Are you planning a dream trip and looking for a perfect Alaska Itinerary? You are in the right place! After exploring Alaska for 10 days, I can say that there are only a few experiences more enjoyable than a road trip in Alaska. With this route, you will be visiting the top bucket list in Alaska in as short as a 10-day well-crafted itinerary!
Alaska is so big and vast, that it seems nearly impossible to find the perfect route. But with some research, calculations on your time and distance, and prioritization on what you want to visit in Alaska it is possible!
But what makes this Alaska Itinerary perfect? With this 10-day Alaska Itinerary, you will discover the history, see the breathtaking landscapes, enjoy the rich wildlife, explore stunning hiking trails in Denali National Park, and drive the most scenic roads in the United States, and even in the world!
Also, this Alaska Itinerary is versatile and you can explore it in as short as 5 days to up to 2 weeks (and even more if you are lucky). Just pick your favorite places based on your timing and interest, as here I give you all the tools you need for your perfect Alaska road trip.
All you will need is your own car, a sense of adventure, and a willingness to explore one of the most beautiful places on the Planet!
If you are planning an Alaska Itinerary, these are must-read:
- Where to Stay in Alaska: 7 Top Towns + Hotel Guide
- Ultimate Alaska Bucket List: 22 Experiences you need to do!
- What to Pack for Alaska + FREE Printable
- 10-Day Alaska Road Trip Itinerary Overview
- Best Time Of Year For An Alaska Road Trip
- Alaska Road Trip Itinerary Map
- Best Way To Road Trip Alaska in 10 Days
- Starting your Alaska Itinerary | Arrival in Anchorage
- Ultimate 10-Day Alaska Road Trip Itinerary
- DAY 1 Alaska Road Trip: Explore Anchorage and Visit the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
- DAY 2 Alaska itinerary: Take a Ferry from Whittier to Valdez (option to drive)
- DAY 3 Alaska itinerary: Exploring Valdez
- DAY 4 Alaska Road Trip: Drive from Valdez to Fairbanks (with a stop at the North Pole)
- DAY 5 Alaska Itinerary: Spend this day Exploring Fairbanks
- DAY 6: Drive from Fairbanks to Denali, with overnight in Talkeetna
- DAY 7: Take a flightseeing in Denali and drive to Seward
- DAY 8 Alaska Itinerary: Boat day tour on Kenai Fjords National Park
- DAY 9 Alaska Road Trip: Hiking to the Harding Icefield
- DAY 10 Alaska Road Trip: Exit Glacier Hike & Drive back to Anchorage
- More Alaska Road Trip Itinerary Ideas
- Practical Information for Planning your Alaska Road Trip
- Alaska Road Trip Itinerary Conclusion
10-Day Alaska Road Trip Itinerary Overview
If you are planning an Alaska road trip itinerary, you may be wondering how many days you should spend in Alaska? Typically, most visitors choose to spend between seven to fourteen days exploring Alaska. However, the duration of your stay largely depends on your desired destinations and how you plan on getting around.
I recently went on a 10-day road trip in Alaska where I visited some of the best destinations in the state. I have provided a day-by-day itinerary overview below, and you can click on each destination’s link to see a detailed itinerary.
|DAY ACTIVITY||OVERNIGHT LOCATION|
|DAY 1: Explore Anchorage and visit the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center||Anchorage|
|DAY 2: Ferry to Valdez (option to drive)||Valdez|
|DAY 3: Explore Valdez||Valdez|
|DAY 4: Drive from Valdez to Fairbanks and stop at the North Pole||Fairbanks|
|DAY 5: Explore Fairbanks & Chena Hot Springs||Fairbanks|
|DAY 6: Drive from Fairbanks to Denali and explore Denali National Park||Talkeetna|
|DAY 7: Explore Talkeetna | Flightseeing in Denali | Drive to Seward||Seward|
|DAY 8: Boat tour on Kenai Fjords National Park||Seward|
|DAY 9: Hike the Harding Icefield||Seward|
|DAY 10: Drive from Seward to Anchorage | Departure||Fly back home|
NOTE: My Alaska Itinerary covers 10 days of intense activities and it can easily be done in 15-20 days if you add more days in your favorite locations, as I am also providing additional information about the best things to do in each place! If you have less time to explore, I have prepared Alaska Itineraries for shorter trips too.
Best Time Of Year For An Alaska Road Trip
Are you wondering when is the best time to visit Alaska on a road trip? It depends…First, you need to know what are your priorities so you can determine when is the best time to visit Alaska.
In short, the best time to visit Alaska is from June to August, because this is when you will get the best weather with more sunny days and less rain, and warmer temperatures. But keep in mind, that this is also the most crowded season to visit Alaska. Here are some things to consider:
☀️Summer Season: from May 10 to September 15 with average temperatures in the 60’s to low 70’s, 16–24 hrs. of daylight, leaves and flowers in bloom, rushing rivers, and the best wildlife viewing.
📷 Peak season: from June to August. By mid-June, it’s as warm as it’s going to get. All summer activities are available, including The Denali Park Road (which opens the second week in June).
🚢 Cruise Season: is also May through September. Small ship cruises start as early as mid-April.
🌳 Shoulder Season is May (early season) and September (late season), with 10-25% discounts on some hotels, tours, and cruises.
