Embark the National Geographic Orion and explore the unique cultural heritage of the Bering Sea, where Russian, American, and Aleut influences intermingle on wild and remote isles. Sail the legendary Bering Strait en route to Provideniya, and glimpse traditions of the indigenous Yupik in this “Gateway to the Arctic.” Delve into the region’s fascinating World War II history in Unalaska, visit the incredible wildlife sanctuaries of Alaska’s Pribilof Islands, and spy brown bears on the Alaska Peninsula.
This trip is offered in partnership with Lindblad Expeditions.
Arrive in Anchorage and fly to Nome, where we embark the National Geographic Orion. Spend the next day at sea, and cross the legendary Bering Strait en route to Provideniya, Russia—known as “the gateway to the Arctic.” Weather permitting, we’ll stop at remote Little Diomede Island, located in the strait and home to a tiny Inupiat community.
Disembark in Provideniya to visit the local museum and witness a traditional Yupik dance performance. By special permission, spend the next several days exploring Alaska’s Pribilof Islands, a wildlife-lover’s paradise. Go ashore on St. Paul, home to the majority of the Pribilof’s more than half a million northern fur seals. Then see the cliffs of St. George from below, exploring on Zodiacs. Crowded with millions of birds, these rocky outcrops are home to one of the largest seabird colonies in the Northern Hemisphere. Spot horned and tufted puffins, red-legged kittiwakes, crested auklets, and rare Asian vagrant species seldom seen in North America.
Cruise into Dutch Harbor on the island of Unalaska—site of a Japanese air attack during World War II, and now an important fishing port for crab, salmon, and a range of other species. Continue to the Baby Islands, where dynamic tides offer the chance to spot sea otters and rare seabirds. We’ll watch for wildlife on deck and aboard Zodiacs before continuing along the eastern shore of the Alaska Peninsula.
Go ashore on Unga Island to explore the remains of a petrified forest of sequoia trees that were buried by a volcanic mudslide nearly 25 million years ago. Water has eroded the sediment over time, leaving pieces scattered along the island’s rocky shoreline. The next day, explore Katmai National Park and Preserve, known for its robust brown bear population. Seek out some of the resident brown bears, and photograph them from a safe distance as they fish for salmon and dig for clams.
The second largest island in the U.S., Kodiak has a unique cultural heritage that blends Russian, Alutiiq, and American influences. Join our undersea specialist for a dock walk to learn about the marine life found among the fishing boats anchored in Kodiak’s inner harbor. Then photograph the onion-domed Holy Resurrection Cathedral on a photo walk, or view native art and artifacts at the Alutiiq Museum. Later, explore one of the island’s outer bays by Zodiac.
We’ll spend the last full day of our trip cruising along the Kenai Peninsula. Take in views of the Harding Icefield—the source of nearly 40 glaciers—and search for wildlife along rocky coastal cliffs and in the surrounding waters. Arrive in Seward the following morning, and drive to Anchorage to connect with your flight home.
- Winterlake Lodge Extension4 days from $6,399
- Tutka Bay Lodge Extension4 days from $6,525
Delve into the breathtaking wilderness of the Alaska Range during a stay at Winterlake Lodge, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World. Fly by seaplane to this lakeside sanctuary set along the historic Iditarod Trail, and take advantage of abundant opportunities to explore the surrounding landscape, from fly-fishing in a secluded river to hiking across a glacier. Relax in the sauna or stroll along the lakeshore in the late evening sunlight after each day’s adventures.
Disembark in Anchorage and check in to our hotel. During a free afternoon, discover the region’s rich indigenous culture at the Alaska Native Heritage Center or stroll the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, keeping an eye out for moose and bald eagles.
Rise early this morning and transfer to Lake Hood, the world’s largest floatplane base. Board your floatplane and enjoy stunning views of three different mountain ranges on the short journey to the docks of Winterlake Lodge, a National Geographic Unique Lodge situated on a lakeshore deep in the Alaska Range. Start your morning with a guided hike on the lodge’s extensive trail system, and learn about the National Historic Iditarod Trail that runs through the property. After lunch, hike to an overlook offering views of the Tordrillo Mountains and the spectacular Skwentna River Valley. Enjoy a hearty dinner, followed by an evening kayaking excursion on Winter Lake.
Join an optional morning yoga session before heading out for a day of exploration by helicopter. Accompanied by an experienced guide, choose between a variety of different flightseeing and hiking excursions. Ascend by helicopter to the summit of Wolverine Ridge or a peak in the Tordrillo Range and spend the day hiking stark tundra landscapes or lush wildflower meadows. Fly to the banks of the Happy River to search for brown bears and their favorite food source, salmon. Land on the ice of a nearby glacier to hike past moulins, glacial pools, and dramatic crevasses, or choose to enjoy time fly-fishing in seldom seen rivers. Return to the lodge in the evening for a wine and cheese tasting, delicious dinner, and a relaxing soak in the hot tub.
Venture out for a guided morning hike along a trail once used by fur trappers. Arrive at the shores of Red Lake and paddle a canoe across the water, watching for moose, black bears, swans, and loons. Fish for grayling in the lake’s clear eddies, then disembark to explore the Iditarod Trail. Hike back to the lodge, foraging for wild berries along the way, and enjoy a massage or head out on a paddleboard to explore Winter Lake with an expert guide. This evening, try your hand at a cooking class featuring fresh Alaskan ingredients. Go for a stroll in the surrounding woods or practice your fly-fishing cast on the lakeshore after dinner.
After breakfast, meet your floatplane at the dock for the return flight to Anchorage, and then transfer to the airport to connect with your flight home.