Alaska is inherently intimidating, which is why so many people are willing to cough up a small fortune to see the state’s greatest landscapes by bush plane. But if you fly into Anchorage and rent a four-wheel-drive vehicle, you can put together a two-week, life-list-worthy itinerary complete with epic wilderness hiking, remote lodges, and heart-stopping raft trips. Much of the route presented here follows main arteries, with plenty of roadhouses for supplies or car repairs. But you should still know how to change a flat. And bring bear spray.
Cruise ships and wildlife buses? The tourist staples miss the point of Alaska: It's the last real place to find an epic, crowd-free adventure on American soil. We've scoured the state for the best wilderness lodges, river trips, lonely highways, and DIY escapes. Bear mace not included.
Chattooga River, Georgia, and the North Fork of the Kern River, California
Floating through class V whitewater and grizzly country in the shadow of Mount McKinley