See this national park from a new perspective
Large shapes moved outside the tent, blurred by the canvas until they crossed the doorway and their silhouettes were clear: caribou. A large sigh of relief went through the group, followed by nervous laughter. The card game was forgotten. You never know when or what wildlife will appear when you’re in Denali National Park and Preserve!
One of the best “back to nature” experiences adventurous visitors can have in the park is wilderness camping. Begin by borrowing a bear-proof food container at the WAC ( Wilderness Access Center), which is also the transportation hub for the park’s bus system. Board the park bus to travel the 90-mile road into Denali National Park. Ask the driver to stop whenever you want to disembark— you’re free to wander the backcountry of this six- million- acre- park. When you’re ready to return to civilization, hike back to the park road and catch the next (space available) bus. The buses depart the WAC every half hour between approximately 6 am and 10 pm in summer.
For those who are not enthusiastic about (or prepared for) seeing Denali National Park from a tent, the park’s tour operators offer a wide array of experiences to choose from. You can explore by motorcoach, jeep, ATV or airplane, by road, trail or river. It’s your choice!
BLACK DIAMOND ATV ADVENTURE
Approximately 3 hours Drive an ATV through Denali’s breathtaking backcountry. Your guide will narrate the area’s mining history, you keep an eye out for wildlife. Explore Dry Creek riverbed, site of Athabascan Indian artifacts. Mile 247 Parks Hwy, One Mile Otto Lake Road, Healy, AK. 907.683.4653. www. blackdiamondtourco. com
DENALI JEEP BACKCOUNTRY SAFARI
Approximately 4 hours Delve into the Alaska wilderness on this offroad adventure along Stampede Road, a historic trail blazed by miners in the 1930s to access the Kantishna gold fields. Listen via two-way radio as your guide details the area’s rich history. Watch for moose, caribou and bears, then enjoy a hearty snack before returning to
Mile 231 Parks Hwy, Denali National Park. 800.276.7234. www.denaliparkvillage. com
DISCOVER DENALI FLIGHTSEEING
Approximately 2.5 hours View the 14,900-foothigh Wickersham Wall, 2,000-foot deep Ruth Glacier, and the towering 20,320-foothigh Mount McKinley summit. Denali Air, Mile 229.1 Parks Hwy., Denali National Park. 907.683.2261. www. denaliair.com
HUSKY HOME STEAD TOUR
Approximately 2.5 hours Jeff King, four-time champion of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, welcomes you to his home and kennels. Enjoy a warm welcome from a cuddly pup; watch champion huskies on a training run; and see a dog-powered carousel. Mile 238 Parks Hwy. 907.683.2904. www.huskyhomestead. com/tour
Approximately 3.5 hours Feel the rush of the rapids during this exhilarating 11-mile guided rafting adventure on the Nenana River. Gear up in drysuit, lifejacket and neoprene booties and board an oar-powered raft for a wild ride down Class III and IV rapids. Mile 247 Parks Hwy., One Mile Otto Lake Road, Healy, AK. 888.303.1925. denalioutdoorcenter. com/rafting
NENANA GORGE TUNDRA WILDER NESS TOUR
Approxi- mately 7 hours Your expert driver/ guide will narrate throughout the journey which includes stops at Mount McKinley viewpoints and magnificent vistas. Watch for bears, caribou and Dall sheep high above steep mountain passes. Mile 231 Parks Hwy., Denali National Park, AK. 800.276.7234. www. denaliparkvillage
Black Diamond ATV Adventure