Top 13 Adventurous Things To Do In Denali National Park

Things To Do In Denali National Park

This incredible place we now call the Denali National Park was first established as a national park in February of 1917, under the title Mt McKinley National Park. It is one of eight impressive national parks in the state of Alaska.

For decades, the state of Alaska worked to change the name back to its original native Athabascan title of Mt. Denali. In 1980 the park name was officially changed to the Denali National Park and Preserve. However, the mountain itself, North America’s tallest mountain, was still called Mt McKinley.

It wasn’t until 2015 that then-President Barack Obama and Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell renamed the mountain to its Athabascan title of Denali, meaning “The Great One.”

Each year, an average of 600,000 visitors will come to see Denali and the 600-mile-long Alaska range. It will come as no surprise that most travelers will visit during the busy summer months. Like all of our national parks, Denali requires a bit of advance planning to have a great trip.

Things To Do In Denali National Park

There is, quite literally, more to do and see in Alaska than can be done in one trip. By planning your excursions and activities in advance, it is possible to have an incredible journey to Alaska with little fear of missing out.

We’ve put together our picks for the top 13 unforgettable things to do in Denali National Park that you should add to your list of do not miss experiences.

1) Denali Visitor Center – Let’s Meet At The Park Entrance!

Begin your visit with a stop at the visitor center near the park’s entrance. You can talk to the rangers, get your questions answered, watch the movie and pick up a park map.

Denali Park Road Entrance
Denali Park Road Entrance

2) Hiking Trails In Eielson Visitor Center

There are a few marked trails near the park entrance, where you can take short hikes of two miles or less. Most hiking in the park is off-trail trekking.

If you prefer to stay on the marked trails, head to the Eielson Visitor Center, where you will find:

  • The Tundra Loop

  • Thorofare Ridge Trail

  • Gorge Creek Trail

3) Tundra Wilderness Tour

Head into the Alaskan wilderness in search of wildlife! Plenty of stops are made for wildlife photo opportunities. You’ll search for members of the Alaska Big Five:

  • Grizzly bears

  • Moose

  • Caribou

  • Dall sheep

  • Gray wolves

Caribou In The Wilderness Near Denali Park
Caribou In The Wilderness Near Denali Park

4) Denali Natural History Tour

With a certified naturalist driver guide at the helm, you will learn more about the park’s history, landscape, and geology. You’ll head towards Teklanika Flats with a stop at Savage River Cabin, the original ranger’s cabin.

Savage River Trail In Denali National Park
Savage River Trail In Denali National Park

5) Denali Backcountry Lodge

Have an immersive experience by staying at this fly-in-only lodge. Guests arrive by helicopter, staying in one of 42 cedar cabins. All meals are provided, and naturalist guides lead hiking, biking, and shuttle tours.

6) Flightseeing In Denali National Park

It is said that only 30 percent of the summer visitors to the park will fully see Denali Park. Increase your odds by taking one of the flightseeing tours by helicopter or small plane. See the stunning snow-capped peaks, the major glaciers, and impressive cascading icefalls.

Flightseeing In Denali Park
Flightseeing In Denali Park

7) Step Out On An Ancient Glacier With A Glacier Landing Tour

Take a flightseeing helicopter tour that makes an amazing landing on a glacier. You’ll see remote regions few people ever see before setting down on a millennia-old glacier. Stepping out onto the glacier, you’ll be able to explore the ice falls and massive crevasses. 

Landing On A Glacier
Landing On A Glacier

8) See The Aurora Borealis

While it is possible to see the elusive aurora borealis during all four seasons, you have the best chance of seeing the lights if you visit between August and April.

9) Self-Guided Jeep Tours On The Historic Denali Highway

Skip the tour buses for a day and take the wheel of a 4×4 Jeep. With self-guided tours, you can see the less visited areas.

Determine your own adventure by choosing your destination. You could drive along the original historic highway.

See the George Parks Scenic Byway and the Nenana Canyon. The time is yours to drive where you want, stop when you want, and never feel rushed.

Drive Along The Denali Highway - Park Road
Drive Along The Denali Highway

10) Jet Boat Tours

Have an exciting jet boat adventure in the Denali wilderness! Explore the vast Alaska Range from the vantage point of an enclosed jet boat on one of the many rivers.

11) White Water Rafting

Have an action-packed adventure with 11 miles of adrenaline-pumping rapids on the Nenana River. You can experience white water rapids with ratings as high as class III and IV as you navigate the picturesque Nenana Gorge.

For beginners, the Nenana River also offers thrilling adventures on rapids rated as class II and III. A great opportunity for the whole family.

