7. From Anchorage: Portage Glacier and Wildlife Full-Day Tour
This full-day tour of the Turnagain Arm combines a drive along the scenic Seward Highway, a cruise to Portage Glacier, a visit to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center and a drive high into the Chugach Mountains. Start with a scenic drive along the Seward Highway down the Turnagain Arm of Cook Inlet, one of the most beautiful places on earth. You will stop in the most picturesque places for photo opportunities and to look out for Dall sheep and Beluga whales. Drive to Portage Glacier for a 1-hour boat trip on board the MV Ptarmigan. The vessel was built especially for the lake and the ride, even in inclement weather, is smooth. A National Park Service Ranger will come on board to explain the local eco-systems and glaciology. Hear how the mountains were pushed up from Oregon! On the way down the valley, pause to watch the salmon run in season. The salmon spawn in clear water in the same place they were born in order to start their life cycle all over again. They come back from the ocean after 4 to 6 years depending on the species. When the salmon are at their highest numbers, Beluga whale chase. Depending on the whim of the whales, you might see them from late July through mid-August. Next you will visit the remarkable Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. In summer, baby musk ox, bison, caribou, and moose will warm the heart of the toughest of men. You will have the opportunity to watch and hear the stories of endangered wood bison, Alaskan brown bear, black bear, moose, caribou/reindeer, lynx, an eagle, great horned owl, and even a porcupine. On your way back enjoy a side trip high into the Chugach Mountains through local neighborhoods for incredible panoramic views of four mountain ranges including Mt. McKinley (weather permitting), Cook Inlet and the city. Learn about local life high above Anchorage on what locals call "the hillside". Lunch will be at a local lodge after the Portage Glacier Cruise (not included in price). Your expert Alaskan guide will be on hand at all times to describe the phenomenal nature and ecological systems.