🐻 Wildlife Viewing: May to September is the best time to see wildlife in general. Fly-in bear viewing begins in mid-June but is best in July. You can see Moose year-round. Gray whales migrate up in March/April; humpbacks are here from May to September; orcas are here year-round.
Alaska Road Trip Itinerary Map
To help you plan your Alaska road trip Itinerary, we created a map indicating all the main places that we recommend visiting in Alaska. This map is just an overview and doesn’t contain all the details, but it gives you a better idea of where everything is and how you could adjust this itinerary if you have less or more time.
You can click on the picture below and see this map on Google Maps.
Best Way To Road Trip Alaska in 10 Days
Before we jump on this detailed Alaska itinerary, let’s review what is the best way to see Alaska on a road trip.
If you choose to visit Alaska on a road trip, be prepared for a lot of driving. Most of the roads are in great condition, therefore in some areas, you will likely encounter construction. The driving is mostly on scenic roads, and you will be rewarded with incredible views.
You will need to decide on your Alaska itinerary and what time of year before you make a decision if renting a car and if a 4WD is necessary. If you are driving this Alaska Itinerary in the summer you can rent a 2WD. I recommend renting a 4WD if you are traveling in Alaska during wintertime.
Some of the most popular rental cars in Alaska are Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz and National. I recommend to check current reviews, compare prices and book your rental car in Alaska in advance to secure the best rates and availability or your specific travel dates and locations.
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Road Trip in Alaska with an RV Rental
I traveled to Alaska with an RV rental – since I found that this would be the best way to manage my logistics around Alaska during the time I visited. Note that at the end of September lodges and restaurants start to close for the season. Therefore, an RV made much more sense in my case.
If you are renting an RV in Alaska I recommend you have some prior experience, or you can review all you need to know about renting an RV for the first time. Also, if you are wondering how much it cost to rent an RV, you can check it out here.
Also, I recommend renting your RV from a reliable source. I have rented RVs before and I highly recommend you rent either from Cruise America or RVShare
Starting your Alaska Itinerary | Arrival in Anchorage
Most of the flights from the United States and Canada arrive at Anchorage Airport (ANC) and the busiest time is from 10 pm to 2 am when most flights arrive from Seattle.
If you arrive earlier, you can pick up your car at the airport and head to dinner (see recommendations for restaurants below) and head to your hotel (see recommendations for hotels below).
My flight arrived in ANC at 12:00 am, I got my luggage and took an Uber to my B&B. In the morning, I picked up my RV with Cruise America and went grocery shopping.
Anchorage is the best option to go shopping before your Alaska road trip. I recommend buying your groceries at Costco and Walmart, as the prices in big cities are comparable to the lower 48 states. When you shop in smaller towns you will notice the prices are higher.
NOTE: I visited Alaska in September when it is considered the shoulder season. The pros are that you can get some discounts on hotels and excursions, fewer crowds, no bugs, fall colors, and northern lights viewing by mid-September. But on the negative side, most of the tours were not operating, many hiking trails were closed, and many businesses closed for the season – including lodges and restaurants.
Ultimate 10-Day Alaska Road Trip Itinerary
DAY 1 Alaska Road Trip: Explore Anchorage and Visit the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
- DRIVING: Anchorage and AWCC
- ACCOMMODATION: Click here for accommodations in Anchorage
- MUST READ: Complete Anchorage Travel Guide
1. Bird Creek
Exciting starting of your Alaska Itinerary – I hope you are packed and ready to start this adventure in Alaska!
As soon as you start your driving south out of Anchorage on the Seward Highway (AK 1), you will already see the stunning mountain views. Stop at some of the viewpoints along the road to admire the views and take some great pictures.
You will see signs on the side of the right side of the road for Bird Creek. There is a nice parking lot and a very short walk with incredible views. I visited during fall and the foliage made the views even more special. You will see the views of the Turnagain Arm, with great opportunity for photos.
2. Watch the whales at the Beluga Point Sight
Continuing your Alaska road trip on Seward Highway, along the Cooke Inlet, you will see signs for the Beluga Point View on the right side of the road. This is a great point to see Beluga whales and see the 180-degree views of the breathtaking Turnagain Arm. This is a great spot to visit at high tide when you have the highest chance of spotting the Belugas’ whiteheads popping out of the water.
If you walk along the shore, be very careful with the mudflats, as they can be more deadly than quicksand.
3. Visit the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center (AWCC)
This is a must-visit during any Alaska Itinerary. The AWCC their mission is to preserve Alaska’s wildlife through conservation, research, and education, and the animals here are treated with care.
You can buy your tickets directly at the entrance, for $17 (adult price), and another option is this tour to the Alaska Wildlife Day Tour with Free Hotel Pickup.
You will have the opportunity to see moose, bears, porcupines, coyotes, wolves, wood bison, reindeer, and many other animals. This is a great opportunity to get to meet some of the most magnificent animals in Alaska. I ended up not seeing any other bears during my Alaska trip, so I appreciated the opportunity to visit the AWCC.
📷 More Things to do in Anchorage
If you have more time to explore Anchorage during your Alaska road trip, and if you are visiting during a season when these places are open, you can also add to your Anchorage itinerary. Check my Ultimate guide for the 20 Best Things to do in Anchorage AK.
🏨 Best Accommodations in Anchorage
- CAMPING | Bird Creek Campground is a great option, with 27 campsites with toilets and water.
