4 Days in Denali National Park from Fairbanks
Mid-May through mid-September
Why This Trip?
This itinerary starts in bustling Fairbanks—the largest city in interior Alaska—and takes you to explore the natural treasures of the iconic Denali National Park.
Arrive in Fairbanks - Overnight in Denali National Park
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Arrive in Fairbanks today and make the scenic trip to Denali National Park either by car (2 hours) or train (4 hours). Head to the visitor center and get the lay of the land. Then go for a short hike or try an exciting evening activity. Take off on a flightseeing trip in an airplane or helicopter and get a bird's-eye view of the protected tundra. You could also opt for a rafting trip or an ATV tour, where you can splash your way through the Alaskan backcountry as you pilot your own machine.
Day & Overnight in Denali National Park
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Today, you'll spend all day exploring the beauty of this park. Private vehicles are not allowed beyond mile 15, so you'll explore by bus. Opt for the National Park Service's hop-on, hop-off transit bus, or take a narrated tour. Spend 7-8 hours traveling 62 miles into the park on the Tundra Wilderness tour, or take 12 hours and go all 92 miles to the end, at Kantishna. Along the way, look for wildlife and of course, North America's tallest peak.
An alternative to a bus on the Park Road is to ride a bike! Bike Denali offers afternoon, full-day, and multi-day rentals. Bike from the park entrance, or put your bike on a shuttle to catch a ride into the park and then pedal out!
Morning in Denali National Park, then Depart for Fairbanks
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You have the option of another full day in Denali! Now that you've seen the length of the Park Road, spend this day taking a tour. You've got a lot of options. Go flightseeing and get a bird's-eye view of the vast Alaska Range as well as the summit of Denali. Enjoy some river rafting, go for a guided hike, or take a Jeep/ATV tour and drive yourself over the tundra. Tonight is a great chance to experience dinner theater: It's a great meal, a fun show, and a dose of Alaskan history all at once.
Or, head back to Fairbanks. If going by train, you'll get in at 8pm and we recommend departing Denali this day. This gives the whole following day in Fairbanks before you depart.
If you're driving, though, you have the flexibility to arrive in Fairbanks earlier.
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In Fairbanks, check out the University of Alaska Museum of the North, where you'll get a fascinating glimpse of the cultures and wildlife that call this part of Alaska home, as well as a deep dive into contemporary Native Alaska art. You can also drive over to see the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and witness this feat of engineering.
You can also travel aboard a mighty sternwheeler, the Riverboat Discovery, pan for gold, meet Iditarod Mushers and their dogs, go fishing, visit a local brewery or distillery, or take a day trip beyond the Arctic Circle!
Then it's time to fly home!