Photo Credit: Denali Park Zipline

Denali National Park Day Tours & Attractions

If you want to explore Denali beyond the Park Road, you have to consider a few other excursion options—from jetboats to jeeps, and even golf or dinner theatre. One great excursion option is flightseeing—a safe but also thrilling way to see Denali (Mt McKinley) in ways that only mountain climbers can come close to matching, Another is rafting, where you literally go with the flow as you move through the wilderness. Choose your favorites, and let the park open up for you.

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Flightseeing Tours View All

Denali • Land on a Glacier • Summit tours
$270+ 1 hr+

This is the only flight­see­ing com­pa­ny with an airstrip in Kan­tish­na, inside Denali Nation­al Park. Because you depart so much clos­er to the moun­tain than oth­er tours, in a one-hour flight, you’ll get 40 min­utes cir­cling the moun­tain. You may also com­bine a one-way park road bus tour with a Denali flight­see­ing tour for an incred­i­ble overview of the park.

Season: May 13 to Sep 18 $599 With Glacier Landing 2 hrs

Fly Denali is the only com­pa­ny north of the Alas­ka Range with a per­mit to land on glac­i­ers inside Denali Nation­al Park. The result is a world-class flight-see­ing trip, with land­ings on Denali’s glaciers.

Season: May 15 to Sep 15 $315+ 45 - 70 mins

Denali Air flights see the majes­tic moun­tain a whop­ping 90% of the time, thanks to the company’s expe­ri­enced pilots and its loca­tion just out­side the park. And, every­one is guar­an­teed a win­dow seat. Lis­ten to your pilot nar­rate while you enjoy the views.

Season: About May 13 to Sep 18 $249+ 1 to 5 hrs

Go flight­see­ing over Denali Nation­al Park in a very unique way: via heli­copter. Lift off on a 50-minute flight —land­ing the heli­copter on a glac­i­er, putting on spe­cial boots, and going for a walk on the frozen land­scape to get an up-close look at it. Or, vis­it Bus 142, made famous by adven­tur­er Christo­pher McCan­d­less. Flight­see­ing in a heli­copter is much dif­fer­ent from in a plane — learn all the ben­e­fits of this great way of check­ing out the  ...more

Season: May 09 to Sep 15 $429 1.25 hrs

A lot of peo­ple swear to it: the best way to see Alas­ka is from an air­plane, and there may indeed be no bet­ter way to get close to the face of Denali. This one-of-a-kind flight­see­ing oper­a­tor makes it easy to see up close to the Great One with­out spend­ing a great deal of time.

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Park Road Tours View All

Season: Jun 07 to Sep 17 $199 13.5 hrs

Most peo­ple who vis­it the six-mil­lion-acre Denali Nation­al Park only see rough­ly the first dozen — or maybe 50 — miles of the leg­endary park Road. But this tour takes you all the way to the depths of Kan­tish­na — the heart of the Park where you have the chance to expe­ri­ence post­card-per­fect views of Mt. McKin­ley. This tour makes for a full day — from about 6 in the morn­ing until 7 or 8 in the evening — but it’s an adven­ture of a lifetime.

Season: May 14 to Sep 18 $101.75+ 4.5 to 12 hrs

Denali is an absolute­ly stun­ning park — full of amaz­ing wildlife and unfor­get­table scenery. And the best way to get an overview is aboard one of the park bus­es, which fea­ture a trained nat­u­ral­ist who both dri­ves and pro­vides narration.

Season: Jun 04 to Sep 12 $199 14 hours

Explore all 92 miles of the Denali Park Road and have the entire trip nar­rat­ed by an expe­ri­enced dri­ver. Not only will you see leg­endary land­marks such as Poly­chrome Pass, Won­der Lake and Reflec­tion Pond, you will have oppor­tu­ni­ties to see the abun­dance of wildlife in the park. Enjoy a hot lunch, explore the grounds, pan for gold, or take a short walk along the creek, or relax in a rock­er at the lodge and soak up the scenery.