- BUDGET | The Lake Front Anchorage is located on the shore of Lake Hood with amazing views and a 24-hour shuttle service from the airport.
- MID-RANGE | Historic Anchorage Hotel is located in the heart of Anchorage city center, with a fitness center, continental breakfast, and free Wi-Fi
- BEST RATED | Highland Glen Lodge B&B is rated as wonderful by the guests, has an excellent location, and includes a full English/ Irish breakfast
DAY 2 Alaska itinerary: Take a Ferry from Whittier to Valdez (option to drive)
- DRIVING: Anchorage to Whittier; or take a Ferry to Valdez
- ACCOMMODATIONS: Click here for accommodations in Valdez
- MUST-READ: Complete Travel Guide to Valdez
1. Drive the Turnagain Arm
The second day of this Alaska road trip itinerary is an early start. On my way from Anchorage to Whittier to catch my ferry, I drove the Turnagain Arm / Seward Highway, with amazing views and great pull-off areas for parking and pictures.
While driving the Seward Highway alongside the Cooke Inlet I saw 2 Beluga whales. I parked my RV to watch them when I saw a whole Beluga family together which was so unexpected and absolutely incredible.
The day before, it was low tide which is when the mudflats appear and it can be very dangerous if you step on it because it is just like quicksand and you can get stuck. But when it is high tide watch for Belugas here. There is a family of Belugas that live around this area, therefore, keep an eye here for Belugas!
If you have more time to explore Turnagain Arm Region, you can also add the following to your Alaska itinerary:
- Portage Lake: From Anchorage head down the Seward Highway and go around 40 miles to visit the lake
- Portage Glacier Tour: A short boat tour to see Portage Glacier, an easily accessible glacier.
- Byron Glacier & Byron Glacier Trail: The glacier descends from the same ice field that feeds both Portage Glacier on the lake and Blackstone Glacier in Prince William Sound.
2. Take a Ferry from Whittier to Valdez
The reason I have decided to take the ferry from Whittier to Valdez instead of driving it is that it gave me the opportunity to see some wildlife, as the Prince William Sound is one of the best places in Alaska to observe wildlife such as sea otters, Dall porpoises, seals, sea lions, humpback and Orcas whales. I saw many Orca whales and it was a fantastic opportunity!
The ferry takes about 6 hours – about the same time as driving. If you choose to take the ferry, it offers comfortable seating inside, with great windows for views, and another seating area if you want to take a nap. It has a kitchen that offers food to buy, or you can bring your own food. The ferry also has bathrooms with a shower and a deck view on top.
My ferry departed from Whittier at 12:30 pm and arrived in Valdez at 6:15 pm.
NOTE: The ferries do not run every day, check here for the full schedule. you need to make your reservations online in advance to guarantee your spot. The ferry runs every other day in summer, once per week in the shoulder season, and does not run in winter. Here for a complete guide with all you need to know to plan a ferry from Whittier to Valdez.
3. Arrive in Valdez
If you take the ferry to Valdez or decide to drive, today is a long day on the road/ ferry. After arriving in Valdez, I had time to walk around the harbor for some photos and stretch my legs.
I grabbed dinner at the Fat Mermaid, a very popular restaurant in Valdez located in front of the Valdez Harbor, and went to my Valdez KOA camping to rest for the next day full of exciting activity.
📷 More Things to do in Valdez
If you spare more time in Valdez during your Alaska road trip, you have many amazing hiking trails to choose from, more waterfalls to visit, or exploring the glaciers around. Check this complete guide of 21 Things to do in Valdez + City Guide
🏨 Best Accommodations in Valdez:
- CAMPING | KOA Valdez is a great campground with on-site services and a great location
- BUDGET | Keystone Hotel is the best option if you are traveling on a budget, with breakfast included and amazing views
- MID-RANGE | Best Western Historic Anchorage Hotel with an on-site restaurant and panoramic harbor views
- BEST RATED | House on the Rock is rated as wonderful by the guests, with a shared kitchen and continental breakfast
DAY 3 Alaska itinerary: Exploring Valdez
- DRIVING: 4-5 hours
1. Visit the Solomon Gulch
I started the third day of my Alaska itinerary on a rainy day by visiting the Solomon Gulch to learn all about the salmon hatchery and strongly recommend a visit here. You can take a self-tour and learn how important this hatchery is to the fishing industry and the local economy. It is sustainable farming for salmon and the visit is very educational.
I learned that this facility, built-in 1981, is the largest single-species salmon hatchery in North America, incubating up to 270 million Pink salmon and 2 million Coho salmon each year. And every year, adults return to the hatchery in vast numbers—some 16 million pinks and 100,000 Cohos for spawning.
Another highlight at Solomon Gulch is seeing the wildlife that comes here to eat fresh fish, such as sea lions, seals, and even bears can be seen here.
You will see a creek and a waterfall on the other side of the road, and Solomon Lake. To visit it, you can park next to the Fish Hatchery, and hike up the John Hunter Memorial Trail
2. Explore the Old Valdez Town
Continuing your road trip in Alaska, you can visit the original Valdez, also known to the locals as Old Valdez. In 1964 the strongest earthquake already registered in North America, followed by a tsunami, devasted the original town, and they relocated 4 miles away to where it is now.
