Set sail aboard the National Geographic Sea Bird or National Geographic Sea Lion on a remarkable journey to Alaska’s Inside Passage and British Columbia, and experience the extraordinary biodiversity and cultural riches of the Haida Gwaii archipelago. Encounter ancient totem poles, and kayak or cruise in motorized landing craft along wild shores shrouded with old-growth forest. Continue to the dramatic fjords and inland waterways of southeastern Alaska's Tongass National Forest, on the lookout for orcas, humpback whales, and Steller sea lions. Then listen for the thunder of calving glaciers while exploring the stunning wilderness of Glacier Bay National Park.
This trip is offered in partnership with Lindblad Expeditions.
Arrive in Seattle in the afternoon and embark our ship. The next day, cruise amid the lush Gulf Islands in the Strait of Georgia—which runs between mainland British Columbia and Vancouver Island—and search for some of the many marine mammals that inhabit these waters.
In the village of Alert Bay, visit the U’Mista Cultural Centre to watch a traditional performance by the Kwakwaka’wakw people and learn firsthand about their culture. Visit Johnstone Strait, one of the Northern Hemisphere’s foremost viewing areas for orcas. Then head north along unspoiled coastline, looking for dolphins, bears, deer, and other wildlife. We’ll stop to explore the area’s many bays and inlets by kayak and on foot.
By special permission, enjoy four days to discover the wildlife and cultural sites of the Haida Gwaii archipelago, known as the Canadian Galápagos. Our ship is the only expedition vessel with access to these incredible islands, and a Haida interpreter will join us for this portion of the expedition. Visit the Haida Heritage Centre at Kay Llnagaay to learn the symbolism and spiritual significance of native art and textiles. In the town of Old Massett, take part in a traditional dance performance, followed by a feast with local artisans and other community hosts. In magnificent Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve gaze up at the totem poles of SGang Gwaay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and discover the archipelago’s rich biodiversity—including a host of endemic species—while exploring by expedition landing craft.
Spend three days encountering spectacular scenery and wildlife in Alaska’s famed Inside Passage. Explore the forested backwaters of Misty Fiords National Monument by kayak or expedition landing craft. Go ashore to visit the charming fishing village of Petersburg, and explore the surrounding area on a forest walk or on an optional bicycle ride or flightseeing excursion. Cruise and kayak past the glacially carved cliffs of Tracy or Endicott Arm—both spectacular fjords that harbor orcas, humpback whales, and Steller sea lions. See the soaring Dawes or South Sawyer Glacier up close and take a cruise on an expedition landing craft for unparalleled views of sculpted incandescent icebergs.
Spend a full day among the enormous glaciers and expansive wilderness of Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. A national park ranger joins us to interpret the area geology and ecosystems, and a native Tlingit interpreter will share the lore and legend of the area. Then, by special US Forest Service permit, spend two days kayaking and hiking among incredible wildlife around the Inian Islands and Chichagof Island. Conditions permitting, we'll lower the ship's hydrophone to listen for whale communications. Enjoy a farewell dinner on our final night.
In Sitka, visit Saint Michael’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral, and see rehabilitated eagles up close at the Alaska Raptor Center. Transfer to the airport for your flight home.
- Denali National Park Extension6 days from $6,350
Extend your coastal Alaska expedition and head inland to explore the wilds of Denali National Park & Preserve. Enjoy exclusive access to Denali’s pristine backcountry and choose from a range of daily activities, paced for all endurance levels. Return to Anchorage via the historic Alaska Railroad, riding the rails through spectacular mountain landscapes.
Arrive in Fairbanks and transfer to your waterfront hotel. This evening, meet your fellow travelers for dinner.
Begin your day with a visit to the University of Alaska Museum of the North, featuring exhibits on the culture and history of the state’s diverse regions. Later, set out along a wilderness drive to North Face Lodge, located near the end of the highly restricted Denali Park Road—off limits to private vehicles. Traveling in the lodge’s bus, we will enjoy prime opportunities to spot Denali’s “big five” in the surrounding landscape: grizzly bears, moose, caribou, wolves, and Dall sheep. Tuck into a hearty picnic-style dinner on the bank of the East Fork River before arriving at your lodge, nestled deep in the Denali wilderness.
Over the next three days, immerse yourself in the wilds of Denali as you explore the various trail systems of its backcountry. On hiking excursions customized for a range of activity levels, venture into deep pine forests and across vast open tundra, and scan the scenery for wildlife, including golden eagles, foxes, ptarmigans, and more. In the evenings, curl up by a roaring fire for expert presentations on Denali’s natural and cultural history, with topics ranging from tundra ecology to the various uses of natural resources.
In addition to guided hikes, our lodge offers a series of educational programs, including wildlife drives and interpretive walks with naturalists. Self-guided fly-fishing, mountain biking, and canoeing on Wonder Lake are also available, as well as optional add-on flight seeing. Or, simply relax on the lodge porch, enjoying unparalleled views of Denali’s snow-capped peak.
After an early breakfast, return to the entrance of the park, arriving at the train depot in time to board the historic Alaska Railroad, bound for Anchorage. Head to the dining car to enjoy lunch, dinner, and a farewell drink. Much of your route traverses remote, inaccessible areas and provides a different experience than the highway. Transfer to our hotel and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure in Alaska’s largest city.
This morning fly to either Sitka or Juneau to begin your Alaska voyage.