Meghan Wieten-Scott has been here

Denali National Park, Alaska

Denali National Park, Denali National Park, Alaska

| Map |
Add to trip

Denali Visitor Center

Whether ending or starting a trip through Denali National Park, the Denali Visitor Center is a must-stop for all visitors. The center provides critical regulations and information for enjoying the park as well as excellent maps and brochures. The center's displays and videos help travelers get oriented and primed for spotting wildlife. And the park rangers can recommend the best itinerary for a road tour based on time and group preferences. The visitor center serves as the area’s welcome center and the site includes a restaurant, gift shop, bus stop and railroad station. Many of the park’s free activities are led from the center and there are nature trails to explore right from the parking lot, so spending some time at the center makes sense. The Denali Visitor Center isn’t just a place to use the restroom, it’s one of Denali’s highest-rated feature and a perfect home base for a family visit.

Address: Denali National Park, Alaska

| Map
Phone:
URL: http://www.nps.gov/dena/planyourvisit/the-denali-visitor-center.htm
Hours: 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Price: Free

Mount McKinley

Mount McKinley is not only the most prominent feature of Denali National Park, it’s also North America’s tallest mountain -- so for families vacationing in Denali, taking pictures of this famous landmark is a must. While McKinley is the mountain’s official name, its original and common name is Denali, a native Athabaskan word meaning the "high one." And high it is: Denali soars to 20,320 feet, and only the most intrepid climbers actually bag this peak -- although there are plane trips to the mountain for more adventurous souls. For most people, finding places to spot Denali from the Park Road and take photographs will probably suffice. Denali is so huge, its summit is often obscured by clouds, so it pays to keep on top of weather reports and check with the park rangers. Only 30 percent of park visitors tend to see it at all, and this is in a relatively short window of summer, so careful planning and a bit of luck is called for. Places to get a view of Denali include the Park Road pullout at mile nine, and the reflection pond at Wonder Lake. Mount McKinley and Denali may be elusive, but travelers to Alaska should definitely take the time to hunt it down.

Address: Denali National Park, Alaska

| Map
Phone:
URL: http://www.nps.gov/dena/naturescience/naturalfeaturesandecosystems.htm
Hours: Hours vary. For details, check schedule
Price: Free

Park Road

Denali National Park is comprised of more than six million acres of wilderness, with one thoroughfare traveling through the center: The Park Road. The road isn’t just the way to get through the park, it is the park’s primary feature (besides the wilderness, that is.) The road itself is only accessible to individual drivers via a four-day permit lottery held in September, so most vacationers take one of the many bus tours operated by the National Park Service to travel up and down the road. And what a road it is! The splendors of Alaska’s incredible wilderness are there to see right from one’s vehicle. And there are plenty of stopping points on the bus tours to allow for photography, short walks, scenic views and wildlife viewing. A second option is using the park’s shuttle bus system, which also stops for the high points, but it costs less and isn’t narrated by a tour guide. There is actually a small section of the road accessible by private vehicles, but that’s mainly used by the park’s courtesy shuttle -- a third option for getting into the park for a short visit, at no cost at all. These connect all the central services as well as outlying campgrounds. Park visitors without a car will find these especially useful. The park service encourages all vacationers to go green and the various bus services available on the Park Road provide a great opportunity to do just that.

Address: Denali National Park, Alaska

| Map
Phone:
URL: http://www.nps.gov/dena/planyourvisit/roadwalk.htm
Hours: Hours vary. For details, check schedule
Price: Free

Denali Outdoor Center

Denali Outdoor Center offers one of the most popular and exciting activities at Denali National Park -- rafting on the Nenana River. A whitewater rafting trip may seem intimidating at first, but even children quickly get over their nerves, sit back and enjoy the ride. The guides are very patient, friendly and help allay everyone’s concerns, so everyone can get into the spirit of a family outing without worry. There are several options here, including kayaking, self-paddling and the raft tours. These tours have what everyone might expect from an Alaska river ride. There’s a slower-paced scenic section of the trip and then a shoot through Alaska’s famous rapids. This is the white-knuckle part -- it’s fast, it’s exhilarating, and fun for most people. Denali Outdoor Center provides dry suits to keep riders warm and cozy so they can get up close and personal with the river without getting chilled to the bone! Denali Outdoor Center offers a way to see Denali that can’t be matched.

Address: Mile 1/2 Otto Lake Road, Denali National Park, Alaska 99743

| Map
Phone: 1-888-303-1925
URL: http://www.denalioutdoorcenter.com/
Hours: From 9 a.m. For details, check schedule
Price: Charges vary. For details, check prices

Mount Healy Overlook Trail

The Mount Healy Overlook Trail is one of Denali National Park’s better-known hikes and offers a perfect introduction to the park. The trailhead is located at the visitor center, which has plenty of free day -use parking. Doing the entire hike can take three to four hours, a strenuous walk of 4.5 miles roundtrip. The best way to enjoy any trail is to pick a turnaround spot wherever it feels comfortable and head back -- but the actual overlook shouldn’t be overlooked! Getting there entails a 1,700-foot elevation gain, which is probably too strenuous for the elderly and very small children. But going slow makes it surprisingly easier. The trail itself is a well-maintained, two-foot-wide path that is actually a junction off the Tiaga Trail. After the first mile, benches are located trailside, and spectacular views along the way provide periodic rewards. The Mount Healy Overlook Trail may be tough, but it can be enjoyed however it’s undertaken and is well worth checking out.