$270+ 1 hr+

This is the only flight­see­ing com­pa­ny with an airstrip in Kan­tish­na, inside Denali Nation­al Park. Because you depart so much clos­er to the moun­tain than oth­er tours, in a one-hour flight, you’ll get 40 min­utes cir­cling the moun­tain. You may also com­bine a one-way park road bus tour with a Denali flight­see­ing tour for an incred­i­ble overview of the park.

Season: Year Round Group HIkes $199/person | Denali Park Road $895/vehicle (up to 8 people) Full Day

Tra­verse Alas­ka can craft ful­ly-guid­ed cus­tom adven­tures, or set you up on a trip into the Alas­ka wilder­ness arm­ing you with some know-how — and pro­vid­ing you with the inde­pen­dence to freely explore. Tra­verse Alaska’s own­er, Joe and his local team can help facil­i­tate stays in lodges, cab­ins, tents or yurts, and pro­vide the nec­es­sary gear and instructions..

This flex­i­ble alter­na­tive to the stan­dard bus tour is a great option for inde­pen­dent trav­el­ers. Get off any­where, spend a few hours hik­ing, then catch anoth­er bus back to the park entrance (as long as a seat is avail­able). You can take a short ride before start­ing your adven­ture, or trav­el out to Kan­tish­na, at the end of the park road. 

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Rafting Tours View All

Nenana River • Canyon views • Scenic Floats • Whitewater Trips
Season: Year Round Group HIkes $199/person | Denali Park Road $895/vehicle (up to 8 people) Full Day

Tra­verse Alas­ka can craft ful­ly-guid­ed cus­tom adven­tures, or set you up on a trip into the Alas­ka wilder­ness arm­ing you with some know-how — and pro­vid­ing you with the inde­pen­dence to freely explore. Tra­verse Alaska’s own­er, Joe and his local team can help facil­i­tate stays in lodges, cab­ins, tents or yurts, and pro­vide the nec­es­sary gear and instructions..

Season: May 20 to Sep 18 $99

Expe­ri­ence the thrill of rush­ing rapids or a mild white­wa­ter float through one of America’s great wilder­ness areas with raft­ing from Denali Park Vil­lage. Oper­at­ing on two stretch­es of the Nenana Riv­er for near­ly 30 years, this company’s guides not only know the area, but also are versed in its nat­ur­al his­to­ry. Their guide safe­ty train­ing pro­gram is among the most exten­sive in Alas­ka. Add to that a pri­vate river­side launch, a brand-new boathouse,  ...more

Season: Jun 05 to Aug 15 $97+ 3 - 9.5 hrs

Just out­side Denali Nation­al Park, the Nenana Riv­er offers a unique raft­ing expe­ri­ence: The riv­er is big and icy cold, with glacial­ly fed waters. But this raft­ing out­fit­ter based near the Park Entrance offers a soul-warm­ing expe­ri­ence on the riv­er, which makes an excel­lent coun­ter­part to a bus tour through the nation­al park. Choose a quick 3 hour trip on mild water or splash through some rapids. Or opt for a longer excur­sion rang­ing from 5.5 -  ...more

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Jeep & ATV Tours View All

Drive the Denali Highway in a jeep, or explore the historic Stampede Road near Denali on an ATV
Season: May 13 to Sep 21 $159.95 4 hrs

The Black Dia­mond ATV Trea­sure Hunt back­coun­try adven­ture, just out­side Denali, offers both a skilled guide and a splash of think-for-your­self adven­ture. Your ride can be fast and excit­ing or slow and leisure­ly — it’s up to you. Unlike some oth­er ATV trips, you don’t have to do the dri­ving; a pro is at the wheel of the Polaris ATV. You’ll explore old coal-min­ing trails and the Dry Creek Riv­er Bed, where Athabas­can Indi­an arti­facts have been found  ...more

Season: May 15 to Sep 15 $169

This is your chance to expe­ri­ence the spec­tac­u­lar scenery along the Denali High­way, a road recent­ly ranked #2 world­wide as a Dri­ve of a Life­time’ by Nation­al Geo­graph­ic Trav­el­er Mag­a­zine. You’ll be giv­en the oppor­tu­ni­ty to take the wheel, or if you pre­fer, just sit back and enjoy stun­ning views of the peaks and glac­i­ers of the cen­tral Alas­ka Range. There is a guide in the Jeep up front, but you can stop wher­ev­er, when­ev­er, and as often as you  ...more

