The team at Alaska Tour & Travel is an adventurous bunch, and we don't take recommending day tours and excursions lightly. That's why, when we're not manning the phones at our office in Anchorage, we like to go out and experience what our guests will. Next stop? Tyler and Matt take us out on the Denali Glacier Landing Flight from Talkeetna.

When did you go on the tour?

Tyler: I went on the glacier landing flight in late May.

Matt: For me it was early spring, first week of April.

What was the day like? Set the weather scene here.

Tyler: The day was overcast and a little misty down on the ground, but as we got up into the air it cleared up quite a bit over the initial cloud layer. We ended up with a crystal clear sunny view of Mt. Denali and a mostly sunny glacier landing stop as well.

Matt: The weather was sunny and clear with little to no wind.

Meeting the face of Denali, from above the clouds. Photo by Tony Thompson.

Let’s talk logistics. Where’d you meet/get picked up? How did the operator prep you for the tour?

Tyler: I met directly at the tour office since I was driving myself. I was weighed upon arrival and we had a very thorough safety speech on the ground before takeoff. I left everything in my car other than my phone and a water bottle.

Matt: We also drove and checked in directly at the tour office. After checking us in they had coffee and snacks in the lobby as more guests began to arrive. After 10-15 minutes they announced each party's name and let them know which pilot they would be flying with. The pilot spent time introducing himself before we stepped outside to get fitted for glacier boots. Before we took off our pilot went over the route we were flying and the landmarks we would see.

Pre-flight pilot brief before Denali flightseeing tour.

Overall impressions? What’s the vibe like? What did you see/experience/learn?

Tyler: Had a fantastic tour as always with this flightseeing operator! The pilot had just moved to Alaska a couple of years prior, but had lots of flight experience back home and was extremely knowledgeable. Time went by way too quickly while I was caught up in those epic reveals of Mt. Denali through the clouds. Safe to say "jaw-dropping" and "humbling" are always great ways to describe the views you get from a small plane nearby such gigantic mountains and glaciers around the area.

Matt: I really like the atmosphere of the office, everyone was extremely friendly. The flight overall was of course amazing, but I did not know how much the glacier landing was going to surpass my expectations. Once we were there on the Ruth Glacier it was like we were on a different world in the shadow of Mt. Denali.

Clear day for a flightseeing trip from Talkeetna to Ruth Glacier.

What was your favorite moment on the tour?

Tyler: My favorite moment was when the clouds cleared up to perfectly reveal Mt. Denali on a day that looked very unlikely to reveal the mountain based on our weather during takeoff. Always makes you more thankful for the moment when you don't expect it.

Matt: Downtime on the glacier getting to reflect and spend time with family.

Now that you’ve done this tour, what advice would you give guests?

Both Tyler and Matt agree:

  • Don't assume the weather on the ground is always reflective of the weather on the flight, we ended up with a great day and great flight when it didn't seem likely.
  • Dress in layers, the weather will be different between the start of the tour and on the glacier.
  • Ask the guide lots of questions! One of my favorite things on a tour like this is to ask the pilot all sorts of questions so I can hear the wealth of information and fun facts they have about the area. On that same note, listen to the pilot's instructions, especially on the glacier.

Take a look at those jaw-dropping views:

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Posted in: Best Things to Do, Local Advice, Trip Reports