Camping in Alaska’s wilderness can be fun for the whole family, provided that you plan your adventure carefully. Most important is to leave enough time for kids to be kids, and to hire a guide.
We’ve guided families all over the state on lengthy canoe trips, multi-stop base camp trips, and even arctic rafting trips. We’ve also adventured around Alaska with our own two children. Here are our Top 5 guided wilderness trips for families.
For a family who wants to taste the diversity of Alaska, this trip and a visit the small town of Haines in Southeast Alaska is going to be hard to beat. The town is friendly and fun. Everyone is very laid-back and the wildlands adjacent to Haines are world-class. It includes ocean kayaking as well as rafting on the Tsirku River.
#2 Gates of the Arctic Base Camp:
We love the Arctic, and think that for a family with younger kids that a base camp trip is going to give the most flexibility. Agiak Lake offers great day-hikes, excellent fishing and often good wildlife viewing. It is incredibly remote and we often see a good amount of wildlife here in early August.
We have taken lots of families (including our own) to Tangle Lakes over the years. Always with great success. The trip can be tailored to suit your family and we can either do the full loop including the portage and small rapids (we bring 2 guides on the trip to make this safe) or we can stay on the lakes and fish and berry-pick and hike in addition to paddling. This area is very similar to Denali National Park but without the crowds.
#4 Yukon Canoe:
If you like the idea of a canoe trip but want a longer trip than the Tangle Lakes trip, but still want to experience the vast interior of Alaska, the upper Yukon is a delight. It is a true wilderness journey through big country. The weather tends to be fairly temperate which makes for relaxed camping and long peaceful days on the water. It requires sitting in a canoe for several hours each day. If your kids have the patience for that, its a wonderful trip with the best camping. Our kids love the Yukon and we make an annual trip there with them almost every July.
#5 Wrangell-St. Elias Rafting: A great option in Wrangell-St. Elias for a rafting trip is the almost unknown Nabesna River in the northern part of the park.