Experience True Nature Alaska Wilderness Adventure Tours beyond Imagination


VAL#04 Shoup Glacier and Sawmill Bay Kayak Tour from Valdez

Surrounded by towering mountains, waterfalls and salmon streams, Sawmill Bay is well protected from wind and sea and is the ideal spot for the novice kayaker's first day on the water. Kayaking, hiking, berry picking, salmon fishing and wildlife watching are just some of the activities possible in this uniquely beautiful bay. The next day paddle along the intricately convoluted shorelines of Valdez Narrows, passing countless waterfalls, eagles' nests and sea caves. Camp in view of spectacular Shoup Glacier. The following day explore Shoup Glacier than paddle back to Valdez with a stop at Gold Creek. 10-12 miles of paddling each day.

  • Tour Itinerary

  • Dates | Rates

  • Destination Info


Valdez - Sawmill Bay

Individual Arrival in Valdez. Meet at the tour office for a pre-trip safety briefing and equipment fitting. Load boats on our specialized ‘water taxi’ and sit back and enjoy. The trip out to Sawmill Bay, the first of our state park stops, takes approximately 1 hour. After unloading and packing our boats, enjoy the first dips of your paddle in the pristine waters. (L) ( D)


Sawmill Bay - Shoup Glacier

After a hardy breakfast, we will pack the boats and begin our journey into the arm and around Potato Point. Along the way bask in the beauty of falling water as falls cascade from hundreds of feet up the cliff faces. This is a great time to watch for wildlife such as otters, seals, sea lions and occasionally whales. Stop for lunch and spend some time beach combing on the rugged coastline between Sawmill and Shoup Glacier, our intended destination for the evening. Once in Shoup Bay, the first views of Shoup Glacier will begin to unfold. The closer you get the bigger it is! After paddling into the inner tidal lagoon you will come in face to face contact with the splendor of a tidewater glacier. Experience the awesome beauty of the ‘blue’ ice and listen to the cracking and popping as ice prepares to ‘calve’ into the azure waters of the bay. After exploring and visiting the Black Legged Kittiwake rookery, now numbering more than 20,000 birds, we will make our way to a camping spot. After dinner relax, go for a small hike on the moraine, or simply relax and wait for the special opportunity to see the ‘Northern Lights’ spread out across the evening, star filled sky. (B) ( L) ( D)


Shoup Glacier - Valdez

After a breakfast and beverages, head out into the bay one more time for a morning tour. This is a great time to get those last photos by the glacier. We’ll than paddle back and breakdown camp. Now we begin our journey back to Valdez, paddling the beautiful coastline of Port Valdez. Along the way learn more about the mining and gold rush history of Prince William Sound as we paddle by the ‘cliff mine’. Watch for eagles as we pull into Gold Creek, a state marine park. Lunch time and a perfect pit stop in between Shoup and Valdez. After lunch take a short hike up to the steep, basalt gorge littered with waterfalls and big trees. This is the northern most example of the temperate rain forest which stretches from Coos Bay in Oregon to Prince William Sound and southern Alaska. The last three miles back to Valdez are good for seeing river otters, seals, sea lions and bird life. Pull back into the small boat harbor of Valdez mid to late afternoon. (B) ( L)

Rates in US $ / per Person Adult
Shoup Glacier & Sawmill Bay Kayak Tour $ 565.00


Departure Days
Individual Departures from May - September (On Request)


Services included
  • Round trip Charter Transportation from Whittier
  • Maximum 10 participants
  • Knowledgeable Guides
  • Professional Instructions
  • Kayak and Group Camping Equipment
  • All Meals
Optional Rental: Tents, sleeping bags and pads add $30 per day

Denali National Park - FAQ

Where is the Park?
The Park is located on the George Parks Highway - 120 Miles south of Fairbanks and 240 Miles north of Anchorage. There are only a few smaller communities such as Talkeetna, Cantwell and Nenana between these two major cities and therefore the Park area is somewhat isolated.

How do I get to Denali?
The national park area is easily accessible via the paved George Parks Highway or with the Railroad.

Denali Star & the Midnight Sun Express | Daily departures from / to Anchorage, Talkeetna and Fairbanks

Bus and Van Service
Daily departures from Anchorage and Fairbanks

Rent a car, van, or 4x4 in Anchorage and drive to Denali National Park. One-way rentals are available between Anchorage, Fairbanks and Seward.

Can I drive into the National Park?
Private vehicles are not allowed beyond the Savage Creek Ranger Check Station at Mile 15 of the Park Road – except with a permit. Therefore the National Park Service offers a shuttle bus system from approximately end of May until the middle of September (depends on weather conditions) between the Visitor Center and Wonder Lake, at the end of the 90 Mile long Road. The busses are departing from 6:00 am onwards about every 1/2 hour. Passengers have the opportunity to get on and off the bus at any point along the park road for hikes and wildlife viewing. This allows visitors to explore the park at their own pace and leisure. Note: Advance reservations for the shuttle busses are absolutely necessary. If you arrive without shuttle bus reservations you may have to wait one or two days in order to get a ticket.

