Alaska’s Northern Lights & Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race®

An Alaskan Adventure

  • Date

    March 4-13, 2020 | Wed / Fri – 10 Days

  • Location

    Anchorage, Whittier, Willow, Talkeetna, Fairbanks, Chena Hot Springs

Ambassadair Trip #7957


NEW TRIP!

Overview

It’s like no other event in the world: nearly 1,000 miles of the most extreme and beautiful terrain Mother Nature has to offer. And you can be there at the start of the most famous sled dog race — the historic Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race®. Then set off in search of the northern lights with exciting adventures and breathtaking views along the way. After all the excitement of the race activities, unwind in the quirky outpost of Talkeetna, where a lack of city lights and more northerly latitude enhance chances for views of the northern lights, and at Chena Hot Springs Resort, located under one of the most active bands of aurora activity.

Do you want to enhance your Iditarod experience? Consider volunteering to be a dog handler at the ceremonial start in Anchorage or watch the start from the very best vantage point; in the sled of your favorite musher, powered by a team of four-legged Iditarod athletes! Details on volunteering become available in October/November and can be found at www.iditarod.com/resources/volunteers. For information on being an IditRider, visit www.iditarodauction.com. Bidding will open November 1 with minimum bids starting at $500. The IditaRider Musher Auction’s main purpose is to help fund the race.

HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE

  • 2 nights at Chena Hot Springs Resort with opportunity to see the northern lights
  • Glacier cruise to the face of two tidewater glaciers
  • Aurora Winter Train from Talkeetna to Fairbanks
  • Dog mushing experience
  • Ceremonial and official starts of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race
  • Attend the Mushers Banquet
  • Visit the headquarters of the Iditarod
  • Mountain side accommodations at Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge

PACKAGE INCLUDES

  • Escorted
  • 8 nights hotel accommodations
  • Breakfast daily
  • 1 lunch, 3 dinners
  • Sightseeing and admissions per itinerary
  • Ground transportation
  • Hotel baggage handling

NOTE: This itinerary includes activities where moderate walking, possibly on uneven terrain and/or snow and ice, is required.

Itinerary

Wed, Mar 4: Arrive in Anchorage, Alaska. Check in to the Hilton Anchorage for four nights.

Thu, Mar 5: Travel to Willow to visit an Iditarod team kennel and ride along trails that have trained multiple winning teams. Meet the dogs and learn how they are hooked up before heading out on the trail for a 5-7 mile ride, stopping for photos along the way. Spend the afternoon at leisure getting to know Anchorage. Be sure to check out the Fur Rendezvous, a winter festival with many truly unique events! This evening, mingle with mushers and other race enthusiasts at the Iditarod gala known as the Mushers Banquet. Watch as the starting places are drawn, enjoy dinner, and celebrate “The Last Great Race.” (Meals: Breakfast, Dinner)

Fri, Mar 6: Travel along the scenic Turnagain Arm to the town of Whittier for an amazing glacier cruise to the face of two tidewater glaciers, Beloit and Blackstone. See the numerous waterfalls and hanging glaciers as you cruise among the sheer cliff walls, wide glacier out wash streams, and deep groves scoured in the rock walls. You may also get a glimpse of sea otters and harbor seals that make their home in this part of the sound. Return to Anchorage for an evening at leisure. (B)

Sat, Mar 7: Mingle with race fans and mushers on 4th Avenue at the ceremonial start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race®. Experience the excitement as more than 60 mushers and 800 dogs begin their trip to Nome. Visit the Alaska Native Heritage Center to learn about Alaska’s indigenous cultures and traditional ways of life through interactive displays, shows, and five outdoor villages that showcase the different native groups. Tonight, enjoy dinner at a local restaurant. (B,D)

Sun, Mar 8: Travel north to Willow to see the official start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. A tradition since 1973, the race follows the Iditarod Trail, a dogsled highway that was designed in the 1920s to transport supplies and medicine. Visit the Iditarod Race Headquarters then travel to Talkeetna. Check in to the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge, set on a ridge just above town and offering majestic views of the tallest peak in North America — Denali! Be sure to keep an eye to the sky for an opportunity to view the aurora borealis (northern lights). (B)

Mon, Mar 9: Visit the Walter Harper Talkeetna Ranger Station, where every climber must check in before heading off to climb the 20,310-foot Denali. The station features historical information, climbing gear used by mountaineers years ago, and a film detailing what it’s like for climbers who brave the brutal conditions on the slopes of Denali. Next, visit the Talkeetna Historical Society Museum, with exhibits detailing a very personal history of native peoples, aviators, gold seekers, and trappers who became an important part of the town’s past. Partake in activities available at the lodge or explore the town. Perhaps you’ll want to book a snowmobile tour, hike, or simply enjoy the view as you relax next to the 46-foot river rock fireplace in the lodge. (B,L)

Tue, Mar 10: Depart on the Aurora Winter Train for Fairbanks, arriving in the evening. Traverse the Alaska Range and enjoy stunning views of panoramic vistas, wildlife, river valleys, and rocky gorges. On clear days, you may even see an incredible view of Denali. Transfer to Chena Hot Springs Resort for a two-night stay. (B)

Wed, Mar 11: Soak in the natural hot springs, visit the on-site Aurora Ice Museum, and consider the variety of optional activities available from flightseeing and snowmobiling to cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Tonight, book an optional snowcoach tour or walk up the hill to the Aurorium, a heated log cabin with large, northeast-facing windows, to view the northern lights (conditions permitting). (B)

Thu, Mar 12: Transfer to Fairbanks and visit the World Ice Art Championships, an astonishing array of ice sculptures. One of the largest annual ice art competitions and exhibitions worldwide, the event involves over 70 teams from all over the world. The ice is harvested from the on-site pond, which easily yields more than four million pounds of “Arctic Diamond” ice — exceptionally clear, thick ice. Enjoy a Farewell Meal before departing for home (overnight flight). (B,D)

Fri, Mar 13: Arrive home.

Hotels

Hilton Anchorage, Anchorage. Located in the heart of downtown Anchorage and steps away from the Iditarod starting point, the Hilton Anchorage has an extensive Alaskan art collection and guest rooms have magnificent views of the Chugach Mountain Range, Cook Inlet or the city. Highlights: in-room coffee/tea maker • Wi-Fi Internet access (fees apply) • restaurant • bar • indoor pool • fitness center.

Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge, Talkeetna. Here, it’s all about the view! Built atop a high bluff, the lodge overlooks the Susitna River Valley and surveys the entire Alaska Range, with Denali right in the middle. The lodge tastefully blends upscale elegance with an authentic Alaskan twist, incorporating local materials. Highlights: in-room coffee/tea maker • mini refrigerator • complimentary WiFi internet access • restaurant • lounge • hiking trails.

Chena Hot Springs Resort, Chena. Located 61 miles north of Fairbanks, this century-old rustic lodge offers basic accommodations and is best known for its natural hot springs and great aurora viewing. Set in the wilderness, the resort offers an impressive list of optional activities including dog sledding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, winter gear rentals, and snowcoach aurora viewing tours. Highlights: in-room coffee/tea maker • Internet access (fees apply) • restaurant • bar • indoor pool • outdoor natural hot spring. Note: Cellular and/or Internet service and TV viewing may be limited.

Pricing

  • Land Only
  • Double P/P – $3,179
  • Single – $3,899

* Subject to change due to fuel surcharge.

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