Rafting In Denali National Park Park
Rafting In Denali National Park Park

12) ATV Tour

Drive your own all-terrain 4×4 vehicle with an expert guide leading the way into the Alaska wilderness. You can get off the main road on an ATV and enjoy the wild side of Alaska.

Excursions take you along the old coal mining trails, through dry river beds, and alongside local vegetation. You’ll explore the Alaska backcountry and have a whole lot of fun while you do it!

13) Backcountry Safari – Let’s Go Off The Denali Park Road

Join a small group tour off the beaten path with an off-road excursion on a mighty 6-wheel drive army truck. You’ll go deep into the Alaskan bush as you search for wildlife.

Let's Go Off The Denali Park Road
Let’s Go Off The Denali Park Road

Stampede Excursions

See the northern lights, walk on glaciers, and explore Denali National Park And Preserve on your own terms.

Let the knowledgeable local guides at Stampede Excursions show you the untamed wilderness, breathtaking surrounding mountains, and glaciers of Denali Park. Adventure waits for you around every corner.

We are your one-stop place for all there is to do in Denali. We provide personalized, one-of-a-kind experiences.

Call us or go online today. Book your Denali National Park tour best suited to your needs! We look forward to meeting you!

Visit Denali National Park
Visit Denali National Park

Duration
3 hours
Group Size
Up to 5

Draft Horse Drawn Covered Wagon

To get a real sense of old-time Alaska, travel like the original pioneers did-by horse-drawn wagon. Climb onto a covered wagon for an adventure and you’ll be in for a trip through time. While guides fill you in on the area’s history and natural treasurer, you’ll be pulled through the Alaskan tundra with the mountains of nearby Denali National Park hovering overhead. Join us for an exciting, yet relaxing, journey into the wilds of Alaska. Our custom-built Covered Wagon Ride is pulled by two beautiful Draft horses.

from
90 USD
Duration
1 hour
Group Size
Up to 5

Personal Draft Horse Encounter

Join us for a one-on-one encounter with our gentle giants! You will get a private experience with your group learning all about our draft horses. Your group will have the opportunity to feed, brush, and meet our draft horses. You will then get to watch a demonstration of how our teamsters gear and hitch up our horses to get ready for a covered wagon ride.

from
40 USD
Duration
10 hours
Group Size
Up to 5

Historic Denali Guided Adventure

Experience the wilderness and wildlife along the rugged route. Guides will ensure opportunities to view the area's best landmarks & introduce you to authentic Alaska activities!

from
194 USD
Duration
3 hours
Group Size
Up to 1

Tundra Golf

We'll pick you up at one of our scheduled times. Tee times are available all day. The course runs about 3.5 hours but if you want to take your time, no problem. We'll pick you up after and bring you home. All golfing essentials are provided such as round trip transportation to and from your hotel, unlimited greens fee, club rentals, a pull or power, a souvenir Logo Ball, tees, Scorecard, and 6 golf balls to play the course!

from
95 USD
Duration
1 hour
Group Size
Up to 5

Alaska Glacier Flightseeing Tour

A robust introduction to Denali and the Alaska Range. Follow the river systems of Talkeetna across the Susitna Valley into an incredible landscape of icefalls, glaciers, and snowy peaks.

See the Great Gorge of the Ruth Glacier, mile-high granite walls filled with a 4,000-foot thick river of ice, and the deepest canyon in North America
View the Don Sheldon amphitheater
Stunning snow-capped peaks
Intense blue meltwater pools
Cascading icefalls
Scenic Highlights: Denali, Great Gorge of Ruth Glacier, Don Sheldon Amphitheater.

Child rate valid for children under age 10.

Offered year-round. After September 15th, there is a 2 passenger minimum.
*There is an 8% tax on this flightseeing tour.

from
243 USD
Duration
1 hour 30 minutes
Group Size
Up to 5

Denali Air Adventure From Fairbanks

-Fly south from Fairbanks and wonder at the vast and remote land below.
-Experience the majestic Alaska Mountain Range.
-Thrill at the excitement of witnessing firsthand Denali, North America's tallest mountain, by air.
-Departs 12:00 pm; returns between 1:30 pm to 2:00 pm
-Tour Schedule (winter season): October - April. Minimum total of 4 required for a departure.

from
409 USD
Duration
1 hour
Group Size
Up to 5

Ultimate Alaska Flightseeing Tour

This is the only flight tour we offer from October 1st – April 30th. This winter tour explores the Southside of the Alaska Range.

Your pilot will be your guide and customize your tour based on weather conditions for the day.

from
350 USD