Alaska:  Senior Graduation Trip

... an adventure travel trip designed for families with graduating high school seniors.

Trip Overview...

This opportunity may only come once in a lifetime so go ahead and learn about this specially designed trip for parents and their teen sons or daughters.  Cascadia instructors are keen on engaging families with active teen graduates ready to immerse themselves into the magic and beauty that Alaska presents.  Travelers never  can  totally describe to others the magnitude of awe and natural wonder they feel when visiting Alaska for the first time. 

On this trip we take you off the tourist route to what we call the “back of the beyond” – places life long Alaskans make a point of seeing out.  Two bioregions, the maritime environment of Prince William Sound and the mountain/river environment of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park are featured in this action filled nine-day course.


Chugach National Forest; Prince William Sound; Wrangell-St. Elias National Park; Anchorage, Girdwood, McCarthy and Valdez, Alaska; The Historic Hotel Chitna; Kennicott Mines National Historic Landmark; Wrangell Mountain Center; Kennicott, Chitna and Copper Rivers; Numerous Wilderness Regions.


  • Meet lifelong Alaskan residents and hear their fascinating “sourdough stories”.
  • Learn about the fascinating Kennicott Nat'l Historic Copper Mine and ghost town built in the 1920's.
  • Cruise aboard the Chenega across Prince William Sound from Valdez to the port of Whittier, Alaska.
  • Float three days on one of the most remote and scenic rivers in all of Alaska.
  • Learn and practice a multitude of technical outdoor and leadership skills in our wilderness classrooms.

Itinerary at a Glance

Fly to McCarthy from Anchorage on Mail Plane
Explore Kennicott Nat'l Historic Landmark; Glacier Walk; Wrangell Mtn. Center
Fly in to Mountain Camp; Nizina Lake Hiking; Overnight Lakeside Camp
Hiking; Nizina Lake Exploration; Icebergs; Natural History Class
River Journey; Mile Hile Cliffs; Hiking
River Journey; Bridge to No Where; Hiking
River Journey; Fly out to Chitina; Copper River Fish Wheels
Richardson Hwy Trip to Valdez; Cruise Across Prince William Sound

Course Description...

Day One and Two – Begin your trip in Anchorage, Alaska.  Depart on the mail plane to McCarthy – one of Alaska’s best kept secrets.  After the morning flight, transfer to McCarthy’s only hotel and enjoy its historic ambience.  For the next couple of days we’ll set off to explore the many marvels of the McCarthy / Kennicott settlement and, weather permitting, gaze upon Alaska’s most beautiful mountain range – The Wrangell-St Elias Mountains that tower above us at 16,000 feet in elevation.  Activities include biking backcountry trails in search of wildlife and historic relics, taking a behind the scenes tour of the Kennicott ghost town and mill site and learning about glaciology while walking across the root glacier with crampons and ropes.    

Day Three and Four– After spending the morning packing and preparing we’ll load up specially equipped bush airplanes for a spectacular flight to the headwaters of the Nizina River.  While in the air we’ll search for wildlife, gaze down on glaciers, fly alongside towering mile high cliffs and set down on a remote, wilderness landing strip.  Once situated at our wilderness camp surrounded by rocky crags and snow capped peaks we’ll discover a magical paradise few people in the world get to experience.  Hikes will take us to mountain amphitheaters, hidden waterfalls, glacier moraines, and perhaps a secretive trapper’s cabin.  From our lakeshore camp we’ll paddle out amongst 10 story high icebergs, witness calving glaciers, and experience a wilderness like none other.  Each day instructors will teach you skills to be safe in the backcountry, share Alaskan lore, and introduce you to the flora and fauna of the area.  A special class will cover bear behavior and how to safely live in their habitat. 

Day Five and Six – From our Mountain Camp we transition to our river journey which takes us down a seldom visited river in Alaska – the Nizina.  Lack of human presence is due to its remoteness and airplane only access.  As a result, you will feel moments of epic solitude with so much wilderness surrounding you. Our downriver course takes us to more spectacular sights like the mile high cliffs with 500’ waterfalls, braided channels and side rivers, a “bridge to nowhere”, and the whitewater rapids of the Nizina Canyon.  Each evening will feature camp cooking classes and cozy tent sites amongst the cotton grass.  Will entertain ourselves with music, revel in the midnight sun and hunker around riverside campfires.

Day Seven and Eight – Once we reach the confluence of the Kennicott and Chitina Rivers at the end of day eight our river journey will conclude.  We’ll load the planes up with our gear for a short flight to Chitina where a historic roadhouse awaits our arrival with comfy beds, hot showers and good food.  Our evening field trip will take us to the famous Copper River where we’ll witness giant fish wheels, powered by river current, scooping up salmon in their buckets.  On our final day we drive one of Alaska’s most scenic highways to Valdez where we will board the Chenega for a three hour voyage across the marine waterways of Prince William Sound.  Hopefully we’ll be lucky and witness whales, tidewaters glaciers, and seacoast birds and mammals along the way.  Once arriving at the port of Whittier, we’ll take a six minute drive through an unusual tunnel and on to Anchorage.  Your instructors will bid you farewell at your hotel of choice or the Anchorage Airport if you are planning on taking a redeye flight...

Registration Information

Dates and Fees:  Call for your custom date • 8 Days / 7 Nights 
   Call for 2014 Price     Tuition Includes:  Three internal air flights, passage on the Alaska Marine Highway Ferry, all accommodations; land transportation and meals; instruction and classes; pre and post course preparation/communication; permits and entry fees; equipment and gear; airport transfers; plus 6% applicable government/land use fee.
Not Included:
  Air transportation to Anchorage, Alaska; hotel accommodations and meals in Anchorage, travel insurance; pocket cash for items of a personal nature, (alcoholic beverages, souvenirs, etc.).
Start and End Location
:  Anchorage, Alaska, USA

Important Notice:  Plan to arrive in Anchorage, Alaska at least one day before starting your course. This may require departing your hometown or country one or more days in advance and possibly traveling on an overnight flight.  Please consult our admissions office for air travel recommendations.

We look forward to having you join us on this course – an experience of a lifetime!

Why wait? Space is limited, reserve your adventure today.

► Enrollment Application


Alaska Kayaking Whitewater, Alaska Outdoor School, Alaska Adventure Camp, Alaska Wilderness School