Alaska Volunteer Vacation

Trip Length 11 Days
Group Size 8?12
Activity level
Starting from $3,200
Departures Jun 2020-Jun 2020

Experience the brilliance of Alaska on an 11-day volunteer vacation adventure.

Vast, shady forests, stunning glaciers and extensive wildlife; Alaska is an incredibly unique place to enjoy a volunteer vacation. Spend time hiking, constructing and maintaining trails while putting nature, and our role within its vastness, into new perspective.

Beginning in Juneau, join forces with fellow adventurers as we work to restore trails and vegetation within the stunning Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area. From there, travel north to Skagway on a ferry that follows the route of the 1898 Gold Rush. Take a ride on the historic White Pass & Yukon Route Railway, an International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark built in 1898. The route climbs nearly 3,000' through 20 miles of steep grades and cliff-hanging turns, providing a stunning showcase of Alaska?s famous mountain views. The trip is capped off with a catamaran ride back to Juneau as we say goodbye for now to good friends and great adventure.

This REI volunteer vacation is offered in partnership with Conservation Volunteers International Program. Find out additional details about the trip on the ConservationVIP website.

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Trip Highlights

  • Volunteer in Mendenhall Recreation Area with the National Forest Service
  • Volunteer in Klondike National Historical Park with the National Park Service
  • Give back to Alaska?s public lands in a way that few tourists experience
  • Spend 11 days volunteering and exploring in spectacular southeast Alaska


This trip is rated Moderate [3]. Trip members may be trail work novices in good physical condition. Volunteers should be comfortable hiking up to 3?4 miles each day over mountainous terrain with some steep ascents and uneven trails. To assess your fitness, you should be able to hike 3?4 miles with some elevation gain/loss with a daypack weighing approximately 10?15 pounds. You should also be able to work in your garden all day moving plants, shoveling soil and pruning trees.

  • Trail Maintenance
  • Trail Construction
  • Hiking

What's Included

All meals from dinner on Day 1 through lunch on Day 11, except for one dinner; all lodging; all van, boat and train transportation as noted on the itinerary; transportation to project sites; park entrance fees; gratuities for services provided to the group; project leadership and support staff; group tools; orientation and training.


Dormitory, 5 nights; B&B with cabins and single-gender rooms, 5 nights

Your Adventure Itinerary

Route Variation

Please note?Specific work locations may vary with each volunteer vacation departure.

Because local conditions and agency needs evolve, detailed project plans are often finalized or revised after the group arrives. The local agencies and trip leaders also review the conditions at the site in light of the capabilities and special interests of the volunteers. Volunteer Trips offer the opportunity to experience the land in a unique way not available to the average tourist. This trip is a good fit for adventurous travelers willing to work, who are comfortable with a flexible itinerary and truly want to make a difference.

Day 1

Meet in Juneau, Alaska, for orientation and enjoy a welcome dinner

Our volunteer trip begins today at 5pm when we meet and greet on the beautiful University of Alaska Southeast Campus. Volunteers will be lodged in the John R. Pugh Residence Hall here for the five nights we are in Juneau. We share an informal welcome dinner on the beautiful campus overlooking Auke Lake as we transition into Alaska, the land of the midnight sun. Dinner included.

Day 2

Volunteer projects in the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area

Following breakfast, we start our first volunteer project day at Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center for an overview (emphasis on ?View!?) of the Mendenhall Glacier. We then meet our partners, the Juneau District Ranger and trail staff, have a group orientation, and safety/trail training. Part of the training includes ?Working in Bear Country? presented by a local expert. Post-training, we depart for the project location in the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area, where we spend the afternoon and next three days. Our trail work includes restoration of trail tread and alignment and vegetation management. Over the last several years, a number of glacial floods from Mendenhall Glacier have caused nearby Mendenhall Lake to rise flooding the nearby trails, campground, and neighborhood. Depending on conditions, we may help with repairs necessitated by this natural phenomenon. Breakfast, box lunch and dinner included.

Day 3

Continue volunteer trail work

Our second day working with the Juneau District Rangers and needed trail work. Breakfast, box lunch and dinner included.

Day 4

Continue volunteer trail work

Another day working with the Juneau District Rangers and needed trail work. Breakfast, box lunch and dinner included.

Day 5

Continue volunteer trail work

Our final day working in the Mendenhall Recreation Area with the National Forest Service. Breakfast, box lunch and dinner included.

Day 6

Ferry through the Inside Passage?Lynn Canal to Skagway.

Today we travel to Skagway via ferry on the Alaska Marine Highway through Lynn Canal. With a depth of over 2,000?, this is the deepest fjord in North America. At 90 miles long, it is also the longest in the world. We take a drive-through orientation tour of Skagway and then head seven miles out of Skagway to the historic town site of Dyea. There we check into the Chilkoot Trail Outpost, a rustic Bed and Breakfast and our home for the next five nights. All meals included.

Day 7

Volunteer Projects in Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park

This portion of our volunteer work takes place in Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, where we will be working on an interpretive trail in the Dyea Townsite. With approximately 8,000 inhabitants during the Gold Rush in the late 1800?s, Dyea was once a bustling city. After the railroad was constructed from Skagway, Skagway became the community that endured; Dyea was quickly abandoned. Today, Dyea still piques the curiosity and imagination of visitors who seek out this remote location. Each afternoon, after our volunteer work is done, we head back to the Chilkoot Trail Outpost to freshen up and relax before dinner. Or, you may want to use one of the Outpost's bicycles to explore the area. All meals included.

Day 8

Volunteering Project Continued

Our second day of trail work in the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. Breakfast, box lunch and dinner included.

Day 9

Catch a ride on the White Pass & Yukon Route Railway.

A rest day today and time to see this historic area. After breakfast, we catch a ride on the historic White Pass & Yukon Route Railway. Built in 1898 during the Klondike Gold Rush, this down and back narrow-gauge railroad is an International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. The route climbs nearly 3,000? through 20 miles of steep grades, cliffhanging turns, two tunnels and numerous trestles while showcasing stunning mountain views, gorges, glaciers and waterfalls. We return to Skagway this afternoon for free time to wander this historic down and find a fun place to have dinner on our own. Breakfast and box lunch included.

Day 10

Our final day of volunteer work.

Its back to work for our final day in the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, supporting the Park Service on needed upkeep of the trail system. We spend our last dinner together reminiscing of our time together and the friends we have made. Breakfast, box lunch and dinner included.

Day 11

Back to Juneau via catamaran through the Inside Passage.

After an early breakfast, we catch an Alaska Fjordlines catamaran from Skagway to Juneau, where the Alaska Volunteer Trip ends. We expect to arrive in Juneau by noon, but do not schedule a flight before 2pm, because our boat will slow to enjoy whale sightings! Volunteers wishing to stay longer in Juneau should make their own reservations at local hotels. Breakfast and box lunch included.

Gear List

The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. This gear list has been created to help you in choosing your equipment for the trip. Try to bring only what is necessary, as this will help you and the field staff.

What to pack

You might also consider

Travel documents

  • Airline Tickets (Confirmation and Itinerary)
  • Final Bulletin (Emailed Prior to Departure Date)
  • Mandatory Evacuation Insurance
  • Valid Passport

Contact Us

Feel free to give us a call at 800-622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out REI Expert Advice , which has great information to help you prepare for your trip.