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Despite the lower temperatures, the Athabascans of Alaska called winter “the time we gather together,” and it is an excellent time of year to gather together and visit the national parks of the Last Frontier.
“The crowds are gone and the scenery is totally different, but just as spectacular as in the summer,” says John Quinley, Alaska’s National Park Service spokesman.
There’s no need for clients to pack their own snowshoes, either. A limited number of loaner snowshoes are available at Murie Science and Learning Center, the winter visitor center at Denali National Park and Preserve and a requisite stop for anyone planning to tour the area.
Clients might also take in the scenery from behind a dog pack. Denali Dog Sled Expedition’s Jon Nierenberg is the only concessionaire authorized to run winter dogsledding excursions into Denali National Park. He offers a variety of commissionable trips, including one- to four-hour treks, multi-day tours and cross-country ski trips. Nierenberg’s experience in the area makes any of these trips a great opportunity for clients who want the bragging rights of handling their own sled dogs on a wilderness excursion.
“Starting this winter, we’re again authorized to start using historic park cabins on several of our overnight dogsledding trips, which make the trips more desirable for a variety of clients,” says Nierenberg.
South of Anchorage, the Kenai Fjords National Park’s Exit Glacier offers winter tourism opportunities. Guests can experience the area via Adventure Sixty North’s snow coach, snowshoe or dogsledding tours. Passengers can also be dropped off to enjoy winter activities on their own.
Adventure Sixty Northwww.adventure60.com
Denali Dog Sled Expeditionswww.earthsonglodge.com
Denali National Park and Preservewww.nps.gov/dena
Kenai Fjords National Parkwww.nps.gov/kefj