Alaska 2021 Classic Birding I. Nome & Denali: Alaska Gold Rush

June 07 - 17, 2021
Tour Length: 11 days Est. Spaces Left: 0

Nome lies on the Seward Peninsula and juts into the Bering Sea. It’s a frontier town in a world where few such curiosities remain. Our trip to magnificent Denali National Park and the wilderness surrounding it is as much about large mammals, and a big (!) mountain, as it is about birds.

Note: This is a combined tour with our partners at Rockjumper Tours

Photo: Bristle-thighed Curlew by Stephan Lorenz


Future Departures:
June 07, 2022
Tour Leaders:
Max # Birders:
14 (+2 leaders & vans)
Birding; Wildlife viewing; Photography;
Easy ; mostly easy; one optional, moderate to difficult hike for Bristle-thighed Curlew.
Double Accommodation:
$ 6350
[per person]
Single Supplement:
+ $ 1250
$750 [per person]

Nome lies on the Seward Peninsula and juts into the Bering Sea. It’s a frontier town in a world where few such curiosities remain. Bordered on the west and south by the Bering Sea, the north and east by miles of trackless wilderness. Nome is a fascinating and challenging destination, accessible only by boat and aeroplane. During June, the midnight sun is at its brightest, the tundra is in full bloom, and the birds and mammals are breeding and therefore very active. Our tour will cover the prime birding areas along the coast, the tundra and the only boreal forest on the Seward Peninsula. Most of the birds are in their resplendent breeding plumage, rarely if ever seen in the ‘lower 48’. We’ll also make an extra effort to locate some of the Asian species that regularly occur around Nome. The road system here provides the very best access to the Alaska wilderness without an aeroplane. This is typically the best trip for Asian vagrants, and we expect to see around 90+ bird species, including Black-throated (Arctic) and Yellow-billed Loons, Bristle-thighed Curlew, Sabine’s Gull, Gyrfalcon, Bluethroat, Eastern Yellow and White Wagtails. Mammal possibilities include the huge Grizzly (Brown) Bear, Moose, Caribou (some years), and Muskox. Sometimes, with great luck, a Beluga or Wolverine is spotted! Our lodging overlooks the Bering Sea, and being only a few years old offers the most comfortable accommodations in the area.

Our trip to magnificent Denali National Park and the wilderness surrounding it is as much about large mammals, and a big (!) mountain, as it is about birds. With the blessing of the weather gods, the scenery can be beyond marvellous, and we expect to see such stellar species as Trumpeter Swan, Willow Ptarmigan, Gyrfalcon, Long-tailed Jaeger, and perhaps even Northern Hawk-Owl and Smith’s Longspur. And typically we also see a number of Grizzly Bears (often sows with cubs) as well as Caribou scattered about, some Dall Sheep, Moose and, if we are lucky, perhaps even Wolf. We’ll also travel the gravel Denali Highway that parallels the stunning Alaska Range for 135 miles in our quest to see as many of the region’s special birds as possible.


  • Meeting Location

    Anchorage, Alaska


    Three to four star; very comfortable


    Roundtrip flights: Anchorage to Nome;
    • Pickup and drop-off at Nome Airport;
    • All meals from dinner on day 1 to lunch on day 11;
    • Drinking water throughout the tour;
    • All lodgings as per the itinerary;
    • Ground transportation;
    • All taxes and reserve entrance fees;
    • All guiding services; and
    • Tips for local guides and services.


    ANY international airfares.
    • Any airfares other than stated above, taxes and visa costs;
    • Alcoholic beverages;
    • Special gratuities (guide & boat tips); and
    • Telephone calls, laundry and items of a personal nature.

  • Top Birds

    Emperor Goose; Black-throated (Arctic) Pacific, Red-throated & Yellow-billed Loons; Bristle-thighed Curlew; Bar-tailed Godwit; Wandering Tattler, American Golden & Pacific Golden Plover; Black Bellied Plover; Red-necked Stint; Sabine’s Gull; Aleutian & Arctic Tern;  Gyrfalcon;  Bluethroat; Eastern Yellow & White Wagtail; Arctic Warbler; Trumpeter Swan; Willow & Rock Ptarmigan;, Long-tailed & Parasitic  Jaeger; Northern Hawk-Owl; Great Grey Owl; Smith’s Longspur, Golden Eagle, Rough-legged Hawk;  Boreal Chickadee; American Three-toed & Black-backed Woodpecker;White-winged Crossbill; Bohemian Waxwing and many others

    Top Mammals

    Brown (Grizzly) Bear; Black Bear; Moose; Caribou; Lynx; Hoary Marmot; Short-tailed Weasel; Beaver; Gray Wolf; Red Fox; Dall Sheep.

    Habitats Covered

    Barren tundra & high tundra,  stunted temperate growth forests, boreal forest, rocky shorelines, taiga forest, mountain ranges, lakes.

    Expected Climate

    Wide range of temperatures from 30;s to 70’s.

  • Other Attractions
    Suggested Clothing & Gear
    • Valid, current passport (w/ 4 blank pages)
    • Credit cards / cash
    • Binoculars
    • Scope and tripod (optional)
    • Sunglasses and sunscreen
    • Water bottle
    • Small umbrella
    • Small day pack / fanny pack
    • Small flashlight
    • Mosquito/insect repellant (DEET 25% or greater)
    • Itch relief cream
    • Lip screen/balm
    • Prescription drugs - carry in original packaging to avoid customs problems
    • OTC medicines (antibiotics, cold/sinus, cough drops, eye drops, analgesic (Motrin, aspirin), anti-diarrheal)
    • Toiletries
    • Hair Dryer
    • Small alarm clock
    • Field guides
    • Hiking Boots/Shoes
    • Hat with brim/visor
    • Safari (e.g., Tilly) hat
    • Rain jacket/wind breaker
    • Waterproof winter jacket (Gore-tex or equivalent)
    • Balaclava or full facial ski mask
    • Warm, waterproof gloves (and backup pair)
    • Glove liners
    • Long sleeve shirts (various weights)
    • T-shirts or undershirts (capilene or polypropylene)
    • Pants (fleece or wool; jeans NOT recommended)
    • Long Underwear (capilene or polypropylene)
    • PJs or shorts for lounging/sleeping
    • Wool socks (various weights) and liners.
    • Sturdy, waterproof boots; NEOS are lightweight waterproof overboots
    • Moleskin for blisters
    Recommended Reading
    • A Field Guide to the Birds of Japan

      Wild Bird Society of Japan
    • A Photographic Guide to North American Raptors

      Brian Wheeler & William Clark
    • Birds of Europe with North Africa & the Middle East

      Lars Jonsson (1992)
      Princeton University Press
    • National Geographic Field Guide to The Birds of North America (7th Edition)

      Jon Dunn, et. al. 2017
      National Geographic Society




Denali National Park

Denali Highway, Cantwell

Denali Highway, Paxson

Teller Road

Kougarok Road

Council Road

Safety Sound

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