Alaska Hiking, Kayaking, and Glacier Tour | Explorer Chick
Read HERE for info on 2023 Dates.
Ready to take on Alaska, she-wolf?! Explorer Chick is howling over this stunner of a week-long women’s Alaska Hiking, kayaking, and Glacier Tour to Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Prince William Sound and the Talkeetna Mountains. Bring your Mukluks, a flask and plenty of Lord Huron. Alaska is gonna swallow your heart whole.
Hike through legit caribou tundra in the Talkeetna Mountains. Fly over volcanic mountains before wandering America’s largest National Park, Wrangell-St. Elias, for three days. Stay in a friggen ghost town near the base of yet another glacier and shame every lame tampon sport commercial as you ice climb a glacier.
Water proof your phone for all the iceberg selfies while sea kayaking Prince William Sound. Just when you think it can’t get more beautiful, Columbia Glacier will “calve” millions of pounds of ice into the bay like the badass Mama Nature is.
There will be moonshine, ferry rides, wildlife, abandoned mines, ice fields, lodge-cooked meals, nights out on the “town,” coastal national forest, pure Alaska hiking, and more snowy peaks than you can count from the SEVEN mountain ranges you’ll see.
Caw into the cold air and Alaska will echo back. You’re about to fall hard for this wild world that gives America its midnight sun.
- Check off that bucket list over 7 days with Alaska hiking, kayaking, glacier trekking, ice climbing, and wildlife spotting.
- Clamber up to alpine tarns to spy turquoise alpine lakes in the Talkeetna Mountains.
- Board a Bush Plane for a scenic flight over volcanoes and glaciers in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.
- Trek onto a glacier equipped with crampons and all the safety gear for ice climbing.
- Explore an old copper mine at the top of an epic hike with unforgettable mountain high views.
- Paddle your sea kayak amidst icebergs up to the face of the Columbia Glacier.
- Enjoy a very scenic ferry crossing across Prince William sound keeping an eye out for marine wildlife.
- Relax in boutique mountain lodges and cabins for 4 nights with front yard views of mountains, glaciers, and rivers.
- Actively experience Alaska with an Explorer Chick Guide who will ensure you hike the best trails.
- Disconnect to reconnect! Leave behind the constant contact and use your phone solely for capturing moments.
- Relax with a comprehensive itinerary that makes the logistics, entrance fees, navigation, meal planning, lodging, and everything in-between easy.
- Geek out with supportive and encouraging Explorer Chicks on a private, women-only, small group adventure tour.
Day 1: Hiking in the Talkeetna Mountains
We are meeting in the lobby at 7:45am – breakfasts in belly, luggage in hand, dressed to hike with all the bathtub water your bottles can hold.
We’ll cover introductions (COMMENCE GIRL CRUSHES) and a brief trip overview before heading north toward Hatcher Pass in the Talkeetna Mountains. You and your new besties will enjoy a 5 to 6-hour tundra hike like the she-yetis you are!
Clamber up to alpine tarns to spy pristine lakes and waterfalls. Afterwards we’ll dine, de-boot and un-bra at the Majestic Valley Wilderness Lodge near the Matanuska Glacier. Amenities include simple twin-share rooms, a big grassy outdoor area with huge mountain views, fire ring, volleyball and hot tub.
Hiking Distance: 8.7 miles
Elevation Gain: 2,250′
Hiking Time: 5-6 hours
Accommodation: Wilderness Lodge, Shared Doubles
Day 2: Scenic Bush Plane over Wrangell-St. Elias National Park
Go from one out-of-body experience to the next as you cruise along a National Scenic Highway to the Copper River-side town of Chitina. There you’ll be greeted by a tiny she-fleet of planes (!) that’ll fly you for 30 glorious minutes across the volcanic and glacier-clad Wrangell Mountains which erupt from the National Park.
Nbd. Just the LARGEST NATIONAL PARK IN THE US and a United Nations World Heritage Site. But this isn’t just a joy ride. We’re jetting to the historic copper and gold rush village of McCarthy. With a year-round population of 35 and a summer spike of 200, it’s everyone’s favorite small town.
We’ll enjoy 3 nights in shared cabins in near the foot of Kennicott Glacier, the numero uno of panty-droppers. There’s so much to explore: Over 16,000’ of Mt. Blackburn and 7,000’ of Stairway Ice Fall loom above you. Four major mountain ranges jut out of the earth, including 9 of the 16 tallest peaks in the US. You ever seen the world’s largest non-polar ice field, boo?
If there’s time and daylight, we’ll enjoy a short scenic hike to a waterfall today. Make some room in your photo roll – Alaska’s giving you all her gorgeous girth.
