Overview

This tour is offered in partnership with High Lonesome Birdtours.

Our trip to stunning Denali National Park and the Denali Highway is as much about large mammals, including some of the great predators, as birds. We expect to see bird species like Trumpeter Swan, Willow Ptarmigan, Gyrfalcon, Long-tailed Jaeger, Northern Hawk Owl and Smith’s Longspur. We will also, however, most certainly see a number of Grizzly Bears as well as Caribou, Dall Sheep, Moose and, if we get lucky, a Wolf.

We will see magnificent Mount McKinley or Denali (The Great One) and spend two nights just outside the Park, taking the park shuttle 60 miles and getting off at some places if we wish to spend more time looking for birds. We’ll also spend a couple of days on the little-traveled Denali Highway, staying in comfortable cabins on a creek in the Tangle Lakes region.

Our small boat trip will take us through Kenai Fjords National Park, one of the most spectacular parks in North America. Highlights will be thousands of alcids, such as Tufted and Horned Puffin, Parakeet and Rhinocerous Auklet as well as breeching Humpback Whales, Orcas, Steller’s Sea Lions and many other sea mammals.

Many people believe the trip along Denali Highway is the most beautiful in all of Alaska. Long-tailed Jaeger, Rock Ptarmigan, Arctic Warbler and many others should be found in the area. A pair of Northern Wheatear is usually found either in the Park or along the highway. Smith’s Longspur breeds in very small numbers along the highway. On our Kenai Peninsula tour, we’ll stay in very comfortable lodging and dine at several of Alaska’s finest restaurants during prime season for salmon and halibut.

We should find a number resident species in the Anchorage area: Pacific Loon, Three-toed Woodpecker, and American Dipper. We will take an all-day trip on a small charter boat, allowing us to customize our journey through Kenai Fjords National Park and the Chiswell Islands. We should see Horned and Tufted Puffins, Red-faced and Pelagic Cormorants, Common and Thick-billed Murres, Pigeon Guillemot, Marbled and Kittlitz’s Murrelets, Parakeet and Rhinocerous Auklets and Black Oystercatcher. Ancient Murrelet, Fork-tailed Storm Petrel, Short-tailed and Sooty Shearwater and Northern Fulmar are possible as well. Land and marine mammals may include Black Bear, Sea Otters, Steller’s Sea Lions, Harbor Seals, Dall Porpoises, and three to four species of whales, including Orcas, Humpbacked and Fin Whales.

Photographic opportunities will abound. We’ll do a hike through Pacific Coastal Rain Forest looking for Chestnut-backed and Boreal Chickadee, Townsend’s Warbler, White-winged Crossbill, Pine Grosbeak and others.

Please note: these prices are subject to foreign exchange fluctuations.

2021: Due to a landslide in 2020 - the denali Highway is closed at mile 43, hence it will not be possible to reach the Eiselson Visitor Center. Whilst our game viewing should not be impacted, the dramatic views of the bulk of the Denali massif will only be possible from much further away than usual. 

Tour Facts Top Birds
Trumpeter & Tundra Swans; Red-throated, Common, Pacific Loons; Kittlitz’s, Marbled, Ancient Murrelets; Red-faced & Pelagic Cormorants; Horned & Tufted Puffins; Common & Thick-billed Murres; American Golden-Plover; Whimbrel; Red-necked Phalarope; Golden Eagle; Northern Hawk-Owl; Gyrfalcon; Long-tailed Jaeger; Rufous Hummingbird; Arctic Warbler; Boreal & Chestnut-backed Chickadees; Bohemian Waxwing; Northwestern Crow; Townsend’s, Blackpoll, Wilson’s Warblers; Pine Grosbeak
Top Mammals
Brown (Grizzly Bear) & Black Bear; Wolf; Caribou; Moose; Lynx; Wolverine (rare); Dall Sheep; Porcupine; Humpback Whale; Orca; Dall Porpoise; Steller’s Sea Lion; Sea Otter
Habitats Covered
boreal & taiga forest; tundra; mountain ranges; lakes & shorelines; Pacific Rainforest; islands
Expected Climate
mild to colder on the water.
Max Group Size
14 with 2 Highlonesome Tour Leaders
Tour Pace & Walking
easy to moderate; a couple of moderately strenuous hikes of 1 – 2 hours.
Accommodation
very comfortable hotels & lodges
Ease of Birding
easy
Other Attractions
spectacular scenery. Exceptional photographic opportunities. During your free time in Anchorage, don’t miss going to Wave Bookstores on Northern Lights or downtown on 5th Avenue. They have a great selection of Alaska fiction and non-fiction! In addition, there are some excellent restaurants downtown, including Orso, Glacier Brew House, Simon & Seafort’s, and Marx Brothers.
Photographic Opportunities
excellent
Tour Route Map Route Map Client Testimonials

Stephen Lorenz and Dave Krueper were terrific guides. Complemented each other beautifully. Thanks so much for an incredible experience.

Stephan was an outstanding guide, as usual, and Claudia was a great spotter and helper. The lodging in Barrow was better than expected, as was the food there.

Stephan Lorenz is an exceptional guide, being both a wizard at finding and identifying birds and also dealing with people. He has a kind and funny manner that puts everyone at ease. I am glad that Rockjumper has hired him and look forward to being on some of his trips in the future.

Forrest Rowland was a wonderful guide. He is extremely knowledgeable about birds and always takes the time to consider the wants, needs and priorities of the group. He works with his group to form a common goal. He was extremely professional and he had a remarkably positive attitude. His enthusiasm was infectious and admirable, as was his perseverance in finding us any species that we wanted and which was possible to see. Forrest is personable, humorous, and extremely generous and kind-hearted. I am so grateful to have met him.

This was a great trip – way better than could even be expected. Yes, we saw Ross’s Gulls streaking across the distant horizon, but we also saw a polar bear mom and two cubs and our time in Barrow coincided with the Inupiat whale harvest. While the death of whales is always a bit sad, the opportunity to see subsistence hunters is rare these days. Stephan Lorenz has proved to be one of my favorite guides – his combination of ‘bionic eyes’ (Claudia’s report), great hearing, real understanding of bird behavior and incredible patience means he is my go-to guide for difficult species that I’ve missed on other tours (or not tried to see before because it seemed too difficult). With Stephan, I have ‘ticked’ Bachman’s Sparrow, Swainson’s Warbler, Buff-collared Nightjar, Short-tailed Albatross, Whiskered Auklet, Spectacled Eider, Emperor Goose, Bar-tailed Godwit (in Alaska), among many other much-sought after species. But Stephan and Claudia also keep every trip enjoyable. Claudia is a great birder in her own right and can set up a scope on the target bird as fast as Stephan. It is great to have two scopes set up immediately. What could be very discouraging to an older birder with poor eyesight and poor hearing like me turns out to be a delightful trip. Imagine spending hours and hours in a freezing wind staring out to an empty sea and still calling it fun. I am looking forward to traveling with Stephan and Claudia again as soon as possible.

Dates, Leaders and Pricing
2022 DEPARTURES
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