindeer

Grizzly Bear at the Alaska Conservation Center
Grizzly Bear

Day 7: Biked Tony Knowles Coastal Trial


The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail is an 11-mile-long coastal trail and it is a popular trail for biking, running, and walking. We decided to rent electric bikes at a local bike shop called Alaska eBike and take a ride down the trail. It was very relaxing, offering beautiful views of the ocean and nature. We even saw a moose on the trail!


Tony Knowles Costal Trail

Day 8: Rested


We were tired from our week of adventures and we spent the last day getting ready for our flight home and enjoying our last meal with family.




Overall, our trip to Alaska was one I will never forget. I hope to visit again and spend more time exploring other parts of the state. If you are thinking about visiting Alaska, go I promise you won't regret it!



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Guest
Jun 26, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Wow!! Thank you for sharing! If there weren't already enough reasons to put Alaska on thelist of places to go...

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Stephanie
Stephanie
Jun 29, 2023
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You're welcome!!! Thank you for reading! Put it on the list :) its a beautiful place!

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Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

What an adventure!! The photos are beautiful, but I’m sure they don’t capture the true essence of the beautiful sights you visited and the way you described each scene! Thank you for sharing!

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Stephanie
Stephanie
Jun 29, 2023
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Thank you! It's so hard to capture the beauty in a photograph lol You're welcome! Thank you for reading ! :)

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