Distance: 2.3 miles
Elevation Gain: 550′
Hiking Time: 1-2 hours
Accommodation: River Lodge (Shared Triple)
Day 3: Ice Climbing and Glacier Trekking
Welcome to the ice cube, baby. We are keeping things ultra-frosty today with an all-day guided ice climb led by a local mountaineer. You’ll be loaded up with crampons, harnesses, helmets, and ice axes to explore all the blue crevasses, moulins, and crystal edges. Ygritte Styr called – she thinks you’re a badass.
Distance: Approx 6 miles
Elevation Gain: Undulating/Minimal
Glacier Time: 8 hours
Accommodation: River Lodge (Shared Triple)
Day 4: The Bonanza Mine in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park
It’s abandoned mine day – but don’t worry, we stay outside in the fresh, open air. Take in the goliath mountain and glacier views as you climb alongside the rubble of what was once a booming gold mine.
Though intense, the Bonanza Mine Trail hike is an all-time Explorer Chick favorite, capping your McCarthy experience with mad accomplishment.
Distance: 8.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 3,959′
Hiking Time: 6-8 hours
Accommodation: River Lodge (Shared Triple)
Day 5: Hike up to Worthington Glacier
You won’t even have a chance to be sad about leaving Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, because yet another mountain range is waiting for you. Cross the heavily glaciated Chugach mountains to come toe-to-toe with a stunning ice field that feeds a blue river of ice.
Hike from alpine Thompson Pass to the lateral moraine of Worthington Glacier, dropping altitude to explore the charming town of Valdez. Coastal views of the Chugach National Forest provide another Alaskan curveball – is this place CGI?
Look around you, Explorer Chick. The geologically active Chugachs burst out of the sea encircling Prince William Sound and countless glaciers that spill into the sparkling water. Startling greens and blues explode all around you. It all feels like a Bob Ross painting and is going to make the return to real life A LITTLE HARD OKAY?
Distance: 1 miles
Elevation Gain: 300′
Hiking Time: 1 hour
Accommodation: Hotel (Shared double)
Day 6: Sea Kayaking at Columbia Glacier
It’s baptism day. After gearing up for a quick lesson, we get to enter the beautiful blue waters that run through and around Alaska. Water taxi across central Prince William Sound (is that an otter?!) to sea kayak through glacier-carved Columbia Bay (oh god, it’s on its back with a tiny shell!!!).
The bay is calm, protected, and full of icebergs to paddle through if we time the tide right. Slice through the Alaskan blue toward the face of Columbia Glacier, the largest and among the most active tidewater glaciers in North America.
Now would be a great time to have a lazy-eye so you can focus on the ice, the water, the barking sea lions, lazy harbor seals, jumping salmon, soaring eagles, and even orca + humpbacks on their daily swim to the glacier.
Brace yourself for the finale: witnessing the miles-long face of Columbia *calving* millions of pounds of prehistoric ice into the bay.
Kayaking: 10 hours including roundtrip boat transport
Accommodation: Hotel (Shared double)
Day 7: The Long Goodbye Across Prince William Sound
Pull your hair into one last windswept bun as we board the Alaska state ferry to cross Prince William Sound. From Valdez to Whittier, we’ll chug through the water at a relaxing pace to relive our adventures and squeal OMG IS THAT A SEAL?! whenever we see a seal.
Time permitting, we’ll sneak in one more hike before a short drive back to Anchorage. Our Alaskan expedition comes to a close at 5pm *tear*. Returned flights as early as 7pm can be scheduled, and we can drop your tuckered-out booties directly at the airport.
Until next time, Explorer Chick!
Distance: 3 miles
Elevation Gain: 300′
Hiking Time: 1-2 hour
Ferry Transfer: 6 hours (Scenic)
*Explorer Chick reserves the option to modify trip itineraries at the discretion of your tour director as necessary due to weather, conditions, illness, injury, group dynamics, or other unforeseen incidents.
- 2 days/1 nights in a Wilderness Lodge. Shared, 2 Explorer Chicks per room. Boutique Lodge is family owned and operated with simple twin rooms, a big grassy outdoor area with big mountain views, fire ring, and a hot tub.
- 4 days/3 nights in River Lodge Cabins located in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. Shared 3 per cabin. Dry cabins equipped with 1 Queen and 2 Twins in the loft assigned at random. Toilets and Showers are a short walk away to the main lodge. River, mountain, and glacier views from your cabin porch, bonfire pit, sauna.
- 3 days/2 Nights in a Valdez hotel. Shared 2 Explorer Chicks per room. Newly remodeled, high-end hotel with an indoor swimming pool and exercise room. Rooms equipped with a television, microwave, mini-fridge, and coffee maker. Coin-op laundry on site.
- Scenic bush plane flight over volcanos and glaciers to McCarthy over Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.
- Introductory guided Ice Climbing course on Root Glacier including all necessary gear.
- Guided Sea Kayaking tour at Columbia Glacier including all necessary gear.
