Alaska: Deep Backcountry
Limited to Just 10 People per Departure
Alaska of Your Dreams
Float planes, bush planes, wildlife, wilderness
July 19 - 25, 2021
August 16 - 22, 2021
Each departure limited to just 10 people, to maximize our backcountry access
You could stare for hours and still be awe-struck by the vastness of the landscape. You’re deep into Alaska’s Katmai National Park—the most remote corner of a remote expanse famed for its wild grizzly bears. You journeyed here by float plane to hike from pristine high-mountain lakes, over tundra squeezed by snowcapped peaks, to campsites on the shores of remotes rivers and lakes. As you stare off into rugged the mountain scenery beyond, it hits you: This time, you are the trailblazer.
This epic seven-day adventure reaches rarely seen corners of some of Alaska’s wildest national parks. This is an entirely new route created—no exaggeration—just for us by a guide who’s lived here 25 years. We have prime access to Katmai and Lake Clark national parks with seasoned guides, expedition-worthy camping gear, great backcountry cooking, and the final reward of lakeside cabins you won’t want to leave.
These parks are only 90 minutes from Anchorage, but so remote they are rarely visited. We travel by float plane to go deeper, camping and trekking in nature at its most pristine. Our fine-tuned backcountry menu is award-winning, so we’ll eat well and celebrate each day with a backcountry feast. Join us and blaze your own trails in the country that makes Alaska “Alaska.”
Alaska Backcountry Highlights
Who It's For
If you want to immerse yourself in wilderness this trip is for you. We'll be deep in rarely visited parts of Alaska, accessed only by float plane. We’ll hike through untouched wilderness, camping along clear streams, and backpacking in areas rarely seen by hikers.
Activity Level: Hard
We'll cover 6 - 8 wilderness miles a day, with up to 2,000 feet of elevation gain/loss. Our hikes take us off-trail through steep and uneven terrain. This trek is accessible for most age levels who maintain good physical fitness and are prepared for the demands of backcountry hiking.
How We Travel
This trek is led by expert local guides with deep experience in Alaska's backcountry. Most gear is provided for us. We'll sleep in expedition-quality tents and help set up camp each day. We’ll carry backpacks (30-40lbs) with our individual gear and a portion of the group gear. Our guides prepare all meals.
True wilderness. Epic exploration. Deep backcountry. Cultural immersion. We’ve scoured the earth for hidden gems and invite you to join us on one of these exclusive trips designed by Modern Adventure in collaboration with BACKPACKER magazine. Let's explore the trails less traveled, together.
Day by Day
Backcountry Alaska gets real wild, in the remotest corners of Katmai and Lake Clark national parks. Floatplanes, lakeside campsites, and pristine wilderness. Although we’ll use this itinerary as a guide, circumstances like weather conditions, individual ability, and safety may cause us to adjust. Out here, we roll with what Mother Nature gives us—that’s true Alaska.
The adventure begins! We meet in Anchorage, check our gear, then head out on a gorgeous bush-plane ride down the wild coast of the peninsula. After a stop for lunch on Lake Clark’s shores, we fly again, this time in a float plane over snaking freshwater rivers and sprawling snow-capped mountains into the remote north corner of Katmai, to begin our exploits in the serious Alaskan wild.
We’ll set up camp on the reddish banks of Iron Springs Lake, and strike out on a short day hike to get acquainted with our new backcountry home, then have dinner and rest up for our first leg: a two-day hike down into bear country. (Weather note: in windy conditions we’ll drop at Mirror Lake, and start our trek from here.)
Day 1: 3 miles, 2 hours hiking, 1,000′ elevation gain
Days 2 - 3
Get ready for two glorious days of pristine backcountry hiking (don’t worry, it’s not grueling enough to divert attention from the wildlife and beauty). From our camp at Iron Springs Lake, we eat up then head up, up and over our first mountain pass, across scree fields and boulders, out onto the tundra, watching for herds of caribou, eagles soaring, and grizzly bears. This night we’ll set up camp on a lake and relax.
The next morning, we rise early for a hot breakfast, then hike past small spring-fed lakes and creeks surrounded by spectacular peaks. Our route rises in broad tundra, through broad valleys and sweeping views out to the horizon.
Day 2: 5.5 miles, 5.5 hours, 1,200′ gain
Day 3: 5 miles, 5 hours, 500′ gain
Our goal today is the Spectacle Lake region and the headwaters of Moraine Creek. This is true bear country with each river, stream and sandy inlet pulsing with salmon making their last upstream push to nest and lay eggs. Grizzly bears consume a staggering 100,000 calories of salmon every day, providing cast-off food and nutrients for the entire ecosystem. We’ll set up camp and head out on an afternoon hike (daypacks only) in search of wildlife and, of course, grizzly bears. When we return it’s time to relax, and maybe even fish for a few trout.
Day 4: 7 miles, 8 hours, 900′ gain
We’ll rise early, many miles and a world away from any other people, eat a hot meal then head out. We’ll take daypacks for a full-day ramble along Funnel Creek to its confluence with Moraine Creek. Up on the ridge, we’ll look for grizzly bears, both lone males and mothers with spring cubs, roaming the creek and fishing for salmon, as well as birds of prey and other wildlife. We’ll go slow and appreciate every moment in Katmai’s bear country, before looping back to our camp. Tonight we’ll take in the twinkling stars in a place very, very few people have ever seen. This is truly special.
