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Erik Halfacre practically grew up on the Knik Riverbed, spending his days exploring and marveling at the Knik Glacier. But back then, he didn't have access to the packrafts he has now. These seven-pound rafts roll up to the size of a summer sleeping bag or a novelty-size burrito, making them useful, lightweight accessories for a trek across land and water.
That kind of versatility comes in handy when you're hiking to Knik Glacier, a journey Erik and his wife Jenna make on a nearly daily basis. The duo leads groups of adventurers into the wild during their challenging—but incredibly rewarding—excursions. Over the course of 10–12 hours, hikers will wade through Hunter Creek, ferry across the Knik, and hike about nine miles over the gravel riverbed to the massive, 25-mile-long glacier. On the way back, they'll paddle past towering icebergs on the terminal lake, and cruise in the shadows of the Chugach mountains before packing up their rafts. Much like the dreams of Teddy Roosevelt, the hikes often feature appearances by moose, bear, eagles, and wolves.
With gargantuan Mt. McKinley in the horizon, groups of adventurers glimpse Alaska’s untouched wilderness as Talkeetna River Guides’ staffers lead them down the glacier-fed Talkeetna River. After pairing off with a swift-water expert, guests set out on the pristine waterway on a variety of tours packed with information on the area’s flora, fauna, and history, as well as sights of salmon and vacationing Loch Ness monsters. With safety instincts developed over years exploring the Alaskan country, guides keep guests’ well-being at the forefront of their minds at all times. They also lead overnight rafting and fishing trips during which campers lounge on remote streams while watching moose and bears swap hunting stories.:m]]
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.
The ride of your life is just a few minutes away when you arrive at Glacier View Adventures and its ziplines. Take a short stroll to the Nitro, whose launch tower sits 30 feet high on a hill rising 150 feet over the river. You'll then zoom down 1,500 feet at up to 40 miles per hour. Or you could take the dual-zipline G2, which starts you on a cliff more than 250 feet above the river and sends you 2,200 feet at up to 60 miles per hour. Either way, as you glide safely but speedily toward the ground, you'll see breathtaking flora, mountains, and glaciers. If heights aren't your thing, no worries: Glacier View Adventures offers explorations of Matanuska Glacier during an ice trek or climb, letting you explore the natural wonder up close.
Southern hospitality dictates that guests be taken into the home, fed, and kept cozy for the night. But up north, the Alaska Travel Adventures team warmly welcomes visitors by urging them to veer far from their front door. They help guests explore the landscape by designing whitewater-rafting adventures, kayaking tours, nature-trail walks, or panning for gold and sharing bits of history. For lunch, riverside campfires grill fillets of wild salmon and inspire stories from the Klondike gold rush. To complete the day, Alaska Travel Adventures keeps a fleet of newer-model RVs for guests to sleep in so they don't have to set up tents or convince a bear to share its cave.