Season: May 13 to Sep 20 $119.95+ 3.5 hrs

Dri­ve your own 4‑wheel all-ter­rain vehi­cle (ATV) on this excit­ing off-road jour­ney through the back­coun­try adja­cent to Denali Nation­al Park. Black Dia­mond puts you in con­trol: stop when­ev­er you want, take pic­tures of the spec­tac­u­lar scenery, and laugh as you expe­ri­ence Alas­ka as it was meant to be: rough and wild. Explore old coal-min­ing trails and spill out onto the Dry Creek Riv­er Bed, then head high up on Black Dia­mond Peak to take in the  ...more

Season: May 22 to Sep 08 $115+ 2.5 to 3.5 hrs

This tour is an adven­ture­some alter­na­tive to a bus ride into the park. Denali ATV Adven­tures offers sev­er­al tours that let you explore the areas sur­round­ing Denali Nation­al Park. On your jour­ney, you’ll splash through rivers, dri­ve over tree root-rut­ted trails, and four-wheel up to some of the area’s most spec­tac­u­lar vis­tas. Dri­ve your own ATV, or be the pas­sen­ger and enjoy the ride. 

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Guided Hiking View All

Scenic lakes & overlooks • Possible wildlife sightings • Mt. Denali views on clear days
Season: Year Round Group HIkes $199/person | Denali Park Road $895/vehicle (up to 8 people) Full Day

Tra­verse Alas­ka can craft ful­ly-guid­ed cus­tom adven­tures, or set you up on a trip into the Alas­ka wilder­ness arm­ing you with some know-how — and pro­vid­ing you with the inde­pen­dence to freely explore. Tra­verse Alaska’s own­er, Joe and his local team can help facil­i­tate stays in lodges, cab­ins, tents or yurts, and pro­vide the nec­es­sary gear and instructions..

Season: About May 13 to Sep 18 $499 3.5 hrs

For­get the trail­head on your next hike. Instead, take a short but very scenic heli­copter ride to a spe­cial wilder­ness area just out­side Denali Nation­al Park and start your trek from there. Your guide will lead your small group on a soft-adven­ture hike above the tree line, with sweep­ing views. You’ll learn about iden­ti­fy­ing ani­mal tracks and the local flo­ra and fau­na, and of course have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to spot wildlife like bears, moose, and Dall  ...more

The Denali Nation­al Park Vis­i­tors Cen­ter is actu­al­ly more of a cam­pus. The cen­ter itself is the main Nation­al Park Ser­vice wel­come and infor­ma­tion cen­ter and it is sur­round­ed by oth­er facil­i­ties that include a restau­rant, bookstore/​giftshop, bag check, bus stop and the Alas­ka Rail­road depot. 

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Zipline Tours View All

See tundra & the Alaska Range
Season: May 22 to Sep 08 $139

Go on the typ­i­cal zipline and you get a love­ly ride under a canopy of trees. But with this unique zipline tour — the only one in the Denali Nation­al Park area— you ride above the tree line, so that you can take in sweep­ing, 360-degree views of miles around, includ­ing the tun­dra and the Alas­ka Range.

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Dog Sledding Tours View All

Kennel Tour
$59 2.5 hrs

Get the insider’s per­spec­tive on the Idi­tar­od Trail Sled Dog Race from vet­er­an mush­er and Alaskan celebri­ty Jeff King, who has claimed first place four times. He will regale you with tales from the trail and intro­duce you to his dogs dur­ing a tour of his sled-dog train­ing cen­ter, the Husky Home­stead. Here, for more than two decades, Jeff has offered vis­i­tors a look at what goes into cre­at­ing a cham­pi­onship team and carv­ing a life in the Alaska  ...more

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Performances & Evening Programs View All

Enjoy dinner, dessert & theater about Denali history

Season: May 12 to Sep 20 $75

The Cab­in Nite Din­ner The­ater, per­formed out of the Denali Park Vil­lage, offers a true-to-life Gold Rush tale of Alaskan adven­tures in the ear­ly 1900s. Enjoy songs, dance, humor, and a large fam­i­ly-style meal topped off with berry cobbler.

