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How to Spend 3 Days in Denali National Park

How to Spend 3 Days in Denali National Park

With three days in Denali National Park, you’ll be able to take a full day Park Road tour, during which you’ll see top sights such as Wonder Lake and the Reflection Pond, plus still have time to hike, visit sled dogs, and take a scenic flight. Here’s how make the most of three days. 

Day 1: Denali Park Road to the Kantishna Region

There’s only one road that runs through Denali National Park and private vehicles are only allowed to travel the first 15 miles (24 kilometers), so if you want to see the highlights then you’ll need to book a narrated bus tour or take the park’s hop-on hop-off shuttle. Since you have three days in the park, you’ve got ample time to venture to the Kantishna region, which is the closest you can get to Denali peak without hiking.

Round-trip tours to the end of the 92 mile (148 kilometer) Denali Park Road can take anywhere from 10 to 14 hours so plan to spend the entire day in the park. To enhance your trip, spend a night at one of the lodges or campgrounds in this remote region, where nature is in abundance. 

Day 2: Savage River Hikes and Sled Dog Demonstrations

Spend the morning exploring the Savage River trails. You can reach this region by car or aboard the free Savage River Shuttle, which saves the hassle of car hire. To learn about the park’s unique geology, botany, and history, take a hike through the wilderness with a naturalist. If you’d rather explore on your own, check out the Savage River Loop Trail or the Triple Lakes Trail.

In the afternoon, visit the Denali sled dog kennels. You can take the free shuttle bus to the kennels from the Denali Visitor Center and enjoy a free sled dog demonstration; watch the dogs get harnessed up and wander around the kennels at your leisure. Don’t miss the puppies.

Day 3: Denali Flightseeing and Outdoor Adventures

After two days of exploring, you’ll be ready to see beyond Denali Park Road. One of the most thrilling ways to get close to Denali peak without actually climbing it is to take a flightseeing tour. From a light aircraft, you’ll get a birds-eye view of the Kahiltna Glacier, Climber’s Base Camp, and Kahiltna Pass; upgrade to include a glacier landing and step onto the frozen landscape yourself.

Alternatively, you can take a white-water rafting trip down Alaska’s River Nenana gorge; soar over the treetops during a ziplining adventure; or go off-road on a jeep or ATV tour. Depending on the season, spend your final evening hiking beneath the midnight sun or hunting for the Northern Lights on an Aurora Borealis tour.

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11 Tours and Activities

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Denali Experience Flightseeing Tour from Talkeetna

Denali Experience Flightseeing Tour from Talkeetna

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374
This tour takes you within 6 miles of Denali's north summit (19,470 ft.) and south summit (20,320 ft.). You will enter an ancient world of rugged high mountain peaks, towering snow-capped mountains and glacier-filled valleys and explore the south and east faces of Denali. The regular flightseeing tour is 1 hour, or choose the glacier landing option for a 1.5 hour tour including a landing atop a glacier. This is truly a once in a lifetime experience you will not forget.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$259.20
From
$259.20
Taking safety measures

Denali ATV Trailblazer 3.5 Hour Tour

Denali ATV Trailblazer 3.5 Hour Tour

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177
Discover the Denali area on a 3.5-hour ATV tour that takes you through the boreal forest of Alaska. Have the option to tackle the rugged terrain in a single-rider ATV or a multi-passenger side-by-side ATV. Reach speeds of up to 30 mph (48 km/hr) as you ride for about 2.5 hours on trails that are challenging for all experience levels. Stop periodically for photo ops and wildlife sightings on a tour that includes guide, use of equipment, and transport from select locations in Denali.
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$141.03
From
$141.03
Taking safety measures

Denali Zipline Tour in Talkeetna

Denali Zipline Tour in Talkeetna

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334
Soar through the air on a 3-hour zipline tour in Talkeetna. See the entire Alaska Range, the Susitna and Chulitna Valleys, and the south side of Denali as you zip from platform to platform. Your guide provides thorough instructions and equipment so that you can zipline safely and enjoy your flight.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$153.47
From
$153.47
Taking safety measures

