Closed for the 2023 Season

With no road access available to their lodge, Kantishna Wilderness Trails will not be operating in 2023. Look for an updated announcement for 2024.

Kantishna Wilderness Trails  (2:12)

To see some of the most remote wilderness in Denali National Park, you’ll need to travel deep into the park, beyond the Eielson Visitor Center and into the Kantishna Gold Mining District. On the Kantishna Wilderness Trails bus tour, you can 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 unparalleled opportunities to see the abundance of wildlife that inhabits the park. You will be a guest of the Kantishna Roadhouse backcountry lodge where you will be served a hot sit-down lunch. Explore the grounds and participate in a guided activity of panning for gold in Moose Creek. Kantishna Wilderness Trails is more than a bus tour – it’s a complete Denali Park wilderness experience.

A Land of Wonder & Wildlife

Kantishna Wilderness Trails bus drivers have been guiding tours of the park for decades and know the habits and hotspots for wildlife. The guides slow down or stop in the best places and provide tips for spotting grizzly bears, Dall sheep, moose, wolves, and caribou among the grandiose landscapes. Smaller animals that also show their faces in Denali include foxes, squirrels, and marmots. The tour travels the road in a tall bus that can peek over roadside brush, and you have dozens of companions in the bus scanning the tundra for wildlife. It’s a team effort to spot these animals, so speak up when you spot something! The guide can slow down for the whole crew to see. Since you drive over 180 miles on the park road in a single day, you have a tremendous opportunity to spot these magnificent creatures in their native habitat.

With the right weather, you might catch a glimpse of the majestic Mt. Denali, also known as Mt. McKinley, the tallest mountain in North America.

With the right weather, you might catch a glimpse of the majestic Mt. Denali, also known as Mt. McKinley, the tallest mountain in North America.

Reach Remote Landmarks of Denali Park

While traveling through the park, the guides share interesting facts about the natural landmarks along the road. They explain the historic details about the braided rivers, glaciers, and of course… Mt. Denali. There are planned stops along the tour to partake in snacks and conversation with fellow travelers and to explore some of the terrain on foot, including a short walk to Reflection Pond. With the right weather, you might catch a glimpse of the majestic Mt. Denali, also known as Mt. McKinley, the tallest mountain in North America. At the mid-point stop of the tour, the tour reaches Kantishna, an area deep in the park with a gold-mining past, one that most Denali visitors never see.

Visit A Gold Mining Landmark for Lunch

At the mid-point stop of the tour, all travelers spend a couple hours at the Kantishna Roadhouse, a lodge originally built in the early 1900s that once accommodated a rush of hopeful gold miners seeking their fortunes. The tour provides an excellent soup (their world-famous vegetarian minestrone) and sandwich lunch, followed by informal gold-panning. The Roadhouse is also home to the only saloon in the Denali backcountry, where you can indulge in a libation of your choice for an additional cost. At lunch or during the activities, feel free to spend some time chatting with fellow travelers and Alaskans who work at the Roadhouse. Swap stories about your Denali adventures and talk about your travels throughout the other parts of Alaska. If you’d like to spend some time alone, you can also choose to take a short walk along the creek or relax in a rocker at the lodge to soak up the scenery.

What to Bring

  • Warm clothes - dress in layers, rain gear.
  • Camera, lots of film, binoculars, sunglasses, bottled water.
  • Lunch and snacks provided.

Getting There

Pick-up Location
Milepost 231.1
George Parks Highway
Denali, AK 99755

Pick-up Locations: Denali Park Village, Milepost 231.1 George Parks Highway (6:10 am) | Denali Bluffs Hotel, Milepost 238.4 George Parks Highway (6:30 am) | McKinley Chalets Resort, Milepost 239 George Parks Highway (6:40 am) | Denali Princess Lodge, Milepost 238.5 George Parks Hotel (6:45 am)

Driving Directions

Prices & Dates

Season Not operating in 2023
Duration 14 hrs

Kantishna Wilderness Trails