Most people who visit the six-million-acre Denali National Park never see the original road that led to Denali National Park—the Denali Highway. Before the Parks Highway was completed in the early 1970s, the Denali Highway was the only way to access to Denali National Park by road. Today, this mostly gravel road—which stretches for 135 miles between Cantwell and Paxson—is so scenic and remote that it was named the #2 drive of a lifetime by National Geographic.

On this excursion, guests will immerse themselves in the beauty of this special road, traveling along 65 miles of it, from Cantwell to Alpine Lodge. The tour makes for a full day—from about 8 in the morning until 6:30 in the evening—but it’s an adventure of a lifetime.

Insider Expertise

The tour picks you up at one of a few hotels near the Denali park entrance, in a nicely outfitted bus furnished with plenty of snacks. Your driver-guide will offer an interpretive program along the way, pointing out landmarks—such as the Alaska Range, glaciers, braided glacial rivers, and the expansive tundra—and tips on how to spot wildlife.

Along the way, you’ll stop to look for wildlife and take a few leg-stretching and photo breaks.

Alpine Lake Lodge

Once you’re at the Alpine Creek Lodge, you have a couple hours to soak up the placid wilderness setting. After a delicious lunch, you can join in a guided hike, go gold panning, or tour a dog sled kennel to get an even better flavor for this magical area. Then hit the road again for the same scenic ride in reverse as you travel back to the park, with plenty of photos and memories of this special day.

What to Bring

  • Camera

Getting There

MP 229 Parks Highway
Denali, AK 99755
Driving Directions

Prices & Dates

Season June 4 - Sept 16
Duration 10 - 12 hrs
Rates Denali Backcountry Adventure // $199 per person | Departs 8am, returns 6:30 - 7pm
Rate Notes The bus departs from Denali Cabins, mile 229 Parks Hwy, at 8:30 a.m. for those staying at Denali Cabins and for those driving their own vehicles. Parking is available. Please meet at the covered area next to the front office at 8:15 a.m.
Pickup at Denali Grizzly Bear Resort is at 8:20 a.m. For those taking a shuttle from other hotels, we will depart the McKinley Chalet in "downtown Denali" at 8:15 a.m. Please have your hotel shuttle drop you off a little early, and look for our grey bus with the Denali Backcountry Adventure logo. Most area hotels have shuttles to the McKinley Chalet.

Denali Backcountry Adventure