In the summer, there’s nowhere more beautiful than the wilds of Alaska. Alaska’s Denali National Park and Preserve is the perfect escape for your summer adventure with long days of sunshine and a beautifully rugged landscape.
Your trip to Alaska begins with getting there. The destination is all about the journey.
Getting to Denali National Park
Located in the interior of Alaska, Denali National Park is only accessible by train, bus, or car. Visitors can fly into Anchorage or Fairbanks and then drive or take the train to the park. The park is 240 miles from Anchorage and 125 miles from Fairbanks. Whether you choose to travel by train or car, the journey is half the fun.
The Alaska Railroad Corporation makes daily trips from Anchorage and Fairbanks to Denali during the summer. On the train trip, sit back, relax, and enjoy as the views flash by out the window. A tour guide will provide updates about famous sites you can see along your ride. Onboard, you’ll also find snacks and drinks to enjoy on your journey.
If you prefer, you can also take The Park Connection, a luxury motor coach that offers daily service to the park from Anchorage.
On your way from Anchorage to Denali, be sure to save time to stop at Talkeetna, a small, historic town nestled at the base of Denali. You can enjoy one of the most outstanding, panoramic views of the Alaska Range in the town. You can also book tours for flightseeing, fishing, hiking, zipline tours, and ATV tours. Spend some time wandering the town and enjoy locally-brewed beer, art galleries, and multiple gift shops.
Many people who visit Denali National Park fly into the biggest nearby airport in Anchorage. After you arrive and before you set off to the park, plan to spend some time in this large, metropolitan city.
Anchorage is home to fun and interesting activities, and sites, such as:
- Alaska Aviation Museum
- Alaska Native Heritage Center
- Tony Knowles Coastal Trail
- Salmon fishing in Ship Creek
Once you’re ready to head to Denali National Park, hop on a train or hit the Alaska Highway. Depending on weather and construction, the drive from Anchorage to Denali takes about 4 to 6 hours.
What to Do in Denali National Park
After your journey across Alaska, it’s time to enjoy the six million acres of preserved wilderness that is Denali National Park. The park is home to forest, glacial lakes, tundra, and towering mountains — including the tallest mountain in North America, Denali. During your time in the park, there are many different activities and adventures that can fill your time during your stay.
Tundra Wilderness Tour
If you’re looking for the premier Denali tour, offering incredible scenery, a narrated history, and opportunities to view Alaska’s diverse wildlife, the Tundra Wilderness Tours is for you. Every day offers a unique experience! Tours typically last 5 to 5 ½ hours on a modified school bus with coach seating, and box lunches are available.
Denali Natural History Tour
One of the best ways to see Denali National Park is on a guided bus tour, most bus tours will be opening in May of 2022. Hop aboard a modified school bus and join your fellow travelers in exploring the park with an interpretive guide. The tour lasts between 4 ½ to 5-hours, and along the way, you’ll see historic and natural sites. You’ll make stops at Savage Cabin, the original ranger’s cabin, and Primrose Ridge, where you’ll stop and experience a memorable Alaskan Native presentation about how the land has been used for the last 10,000 years.
The glacier-fed Nenana River winds its way through Denali National Park, and its waters are just waiting for you to board a raft and embark on an adventure. Starting in May, you can book your trip and choose the speed of your adventure. Pick from the mild Wilderness Float Tour or the wild splashes of Canyon Run.
The Wilderness Float Tour is a mild whitewater excursion that’s all about the scenery. Simply sit back and take in the beauty of nature while your experienced guide skillfully maneuvers the river. Along the banks, you might see bears, moose, caribou, lynx, and Dall sheep.
If you go for the Canyon Run, get ready to get wet! Before you board, you’ll be outfitted with specialized dry suits so your clothes stay dry, even when you get splashed. Then, choose if you’d like to paddle or ride and steel yourself for the class III and IV rapids.
Alaska Cabin Nite Dinner Theatre
After a long day of exploring the park, you’ll likely have worked up an appetite. Head over to the Alaska Cabin Nite Dinner Theatre for food, fun, and laughs. Set in early 1900s Alaska, you’ll enjoy the ambiance of an authentic log cabin while you listen to the adventures of heroine Fannie Quigley and her cast of characters.
Where to Stay
While half of the fun of seeing Denali National Park is in the journey of getting there, once you’ve arrived, you’ll want to stay. Starting in June, you can book your stay in a private cabin at Denali Park Village. The Cabins provide you with the privacy of plenty of space while still being within walking distance of anything you need. Nearby, you’ll find dining, fire pits, interpretive trails, and a gift shop. Each cabin has a full bathroom, TV, hairdryer, coffee maker, and stunning wilderness or river views.
Seven miles south of Denali National Park is The Lodge. Enjoy nearby hiking trails, easy access to the park, and beautiful views of the Nenana River.
If you’re planning a visit to Denali National Park, be prepared for an adventure. You can either travel in classic style via train, hop aboard a luxury bus, or drive yourself along the Alaska Highway. No matter which mode of transportation you choose, you’ll enjoy views of the wild wilderness of Alaska.