$69.95

This show at the McKin­ley Chalet Resort tells the sto­ry of the first ascent of Mt. McKin­ley. Laugh, eat, and be mer­ry while the actors and actress­es do dou­ble-duty as your servers for an all-you-can-eat meal of salmon and ribs.

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Horseback & Covered Wagon Tours View All

Explore the tundra by covered wagon • 8 miles from the Park entrance
Season: May 15 to Sep 20 $89.95 3.5 hrs

To get a real sense of old-time Alas­ka, climb into Black Dia­mond’s fam­i­ly-friend­ly Cov­ered Wag­on Adven­ture for a trip through time. While guides fill you in on the area’s his­to­ry and nat­ur­al trea­sures, you’ll be pulled by two draft hors­es through the Alaskan tun­dra, with the moun­tains of near­by Denali Nation­al Park hov­er­ing over­head. Hear the his­to­ry of this coal-min­ing area as you pass through the wilderness. 

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Golf Courses View All

Play 9 holes under the Midnight Sun • 8 miles from the Park entrance
Season: May 25 to Jul 25 $94.95 3.5 hrs

Imag­ine tee­ing off under the mid­night sun, sur­round­ed by the Alaskan wild. The relax­ing envi­ron­ment, fresh moun­tain air, and spec­tac­u­lar panoram­ic scenery make play­ing Black Dia­mond’s nine-hole golf course a once-in-a-life­time oppor­tu­ni­ty. This course was built in 1995, right on top of the Alaskan tun­dra. The rugged grass is chal­leng­ing, but designed for easy dri­ving (via pow­er cart) or walk­ing. Haz­ards include moose-hoof prints, tun­dra marsh,  ...more

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Visitor Information Centers View All

Information on wildlife, trails, Denali history & more

The Denali Nation­al Park Vis­i­tors Cen­ter is actu­al­ly more of a cam­pus. The cen­ter itself is the main Nation­al Park Ser­vice wel­come and infor­ma­tion cen­ter and it is sur­round­ed by oth­er facil­i­ties that include a restau­rant, bookstore/​giftshop, bag check, bus stop and the Alas­ka Rail­road depot. 

Built in 1939 by the Civil­ian Con­ser­va­tion Corps, the Won­der Lake his­toric ranger sta­tion was built to serve as quar­ters at the west end of the road. Today it pri­mar­il­ly serves vis­i­tors. The Park staff use addi­tion­al struc­tures for sum­mer hous­ing. The com­pact site has indi­vid­ual ranger bunkhous­es, a head­quar­ters build­ing, a shop, a pump shed, and a few oth­er mis­cel­la­neous small struc­tures. Eight Park rangers are on site from mid-May to…  ...more

From mid-Sep­tem­ber to mid-May, the Murie Sci­ence Learn­ing Cen­ter serves as Denali Nation­al Park’s win­ter vis­i­tors’ cen­ter. It’s open from 9am to 4pm and pro­vides an array of park exhibits and movies. You can talk with rangers about cur­rent trail con­di­tions, bor­row a pair of snow­shoes, and get back­coun­try per­mits for overnight trips. Head out to explore trails from the cen­ter or dri­ve a cou­ple miles fur­ther up the park road to the Park…  ...more

Difficulty: Easy

Only 33 miles from the sum­mit of Denali, and at an ele­va­tion of 3300’, Eiel­son offers some of the most spec­tac­u­lar views of Denali (for­mer­ly Mt McKin­ley). There are many activ­i­ties you can do here, includ­ing ranger-guid­ed hikes up to near­by Tho­ro­fare Pass and self-guid­ed expi­ra­tion of the high-alpine tun­dra environment.