The old town was preserved as a memorial, and here you can see the signs where the buildings used to be nearly 100 years ago. You can take the Richardson Highway and follow the signs for the Old Valdez.
3. Hike around the Valdez Lake & Valdez Glacier
It is an easy 0.9-mile hike and a well-marked hike from the parking lot, and you can see the glacier in the distance. The views of the mountains, the lake, and the glacier are amazing here. I visited on a rainy day, and it made the landscape even more dramatic.
You can see features on the mountains that indicate past ice levels forming valleys. The glacier actually used to be visible from the lakeshore, before the ice receded enough to move it out of view. You can hike around the lake to catch amazing views and take beautiful pictures.
4. Walk around the Valdez Harbor
Valdez is a small harbor town, and you can just park your car and walk around the harbor, visit the marina with some beautiful fishing boats, admire the cute buildings, and at the end of the day, you will see many wild rabbits enjoying some fresh grass around the town.
You can also find my very detailed travel guide for Valdez with more things to do.
DAY 4 Alaska Road Trip: Drive from Valdez to Fairbanks (with a stop at the North Pole)
- DRIVING: Today the driving is long – 364 miles in about 6.5 hours
- ACCOMMODATIONS: Best Accommodations in Fairbanks
- MUST-READ: Complete Travel Guide to Fairbanks
1. Catch some Waterfalls Along the Road
On day 4 of this Alaska road trip itinerary, make sure you plan extra time for your driving from Valdez to Fairbanks because they are a lot of awesome sights along the way.
On the way to Fairbanks, you will pass many waterfalls along the road. On the left side, you will pass the Horsetail Falls, and on your right side, the Bridal Veil Falls. If you want to admire the waterfalls and take some pictures, you can pull them off in the designated area.
NOTE: Stop along the Richardson Highway to see the duck flats. While driving North of Solomon Gutch in between Solomon Gutch and Keystone Canyon you can see many bald eagles, pay close attention when you see one, the second one will be very close.
2. Marvel with the beauty of Thompson Pass
On the drive from Valdez to Thompson Pass, you will notice that the views start to change, as you go up in the mountains and the views are absolutely stunning.
If you have more time to explore, you can find great hiking trails too. There are parking areas along the highway where you can pull off your car for better views and pictures. You will see some signs indicating photo opportunities that I recommend stopping in at least some of them.
Thompson Pass experiences 80 feet of snow accumulation per year, which makes this places the snowiest point in the United States.
NOTE: When snows the Thompson Pass may close the road, very few gas stations between so fill up the tank before you hit the road. Pay close attention to the weather conditions before you plan your driving here.
3. Hike to the Worthington Glacier
If it is not a rainy and cloudy day, you will see the Worthington Glacier from the road. The recreation site has a nice parking lot that costs $5 per vehicle. Here you can find bathrooms, a visitor center, and some hiking trails with lookout areas.
You can also normally hike to the glacier in about 45-60 min. It is a short well-marked trail and also, wheelchair access to a platform overlooking the glacier. The day I visited was snowing a lot, and the hiking trail to the glacier was closed for safety reasons.
4. Visit Santa at the North Pole
My next stop during my Alaska itinerary – and I have to be honest that I was extremely excited about – was the North Pole. I visited the Santa Claus House which is a huge gift shop with guess what? All Christmas amazing gifts, decorations, and more Christmas-themed things.
And the highlight of the visit is to see the real Santa Claus – (well, just look at my face and you will see that I really believed it). Going to the North Pole and not seeing Santa, is the same thing as going to Rome and not seeing the Pope!
Stop for a crepe and a coffee at the North Pole Creperia – it is honestly the BEST crepe and cappuccino I ever had in my life! I had the Nutella with strawberries and it was just phenomenal!
5. Arrive at Fairbanks and Start Chasing the Aurora Borealis
I recommend reserving at least 2 nights of your Alaska Itinerary in Fairbanks to increase your chance to see the Aurora Borealis, if you have 3-nights, even better! I also recommend, at least the first night, booking a tour with the local experts so you can learn about the right conditions to see the lights. Plus, they will help you to adjust the right settings on your camera to capture the best shots.
I closed a tour with Aurora Lodge View and they are great – from pick up from a hotel to the facilities where you can wait comfortably enjoying some hot chocolate and fresh cookies, and it is very educational too. You can stay warm inside and they will alert you when the lights appear, or you can keep warm by a fire outside and gaze at the sky for that special moment. They will guide you through the experience to catch the best Aurora Borealis in Fairbanks.
📷 You can check the Aurora tour prices and availability here!
NOTE: If the sky is clear, even if you don’t see the lights, set your camera for long exposure, and your camera may capture it – even if you don’t see it clearly with your eyes. This is exactly what I did and I couldn’t believe it. I recommend having a good camera such as a Sony Mirrorless, a tripod, and a trigger if you are really serious about capturing the Aurora Borealis.
📷 More Things to do in Fairbanks:
Fairbanks is one of the highlights of a 10-day Alaska Itinerary, and it has amazing things to do. Check my Ultimate Travel Guide of Fairbanks to find out the top 24 things to do in Fairbanks, plus where to eat, where to stay, and all the tips you need to explore this amazing place in Alaska.
