Grand Alaska Part II: Anchorage, Denali Highway & Kenai Peninsula: Jun 19—27, 2017

Register for WaitlistTour Details

Price: $3,895
Departs: Anchorage
Tour Limit: 14
Operations Manager: Erik Lindqvist
Download Itinerary: PDF (188.9 KB)

Route Map


Tour Leaders


Kevin Zimmer

Kevin Zimmer has authored three books and numerous papers dealing with field identification ...


Rafael Galvez

Rafael Galvez has been birding and illustrating birds since childhood, a dual passion that d...

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Denali Highway, Alaska

Denali Highway, Alaska— Photo: Barry Zimmer

Focus on the many special breeding birds of south coastal and interior Alaska, with excellent opportunities for seeing many of Alaska’s iconic mammals, as well as some of the most spectacular scenery that the continent has to offer.

Part II of our Grand Alaska adventure focuses on the forested interior and southern coasts of Alaska. Our tour will begin in the Denali region, visiting both the National Park and the magnificent wilderness along the Denali Highway. This area features some of the most spectacular scenery on the continent, superb mammal viewing, and a host of special birds found in the boreal forest, taiga, and alpine habitats. Targeted species include Trumpeter Swan, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Spruce Grouse, Willow Ptarmigan, American Three-toed Woodpecker, Northern Shrike, Boreal Chickadee, Bohemian Waxwing, Arctic Warbler, Common Redpoll, and White-winged Crossbill (irregular) among others. A special effort will be made to locate the highly-sought Northern Hawk Owl which is present about half the years somewhere along the Denali Highway. The incredible mammal viewing may outshine the birds, however, as we have a good chance to see some of the glamour symbols of the far north—Grizzly Bear, Caribou, Moose, Dall’s Sheep, and perhaps even Gray Wolf.  There is also the chance of seeing Mount McKinley (North America’s tallest peak) from within the park, a sight never to be forgotten. Even if the peak itself is enshrouded in clouds, the scenery within the national park is worth the trip alone.

Trumpeter Swan

Trumpeter Swan— Photo: Kevin Zimmer


One full day will be spent in the Anchorage area itself. Here plentiful green space, city parks, and wetlands offer opportunities for such species as Pacific Loon, Red-necked Grebe, Spruce Grouse (uncommon), Bald Eagle, American Three-toed Woodpecker, Alder Flycatcher, and Boreal Chickadee. 

Then it is on to the Kenai Peninsula and Seward. The moist rainforests of the Kenai Peninsula yield a different avifauna than the interior with the ethereal notes of the Varied Thrush penetrating the spruce forests, brilliant Townsend’s Warblers singing from atop spruce trees, a family of American Dippers bobbing along a rapid stream, or a raspberry-colored Pine Grosbeak foraging along the roadside. Other possibilities include Trumpeter Swan, Rufous Hummingbird, Gray and Steller’s jays, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, and Pacific Wren. An all-day boat trip to Kenai Fjords National Park will offer spectacular scenery—immense ice fields, glaciers cutting into the sea, sheer-walled fjords, fog-draped spruce forests, and rugged headlands awash with nesting seabirds. Alcids are the primary attraction with such possibilities as Kittlitz’s, Marbled, and Ancient murrelets, Rhinoceros and Parakeet auklets, Pigeon Guillemot, Horned and Tufted puffins, and Common and Thick-billed (scarce) murres competing with Red-faced (rare) and Pelagic cormorants, scoters, Black Oystercatchers, and various gulls for our attention. Marine mammal viewing is typically superb, with excellent chances for seeing Humpback Whale, Orca, Dall’s Porpoise, Steller’s Sea Lion, and Sea Otter. Past tour participants have rated this boat trip as one of the true highlights of their Alaskan adventures.

Comfortable accommodations; easy to moderate terrain; mostly easy, short walks, with a full-day boat trip to Kenai Fjords; some long drives; full birding days with optional post-dinner birding at some locations; cool to mild climate.