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Clients on the group flight will be met at the airport and transferred to the hotel. Those on Land Only arrangements should make their own way to the start hotel today (if required, there is a complementary airport shuttle to the hotel). Following a short trip briefing in the evening, it's time to get some rest before our cycling starts tomorrow.
Transfer/cycle past streams and alpine tundra to Denali N.P.
After breakfast we spend some time getting fitted with our bikes and other equipment, before loading our vehicle to set off for Denali National Park, one of the most popular attractions in the state. After stopping for a picnic lunch we begin our first cycle route into the vicinity of the great giant - imposing Mt McKinley. Our ride takes us along the parks highway on relatively flat terrain, with chances to see Mt McKinley in the distance becoming bigger and bigger from different viewpoints along the road. We cycle to our accommodation for the night, a comfortable lodge/cabin near the entrance to the park. Transfer approx. 340km.
Cycle route through Denali N.P. to spot wildlife and on a clear day, Mt McKinley.
The 6,198m tall Mt McKinley is North America’s highest mountain, often referred to locally by its indigenous name ‘Denali’ which means ‘the high one’. In the 6 million acres of the national park large mammals such as Grizzly bears, wolves, moose and caribou roam, all of whom we hope to see from our bikes. Private vehicles are not permitted within the national park but a shuttle bus service runs along a 90 mile road that traverses the park, passing Savage River, Polychrom Pass, the Outer Range, Sanctuary River, Muldrow Glacier, Wonder Lake and the Kantishna mining district. The first 14 miles of the Denali road are paved but after this it becomes a hard packed dirt road. We’ll mostly be cycling on this, through the heart of the park with legendary views of the wilderness and wildlife and hopefully clear views of Mt McKinley. We may use the shuttle with our bikes if we are too tired to cycle back. Transfer approx. 20km.
Free day with optional ride in Denali N.P.
Today is free for you to discover the national park at your own pace. You can either choose a hiking trail in the park or a cycle route along a section of the Denali road or alongside Nenana River on the George Parks Highway.
Cycle into the Talkeetna Mountains to Hatcher Pass.
We leave Denali and transfer back to the parks highway, passing the city of Willow where our cycling commences. Today's ride will take us along the Little Susitna River through the Talkeetna Mountains. Prepare for a steep climb on a dirt road at Hatcher Pass! The reward is the descent and the amazing mountain views on the way down. If you need a break from the climb you can ride in the support vehicle at any time. Transfer approx. 315km.
Ride along the Matanuska Highway to the terminus of the Matanuska Glacier.
Today we cycle through the Mat-su, a shortened name for the Matanuska-Susitna Valley. Carved by glaciers, the valley sits within 3 different mountain ranges – the Talkeetna Range, the Alaska Range and the Chugach Mountains. There are thousands of lakes in the Mat-su Valley and winding through it provides possibly one of the most scenic rides on the trip. It is a challenging ride today starting along the Matanuska River. The incredible views of Matanuska Glacier, a 27 mile long river of ice, make it all worthwhile. In total the ride covers a 600 metre elevation gain but 400 metres of this occur in the last 20km of the ride towards Glacier View (optional). Dall sheep are found in this area and can often be seen from the saddle – look out for them! Our lodge this evening overlooks the Chugach Mountains. Transfer approx. 20km.
Ride north of the Chugach Mountain Range to Glennallen.
Today we have a short transfer before we begin our cycle route along the Glenn Highway, a 135 km road classified with the prestigious status of ‘National Scenic Byway’ for its natural and scenic interest. Our journey takes us north of the Chugach Mountain Range into genuine Alaskan wilderness, past forests, rushing rivers and scenery on the grandest scale. We’re likely to be exposed to the full elements today so be prepared for strong headwinds, hills, rain and possibly snow. After a hot lunch stop we continue for the last stretch on to Glennallen. Transfer approx. 45km.
Cycle the Thompson Pass; to Valdez.
Today is one of the most strenuous days of cycling as we follow the Tiekel and Tsaina Rivers, but our reward is a first class look at the Chugach Mountains. This is a major migratory route for birds, with wetland areas providing seasonal homes to geese, trumpeter swans, ducks and other waterfowl. Golden and Bald eagles, Peregrine falcons and gyrfalcons, Pine grosbeaks, Black-capped chickadees and several species of woodpecker also nest in this region. The Thompson Pass is an 855 metre gap in the Chugach Mountains and a challenging ride – this area is witness to the heaviest winter snowfalls in Alaska. We aim to reach Worthington Glacier for lunch where we will change into hiking gear for a walk along the glacier moraine. Back in the saddle it’s a descent past forest to Keystone Canyon and today’s destination, Valdez. Valdez is a port town situated at the head of a still water fjord, in the northeast of Prince William Sound. Weather and time permitting we will visit the town this afternoon and spend some time at the Valdez museum. Transfer approx. 105km.
Ferry across the wildlife rich Prince William Sound; to Seward.
This morning is free to spend at your leisure. In the afternoon we board a ferry to Whittier, crossing Prince William Sound, a marine habitat where whales and sea lions thrive. Disembarking the ferry we continue by bus to Seward to discover the stunning Kenai Fjords National Park, a glaciated paradise. We should arrive with enough time to have a short discovery of the Kenai Peninsula. Alternatively you may want to stroll along the waterfront to the pier and check out today's fresh catch of fish! Please note that ferry schedules are subject to change and occasionally we must take an earlier ferry. Transfer approx. 140km.
Free day; optional ride on Exit Glacier Road.
Otters, puffins, bear, moose, mountain goats and Orca whales are just a few of the many inhabitants of Kenai Fjords National Park. There are a number of optional activities available today in order to explore this area: join an easy hike along the magnificent Exit Glacier, try sea kayaking or a cruise along the Kenai fjords past glaciers, or join a cycle ride along Resurrection Bay and Exit Road where we should have the chance to watch Grizzly bears (approx. 75km). A half day hike or cycle ride allows you to do some optional activities in the afternoon as well. Transfer approx. 40km.
Cycle on the shoreline of the Turnagain Arm; to Anchorage.
Our last cycling day starts near Girdwood and takes us along the shoreline of Turnagain Arm to Indian Point. This is another of Alaska’s scenic roads - look out for Beluga whales and the mighty bore tide, a series of huge waves advancing in a wall of water up to 3 metres high. This is a dramatic show of nature’s powerful force (dependent on tide times). At Indian Point we transfer to Anchorage and spend the rest of the day at leisure. Transfer approx. 130km.
Those on group flights will be transferred to the international airport for the return journey. Land Only clients are free at leave at any time today.