🏨 Best Accommodations in Fairbanks:
- CAMPING | River’s Edge Resort is located on the banks of the Chena River
- BUDGET | Billie’s Backpackers Hostel has great reviews, with a shared lounge area and sun terrace and free Wi-Fi
- MID-RANGE | Pike’s Waterfront Lodge has a great restaurant featuring Alaskan cuisine and has great waterfront views
- BEST RATED | A Taste of Alaska Lodge is an excellent option, with a great location, delicious buffet breakfast, and great service.
DAY 5 Alaska Itinerary: Spend this day Exploring Fairbanks
1. Visit the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Viewpoint
My first stop on day 5 of my Alaska itinerary, was a quick self-visit, and educational too, was the pipeline. The trans-Alaska pipeline spans 800 miles to reach the refineries, crossing the Alaskan wilderness, mountain ranges, earthquake zones, and rivers – and Fairbanks is a great place to see some of the 420 miles of the elevated pipeline.
Here you can find information displays explaining more about one of the world’s engineering marvels and an example of a pig, the device used to clean and inspect inside the pipelines. Imagine that every hour, more than a million dollars of oil flows through these pipes!
2. Visit the Alaska Museum of North
The next stop on this Alaska Itinerary is to visit the Alaska Museum of North. I love how they are able to tell the story of Alaska with a mix of places, wildlife, people, and culture. From the Alaska Native days and customs to the most recent days.
I was able to learn a lot about this fascinating and diverse state, so I recommend you reserve a few hours of your day in Fairbanks to visit the museum.
3. Have Fun at the Chena Hot Springs
This is one of the highlights in Fairbanks and also, a must-visit! You can choose to book your lodge here, as you can find many attractions, and it is also one of the best places to see the Northern Lights in Fairbanks, or you can plan to spend a half-day or a full-day visit.
The hot springs are a great outdoor pool with mineral spring water that rises from the earth at 165 degrees Fahrenheit and you will see people just soaking and relaxing here. You can pay $15 to use it, even if you are not staying at the resort.
Here you can also find restaurants, an indoor pool, many activities such as ATV and snowmobiling tours, and many hiking trails. You can also take a tour at the Chena Kennel and the guide teaches all about the Alaskan Huskies you can also pet the beautiful dogs and play with the puppies.
📷 You can also go on a tour from Fairbanks to the Chena Hot Springs – check prices and availability here.
4. Enjoy a visit too the Aurora Ice Museum
The Aurora Ice Museum is also located inside the Chena Hot Springs Resort, and you can buy a ticket there for $15 for a tour inside the museum, where you have the opportunity to see the artists creating the ice sculptures. For another $15 you get to try their appletini served on guess what? An iced glass.
The ice museum is pretty amazing with a bar, sitting area, and lots of amazing sculptures all created from over 1,000 tons of ice and snow – the tour takes about 45 minutes and it is open all year long.
5. Explore the Pioneer Park
Another great place to visit while in Fairbanks is Pioneer Park. I was surprised I was the only person visiting the park that day, as I thought it was pretty intriguing to learn that the 100-year-old historic village was featured with the original buildings moved from downtown Fairbanks, as well as the museums and even a Gold Rush town street.
The park opened in 1967 as a celebration of the 100th anniversary of Alaska’s purchase from Russia. It is a great place to learn about the history and to stroll around and imagine Alaska in the early years. Here you can also find a theme park, with a train that runs inside the park, restaurants, shops and the entrance is free.
DAY 6: Drive from Fairbanks to Denali, with overnight in Talkeetna
- DRIVING: Today the driving is 123 miles in about 2.5 hours
- ACCOMMODATIONS: Click here for accommodations in Talkeetna
- MUST-READ: Ultimate Guide How to Visit Denali National Park
1. Go Hiking and Wildlife Views at the Denali National Park
Denali National Park is one of the highlights of any Alaska road trip Itinerary, and is home to the tallest mountain in North America – Mt. McKinley. Within the park, there is a lot of wildlife and vast, unspoiled wilderness with glacier rivers, and tundra and all of this is surrounded by mesmerizing peaks! There are amazing things to doing Denali National Park and here you will find also amazing hiking trails to explore.
The National Park Bus Service is the best option to visit Denali, as they offer access to 92 miles inside the park, with great opportunities for wildlife views. It operates from May to mid-September. Check here for more information.
Even during the summer, private vehicles have limited access to the park. The only option for going into the interior of the park is the National Park Bus Service. This is one of the ways the park is preserved in its natural state.
If you visit the park during the shoulder season or wintertime, access to the park is VERY LIMITED! Don’t get me wrong, the park is still worth a visit, and the views are absolutely awe-inspiring. I was able to drive the single road 15 miles inside the park for some amazing views. I did the Mountain View hiking which is easy with stunning views.
NOTE: When planning your Alaska Itinerary, make sure you plan your visit to Denali in advance, considering that what you will see and do, will depend on when you are visiting it, so you don’t set your expectations so high. I visited it during shoulder season, which means, I could only drive the 15 miles inside the park, and the bus service was not operating – therefore, the access was very restricted with only a few access to the hiking trails. Read here for a complete guide on how to visit Denali National Park.
2. Hike the Horseshow Lake Trail
Just inside Denali Park, I did the Horseshoe Lake Trail hiking, which I really recommend too with a beautiful trail overlooking a lake.
The trail is only 2 miles and takes about 2 hours and the most exciting part for me was near the mid-way point, on the east side of the loop, you can hike a short spur to overlook a beaver dam. This was the first time I saw a beaver dam and it was one of the coolest things I saw during my 10 days Alaska itinerary.