Day 5: 11 miles, 8 hours, 400′ gain
Katmai isn’t the only patch of remote glory on the peninsula. Today we’ll rise for breakfast, then hear something surprising: our float plane, descending to Spectacle Lake. Our float plane will take us to Farm Lodge’s lakeside cabins at Port Alsworth, on the namesake lake of Lake Clark National Park. Bigger than Connecticut (and a national park only since 1980), Lake Clark sees just a few thousand visitors a year, often coming to paddle in the paradise of the lake.
First, let’s be honest, we’ll hit the showers then have time to explore, hike or paddle on the lake before gathering for a celebratory dinner of home-cooked Alaskan fare.
Alas, our time in this patch of paradise is over. We pack up for our flight back to Anchorage, bid a fond farewell to our new group of friends, bonded over Alaska’s great wild, with backcountry memories to share for years to come. Until next time!
Katmai National Park & PreserveDays 1 - 5: Backcountry Camping
For Days 1 thru 5, we'll camp in the backcountry. We provide expedition-quality tents and trekking poles, along with group-size tarp shelters and all the gear we need to camp safe and comfortable—plus an array of portable cookery for camp-kitchen feasts of seriously delicious cuisine (from reindeer rotini to Shanghai noodles).
Lake Clark National ParkDay 6: Farm Lodge
We spend Days 6 and 7 at the remote, incredibly scenic Farm Lodge, located in Port Alsworth at the headwaters of Lake Clark. The Farm Lodge is a worthy reward after several days of trekking. Cabins face the water, neatly reflecting the mountain peaks that rim the lake. We’ll have options to hike, raft or look for wildlife here, plus seriously fresh home-cooking for our final feast.
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What is included in this trip?
Accommodations for six nights; internal bush flights and float plane flights; ground transportation as a group; all meals and beverages; group supplies—group sized tarp shelters, cooking equipment and utensils, toilet supplies, satellite phones, maps; GPS; medical kit, rescue equipment; trekking poles; entrance fees for national parks; and gratuities for expedition guides. We will be joined for this adventure by up to two expert expedition guides. Each guide is medically certified as a Wilderness First Responder and is highly qualified in all necessary skills to safely travel throughout Alaska’s vast wilderness.
How difficult is this trip?
This is considered a moderately difficult backcountry backpacking adventure. You will be backpacking and hiking off-trail over steep, hilly, and uneven terrain, often covering more than six miles in a day with up to 2000′ of elevation gain/loss. Our longest day will be hiking 12 miles with a daypack. You may encounter short stretches of thick vegetation and may also experience Alaska’s diverse selection of insect species. You will be camping in a very remote wilderness, sleeping in tents, relieving yourself in places with a stunning view, and sometimes enjoying all of the above in the rain. Our support staff will be with us for the entirety of the adventure helping us carry group supplies and helping us see the true Alaskan experience.
Where does the trip start and end?
Please note there are multiple departures for this adventure. We recommend you arrive at the Anchorage International Airport (ANC) in Anchorage, Alaska the day prior to Day One. You must be at The Lakefront Anchorage Hotel at 8:30am on Day One. On the last day of the trip you may book your flights home departing from ANC at any time after 7:30pm.
What are the accommodations like?
For the five nights we camp in the wilderness. Modern Adventure provides expedition quality single- or double-occupancy tents, as well as group-sized tarp shelters for enjoying meals under. Not only does including the finest equipment make camp life more comfortable, it also adds a level of safety to trips that could otherwise be relentlessly unforgiving to the unprepared. We’ll also enjoy our last night on this trip at Farm Lodge, a remote lodge in Port Alsworth on the shore of Lake Clark.
Who is going on this trip?
This adventure is recommended for travelers aged 18 and above who are in excellent health and have previous experience with backpacking. You will be expected to load and unload your own gear, carry a portion of the group gear, and manage your own physical comfort and well-being. Pre-trip physical conditioning should begin no later than 2 months before departure and should include walking or hiking, preferably with loaded backpack of 30-40 lbs. This adventure will be limited to no more than 10 fellow adventurers and your Modern Adventure team.
What if I am a solo traveler?
Prices are based on double occupancy. If you would like to be paired up with a roommate you may choose ‘Single – Willing to Share’ at check out (if available). Modern Adventure will pair you up with a roommate of the same gender to share a tent and lodge accommodations with. If you are a solo traveler and want to have your own accommodations, a $750 supplement will apply at checkout – these spots are very limited due to the type of accommodations on backcountry backpacking adventures and are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
What travel documents are needed?
US citizens and residents should check the TSA’s website for requirements and acceptable ID for domestic air travel. Some State issued IDs may no longer meet TSA standards. If you are a Non-US Citizen traveling to Alaska, visit the US Consulate or Embassy for requirements and information about passports & visas.
What does the price not include?
Roundtrip airfare to/from Alaska; travel insurance; transportation to the trip’s meeting point; activities not included in the trip itinerary; lodge incidentals; personal gear – sleeping bags & mats, backpacking packs, camping chair, personal items & clothing; gratuity for tour leader.
What is the cancelation policy?
You may cancel up to 120 days prior to the scheduled departure date and receive a full refund minus a $500 per-person service fee. If you cancel between 119 and 61 days in advance, there is a 50% cancellation fee. Within 60 days or less from departure there is a 100% cancellation fee. We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance as we are not able to make exceptions to this policy in cases of family/medical emergency or cases of the trip being canceled (see our Terms and Conditions for full details).
How much can the itinerary change?
While we do our best to follow our itineraries, certain factors may cause our guides to deviate. These considerations could include weather conditions, group preference, individual ability, safety, or unforeseeable circumstances—what many call “The Alaska Factor.” Flight times into and out of the wilderness may also vary based on any number of similar factors, as well as our opportunity to view wildlife. Like any adventure, approach our time in Alaska with an open mind!