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Historic Parks & Sites View All

Original Denali National Park headquarters • Historic cabin • Interpretive trail

Mile 43 Denali Park Rd, small cab­in is vis­i­ble down the embank­ment on the south side of the road

Difficulty: Easy

Orig­i­nal­ly con­struct­ed by the Alas­ka Road Com­mis­sion in 1924 – 1925, the Sav­age cab­in and inter­pre­tive trails are now used as part of liv­ing his­to­ry pre­sen­ta­tions in the sum­mer months. Dur­ing the win­ter the cab­in become strict­ly util­i­tar­i­an by pro­vid­ing shel­ter for patrols.

Har­ry Karstens was the first ranger of Denali Nation­al Park. He arrived in ear­ly sum­mer 1921, and estab­lished his head­quar­ters on the north­west bank of Riley Creek, an ide­al spot for mon­i­tor­ing vis­i­tors using the trail lead­ing into the park. In 1925, the head­quar­ters moved to it’s cur­rent loca­tion at mile 3.4 of the Denali Park Road. 

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Points of Interest View All

Mt. Denali viewpoints • Interesting roadside stops • Denali audio guide

It’s 92 miles and about 5 hours from the park entrance to Kan­tish­na, the end of the Park Road. Pri­vate vehi­cles aren’t per­mit­ted after Mile 15, so you’ll need to take either the hop-on, hop-off park shut­tle bus or one of the tour bus­es. This road is only open in the sum­mer months between May and ear­ly Sep­tem­ber. Dates vary depend­ing on annu­al snowfall.

36 miles west of Denali (Mt. McKin­ley), Mt. Rus­sell is one of the major peaks of the Alas­ka Range — and one of the most dra­mat­ic. To give a sense for its size and steep­ness, it ris­es over a ver­ti­cal mile above the Che­do­t­loth­na Glac­i­er to the north­west in less than two miles. It ris­es two miles above the Yent­na Glac­i­er to the south in only 8 miles. Over­shad­owed by its mas­sive neigh­bors, only six ascents of the peak had been record­ed by 2001.…  ...more

Denal­i’s glac­i­ers are high in the moun­tains of The Alas­ka Range. Here are the most impres­sive, and the flight tours to see them!

Peo­ple vis­it Denali Nation­al Park for two main rea­sons: to see Denali (Mt. McKin­ley) and to view wildlife. While nei­ther expe­ri­ence is guar­an­teed, your odds of see­ing wildlife are good if you know where to look. Here are the top spots to see bears, wolves, birds, and more.

Soar­ing high at 20,310 feet is Denali (for­mer­ly named Mt. McKin­ley after an Ohio Sen­a­tor who nev­er vis­it­ed Alas­ka). The moun­tain was renamed Denali in 2015. Equal­ly impres­sive are its near­by cousins: Mt. Forak­er (17,400), and Mt. Hunter (14,573). These three dom­i­nate the sky­line for hun­dreds of miles. You can get up close and per­son­al with the Roof of North Amer­i­ca” on a flight­see­ing tour. Up here, you are sur­round­ed by ridges and peaks,…  ...more

How and where to find Alaska’s glac­i­ers — some of the state’s most beau­ti­ful nat­ur­al attractions

Won­der Lake is a some­what unlike­ly lake. Learn how the lake was formed, and what makes it so unique.

You’ll tra­verse the spine of the north side of the Alas­ka Range for about 15 min­utes, then fly through a moun­tain pass known as the Tralieka Col, back to the south side of the range. You’ll pass by the fore­bod­ing East Face of Denali (its only major unclimbed face) and descend down the West Fork of the Ruth Glac­i­er. Look for pyra­mid-shaped Mt. Hunt­ing­ton off the right win­dow, thought by many to be the most pic­turesque peak in North America.…  ...more

Here is the junc­tion of the Parks and the Denali High­way. The Denali High­way is approx­i­mate­ly 135 miles long stretch­ing from Pax­son to Cantwell, con­nect­ing the Richard­son and Parks high­ways. Before the Parks High­way was com­plet­ed in the ear­ly 1970s, the Denali High­way was the only road access to Denali Nation­al Park. 