Upper Nenana Scenic Wilderness

Upper Nenana Scenic Wilderness

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53
Secure a seat on a raft trip on the Alaska’s upper River Nenana on a day ideal for your schedule by prebooking this expedition. Forget paddling and just sit back as a guide controls the raft using oars: steering you through Class II-III rapids while you relax and enjoy. Soak in the river spray, forests, and mountains; and watch for grizzly bears, moose, and other wildlife along the banks en-route.
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  • 3 to 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$115.50
From
$115.50

Denali Park Zipline Adventure

Denali Park Zipline Adventure

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390
Experience Alaska from the only zipline course in the Denali National Park region. Soar over the trees during a 3-hour ziplining experience just outside Denali National Park, with expert guides who lead you along a course with six suspension bridges and eight ziplines. Fly through the boreal forest and over the tundra on this memorable tour that promises exhilarating thrills, incredible scenery and a fun challenge.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$142.57
From
$142.57
Taking safety measures

Denali Backcountry Safari

Denali Backcountry Safari

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42
Experience your own ‘Into the Wild’ journey on this 4-wheel off-road adventure in Denali National Park. Aboard your safari transport, head deep into the Alaskan bush to the Stampede Trail, a forgotten trail in the wilderness that Christopher McCandless took to explore the backcountry. Learn about the area’s geology and wildlife, and stop along the way to explore the open tundra. Hotel transport from select locations is included on this 3.5-hour tour.
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$139.00
From
$139.00
Taking safety measures

Aurora Quest from Denali

Aurora Quest from Denali

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16
While Alaska is among the top places in the world to catch the northern lights, the elusive natural phenomenon can be difficult to spot on your own. Luckily, with a local tour guide to take you to the best spots in the Denali area, you can greatly increase your chances of witnessing the light show. Plus, along the way, your guide breaks down the mysterious science behind the northern lights.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$129.00
From
$129.00
Taking safety measures

Nenana Gorge Whitewater - Oar Rafting

Nenana Gorge Whitewater - Oar Rafting

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34
Experience the wild natural beauty of Denali National Park during a whitewater rafting adventure down Alaska's Nenana Gorge. Safely navigate an 11-mile (18-kilometer) stretch of class III and IV whitewater with an expert guide—your guide controls the boat with oars while you hang on and enjoy the ride. Admire views of the towering snow-covered peaks of the Alaska Range and catch a glimpse of canyon wildlife.
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  • 3 to 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$115.50
From
$115.50

Classic ATV Adventure with Back Country Dining

Classic ATV Adventure with Back Country Dining

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48
Drive your own ATV off–road during a fun 3-hour experience in the wilderness of Alaska. Enjoy a thrilling ride, breathtaking scenery and a delicious backcountry meal. Your guide provides ATV instructions then leads you on a memorable spin down dirt roads and through dry creek beds. Stop for photo ops of the Alaska Range and look for wildlife, then celebrate with a full breakfast, lunch or dinner before returning to Healy.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$139.95
From
$139.95

Denali Highway Jeep Excursion

Denali Highway Jeep Excursion

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213
Spot natural wonders along the Denali Highway in Alaska. This 4-hour guided Jeep excursion was named #2 on 'National Geographic Traveler' magazine’s ‘Drive of a Lifetime’ list. Ride along the 135-mile (217.261-km) gravel road, and enjoy the scenic views of Denali, the Alaska Range, and glaciers.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$173.34
From
$173.34
Taking safety measures

Paddle Rafting on the Nenana Gorge

Paddle Rafting on the Nenana Gorge

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51
Seize the chance to try white water rafting in one of the world’s prime locations—Alaska’s River Nenana gorge in Denali National Park—on this half-day paddle rafting adventure. With a guide on board to give instructions, conquer the Nenana’s foaming Class III-IV rapids, paddling downstream against a backdrop of Denali’s pinewoods and peaks. All necessary equipment and a choice of departure times are provided for ease and convenience.
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  • 3 to 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$115.50
From
$115.50


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