Alaska has been on my bucket list for many years now and with two other friends for company, we started off with great anticipation in Fairbanks. We made our way to Cold Foot, Prudhoe Bay, explored Denali National Park and made the stunning train journey from Anchorage to Seward. The Alaskan Railroad was the high point of our trip, but what made it truly memorable was the close encounters with the wildlife. We were delighted to see moose, lynx, puffins, sea otters, orca whales, caribou and grizzly bears – an embarrassment of riches, really.

Here are some highlights of our trip…

Alaska. Photo: Varun Bhawnani

Seward

At the head of Resurrection Bay on the Kenai Peninsula, Seward has the Alaska Sealife Center, the historic downtown district and one of the most scenic boat harbors in the world. Seward is also the gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park.

Anchorage to Seward on Alaska Railroad

Anchorage to Seward on Alaska Railroad

Anchorage to Seward on the Alaska Railroad is one of the most awe-inspiring train journeys I’ve experienced. Alaska Railroad is the last full-service railroad in the US, and from Anchorage, we take in the stunning landscape that includes glaciers, rugged mountain terrain and valleys.

At Denali National Park

At Denali National Park

My other memorable experience was at Denali National Park and Preserve, a stunner that straddles 60 miles of the Alaska Range. North America’s highest peak, Denali ascends to a towering 20,310 feet.

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Apart from the jaw-dropping scenery, there are its star residents – moose, caribou, wolf and the brown or grizzly bear. We were very lucky to see the bear roaming in its natural habitat.

Bear at Denali National Park

Bear at Denali National Park

We took a bus tour in Denali Park. With an area covering 92 miles, the Denali Park Road traverses through low valleys and high mountain passes. Each turn was postcard perfect.

Alaska

And finally, how could we miss out on the Dalton Highway? The 414-mile “Haul Road,” as the locals would say, begins just north of Fairbanks and ends at Deadhorse. Alaska’s most remote road will eventually lead you to cross the Arctic Circle and the ruggedly beautiful Atigun Pass in the Brooks Range.

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On the Dalton Highway

That’s one more thing off the bucket list then…Alaska arctic circle