If you’re looking to experience for yourself Denali’s unique landscapes and wildlife, the Tundra Wilderness Tour is your best bet.
In order to preserve Denali National Park as a truly untouched wilderness, there are no public access roads in the whole park. This means the only way to see large swaths of the park (without hiking days out there yourself) is to take one of the guided bus tours available at Denali.
The tour is a full day, bringing you a full 60+ miles into Denali’s heart, to the Stony Hill Overlook, which, on clear days, offers one of the best views of Denali Mountain through the Thorofare Pass. Throughout your journey, expect to see plenty of wildlife (from the safety of the bus). Enormous grizzly bears, moose, caribou, sheep, wolves, eagles, falcons, and more will cross your path or be spotted and pointed out by the tour guides, who tend to have a far better eye for wildlife from their decades of experience in Denali. Plus, when there is a close up and personal experience with animals, the guide will stop the bus and get out to film, packaging together a DVD of your experience on the tour with the wildlife, available for purchase later on.
One of the best parts of the day is learning about the complex and interconnected ecosystem of Denali and Alaska from the entertaining guides. The varied scenery, from rainforest to icy tundra to open meadows, is absolutely stunning beyond words.
While you can see much of Denali, there’s always more to see. In total, there are four bus tours available in Denali. Of course, the Tundra Wilderness Tour—what we’ve been talking about—and also:
Denali Natural History Tour, a shorter 5 hours tour to the Teklanika River that focuses on the natural and cultural history of the park.
Kantishna Experience Tour, a trip to the old gold mining town famous for Alaskan legend (and star of the Alaska Cabin Night Dinner Theater experience) Fannie Quigley.
Eielson Excursion Tour, an 8-9hr trip to the Eielson Visitor Center, with plenty of history and wildlife along the way.