Once you leave the Won­der Lake camp­ground, you’ll pass the apt­ly named Reflec­tion Pond as the road begins its descent towards the north. From here you can get fan­tas­tic pho­tos of both Denali (Mt. McKin­ley) and Forak­er reflect­ing off the sur­face of the pond, espe­cial­ly ear­ly and late in the day when the water is the smoothest. 

On a clear day, this stretch of the park road offers unpar­al­leled views of Denali and the oth­er high granitic peaks of the cen­tral Alas­ka Range. What role do glac­i­ers play in carv­ing out the ever grow­ing shape of this moun­tain range? Audio tour by Camp Denali Wilder­ness Lodge.

Although most view­points along the Park Road can only be accessed by pri­vate tour bus­es or park shut­tle bus­es, you can dri­ve to this view­point (the first 15 miles are open to pri­vate vehi­cles). The dense spruce for­est opens up here, giv­ing you the first view of Denali, as it is called in the native Athabaskan lan­guage (for­mer­ly Mt. McKin­ley). The moun­tain is rough­ly 72 miles away and you’re only see­ing the top 8,000 feet or so. Still, it’s a  ...more

The fall moose rut is an unfor­get­table part of the inte­ri­or Alas­ka fall. In Denali, the Eiel­son vis­i­tor cen­ter gives vis­i­tors a year round win­dow into this dra­mat­ic event through the dis­play of two sets of inter­locked moose antlers. How did these antlers become locked, and what like­ly hap­pened to the two unlucky bull moose? Audio tour by Camp Denali Wilder­ness Lodge.   ...more

This sec­tioned bridge sits at an ele­va­tion of 2,655 feet. Park at the rest stop a few hun­dred meters before the east edge of the bridge for great views of the struc­ture and the sur­round­ing area.

Har­ry Karstens was the first ranger of Denali Nation­al Park. He arrived in ear­ly sum­mer 1921, and estab­lished his head­quar­ters on the north­west bank of Riley Creek, an ide­al spot for mon­i­tor­ing vis­i­tors using the trail lead­ing into the park. In 1925, the head­quar­ters moved to it’s cur­rent loca­tion at mile 3.4 of the Denali Park Road. 

The Sav­age Riv­er was carved out by glac­i­ers, and as a con­se­quence it is a per­fect exam­ple of a braid­ed riv­er. The flat grav­el bars of the riv­er offer a great oppor­tu­ni­ty for an easy hike, and min­i­mize the chance of sur­pris­ing a bear or oth­er wildlife.

Denali Ranger Kris Fis­ter, a 30-year vet­er­an of the Nation­al Park Ser­vice, and a Camp Denali Lodge nat­u­ral­ist share some fas­ci­nat­ing sto­ries and things to look for along the Denali Park Road. 

It isn’t until you actu­al­ly dri­ve past the head­quar­ters area that you will begin to enter the wilder­ness for which you have real­ly come. Dur­ing the win­ter months, the road is closed at this point. Only non-motor­ized trav­el­ers, such as mush­ers and skiers can go fur­ther. This is taiga for­est, filled with white spruce and black spruce, inter­spersed here and there with quak­ing aspen, paper birch, bal­sam poplar and tama­rack. This is moose habitat…  ...more

Veg­e­ta­tion cov­er in Denali is always chang­ing. Find out why the forests around the Tok­lat Riv­er are chang­ing, and how the Park Ser­vice uses his­toric pho­tos to doc­u­ment these changes. Audio tour by Camp Denali Wilder­ness Lodge.

The Alas­ka Rail­road was respon­si­ble for open­ing this nation­al park to the pub­lic since it pro­vid­ed the only access to the park for many years. The Rail­road owned and oper­at­ed the McKin­ley Park Hotel from its ear­ly begin­nings and even­tu­al­ly turned over to the Nation­al Park Ser­vice for oper­a­tions. After a fire destroyed the hotel, rail sleep­er cars pro­vid­ed a nov­el lodg­ing oppor­tu­ni­ty for visitors.

