9 Day Anchorage to Fairbanks with Denali

9 Days


Mid-May through mid-September


Car Train Motorcoach

Why This Trip?

You've undoubtedly heard a lot about iconic Denali National Park; this itinerary gives you three full days to explore the spectacular scenery and wildlife of the famous area. You'll also spend time in the authentic pioneer town of Talkeetna, with the opportunity for plenty of fun activities along the way.


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Day 1

Arrive in Anchorage - Overnight in Talkeetna

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From Anchorage, travel to charming Talkeetna by car (2 hours), train (3 hours), or bus (2.5 hours). Then explore the one-block main street, ducking in and out of the quaint shops and restaurants, like the legendary Talkeetna Roadhouse, which has been around since the early 20th century. And take a tour. You're close to Denali, so go flightseeing and check out the mountain up close; you could also take a guided walk, a rafting trip, try ziplining, or go for a thrilling jetboat ride.

Day 2

Day & Overnight in Talkeetna

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You have all day today to explore charming Talkeetna. Enjoy another meal at the Roadhouse, explore the century-old general store, and imagine what it was like to be a trapper or miner here back then. And try an activity you didn't do yesterday. A jetboat ride, for example, speeds you deep into the wilderness where you can look for wildlife and see an authentic trapper's cabin. Or simply go for a hike; you'll find several great trails nearby, including one that loops around the town itself.

Day 3

Travel from Talkeetna to Denali National Park

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Depart from Talkeetna for iconic Denali National Park, either by car (2.5 hours), train (4.5 hours), or motorcoach (4 hours). Head to the park's visitor center to start getting acquainted with this vast expanse of nature. And try an activity! 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.

Day 4

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!

Day 5

Day & Overnight in Denali National Park

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You have 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.

Day 6

Day & Overnight in Denali National Park

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Take another day and really soak in the beauty of this world-famous park: You'll never grow tired of gazing out at the craggy, snow-capped peaks. Of course, this is also another opportunity to go on an exciting excursion. Opt to experience ziplining, Alaska-style. Or discover the thrill of dog sledding, even in summer. You'll meet real Iditarod mushers and their competitive dogs, hear their stories, then get on a sled with wheels for a fun ride through the forest.

Day 7

Travel from Denali National Park to Fairbanks

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Travel from Denali to the largest city in interior Alaska by car (2 hours) or train (4 hours). If going by train, you'll get in around 8 in the evening. If you're driving, though, you have the flexibility to arrive earlier. Take the extra time and 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.

Day 8

Day & Night in Fairbanks or Anchorage

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Today you have a choice: Spend another day in Fairbanks and enjoy more activities. 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!

Or, take the one-hour flight back to Anchorage. Walk or bike the dramatic, 11-mile Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. And go on a city tour via trolley or bike to get an overview, or join a brewery tour and sample some of the innovative suds being brewed here.

Day 9

Day in Anchorage

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It's your final day in Alaska, so enjoy it! If you've stayed in Fairbanks, you'll fly back to Anchorage today. If you're already in Anchorage, spend some more time exploring. Get an in-depth picture of the city and state at the Anchorage Museum, or visit the Alaska Native Heritage Center for a dose of history and culture. Don't forget to pick up some souvenirs before you depart!