Complete Denali Park Tours
Of course you are going to Denali National Park to see the Mountain and the Wildlife. Fortunately, there are quite a list of options to get out and explore the Park and the surrounding area. Most visitors will choose a Denali Park bus tour or Denali Park shuttle bus trip, and then add on another excursion or two like rafting, flightseeing, hiking or even an ATV tour. Bus tours and shuttle buses are the core Denali activity for a couple of reasons. In the area immediately surrounding the Park entrance where most hotels are located you cannot see Mt. McKinley and wildlife viewing is limited compared to inside the Park. Also, private vehicles are not allowed on the 90 mile Denali Park Road past mile 15.
Here is a quick overview of many of the Denali National Park activities that Alaska Tour & Travel offers, along with links for additional information.
Denali Park Bus Tours
Bus trips into Denali Park generally fall in two categories, either Bus Tours or Shuttle Buses. With a Denali bus tour you stay with the same driver throughout the trip and that driver acts as a naturalist guide, providing narration throughout the trip. Bus tours also include either a snack, box lunch or lodge lunch experience depending on the trip you choose. In general, Denali bus tours have 3 different lengths: the Denali Natural History Tour (17 miles, 4.5 hours), the Tundra Wilderness Tour (53 miles, 7-8 hours) and Kantishna Full-Day Bus Tours (92 miles, 11-13 hours).
Full-Day Kantishna Bus Tours are available from both the concessionaire and private companies. We highly recommend the Kantishna Wilderness Trails bus tour, the original operator of the full-day bus tour through Denali Park to Kantishna. This trip is operated by the same Alaskan Native owned company that runs the Kantishna Roadhouse, and the day tour features a scrumptious lunch stop at this fabulous remote wilderness lodge located in the heart of Denali National Park. This trip maximizes your mountain and wildlife viewing experience and is simply the "best of the best" Denali National Park bus tour. At 12 to 13 hours long it is obviously longer than the other trips but remember you are off the bus for several hours at the lodge. There is also an option to take a return flight from Kantishna to the Park entrance.
The Denali Tundra Wilderness Bus Tour typically travels at least to the Toklat River (mile 53) and generally takes 7 to 8 hours for the full tour. A certified driver-naturalist provides in-depth information about the history of the park, and ample opportunities are available to spot wildlife, Mt. Denali and other photographic opportunities. A box lunch and beverages are provided. Morning and afternoon departures are available, follow the links on the product pages below for additional information.
The Denali Natural History Tour focuses on natural and cultural history of Denali Park and is 4 to 5 hours long, typically traveling to Primrose Ridge (mile 17). Several interpretive stops are made including the Wilderness Access Center for a film, a stop at a ranger cabin and Alaskan Native presentation. Views of Mt. Denali and wildlife are possible, but your chances to see both greatly increase by traveling further into the Park on an option above. A snack and hot beverages are provided. Morning and afternoon departures are available, follow the links on the product pages below for additional information.
The Denali Park shuttle bus system in Denali is a good option for those visitors looking for basic transportation into the Park rather than a tour experience. Drivers do not generally provide tour narration, and meals are not provided. They biggest difference is that you can get off one bus out in the Park and get on another one, in either direction. Shuttle buses are less expensive than tour busses, and are available in 4 lengths with turnaround points at Toklat River (mile 53), Eielson Visitor Center (mile 66), Wonder Lake Campground (mile 85) and the Kantishna Air Strip (mile 92). Alaska Tour & Travel offers one shuttle bus trip to Eielson and additional trips are available here.
Denali Park Rafting
The Nenana River that runs along the border of Denali National Park provides an excellent opportunity to experience an exciting whitewater or scenic wilderness float trip while visiting Denali. Rafting tours vary but two of the most popular trips are the whitewater and mildwater trips that start or end near the Park entrance area. Whitewater trips generally depart near the Park entrance and travel through the Denali Canyon area. Trips are about 11 miles and take a couple of hours. You typically experience class III or class IV whitewater and conditions can vary greatly based on water levels. Often on these trip you can choose from an "oar raft' where just the guide has oars, or a "paddle raft" where the passengers take part and have paddles. Mildwater trips, often called wilderness float or scenic trips, generally depart from the McKinley Village area and end up near the Park entrance. These trips are calmer, but you definitely still experience some whitewater. For the most part you experience class I and class II whitewater with one class III rapid but again, conditions vary with water levels. Departures are available throughout the day for both whitewater and mildwater rafting, follow the links on the product pages below for additional information or visit our Denali Park Rafting page.
