Denali National Park and Preserve
Denali National Park and Preserve is the crown jewel of the National Park System. Denali National Park, or Mt McKinley National Park, as it was known in 1917 when it was originally established, was the first protected wildlife sanctuary in the country. The land was set aside to protect an abundance of wildlife, notably the Dall sheep population, which was on the verge of being over hunted. Back then visitors traveled to the park to marvel at the magnificent scenery and unspoiled wildlife. Visitors to the park today come for the same reasons. Ninety years later, Denali National Park is largely unchanged.
Denali National Park has expanded to 6 million acres, larger than the state of Massachusetts. Alaska's most famous wildlife lives in Denali including grizzly and black bears, moose, caribou, wolves, Dall sheep, red fox, arctic hares as well as bird life galore.
Forming the back bone of Denali National Park is the 600 mile long Alaska Range capped by the 20,320 foot Mt. McKinley known to locals as Denali Mt. Mt McKinley is the tallest mountain in North America and some believe that the 18,000 feet vertical rise on the north side of the mountain (viewable from the park road) makes Mt McKinley the tallest land-based mountain in the world. Weather permitting; views of Mt Denali from within the park are very impressive.
We have facilitated hundreds of trips and thousands of visitors to Denali National Park over the years. Denali National Park is one of the true gems of the National Park system, its beauty, wildness, and wildlife offer a glimpse of unchanged natural history- wildlife and landscape live mostly undisturbed from human activity, the way they have for thousands of years.
From the Denali National Park and Preserve official website:
The park’s dynamic glaciated landscape supports a diversity of wildlife, including grizzly bears, caribou, wolves, Dall sheep and moose. Birds and wildflowers grace summer slopes. Visitors enjoy sightseeing, backpacking, and mountaineering. Whether climbing or admiring, the crowning jewel is North America’s highest peak, the awe-inspiring, 20,320 foot Mount McKinley.
It was also designated an International Biosphere Reserve significant for its potential for subarctic ecosystems research. Predator-prey relationships exist in balance here as they may have existed elsewhere before human intrusions. Denali National Park and Preserve remains a subarctic wilderness of wildlife and glaciated mountains.
We spend two full days camped near the entrance to Denali National Park in order to take advantage of the many activities available in the area.
One full day is set aside for a wildlife bus tour into the heart of the park (no private vehicles allowed), included in your tour cost. Board the bus in the morning and join in the search for wildlife as you travel deeper into the park and closer to "the mountain". Your bus driver will share their knowledge of the park and will stop for wildlife and photo opportunities. There are plenty of opportunities to get off the bus to hike on the spongy treeless tundra. This is wild and magnificent country!
The second day is free for recreational activities of your choosing. Some of our tour participants decide to travel back into the park while others prefer to choose from among the variety of recreational opportunities available near the park entrance.
These activities can generally be arranged throughout your trip with some of the finest local adventure tour companies in the state. Your guide will make all of the arrangements. Optional activities are merely suggestions and do not include all of the possibilities. All activities may not be available at the time of your tour. Prices listed here are subject to change and do not include local taxes or fees.
If you have any questions about these activities please contact us.
Adventure tours located at Denali National Park and Preserve
There are a number of great hiking options in Denali National Park. Hike up Mt Healy for sweeping views of Denali National Park and the Nenana River corridor. For those desiring a less strenuous hike there are multiple established trails surrounding the visitor center that are great hikes. Or, head into the park 15 miles on the free park shuttle and hike along the Savage River or hike up a nearby peak. Your guide will explain your hiking options and will make recommendations based on our many years experience exploring and guiding in this region.
Guided Ranger Hike
Guided ranger hikes are offered by the National Park Service. These vary in length and location.
Sled Dog Kennels
Visit an active sled dog kennel. The Denali National Park sled dog kennel is responsible for the winter patrols of the Denali National Park wilderness- where no motorized vehicles are permitted. There is an informative talk along with a dog sledding demonstration.
National Park Bus
You can head back into the park again for more wildlife viewing, perhaps a good view of Mt. McKinley, and/or another hike.
Mild and wild whitewater rafting trips are offered on the Class II-IV Nenana River, the river that forms part of the Denali National Park Boundary.
MILD: Relax, and enjoy the scenery on a 2 plus hour float along the boundary of Denali National Park. Take in Mt Fellows, Mt Healy, Musher’s Monument and other surrounding peaks. Watch for wildlife along the river bank; moose, caribou, bears and wolves can be seen.
WILD: The Nenana River Canyon is packed with over 10 Class III and IV rapids over a stretch of river 11 miles long, fun whitewater that is very suitable for beginners. Paddle rafting and oar rafting options are available.
For a little more intimacy in your river experience, paddle an inflatable kayak down the float section of the Nenana River. Navigate a few class two rapids and practice your kayaking strokes while enjoying the beautiful mountain scenery.
Flying is the most impressive way to view Mt McKinley (Denali) and the incredible scenery within Denali National Park. On a good weather day the views are truly breathtaking. Add a glacier landing for an experience beyond description.
Rent a Mt. Bike for a ride into Denali National Park- ride the park road or take the bus in and ride back.
For more information about any of the adventures listed above and for current day trip prices, call us toll free (800) 320-2494 or contact us.
For more information about Denali National Park check out the following sites:
National Park Service Site with good description of Denali National Park
Lots of links to good information about Denali National Park
Great photos of Denali National Park
Geology page of Denali National Park site with other science links