If you are looking to spend more time in the park, you will find up to 20 hiking trails in Denali, from easy and short hikes to some backcountry trails, with the opportunity to go camping.
3. Drive to Talkeetna
On the drive from Denali to Talkeetna, make sure to stop at the North View Point and then, the South View Point on Parks Highway (AK 3) to see the highest peak, Mt. Denali – both locations are a must-stop and the views are breathtaking and very different landscape. Each of these viewpoints has telescopes to take a close-up look at the mountains on the horizon.
After a full day of exploration in Denali, plus the mesmerizing driving with a few stops along the road for pictures, I got to Talkeetna for some delicious dinner and drinks at the Denali Brewpub.
📷 More Things to do in Denali National Park
If you have more time to explore Denali, you can easily spend at least 2-full days here, as you you can also add the following to your Alaska itinerary:
- Complete Guide for Things to do in Denali National Park
- Complete Guide for Things to do in Talkeetna
- Take a bus tour: This tour bus is narrated by a trained naturalist, with a very informative trip into the park.
- Go on a backcountry safari: You can go on a 3.5-hour off-road 4-wheel safari adventure in Denali National Park
- ATV Adventure: This tour gives you the chance to get dirty and ride for 3.5-hour in Denali National Park
- Camping inside Denali National Park: If you are feeling adventurous, you can camp inside the park
- White-water rafting: I didn’t do it, but I wish I did after I visited the Nenana river and see how awesome this adventure should have been.
🏨 Best Accommodations in Talkeetna:
- CAMPING | Talkeetna Camper Park offers a full service for RV setup, with 35 camping spots
- BUDGET | Meandering Moose Lodging is located in a very beautiful setting, and it is a great option if you are traveling on a budget.
- MID-RANGE | Talkeetna Roadhouse is a classic in Talkeetna, with an excellent location
- BEST RATED | Willow Cabin is just WOW! rated as Exceptional with 10 stars by the guest, this vacation home is a dreamy place to stay in Talkeetna.
DAY 7: Take a flightseeing in Denali and drive to Seward
- DRIVING: The driving from Talkeetna to Seward is long – 237 miles in about 4.5 hours
- ACCOMMODATIONS: Click here for accommodations in Seward
- MUST-READ: Ultimate Travel Guide to Talkeetna
1. Explore Talkeetna Village
Talkeetna was NOT really in my initial Alaska road trip Itinerary, but since I was able to explore Denali in a day, I decided to head to Talkeetna and it was the best decision! Talkeetna is situated just outside Denali National Park, and it is a classic artsy Alaskan village with great views of Mt. Denali (if you are at the right place and time!). This is one of the best places to catch a plane ride to explore the nearby glaciers and mountain ranges!
Also, walk around the village and take pictures of the historic buildings, grab a coffee at one of the cute cafes, walk by the river for outstanding views and visit the local shops and galleries. I just love the vibe and the laid-back lifestyle in Talkeetna, and I think you will too!
2. Fly above the Denali Mountains
I normally do not book very expensive tours when I travel, but since I didn’t get the chance to see much of Denali National Park I thought it would be a great opportunity to visit Denali’s highest peaks from above, and it was AMAZING! I truly recommend you add this to your 10-day Alaska Itinerary.
I booked a flight with this tour and it was worth every penny! being able to wind between the Denali peaks and feeling so small, is an experience of a lifetime. I booked a private flight, so I could really take advantage of getting the best window in the house and ask tons of questions from my pilot.
For 1 hour I could fly over rivers, glaciers, icefalls, and snow peaks of the Susitna Valley and the highlight was getting so close to the summit of Mt. Denali – it was just WOW!
🔎 You can check a complete article with all you need to know about taking a Denali flightseeing tour from Talkeetna.
3. Drive to Seward
The drive is long, but don’t you worry! This is another scenic road, with great views of mountains and the coast. You may even want to make some stops along the way for some pictures.
You will pass through Anchorage and take the scenic Seward Highway once again. Drive along the Cooke Inlet and Turnagain Arm – don’t forget to keep an eye out for Belugas 😉 – Following this itinerary, you will arrive in Seward in the later afternoon or early evening.
📷 More Things to do in Seward:
Check the 30 epic things to do in Seward, and if you have more time to explore Seward, you can also add the following to your Alaska itinerary:
- Alaska SeaLife Center: This facility was built with funds from the 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill and serves to remind visitors of the importance of understanding and maintaining Alaska‘s marine ecosystem
- Kayak Trip: Go on an amazing kayak trip on the Resurrection Bay
- Helicopter Tour: See from above the unique Kenai Fjords National park and land on Godwin Glacier
🏨 Best Accommodation in Seward:
- CAMPING | Seward KOA is where I stayed and loved it! Great facilities and an amazing location!
- BUDGET | Exit Glacier Lodge is located near the Exit Glacier with free Wi-fi, a restaurant, and a bar.
- MID-RANGE | Arctic Paradise B&B has a great location with a full Alaskan breakfast served in the room
- BEST RATED | Glacier Creek Lodging is the best-rated accommodation in Seward, with a great breakfast included
DAY 8 Alaska Itinerary: Boat day tour on Kenai Fjords National Park
- ACCOMMODATIONS: Click here for accommodations in Seward
- MUST-READ: Ultimate Travel Guide to Seward
- MUST-READ: Check Ultimate Guide to the Exit Glacier
1. Take a Boat Tour on the Kenai Peninsula
The Alaska itinerary today is dedicated to a day on the boat at the Kenai Penisula.