Rafting in Denali is not without risk so it is important to pick a reputable operator with top notch equipment and safety gear. Our rafting operator uses top quality Avon & Riken rafts and provide dry suits and of course life jackets to participants for both comfort and safely. They also have established safety polices such as always sending at least two rafts on each trip, and using the shuttle drivers to monitor the whitewater portions of the trip from land in case assistance is needed.
Denali Park Flightseeing
Denali Park is a fantastic place to take a scenic flight. Not only will you get a different perspective then from the ground, you will improve your chances of seeing Mt. Denali as you can sometimes literally fly around the weather. The glaciers are also spectacular from the air, and you can even land on one if you like. You can choose between a helicopter flight and a fixed wing aircraft. Both are excellent options and often comes down to just a matter of personal preference. We highly recommend the glacier landing which is available both on the helicopter trip and fixed wings flights. For the active and adventuresome, consider a "heli-hiking" trip where you are dropped off by helicopter with a naturalist guide to explore the remote wilderness near Denali Park. Keep in mind that the town of Talkeetna on the south side of Denali Park also offers great opportunities for scenic flights to see McKinley. Departures are available throughout the day for both helicopter and fixed wing flight tours, follow the links on the product pages below for additional information.
Denali Park Dinner Theaters
Dinner theaters at Denali Park are a great way to enjoy a scrumptious meal, some hearty laughter and to learn a bit about the history of the Park. There are a couple options, the Alaska Cabin Nite Dinner theater located at the McKinley Chalet Resort and the Music of Denali located at the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge. Alaska Tour & Travel has offered the Alaska Cabin Nite Dinner for years, and it is consistently a hit with our guests. The show takes place in a log-paneled Roadhouse and is a great mix of colorful storytelling, spirited music and humor, all brought to life by talented performers. The all-you-can-eat meal is served family-style and includes Alaskan salmon, barbecue ribs, potatoes, corn, old-fashioned baked beans, drop biscuits and berry cobbler. On most nights an early and late show is available, follow the links on the product page below for additional information.
Denali Park Jeep, Four Wheeler, ATV Tours
For those looking a bit more active adventure, consider a Denali Park tour by Jeep, four wheeler, or single passenger or side by side ATV. Some tours operate in traditional 4 passenger Jeeps, while others offer single rider four wheelers or ATVS and two passenger side-by-side ATVs. The trips are guided, but the guide has their own vehicle so you or someone in your party will be at the wheel. Either way, get ready to get out an explore some rugged wilderness surrounding Denali Park. Departures are available throughout the day for these tours, follow the links on the product pages below for additional information.
Denali Park Hiking
What better way to get out and enjoy Denali Park and the surrounding area then to take a hike. We are pleased to offer a great guided trip called "Steps Through Time". This tour is several times throughout the day, follow product page links below for more details. The National Park Service also offers a number of ranger led walks and hikes, more information here. Lastly, there are plenty of opportunities to go for a hike on your own including popular options such as Horseshoe Lake trail.
Denali Park Husky Homestead Tour
Tour the homestead and kennel of Iditarod champion Jeff King and well known wildlife artist Donna Gates King. Cuddle with puppies, meet champion sled dogs and see summer training in action. Jeff has won the 1049 mile Iditarod Sled Dog race 4 times while Donna is a well-known artist whose art portrays her intimate involvement with mushing and her love and respect of nature. Departures are available throughout the day, follow the links on the product pages below for additional information.
We invite you to browse our Complete Denali section by following the links below. But, of course, you can always give us a call at 800.208.0200, contact us by email, online, or try out our trip finder or trip builder. We are here to help you plan your Denali Park vacation!
Did you know? The most popular Denali Park tour we sell is the Kantishna Wilderness Trails Tour, the original full-day bus tour through Denali Park to the Kantishna Roadhouse.