Howard (Howie) E. Epstein, Professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences

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$4,995 per person, plus tax, double occupancy, $4,495 per child (12 – 17), plus tax, double occupancy, land program.

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Experience authentic Alaska on this amazing adventure through its mountains to its pristine lakes and everything between. Journey deep into Denali National Park and encounter Alaska’s most famed wildlife. Hike, bike and explore throughout mountain valleys with views of the stunning Alaska Range. Journey through the spectacular Chugach Mountains and learn about native flora and fauna of the Kenai Peninsula. Cruise through Kenai Fjords National Park and discover an array of wildlife (whales, sea lions, puffins, seals and more). Savor delectable fine dining and unwind at upscale wilderness lodges. Kayak, hike, comb the beaches and more by day and gather around the bonfire or wood-fired sauna under the Midnight Sun. Meander through mountain meadows, and beyond, on a comfortable rail tour back to Alaska’s largest city, Anchorage.

Program Highlights

  • Witness Alaska’s breathtaking bird migrations, blooming wildflowers and famed wildlife: grizzlies, caribou, moose, whales, sea lions and more!
  • In-depth exploration of Denali National Park and the Alaska Range, traveling the entire expanse of Denali’s limited access park road with naturalist guides.
  • Upscale wilderness lodges and authentic Alaska hotels.
  • Small ship journey inside Kenai Fjords National Park, with an up-close-and-personal perspective of massive tidewater glaciers, bird rookeries and whale pods.
  • How cool would it be if one of Howie’s lectures took place around the fire at night?


Howard (Howie) E. Epstein, Professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences

Howard (Howie) E. Epstein is a Professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences and has been at U.Va. since 1998. His research expertise is in the area of plant and soil ecology for dry grassland-shrubland ecosystems and cold arctic tundra ecosystems. Epstein has spent part of each of the past six summers doing research in the Arctic of Alaska, Canada and Russia. Before coming to U.Va., he worked as a Research Associate for the Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research at the University of Colorado in Boulder and has published over 50 journal articles and book chapters on these topics. He received his Bachelors from Cornell, and an M.S. in Rangeland Ecosystem Science and Ph.D. in Ecology from Colorado State University.


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Independent arrival into Alaska’s largest interior city, Fairbanks. This afternoon meet your Trip Leader and the rest of the group in the hotel lobby at 2:30 p.m. for a tour of Fairbanks. Visit the newly enhanced University of Fairbanks Museum, as well as the University’s Large Animal Research Center for a tour to see an elusive and unusual northern animal: the muskox. This evening, enjoy a welcome dinner, as well as visit the famous Alaska Pipeline. Overnight in Fairbanks at Pike’s Waterfront Lodge. (D) (Included meals will be noted: B=breakfast; L=lunch; D=dinner; complimentary snacks & non-alcoholic beverages included each day).

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Denali National Park

After breakfast, continue traveling south aboard the historic Alaska Railroad to Denali National Park, stopping for lunch at the Denali Park entrance. After lunch, embark on a 5-6 hour Denali wildlife drive through the park on the private Kantishna Roadhouse bus. Watch for caribou, moose, Dall sheep, grizzly bears, resident and migratory birds, and – if weather permits – gaze upon the splendor of Denali (Mt. McKinley)! Upon arrival at the Kantishna Roadhouse, enjoy dinner and settle into your cabin accommodations. Overnight at Kantishna Roadhouse. (B, L, D)

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Denali National Park

Enjoy a full day of exploration and hiking in the Kantishna region of Denali National Park. The activities available at the Kantishna Roadhouse include guided hiking, natural history programs, gold panning, dog sled demonstrations and mountain biking. Optional add-on flightseeing tours will be offered during your stay at the lodge. Overnight at Kantishna Roadhouse. (B, L, D)

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Following an early breakfast, embark on a return Denali scenic drive and watch for wildlife while heading for the entrance of the park. Today’s journey brings us south to Alaska’s largest city – Anchorage. We’ll break for a delicious picnic lunch and casual nature walk in the afternoon. Enjoy dinner at a popular local restaurant. Overnight in downtown Anchorage. (B, L, D)