A visit to Alaska is not completed if you don’t take a boat tour on the Kenai Peninsula. This was also one of the highlights of my Alaska Itinerary. The landscape here is so unreal, and something you can truly only see in Alaska.
The whole tour takes about 6 hours in the Fjords, where we could see lush forests towering walls of rock, icebergs, glaciers, and very abundant wildlife such as whales, seals, sea otters, and sea lions, and a large variety of birds.
Lunch is included on the tour, and there is a cafeteria where you can buy hot chocolate and coffee (and cans of beer). The staff is very helpful, and the captain did an amazing job explaining all about the Fjords and wildlife – I found this was a great opportunity for not only an amazing tour but also, to learn more about the Kenai Fjords.
📷 Check here for the Kenai Fjords tour for prices and availability
2. Explore Seward Downtown
If you still have the energy to explore around after spending the day on the boat, you can explore Seward Downtown.
Seward is my favorite town that I visited during my road trip in Alaska. It is small, located on the gorgeous Kenai peninsula, and it offers great views from the mountains and the shore from different parts of the town.
Park your car and just stroll around the old downtown, and visit the many local shops, breweries, and cute cafes. Walk by the Waterfront Park.
DAY 9 Alaska Road Trip: Hiking to the Harding Icefield
- DRIVING: 1 hour
- ACCOMMODATIONS: Click here for accommodations in Seward
- MUST-READ: Ultimate Guide on How to Hike Harding Icefield
1. Hike the Amazing Harding Icefield
If you also choose to hike the Harding Icefield Trail, reserve a whole day of your 10-day Alaska Itinerary for this activity.
The round-trip hike is 8.2 miles with 1,000 ft of elevation gain per mile, summiting at 3,512 feet. It may take less time depending on the conditions of the hiking trail. But I did the hiking in a little over 7 hours considering that I got a lot of mud, ice, and snow and the hiking path was not well-market because it was covered in snow.
My advice to you? Please do this hike! But please, read this article first to make sure you are prepared! This hiking trail is insanely beautiful, and honestly one of the most beautiful hikes I have ever done in my life. Wear good hiking boots and layers. Alpine poles are recommended to deal with the snowy, icy, and muddy sections of the trail.
The Harding Icefield is located in Kenai Fjords National Park, and the views from any point of this hike are just incredible! I didn’t see many people during my hike, and you can really feel the peace and solitude of the mountains. But just be Bear Aware! I didn’t see any bears, but the day before, a solo female hiker saw a black bear just 10 ft from her.
There is 1 trail to the top and the same trail on the descent. You can choose how far you go and you can turn around at any time.
If you choose not to hike all the way to the Harding Icefield, you have 2 other options:
- Marmot Meadows: A little over 1 mile into the trail, this offshoot will path take you to little platform areas where you can see Exit Glacier
- The Cliffs are the halfway point to the Harding Icefield. It offers fantastic views of Exit Glacier and the tongue of Harding Icefield.
After hiking, I was exhausted, and I just went straight to have dinner in town and crashed for the evening, dead tired but exhilarated.
NOTE: If you choose NOT TO HIKE the Harding Icefield hiking during your 10-day Alaska itinerary, you can choose many other awesome activities to do in Seward that I have listed in this article. You have plenty of options for things to do in Seward, and you are not going to get bored.
DAY 10 Alaska Road Trip: Exit Glacier Hike & Drive back to Anchorage
- DRIVING: The drive from Seward to Anchorage is 127 miles in 2.5 hours, but can take longer with road construction.
- ACCOMMODATIONS: Click here for accommodations in Seward
- MUST-READ: Check Ultimate Guide to the Exit Glacier
1. Exit Glacier Hike
The final day of this 10-day Alaska itinerary couldn’t end more perfectly, hiking the stunning Exit Glacier. The hike to Exit Glacier is short and easy, starting from the Parking lot you will see the National Park Visitor Center, and the trail is very well marked.
You will see signs with numbers along the road and during your hike – the numbers are a reference to the year the Exit Glacier terminated. Exit Glacier is retreating very quickly and before visitors were able to get very close to it, but now, the end of the trail takes you to the closest point…
The views are still spectacular but it is sad to learn how fast it is melting.
2. Drive Back from Seward to Anchorage
On this last day of this amazing Alaska 10 days itinerary, enjoy the scenic drive from Seward to Anchorage and opt to stop at different places if you have time.
If you still have some time you can also visit Portage Lake and the Chugach State Park – located in Southcentral Alaska mostly within the Municipality of Anchorage. The park contains approximately 495,000 acres of land and is one of the four largest state parks in the United States. Here you can find many hiking trails to explore.
