Denali National Park and Preserve

Denali National Park and Preserve

Denali National Park and Preserve

Denali National Park and Preserve

Denali National Park and Preserve

Denali National Park


Many people feel that a Denali trip is an essential part of their Alaska adventure vacation. Indeed, few things can compare with seeing the highest peak in North America. At 20,320 feet, the Denali massif is such a stupendous geologic feature that it creates its own weather and its own ecosystems. While the mountain itself is only visible about 20 percent of the time, Denali National Park is home to 6 million acres of pristine Wilderness and a stunning array of wildlife, including caribou, moose, grizzly bears, Dall sheep, foxes, wolves, golden eagles and many other fauna.


We know that humans have inhabited the Denali region for over 11,000 years. Athabascan Native people thrived in the area for 1,000 - 1,500 years. In 1906 Charles Sheldon visited the area and began lobbying for a hunting and wilderness preserve. In 1917 Mount McKinley National Park was established. In 1980 the Park boundaries were expanded to 6 million acres and the name was changed to Denali National Park and Preserve. In 2015 Mount McKinley's name was changed to Mount Denali, an Athabascan term meaning "The Great One."

Great Alaska Involvement

At Great Alaska Adventures we have several itineraries that include Denali trips. These itineraries typically use the first day to overnight in the quirky town of Talkeetna, the jumping off point for most Denali mountain climbers. Some guests choose to go on a flightseeing trip over Denali in Talkeetna, either as part of the itinerary or as an independent add-on. On the second day our trips finish the transect to Denali National Park, then hop on the bus for an extended Denali Wildlife Tour along the restricted Denali Park Road, where private vehicles are not allowed (to maximize Wilderness character and wildlife viewing opportunities).

On the third day of your Denali adventure we stick to our Denali trip strategy of not retracing our path. So we overnight at the Denali Park entrance, visit the Denali National Park Visitor Center in the morning, then hop aboard the historic Alaska Railroad for a comfortable and casual trip back to Anchorage.

In Closing

Denali Tours: Most people experience Denali National Park, and gain their best chance of seeing wildlife, by taking a bus tour along the restricted-access Denali Park Road. The bus tours are hosted by experienced driver-guides who share natural history stories while helping passengers spot wildlife.

The only downside to a Denali National Park tour on your trip is that it takes at least 3 days of your itinerary to do it right. Alaska is big country, and it takes a day to get to the Park, a day to take the bus tour, and a day to return to Anchorage, Kenai or Fairbanks.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do we get to Denali?

Great Alaska's guided trips get to Denali on their private vans. Our tours are typically designed not to backtrack, so you till travel to Denali Nat. Park on our vans, and return to Anchorage via the historic and scenic Alaska Railroad, arriving into Anchorage approximately 8:30 pm.

What is the "Go-To" activity in the park?

Wildlife viewing. The must-do activity is a guided and narrated wildlife and natural history drive along the 95-mile restricted access Denali Park Road. Public access to the park runs the first 14 miles of the road, to the Savage River Ranger Station. From there are excellent hiking options or a perfect quick day use - but to really experience the park the Concessionaire Wilderness Tundra Tour is a number of various length excursions into the park on the famous school buses operated by drivers/wildlife guides.

How big is Denali National Park?

Denali Natioal Park and preserve is a giant park, encompassing more than 6 million acres. The national preserve is 1,334,200 acres On December 2, 1980, a 2,146,580 acre (8,687 km2) Denali Wilderness was established within the park. The park is located approximately 225 Miles north of Anchorage, Alaska and is serviced by the Parks Highway and the Alaska Railroad. Besides the park entrance, the largest local community is the town of Healey, Alaska.

Not Ready to Book Yet?

Receive a copy of our exciting 2018 Legendary Adventures brochure in the mail and we’ll have our 40 page catalog in the sent to you right away. In the meantime, dive into the online version, and please let us know if you have any questions! Our office staff has a combined 100 years of Alaska and worldwide adventure travel experience, and we’d love to put that knowledge to work to assist your planning.