- Scenic Ferry crossing of Prince Wililam Sound
- Entrance and commercial permit fees to all National Parks and public lands.
- All meals as indicated in itinerary: B-6, L-7, D-2
- All tips for included meals and tours.
- Guided Alaska hiking throughout with an experienced Explorer Chick Guide.
- A commemorative Explorer Chick shirt.
- Private Explorer Chick land-transportation throughout itinerary
- A detailed Travel Guide with everything you need to know for your trip
- The freedom to enjoy your vacation and mindlessly wander!
- Small Group experience! Your Explorer Chick Adventure is exclusive and limited to 11 women
*Packages do NOT include your rendezvous hotel, departure hotel, airfare, airport transportation, alcoholic beverages, travel insurance, meals exclusive of itinerary, or costs for additional activities.
*Does NOT include your Explorer Chick Guide’s Tips – Tipping your Explorer Chick Guide(s) is optional, but customary. If you wish to recognize your Explorer Chick Guide for exceptional service we recommend you tip them 10-25% of your trip costs.
You will receive a Travel Guide with all the rendezvous hotel and additional information you’ll need to prepare for your epic trip!
Your adventure begins and ends in Anchorage, AK at our Rendezvous hotel.
Day 1: Arrival. We will rendezvous as a group at 7:45am on Day 1. It is highly recommended to arrive the day before. You are responsible for booking your arrival hotel and airport transportation.
Day 7: Departure. Plan to fly out of Anchorage on Day 7 after 7pm. It is recommended to fly out the following day in case there are road delays or issues on the trail. You are responsible for booking your departure hotel and airport transportation.
Optional Add-Ons: Pre and Post tour rooms at our Rendezvous Hotel in Alaska are available at booking for an additional $209/night. Includes breakfast.
We require a minimum of 4 Explorer Chicks for this trip. Please confirm your trip is guaranteed before booking airfare.
Daily Alaska Hiking:
During your Alaska Hiking, Kayaking, and Glacier Tour you will hike some of the best trails in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and surrounding areas. Hiking in Alaska is unlike the contiguous 48 states and can be very rugged.
- Day 1: 5 to 6 hours, 8.7 miles round trip, 2,250′ elevation gain. Moderate to strenuous
- Day 2: 1 to 2 hours, 2.3 miles round trip, 550′ elevation gain. Easy to moderate
- Day 3: Ice climbing course on Root Glacier, includes access hike. 8 hours total, ~6 miles round trip. Up and down, no net elevation gain. Moderate
- Day 4: 6 to 8 hours. 8.5 miles round trip. 3,950′ elevation gain. Strenuous.
- Day 5: 1 hour. 1 mile round trip. 300′ elevation gain. Easy
- Day 6: Kayak trip, no hike
- Day 7: 1 to 2 hours. 3 miles round trip. 300′ elevation gain. Easy
We highly recommend training prior to your adventure. The itinerary is packed full of hiking. You should be comfortable with hiking up to 9 miles in a day carrying a light day pack with elevations gains up to 3,950 feet.
You should be training on rough and rugged terrain – not perfectly paved sidewalks. Also, find steps, a hill, or the StairMaster and get to climbing! Your quads, booty, and calves will thank you.
Train your tootsies! Do not show up with brand new hiking boots or trail shoes. You should be spending hours upon hours in your boots leading up to your adventure to break them in. Better to suffer blisters at home than to miss out on a hike due painful hot spots on your feet. This is our number one injury. Don’t let it happen to you!
Explorer Chick prides itself in curating trips for women who live an active, healthy lifestyle. What this means is we tackle the big climbs, the long trails, the bucket lists, and the uncomfortable. To get the most from your adventure we recommend having a solid fitness base with training on trails in a variety of weather conditions and hill/stair climbing. Train how you play!
Please consider your ability to meet the physical demands very seriously. It is for the safety of both you and our group. All Explorer Chicks will be required to sign an Acknowledgement of Physical Demands as part of their waiver upon booking.
Still not convinced that THIS is the adventure for you?
We’ve rounded up some of our most popular blog posts, so you can get to know us a bit better and learn what really goes down on your Explorer Chick Adventure.
- Remember How it Feels to Play
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- The Power of Explorer Chick
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- We are ALL IN
- We Do Dumb Stuff
- The Explorer Chick Purpose
- The Traveler vs. the Tourist
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You can always reach us by email with more questions! Info@ExplorerChick.com
To protect your travel investment and your hide, we highly recommend purchasing travel insurance. World Nomads is our trusted travel insurance provider. Receive an no-hassle, online quote in less than 2 minutes.
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Non-Refundable Deposit: $300 due at booking to secure your spot
Pre and Post Tour Hotel Stays – $209/night
Single Room Upgrade: $900
Payment Plans Available: Email firstname.lastname@example.org after booking to set up your monthly payment plan.