Denali Highway Morning Van Tour
Join our flagship tour and experience some of the only road-accessible tundra in Alaska. The van leaves every morning at 8:30 for an hour and a half narrated tour of the eastern section of the Denali Highway. Led by naturalist Dr. Audie Bakewell, this tour features the flora and fauna of high alpine tundra against the backdrop of the Alaska Range. We also explain the role man has had from prehistoric times to the present, and above all detail the profound impact migrant salmon have on the ecology of this entire region: riparian, boreal forest and tundra alike. And of course, we’ll keep a look-out for moose, caribou, and the tundra’s signature birds.
With an educational background in geology and birding, an enthusiastic interest in all things tundra, and close to two decades’ experience and stories of living in the Paxson region, Audie provides the perfect introduction to this historic and scenic roadway.
Most rental car companies do not permit their vehicles to be driven on the Denali Highway, but you can still experience this beautiful road in our comfortable van with a naturalist at the wheel.
The tour also encompasses a short hike to observe vegetation, wildflowers, and geologic formations.
The van returns to the cabins at 10:00, allowing plenty of time for guests to continue their travels to their next destination.
Land Cruiser Tour
For the young in spirit and limber of limb we also provide this off-road adventure.
The Alaska Range has numerous canyons and ridges with 4WD-only roads traversing them. We take you in the excitement of “Elsie” – our 1980 BJ40 Toyota LandCruiser – to explore our favorite, virtually unknown and unused backroads.
Cruiser aficionados will recognize this as a rare breed indeed: the 40 series equipped with diesel engines sport the “BJ” rather than the “FJ” designation, and Toyota never sold a single one in the United States. Only those older than 25 years are permitted to be imported into the country, and we believe this is the only BJ40 in Alaska. It has the agility and power to tackle even our roughest trails, and in more comfort and with higher views than any ATV can provide. Spectacular river and mountain scenery and definitely a day you will remember!
Join your host, Dr. Audie Bakewell, for a guided bird trip. The four-hour tour combines road-birding and light to strenuous hiking to the region’s specialty tundra birds. Six hour tour extends our range further into the Alaska Range and further west along the Denali Highway. Birds we will be searching for include Smith’s longspur, arctic warbler and gyrfalcon. Other targets include long-tailed jaeger, American golden plover, northern wheatear, trumpeter swan, harlequin duck, northern dipper, merlin, golden-crowned sparrow, Lincoln’s sparrow, golden eagle and many more. Please note that in order to avoid stressing the birds during their young-raising period, we halt all tours beginning the first week of July.
Our oldest and most celebrated tour, now offered in our fleet of wonderfully stable, very maneuverable kayaks. This NON-whitewater journey traverses six miles of the Paxson Wildlife Reserve and takes approximately three hours. Always a beautiful way to spend the afternoon. We never know what we will see, but we often have up-close views of beaver and moose feeding. We also almost always see bald eagle. In season, the spawning sockeye salmon can number in the tens of thousands; eagles and grizzly bear come to feed on them. We occasionally have treats like lynx and great horned or hawk owl on the river, too. This also is a terrific and unique way to birdwatch the riparian and spruce forest-dwellers.
Kayaks are also available for independent rental.