Complete GuideAlaska Trip To Denali
Here are a few recommendations of exactly where and how to spend your time in Alaska.
Whether it’s whitewater rafting in Denali National Park or taking in the sights from a drift plane, there is lots of adventure to be found in Alaska. Take a look at some of them here.
1 . Get on the water.
The state is full of whitewater, and Denali National Park is one of the simplest places to access this. The north-flowing, glacier-fed Nenana River parallels the Parks Road by the national recreation area entrance, and operators typically run two trips on it: the mellow, scenic McKinley Run, and the quicker Canyon Run, including several class 3 and IV rapids. You can raft the Canyon with Denali Raft Adventures ($89, 2 hours) – you’ll appreciate the provided drysuit.
Fishing is another popular on-the-water activity. There are salmon in the rivers, trout in the lakes, and list halibut and cod out at sea.
A wildife/glacier-viewing time cruise out of Seward is also enjoyable. The Alaska Native-owned Kenai Fjords Tours offers a number of different routes, from four to 9 hours. You’re likely to see sea otters, puffins, bald silver eagles, seals, sea elephants, whales and maybe a bear, along with the calving glaciers, rookery destinations, and shoreline peaks of Resurrection Bay.
Rafting the Nenana River
Denali Raft Adventures
Kenai Fjords Tours
2. Hike with a guidebook.
Alaska is a land of backcountry, settled by folks who hiked out, found a piece of ground that looked good and built a family cottage on it. You can get a feeling of the vastness of the land by going on your own backcountry trek. Denali is a great place for it – the National Park covers more than 2 million hectares and has relatively few established trails. There are endless opportunities for shorter hikes in southcentral and interior Alaska as well.
Regardless how long you’re within the trail, it’s all set with a guide. With a company like Alaska Nature Guides, you’ll be led by a local, someone who blazed their own path and made a home in the bush. Their observations about the land, its history and its particular flora and fauna will add layers of meaning to a walk you won’t get otherwise.
ANG is definitely one of few businesses with Gold Level Certification in the experience Green Alaska program, which recognizes them as an industry head in environmentally and culturally sustainable procedures. They run guided hikes in Denali State Park (east of and next to the National Park), as well as around Talkeetna Lakes Park, simply outside of town.
Watch of Denali National Park
View of Denali National Park
Alaska Nature Guides
Adventure Green Alaska
3. Fly to the mountains; climb if you can.
The Alaska Range describes the topography from the state, a crescent spine that figure from the southeastern border with Canada, up to just south of Fairbanks, and down again to the sea on the mouth of Make Inlet. The section most people know and visit, though, may be the area surrounding Denali, North America’s tallest peak at six, 193. 5 metres, and its two neighbors, Foraker (5, 303. 5 meters) and Hunter (4, 256. 5 meters).
Catching the view is certainly nice; one of the best areas to do so is in the back deck part of the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge. But you get an entirely different perspective once you’re actually in the mountains, standing on a glacier, looking up and around at a jagged world of white. To do that, you need a plane.
A handful of businesses run “flightseeing” trips out of Talkeetna, K2 Aviation becoming the biggest. It’s also possible to soar in from the Denali area. Whoever you fly with, subscribe to a glacier landing for the full effect.
This is also how climbers access the mountains. For information on climbing, check the State Park’s mountaineering source page.
A drift plane in Alaska
Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge
Denali National Recreation area Mountaineering Resource Web page
4. Stay at a boat/plane-accessed lodge.
Fox Island is certainly a stop on two Kenai Fjords time cruises, but you can stay overnight at the Kenai Fjords Wilderness Hotel. The property comprises 8 cabins (each with capacity for a family of four) lined up between rocky beach and the back tidal lagoon. Package overnight stays that feature a day time cruise on flying day start can be found. Kayaking and fishing trips are available at extra cost for overnighters; they’re part of the offer if you stay more than one night.
On the opposing side of the Kenai Peninsula, Tutka Bay Lodge has an a lot more remote feel to it, accessed by water taxi from the Homer Spit or sea plane. Tutka is one of the fjords cut into the southern aspect of the larger Kachemak Bay, and the entire area features snowy peaks and Sitka spruce-covered ridges that run right into the ocean. The villa is set back on the beach opposite a little headland – you can not see it until you’re almost on top of this. But once you’re there it’s quite expansive, with a massive central deck (with hot tub and sauna), and pathways that connect the main villa building and six luxury cabins of varying size. The Eagle’s Nest Chalet (sleeps five) most likely has the best look at.
Rates start $1, 300 per night and include three chef-prepared meals a day, a one-hour massage, wines tastings, yoga, and pretty much any well guided activity you can think of — kayaking, hiking to glaciers, mountain biking, local fishing and boat trips, character walks, and cooking classes.