More Alaska Road Trip Itinerary Ideas
5 DAYS IN ALASKA ROAD ITINERARY (Option 1)
- Day 1: Arrive in Anchorage and explore the city
- Day 2: Visit museums or go hike in Anchorage | Visit the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
- Day 3: Take the Alaska Railroad from Anchorage to Denali
- Day 4: Spend the day in Denali
- Day 5: Take the train back to Anchorage | Fly home
5 DAYS IN ALASKA ROAD TRIP ITINERARY (Option 2)
- Day 1: Arrive in Anchorage and visit the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center | Or go hiking
- Day 2: Take a scenic drive to Seward (Portage Pass hike en route)
- Day 3: Option 1: Hike the Harding Icefield hike (strenuous) | Option 2: Hike the Exit Glacier(easy hike)+ explore Seward
- Day 4: Go on a Kenai cruise for whale and wildlife views and glacier
- Day 5: Drive back to Anchorage, fly home
7 DAYS IN ALASKA ROAD TRIP ITINERARY
- OPTION 1: Do this Alaska itinerary, but remove Fairbanks
- OPTION 2: Do this Alaska itinerary, but remove Valdez
- OPTION 3: Do this Alaska itinerary and remove Fairbanks and Valdez and add a few days to explore Denali National Park
15+ DAYS IN ALASKA ROAD TRIP ITINERARY
- OPTION 1: Do this itinerary and add Home after you explore Seward
- OPTION 2: Do this itinerary and add more days in Denali National Park or any other place where you can explore more activities, such as Seward
- OPTION 3: Do this itinerary and add a flight to Juneau for a few days. A flight from Anchorage is about 1:30 and it costs around $300.
Practical Information for Planning your Alaska Road Trip
Planning a Road Trip to Alaska
If you are going to travel to Alaska, pre-planning, researching, and understanding what you are looking for in a destination will help make your travels far more successful and safe. Here is some further information I think you might need to plan your 10-day Alaska itinerary:
- Where to Stay in Alaska: 7 Top Towns + Hotel Guide
- Bucket List in Alaska: 22 Top Experiences
- Complete pack list for Alaska + Printable
- How to visit Valdez, Alaska
- How to visit Fairbanks, Alaska
- How to visit Seward, Alaska
- How to visit Talkeetna, Alaska
- How to visit Anchorage, Alaska
- How to visit Denali National Park
- How to Hike Exit Glacier
- How to Hike Harding Icefield
- How to take a ferry from Whittier to Valdez
- Best Denali Flightseeing Tours
Travel Insurance for a Road Trip in Alaska
Travel insurance is as essential to travel as having your accommodations and plane tickets. While some may view it as a contingency for the “just in case” scenarios, that the unexpected can, and does, happen.
In today’s ever-shifting landscape, it’s clear that if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel. It’s the smart and responsible choice, ensuring that your adventures remain memorable for the right reasons, rather than marred by unexpected hurdles.
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How Much Does It Cost a 10-Day Road Trip to Alaska?
I have to start by saying that Alaska is not a cheap and budget-friendly destination, and how much a trip to Alaska will cost will vary a lot. It depends on your travel style and the season that you visit Alaska.
The first thing to plan your budget for your 10-day Alaska Itinerary is planning the length of time you will need to visit Alaska use the table below for cost estimates:
|ESTIMATED COST/ PER DAY|
|FLIGHTS TO ALASKA||$400 – $700 – per person|
|LODGING||$200 – $400 – per night|
|CAMPING SITES||$30 – $50 – per night|
|CAR RENTAL||$110 + per day|
|RV RENTAL||$134 per day|
|GAS||$3.60 – $4.00 per gallon|
|FOOD AT RESTAURANT||$20 – $35 – per person|
|COOK YOUR OWN MEALS (GROCERY ESTIMATES)||$10 – $20 – per person|
TOURS AND ATTRACTIONS: Consider that you will also want to do some tours in Alaska, you can spend a little more or a lot more if you choose to go on activities such as helicopter flights, airplanes, private tours, etc. Check here for the Best Tours worth paying for in Alaska.
What to Pack for your 10-Day Alaska Road Trip?
You need to plan the right packing for your trip to Alaska. Make sure you are prepared, considering the season and the activities you are planning to do. I prepared a whole article on What to pack for Alaska in summer and winter, plus you can find an awesome Printable Packing List here too, but just some quick tips:
- Pack layers are the best you can do!
- Bring some warm pants, you can check the best Warm leggings in the market
- Pack rain gear – you don’t want to get soaked wet while exploring
- Make sure to pack a warm jacket – check my review guide on the Top Jackets for Travel
- A hat, gloves, and scarf can’t go wrong, even in summer.
- Bring good quality sturdy hiking shoes.
- Leave your fancy shoes and cute dresses at home. You won’t need them in Alaska 😉
- If you are planning to pack on a backpack, check this Best Backpacks for Travel
CLICK HERE: Packing List for Alaska + FREE Printable
Alaska Road Trip Itinerary Conclusion
I hope you have found this Alaska road trip itinerary helpful and that you have the chance to explore the Last Frontier State. You will fall in love – just like I did – with the beauty, the wild nature, and the breathtaking views. Check out these fun and interesting facts about Alaska too, if you’re looking to learn more about this amazing state.
Also, consider reviewing some essential winter road trip tips before you go.
It doesn’t matter if you have 10 days to explore Alaska on a road trip, or if you have more time, you will be able to enjoy this unique place on our Planet. Next time, I want to go back during summertime, to be able to enjoy other activities that I couldn’t do on my first visit, such as hike and camping in Denali National Park.
If you have any further questions, please drop me a message below and I will be very happy to help.
Safe travels, and keep healthy everyone!
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