Denali Southside River Guides

Denali Southside River Guides  (1:29)

Most visitors coming to Alaska aim for a trip to “Denali”. This year the South entrance to Denali National Park makes a soft grand opening. A much shorter distance than North National Park entrance, with even more impressive views of Denali, the Southside shares the same wildlife and wilderness.

This tour operator, based in Denali State Park, offers guided lake kayaking and river rafting trips through the Southside’s scenic waterways. Canoe & kayak rentals (for the more adventurous) are also offered on Byers Lake.

Choose From Three Experiences:

Byers Lake Paddle Trips

Gliding around this lake in Denali State Park offers epic views of the mountains of Alaska Range, towering above the water. You start this tour by meeting your guides at Byers Lake, or by being picked up at McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge. They will provide you with everything you need to enjoy your tour and only carry the highest quality of gear. Beginners Welcome!: the sit-on-top-style ocean kayaks are nicely stable and easy to maneuver—even more so than canoes. Once you’ve had a quick primer from your guide on paddling, you’ll get out on the water and enjoy life at your own pace. There is usually plenty of wildlife—from the resident trumpeter swans and loons to river otters and beavers. You might even see eagles, moose, or the occasional bear. Look down into the water and you’ll see why the bears do like it here: all 5 species of salmon migrate through the lake to spawn each year and you can paddle right up for an up close view of the hundreds of salmon the majority of the summer season.

Full Day Kayak & Raft

Can’t decide between the idea of paddling or floating? Do a little bit of both on this full day trip punctuated by a great lunch with an incredible view. The day begins with a pick-up at either Talkeetna or the McKinley Princess, and you’ll head to Byers Lake, where you will set out on the lake for a great trip. Afterwards you will head to the historic Mary Carey’s McKinley View Lodge for a made-to-order lunch, where the menu includes fresh salads, baked goods, burgers, soups, and more.

You will then head to the Chulitna River and embark on your relaxing river float trip along 19 miles of canyon rock walls, waterfalls and scenic views as you make your way to the town of Talkeetna. This provides great moose and bear viewing opportunities and photo opps!

Kayak & Canoe Rentals

You can rent a kayak or canoe for a couple of hours, and paddle around Byer’s Lake on your own. This is a great option for the more adventurous souls. Rentals come with a boat, paddle, and life-vest, as well as a brief orientation to the lake and safety instruction.

Shuttle for Kesugi Ridge Trail in Denali State Park

Denali Southside also offers shuttle service to Byers Lake and the 25 miles of hiking trails along Kesugi Ridge in Denali State Park.

No matter which option you choose, you’ll no doubt share the sentiments of many of their clients,… “it’s an incredible rain-or-shine experience in the Alaskan wilderness with wildlife, mountain scenery, and priceless peacefulness”.

About Denali Southside River Guides

Denali Southside River Guides was established in 2002 with the goal of providing an opportunity for more people to experience the pristine wilderness of the Southside of Denali National Park. Shelis and Craig are resident Alaskans and well versed in the history and culture of the area. There team of local guides all share a passion for Alaska. There services offer easy accessibility to a bit of ‘untouched’ wilderness right off the road.

Getting There

Pick Up Location
Main Street
Talkeetna, AK 99676

Pick up from Talkeetna, McKinley Princess Lodge, or if you're driving yourself, tours depart from the Byers Lake Day Use Area, mile 146.5 Parks Highway.

Driving Directions

Prices & Dates

Season Memorial Weekend - Labor Day Weekend
Duration 3 hrs+
Rates Denali Kayak Tour // $99 per adult, $69 per child (under 12) | 2.5 - 3hrs | Departs from Byers Lake Day Use Area & McKinley Princess Lodge
South Denali Kayak and Nature Walk // This is a custom trip | 8 - 9 hrs | Please call about availability and pricing
Byer’s Lake Rentals // Call for rates | Rates vary depending upon rental period and equipment

Photos

Denali Southside River Guides