The North Stars

BEST KAYAKING ROUTE
[Point Adolphus]
The paddling is easy and the humpback whales are plentiful on Alaska Discovery Wilderness Adventures' Point Adolphus trip. The three-day, two-night sea-kayaking excursion begins and ends in Gustavus; a charter boat takes you through Icy Strait, and then you'll paddle along Point Adolphus, a feeding ground for humpbacks as well as orcas, sea lions, and bald eagles. Time onshore includes hiking the old-growth rainforest of Sitka spruce and western hemlocks on Chichagof Island and camping in Tongass National Forest.
DETAILS: The trip costs $799 per person and is recommended for children at least 12. (Alaska Discovery Wilderness Adventures, 800-586-1911, www.akdiscovery.com/adolphus.htm)

BEST SCENIC DRIVE
[Anchorage to Wrangell-St. Elias National Park]
Your eyes will be glued to the road—and the scenery—on the eight-hour trip to Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. Two hours outside Anchorage on Glenn Highway (Alaska Highway 1), you'll see Matanuska Glacier unfolding on the right. Next you'll catch incredible views of the Wrangell Mountains, including some of North America's tallest peaks; moose and bears are common throughout the route, and caribou are sometimes glimpsed before Glennallen, where you turn south onto Richardson Highway. At Chitina, five hours from Anchorage, you'll begin the last—unpaved—leg of the drive. For the final 60 miles you're traveling over a former rail route that until the late 1930s carried copper from the Kennecott Mine. Your final destination is Wrangell-St. Elias, at 13.2 million acres the country's largest national park.
DETAILS: Drive cautiously—railroad spikes are still under the road in the unpaved section, occasionally puncturing tires or even gas tanks. Allow three hours to drive this stretch, and carry a spare. (Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, 907-822-7440, www.nps.gov/wrst)

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