Our Alaska High Trails adventure is the perfect introduction to the Land of the Midnight Sun for students finishing the 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grades. Sea kayak among glaciers in Prince William Sound. Whitewater raft the thrilling Matanuska River. Enjoy breathtaking views of Denali from backcountry campsites.
Our programs offer a wide variety of activity options. Explore the activities specific to this program below.
As you fly over the rugged Alaskan landscape toward the Anchorage airport, you’ll realize that you’re truly entering a one-of-a-kind landscape. Upon exiting your plane, you’ll be greeted by your new trip leaders and meet your fellow trip mates, people who will become your newest friends over the next two weeks. From the airport, you’ll travel to your first campsite just a few minutes outside of Anchorage. For the rest of the first night and throughout the following day you will get to know your new friends, learn to set up your tent, familiarize yourself with all of the group gear, and prepare for your first expedition.
For the next few days, you’ll backpack through scenic Denali State Park. You’ll be bordered by the Talkeetna Mountains to your east and the Alaskan Range to your west. The trek will take you through meandering lowland streams and alpine tundra and along towering ridges with inspiring views of neighboring peaks. Your group will build up your mileage, traveling shorter distances at first to build your trail legs, grow closer as a team, and to take time to practice your backcountry skills. You’ll learn to cook in the backcountry, master the ethics of minimum impact camping, and practice map and compass navigation.
Following the backpacking section of your trip, you and your group will rest your legs as you hop into rafts and paddle down the Lion’s Head section of the Matanuska River. You’ll parallel the Matanuska Glacier through thrilling class III and IV rapids. This exciting, glacially fed whitewater section offers a unique way to see the pristine Alaskan wilderness.
After rafting the Matanuska River, you will return to the bustling city of Anchorage to shower, do laundry, and prepare for your kayaking adventure. The start of your voyage will take you to the historic town of Whittier, Alaska. From Whittier, you’ll hop on a shuttle boat and get dropped off in the glacier-strewn Prince William Sound where your kayaking will begin. For the next few days, you’ll paddle from campsite to campsite exploring and discovering all that you can about this spectacular, remote location. Meandering through these giant islands of ice, you’ll also get a chance to see native bald eagles, otters, seals, and possibly even some whales! After your kayaking tour is over, you’ll rendezvous with the shuttle boat and be taxied back to Whittier.
After your adventure on the water, you’ll head back to Anchorage and spend a day exploring the city and checking out the Alaska Native Heritage Center before gathering for the traditional WA end-of-summer banquet. You’ll enjoy one last dinner together as you reminisce about the laughs and experiences you’ve all shared over the past several weeks. Finally, the following morning, it’s time to exchange numbers with your new friends and say your good-byes as everyone parts ways.
Everyone was really great and friendly with each other. It was nice to be with a group of people that were just happy to be there on the adventure together. There weren't any cliques and everyone felt included, which was really special for me.
Sam, 2019 Alaska High Trails Student
Trip Price Includes
- Group gear
- Personal gear and clothing
- Airfare to and form the trip start and end