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.