If you choose an Around the Moun­tain Tour” (cir­cum­nav­i­gates the moun­tain), you’ll ascend over the top of the Kahilt­na Glac­i­er and on to the north side of the Alas­ka Range. Look to the right, and you’ll see the 14-mile-wide Wick­er­sham Wall. From the peak it’s 17,000 feet down, one of the great­est unob­struct­ed ver­ti­cal drops in the world. Con­sid­ered a death route, the Wick­er­sham has been climbed only a few times. A Roman­ian ski instruc­tor skied…  ...more

Fly­ing down the medi­al moraine of the Ruth Glac­i­er is mes­mer­iz­ing. This 25 – 50 foot high ridge of rock debris looks like an exca­va­tion pit that extends for miles down the cen­ter of the glac­i­er. Keep on the look­out for deep blue pools of ice melt. Look for lat­er­al moraines on the sides of the glac­i­er and the ter­mi­nal moraine at the toe of the glac­i­er… You’ll know the ter­mi­nus of the Ruth when you see it: the con­tor­tions of earth and ice resemble…  ...more

Last view of Denali dur­ing first few miles of Denali Park Road

Spindly spruce trees lean this way and that, look­ing as if they’re drunk. The actu­al cause of this odd align­ment has to do with their shal­low root sys­tems, which get read­just­ed by the near­ly con­tin­u­ous expan­sion and con­trac­tion of per­mafrost under the tun­dra sur­face. Per­mafrost is a lay­er of frozen ground, some­times more than 6 feet thick, that nev­er thaws. With­out it, much of the tun­dra would be com­plete­ly impassable. 

The Denali Nation­al Park Vis­i­tors Cen­ter is actu­al­ly more of a cam­pus. The cen­ter itself is the main Nation­al Park Ser­vice wel­come and infor­ma­tion cen­ter and it is sur­round­ed by oth­er facil­i­ties that include a restau­rant, bookstore/​giftshop, bag check, bus stop and the Alas­ka Rail­road depot. 

You enter the Shel­don Amphithe­atre, named after a bush pilot who built a view­ing hut here on the glac­i­er before it became a nation­al park. You can stay here for $100 a night. It has a wood stove and bunks 6. If you opt for a glac­i­er land­ing, this is where you’ll like­ly land. You’ll step out of the plane and onto an ice sheet near­ly a mile thick. The scale of the Amphithe­atre is hard to fath­om. You’ll feel like you can reach and out touch the…  ...more

An iron bridge cross­es Moose Creek here. If you take a moment to observe the creek you’ll notice that the rush­ing waters are clear and full of grayling, quite the oppo­site of glacial fed water­ways that appear milky due to the high sed­i­ment content.

Denali Nation­al Park is full of rivers, with many of them orig­i­nat­ing from glac­i­ers. What makes these rivers spe­cial? Why are they braid­ed and what keeps them from just straight­en­ing out?

Cross the Tokosit­na Riv­er which marks the south­east cor­ner of Denali Nation­al Park. Look for tents or rafts next to the riv­er. While dif­fi­cult to access — even by bush plane — this area is a prime place for camp­ing, explor­ing, and to begin a raft trip down the Tokosit­na Riv­er to Tal­keet­na. Out the left win­dow, you can look south to the Peters & Dutch Hills, an active gold-min­ing area since the ear­ly 1900s. A win­ter wag­on road from Talkeetna…  ...more

Not far from the Tok­lat Riv­er Bridge you’ll find your­self at the top of High­way Pass, the high­est point on the park road at 3,980 feet. The vis­tas are expan­sive and wildlife view­ing can be great. 

At the Wilder­ness Access Cen­ter, you can pur­chase bus tick­ets and all park shut­tle bus­es depart from this build­ing. This is also the place to reserve a spot in the var­i­ous park camp­grounds. Addi­tion­al­ly, inside you will also find a gift shop, cof­fee stand, and an infor­ma­tion desk. 

Beavers can often be seen here, usu­al­ly ear­ly in the morn­ing or lat­er at night. The Park Ser­vice pro­vides pic­nic tables and toi­lets on the south side of the road just after you cross the bridge. Stay as long as you like dur­ing the day, but no camp­ing is allowed in the imme­di­ate area. 

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