The Wildlife and Turnagain Arm Tour happens to be one of the finest excursions available for viewing the local ecosystem that is both diverse and very large. From the tiny spruce bark beetle to the majestic beluga whale, Alaska has it all, and the amazing 4.5-hour journey begins in the city of Anchorage.
The unique tour kicks off at the Anchorage Visitors Center where a knowledgeable and professional guide is assigned to the group. Everyone boards a comfortable and warm shuttle bus for the scenic drive along the tidal flats of the Turnagain Arm. The waterway leads into the northwestern part of the Gulf of Alaska and features some of the most impressive creatures walking about. It is not unusual to capture the sightings of bald eagles, beluga whales and Dahl sheep among the dramatic views of mountain scenery and the Cook Inlet.
A stop at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, located in Portage Valley, is both educational and awe-inspiring to visit. The non-profit organization provides refuge for animals that cannot survive in the wild. These wondrous creatures are displayed in their natural habitats and offer photographers amazing photo opportunities. Visitors to the center can see more than 200 acres of animal enclosures by touring the 1.5-mile loop that is accessible by foot or by vehicle. Some of these native animals include bear, bison, caribou, coyote, eagle, elk, lynx, moose, muskox and Sitka black-tailed deer.
Before heading to the conservation center, the shuttle bus will travel along the state’s most scenic stretch of highway through Chugach State Park. One of these stunning areas is Potter Marsh, and it’s not unusual to discover clusters of moose roaming the marsh there all year round. The nearby flowing Rabbit Creek is also home to spawning Chinook, Coho, and humpback salmon. Another must-see is Portage Glacier Road offering a winding scenic drive with stunning glaciers holding court over the area.
The Begich, Boggs Visitor Center close by currently houses state-of-the-art exhibits demonstrating “glaciers on the move.” Forest Service experts are available to answer questions and provide programs on the natural wonders of the Portage Glacier Valley. The visitors center also features a theater with the award-winning film “Voices from the Ice.”
The group returns to Anchorage at the end of the tour with picturesque photo stops along the way.
The Wildlife and Turnagain Arm Tour operates in all weather conditions and is not recommended for infants or children under age six. Tourists should be at a moderate physical fitness level and dress appropriately for walking around. The tour is not wheelchair accessible.
The Wildlife and Turnagain Arm Tour requires a minimum number of travelers, and confirmation will be received at the time of booking. After spending time at the Turnagain Arm Trail Tour, it would be wise to visit the Anchorage Museum at the Rasmuson Center.