How long will it take to visit the Park?
The shuttle bus service offers a number of well worth visiting destinations.

Savage River | this is the farthest point (15 Miles from park entrance) visitors can travel in their own vehicle on the park road. At this point there is a small parking  area, picnic tables, and the trailhead for the Savage River Trail (about 2 Miles) Visitors can make use of the free Savage River Shuttle that runs regularly between the entrance area and the Savage River. The Savage River Campground is located at Mile 13 and Savage campers with tickets can be picked up at the bus stop for the shuttle into the park.

Sanctuary River | 23 Miles from the park entrance provides an established campground and a park ranger station. There are seven sites for tent camping and access is by bus. Campers with tickets may use the Park Shuttle system, and great hiking is available in the vicinity of Sanctuary campground.

The Teklanika River | 30 Miles from the park entrance runs through Igloo Forest, creating large gravel bars for easy travel. A rest stop at Teklanika provides restrooms, and expansive views from the deck. Campgrounds are nearby at Teklanika and Igloo Creek campgrounds.

Polychrome Pass & Rest Area | 46 Miles from the park entrance offers a spectacular view of the colorful Alaska Range. The Polychrome Glaciers are nestled in the hills to the south, while bears and caribou often wander on the river bars below. For a day hike, walk along the ridge behind the rest area and enjoy alpine scenery. Buses run as far as Polychrome from June to August.

Toklat | at Mile 53 is a 6-hour round trip. Toklat River is an area of braided glacial rivers and towering cliffs where Dall sheep are often seen. Grizzlies sometimes graze on the riverbed’s soapberries. Buses run as far as Toklat from late May through Mid-Sept weather permitting.

Fish Creek | a trip to the newly build Fish Creek Visitor Center, at Mile 66 takes about 8-hours (round trip) and is the closest location for scenic views of towering Mt. McKinley.

Wonder Lake | at Mile 85 is an 11-hour round trip. The beautiful lake offers a picture perfect view of Mt. McKinley. Along the road to Wonder Lake, alder and willow-carpeted hills are dotted with kettle ponds. Look for beaver along the way, and be sure to keep an eye out for blueberries in late summer and fall. Buses run to Wonder Lake June 8 through Mid-September weather permitting

Kantishna | at Mile 90 is about a 13-hour round trip. The gold mining area is primarily a destination for backpackers heading for the national parks backcountry sections or for clients who are staying at various remote backcountry lodges in the viciity of Kantishna. One Bus travels to Kantishna between June 8 and September 11. Kantishna is primarily a destination for lodge visitors and backpackers headed for the backcountry. Please respect the private lands you may encounter in this area.

What about Sightseeing within Denali National Park?
Denali National Park and Preserve is famous for North America's highest mountain peak - 20,320-foot tall Mount McKinley, spectacular landscapes, rugged mountain peaks and abundant wildlife. More than 6 million acres encompass a complete sub-arctic eco-system.

What about Wildlife Viewing?
Denali National Park is home to a variety of wildlife. Moose, Grizzly Bears, Caribous, Dall Sheeps, Wolves, Foxes, Golden Eagles, Beavers, and a multitude of migratory birds and waterfowl are plentiful throughout the park. Moose and Grizzly Bear sights are possible and rather common even within the improved sections of the park.

Will I see Mt. McKinley?
The more time you spend inside the park, the better are your chances to see Mt.McKinley The entire mountain is visible only on a few days during each summer, however you may be fortunate to get a view of Mt.McKinley or some of the other mountain peaks and glaciers of the Alaska range during your stay. Even when the clouds obscure your view of the mountain from ground level, you can frequently see it while on a hike that gains elevation, or on a flight seeing trip.

Are any hotels directly in the Park?
Only a very limited number of remote wilderness lodges are operating within the national park boundaries. Please check our page: Denali Wilderness Lodges. Most  hotels are located at Denali Village – along the Parks Highway – one Mile from the visitor center.

Can I buy beverages or food in the Park?
There is no food or beverage service available on either the busses or anywhere past Mile 2 of the park road. Please plan ahead and bring your own snacks, lunch, and beverages. Restrooms are available at approximate one-hour intervals along the park road.

Which services are available near the Park?
Within a few miles of the Park entrance there are lodges, restaurants, gift shops, gas stations, small convenience stores, and various other visitor related services.

What’s about other Activities?
There are a number of outfitters and soft-adventure companies operating near the park boundaries. Some of the activities include: flight seeing adventures, helicopter flights, rafting, float trips, sled dog tours, evening dinner theater. Please refer also to our individual sightseeing pages.

How is the Weather?
Weather in Denali is extremely variable. Many of the rangers tell visitors to expect sun, wind, rain, clouds and even snow - sometimes all on the same day. Temperature can range from the mid 20's in early May and September to 85 degrees in July. Normal temperatures are in the high 60's with nights cooling off to between 40 and 50 degrees. Wearing layers of clothing makes it easy to regulate your body temperature. Also, you'll find that a good waterproof raincoat is invaluable. It will be daylight for 24-hours a day throughout May, June and the first half of July.

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