Determined to help visitors not just see but experience the majestic beauty of Chugach National Forest and Chugach State Park, Alaska Backcountry Access's guides offer day trips and multiday wilderness outings all yearlong. Come summer, the landscape springs to life as plants bloom and migratory animals return to the area. It is during these months that the guides lead outings exploring the region by land and by water. On whitewater rafting and kayaking trips, they traverse the surrounding waterways as snowmelt streams down the mountainsides, and their hikes journey throughout the canyons and forests while occasionally stopping to explore gold-panning sites or noteworthy natural features.
But their excursions don't stop for the winter?the guides simply change their approach. Snowmobiles, snowshoes, and portable snow-cone machines become the equipment of choice as the guides continue to lead trips throughout the area's frozen landscape.
Exit Glacier Guides' shuttle to Kenai Fjords National Park ferries customers to and from the majestic mass of slow-moving ice so they can chart the unspoiled landscapes and panoramic views at their own pace. The spacious, comfortable shuttle runs on used vegetable oil filtered on-site, cutting fuel consumption by more than 75 percent, and was given the name Roxanne for its red headlights that never turn on. The van leaves for the glacier from the Train Wreck in the Seward Small Boat Harbor every hour on the half hour between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. through mid-September.
The outdoor enthusiasts at Prince William Sound Kayak Center continue more than 30 years of meeting visitors' comfort by adjusting each kayak's foot braces, teaching self-rescue techniques, and providing shuttle service to the nearby waters with every rental. To further demonstrate their commitment to clients' well-being and enjoyment, they maintain a fleet of single and double kayaks, all constructed of fiberglass instead of plastic for optimal sturdiness, and coated in a brussels-sprouts flavor to repel hungry seals. In these vessels outfitted with inflated back-support cushions, instructors lead a sea-kayaking course that prepares paddlers to navigate through waters studded with chunks of glacial ice. Their team also organizes tours that range from guided day outings to escorted overnight trips that last up to four days.
The instructors at Alaska Kayak Academy share their love for sea kayaking by training and leading adventures in Alaska's rivers and coastal waters. Scheduled year-round, classes range from basic paddling instruction to deep-water rescue techniques. Guided trips cater to all levels of paddlers, with day trips along salmon runs and through the glacial ice of Prince William Sound. Rentals equip paddlers for independent exploration, refining skills, and humming quietly to themselves in peace. Alaska Kayak Academy also encompasses a store, where staff advise on gear such as new and used kayaks and the trendiest way to don a life jacket.