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Kenai Fjords National Park/Seward

This morning, we depart Alaska’s largest city bound for spectacular maritime wilderness inside Kenai Fjords National Park. Along the way, enjoy a scenic drive south along the Turnagain Arm, where Dall sheep and Bald Eagles make their homes along the rugged mountainscape. Pass through the Chugach National Forest to the seacoast town of Seward, and upon arrival, visit the massive Exit Glacier. We’ll enjoy a short hike near the face of the glacier, and later in the afternoon, we’ll take part in a behind-the-scenes visit to the Alaska SeaLife Center. The center features interactive exhibits and aquariums. Watch puffins dive in the Center’s two-story aquarium and “fly” underwater, and learn about the amazing coastal wonders that you will encounter during tomorrow’s adventure to the Fjords. After exploring Seward’s waterfront, enjoy dinner and relax at the Seward Windsong Lodge. Overnight in Seward. (B, L, D)

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Kenai Fjords National Park

This morning, we’ll board a small boat bound for Kenai Fjords National Park – home to an array of glaciers and marine wildlife such as whales, Steller sea lions, sea otters, puffins and more. A four-hour marine wildlife cruise allows time to explore the rugged coastlines. Enjoy lunch in front of a tidewater glacier before arriving at our exclusive lodge destination: Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge. Nestled in a protected tidal lagoon area, the Glacier Lodge offers miles of pristine beachfront for combing and views of the stunning Pederson Glacier. This afternoon, meet your guides for a tour of the lodge and property and settle into your private cabins. Enjoy dinner and evening presentations. Overnight at Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge. (B, L, D)

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Kenai Fjords National Park

After breakfast in the main lodge, choose from a wide array of activities best suited to your energy level and interest. Guided options include interpretive nature walks, sea kayaking, canoe paddles and coastal explorations. Or, guests may relax at the lodge and peruse our natural history library, or comb the beachfront on a casual stroll. Overnight at Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge. (B, L, D)

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This morning allows another opportunity to kayak, canoe or beach comb for a half-day before boarding our boat for the return wildlife cruise to Seward. Board the historic Alaska Railroad for a scenic backcountry rail tour back to Anchorage. Enjoy a festive farewell dinner on the train. Overnight in Anchorage. (B, L, D)

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Enjoy breakfast at the hotel, followed by airport shuttles. (B)


Upscale wilderness lodges and authentic Alaska hotels: Pike’s Waterfront Lodge (Fairbanks), Kantishna Roadhouse (Denali National Park), Clarion Suites Downtown (Anchorage), Seward Windsong Lodge (Seward) and Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge (Kenai Fjords National Park).


Hand-crafted Alaska cuisine with culinary flair, served family-style at many meals. Vegetarian and special dietary options available upon request. Program includes 8 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 8 dinners, snacks and non-alcoholic beverages.

Program Fees

$4,995 per person/$4,495 per child (12 – 17), double occupancy, plus tax, land program.
A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of $1,250 to the per-person, double occupancy rates.

Price includes:

All meals unless noted, all transportation as noted, park fees, best of gear and equipment, guided activities outlined in itinerary, services of an AWA Trip Leader, all transfers and luggage handling.

Price does not include:

Beer, wine, liquor, and gratuities to guides, airfare, additional accommodations or activities outside of program description or travel insurance.

General Terms & Conditions

Written cancellations must be received in our sales office in order for a cancellation to be valid. Non-appearance for program will result in no refund. We strongly urge the purchase of travel insurance.

Cancellation charges will be as follows:

If cancellation occurs: Minimum per person fee is:
More than 90 days prior to departure $500 per person
89 to 36 days prior to departure 50% of per person trip cost
Within 35 days prior to departure 100% of per person trip cost


Guests will receive a confirmation packet with helpful items like packing lists, recommended reading lists, maps and details upon receipt of deposit. Guests must complete and return a Guest Information Form and Participant Agreement to the Tour Operator prior to the tour.