We’ve collaborated with Tutka Bay Lodge and Winterlake Lodge—sister properties of the Within the Wild company—to design this six-night itinerary exclusively for National Geographic. The package includes seaplane flights between the two lodges, as well as ferry, ground, and air transfers to and from the Anchorage airport, all meals, and a wide selection of excursions that can be tailored to fit your interests.
Meet your driver in Anchorage for the transfer to nearby Lake Hood, and catch a floatplane to Winterlake Lodge. During the hour-long flight, take in views of three distinct mountain ranges. After settling into your cabin, set out to explore Finger Lake and the surrounding trails. For lunch, savor the wild flavors of the region, then go on an afternoon saddle hike that features views of the rugged Tordrillo Mountains and the Skwentna River Valley. Back at the lodge, unwind with a yoga class before appetizers and a three-course dinner. End the night with an unforgettable paddle on Winter Lake to spy loons, swans, and wildlife on shore.
Energize your morning with a yoga session if you wish. Then, after breakfast, join your guide on a helicopter excursion to explore the wilderness on your choice of the following adventures.
Heli-hiking: Fly to the summit of Wolverine Ridge or the surrounding mountains in the Tordrillo Range, then hike along the ridge and explore the tundra ecosystem. Watch for caribou, brown bears, and moose. At remote spots such as Lupine Falls and Glacier Ridge, revel in rare views of Trimble Glacier and colorful patches of blueberries and wildflowers.
Glacier Trekking: During your flight, spot dramatic glacial features—from meltwater pools and deep crevasses to moulins (vertical tube-like shafts)—and animals traversing moraines (landforms made of glacial sediment). Then touch down on the glacial landscape to explore on foot or with snowshoes or sleds.
Happy River Float: Fly to the rarely visited Happy River, a glacier-fed river with Class III rapids. With a guide, float through this tranquil gorge looking for bears, eagles, Dall sheep, and salmon.
Fly-Fishing: In the summer, land on a remote river, grab your gear (provided by the lodge) and follow a guide to secluded spots to fish for salmon or rainbow trout.
Return to the lodge for dinner, and enjoy time to soak in the hot tub or relax in the wood-fired sauna.
Rise early for a daybreak photo excursion with a private guide, and capture morning wildlife activity and the surrounding mountains aglow at dawn. Return to the lodge for breakfast, and then hike down an old trail once used by fur trappers to reach Red Lake, spotting wildlife along the way. Trace the shores in a canoe, and paddle to the Iditarod trail, pausing to fish for grayling if you wish. On your way back, forage for wild berries in an old-growth boreal forest. Challenge yourself on a strenuous hike up Wolverine Ridge, or return to the lodge for lunch and an afternoon of relaxation—enjoying a complimentary massage, joining a stretch class, or exploring with a guide on a stand-up paddleboard. Meet back in the kitchen to learn a new recipe starring Alaskan ingredients. Tonight, take a motorboat out on the lake to watch for the northern lights or practice your fly-fishing cast.
After morning yoga and breakfast, say goodbye to Winterlake and fly south by floatplane to the Kenai Peninsula. After settling in to your cabin at Tutka Bay Lodge, meet with your guide to plan the day’s adventures. Walk on the lodge trails through an old-growth Sitka spruce forest; hike to Tutka Lake to forage and take in views of the surrounding peaks; or sea kayak from the lodge to the Herring Islands to spot otters, whales, seals, and eagles. After lunch—a celebration of local wild flavors—take a boat ride to the neighboring bay to visit an oyster farm, where you can learn how oysters and mussels are raised in the cold Alaskan waters and taste them fresh from the water. Later, head to the kitchen for a cooking class and try your hand at a recipe by award-winning chef and lodge owner Kirsten Dixon. After a private three-course dinner in a repurposed crabbing boat, join the lodge manager on a marine safari. During low tide, head to the beach to admire sea stars and learn about the 13 intertidal zones of Kachemak Bay.
After breakfast, choose to go deep-sea fishing in Kachemak Bay or join a bear-viewing excursion on the Katmai Peninsula.
Bear Viewing: Take a water taxi to Homer and embark on scenic one-hour flight, getting a bird’s-eye view of glaciers, volcanoes, and the rugged coastlines of Katmai National Park and Lake Clark National Park. Land on a remote beach, and hike into an area with one of the highest densities of wild Alaskan bears anywhere. Depending on the time of year, you might observe bears as they graze on sedge grass, dig up clams, play together, court, rest, or fish.
Deep Sea Fishing: The deep, pristine waters of Kachemak Bay are home to one of the most productive fisheries in the world, thanks to intense tidal fluctuations. Fish for salmon and halibut (all gear provided) and listen to stories about the region from your local guide. At the end of the day, your captain will clean and fillet your catch at the dock, which you can ship home or take to the lodge for the chefs to cook. Back at the lodge, relax in the sauna or hot tub or enjoy a complimentary massage.
After morning yoga and breakfast, hike one of the trails winding through Kachemak Bay State Park, or travel by boat with your guide to the Grewingk Glacier. View its exposed gravel field and hike to the lake to admire icebergs and the surrounding mountains. Pack a picnic or return to the lodge for lunch and further exploring. View marine life from a stand-up paddle board, or discover the beach tide pools on a guided walk. In the late evening light, look for whales and other sea life on a boat ride.
Glimpse the resident sea otters at low tide one last time before taking a water taxi back to Homer. There you can explore the scenic Homer Spit, a narrow finger of land that juts into Kachemak Bay. Transfer to the Homer airport to return to Anchorage.