Address: Denali National Park, Alaska

| Map
Phone:
URL: http://www.nps.gov/dena/photosmultimedia/overlook.htm
Hours: 24 hours
Price: Free

Denali ATV Adventures Day Tour

For a different way to delve into Alaska’s wilderness, an outdoor tour with Denali ATV Adventures shouldn’t be missed. This Denali National Park company offers four different guided tours of the rugged backcountry through forest and tundra, dust and mud -- it’s a classic Alaska experience. It’s not all roaring engines and speeding through the wilderness, though. There are stops to rest, take pictures and have a snack. The crew takes pictures of all the riders at a river crossing so action shots are available for purchase, too. Despite the engine racket, wildlife is commonly seen, and riders should be on the lookout for foxes, porcupines, bears and moose. Utilizing single-rider, side by side and four-seater ATVs, tours can be modified to suit almost any type of family group. Car seats for small children are on hand and other non-drivers are well-cared for. In other words, there are no excuses not to go! Tours of different lengths are available all day long, so it’s fairly easy to schedule a ride and still have time to plan other activities. Denali ATV Adventures provides good clean (and not-so-clean) fun for the whole family.

Address: Mile 238.6 Parks Hwy, Denali National Park, Alaska 99755

| Map
Phone: 907-683-4288
URL: http://denaliatv.com/
Hours: Hours vary. For details, check schedule
Price: Charges vary. For details, check prices

Wonder Lake

Wonder Lake is one of Denali National Park’s top ten features, and is a particularly popular attraction for families vacationing in the area. An 85-mile bus ride from the Visitor Center, Wonder Lake makes a dramatic centerpiece for a long all-day trip. One of the park’s tour buses or shuttles takes visitors right where they need to go. Since it’s a long ride, plan on wildlife-spotting and picture taking from the bus as part of the outing. The tour bus costs more than the shuttle, but it’s narrated, so that’s probably the best option for making the ride itself worthwhile. There are several stops along the way, which can be saved for the end of the trip to make sure there’s enough time to spend at the lake itself. As one of the few spots in the park where Mount McKinley can be seen (on a good day), Wonder Lake and its adjacent Reflection Pond are pretty much a must-stop for shutterbugs. For those who miss seeing the mountain, a nature walk at Wonder Lake, a picnic and seeing caribou along the road still make the trip very worthwhile.

Address: Denali National Park, Alaska

| Map
Phone:
URL: http://www.nps.gov/dena/naturescience/naturalfeaturesandecosystems.htm
Hours: Hours vary. For details, check schedule
Price: Free

Alaska Cabin Nite

Alaska Cabin Nite is an old-fashioned dinner show performed at the McKinley Chalet Resort, which is perfect for vacation time entertainment at Denali. This musical comedy with an 1890s theme happens in the resort’s log-paneled theater during the summer season. This slightly cornball but fun play touches on Alaska’s Gold Rush History with audience participation encouraged. The staff is friendly and accommodating toward children as well as adults, so it’s comfy and enjoyable all around. Food includes hearty standards like salmon, barbecued ribs, baked beans, corn, biscuits and cobbler, offered up family-style -- everyone serves each other. Guests are seated at benches in groups of 12 so prepare to get friendly! Alaska Cabin Nite provides a fun alternative night out during a vacation at Denali National Park.

Address: McKinley Chalet Resort, Denali National Park, Alaska 99755

| Map
Phone:
URL: http://www.denaliparkresorts.com/alsakan-cabin-nite-dinner-theatre.aspx
Hours: Hours vary. For details, check schedule
Price: Adults (12+): $63; Children (3-11): $31.50; Children under 3: Free

Wilderness Access Center

The Wilderness Access Center is the home base for tour bus tickets, travel and camping arrangements in Denali National Park so most visitors will make use of it at some point during their vacation. The vast majority of travelers opt for bus tours of the park, and this is where the tickets are sold. The free shuttle buses also make stops here, and the center is a good all-around central spot for information and camping reservations. A small gift shop and coffee stand are located here as well as the nearby Backcountry Information Center for those venturing deeper into the wild. Comfortable and user-friendly, the Wilderness Access Center is a critical part of Denali’s operating infrastructure -- and a good place to take a rest.

Address: Denali National Park, Alaska

| Map
Phone:
URL: http://www.nps.gov/dena/planyourvisit/wildernessaccesscenter.htm
Hours: Hours vary. For details, check schedule
Price: Free

Black Diamond ATV Tours

Black Diamond is one of the most popular concessions in Denali National Park, providing ATV Tours of Alaska’s backcountry. The company offers horse-drawn wagon rides and golfing, but the ATV trips are what people tend to sign up for -- they give people a more adventurous way to experience the wilderness. Riders may travel single file along well-maintained trails through the tundra, and only move as fast as the youngest travelers can safely go. Other ways to travel include a four-seater ATV, perfect for when little kids are part of the group. Tour options may include food, which is handy since dining isn’t available at every turn in Denali. Black Diamond ATV tours can be customized for any family size so they’re ideal for a day outing at Denali.

Address: Denali National Park, Alaska

| Map
Phone:
URL: http://www.blackdiamondgolf.com/
Hours: Hours vary. For details, check schedule
Price: Charges vary. For details, check prices

Sled Dog Demonstration

Visitors to Denali National Park can see free Sled Dog Demonstrations given by the Park Service. Performed three times a day during peak season, these 30-minute programs also allow visitors to tour the park’s kennels and visit with the Alaskan huskies up close. There’s no parking at the kennels so plan on using one of the park’s free shuttles. These depart from the visitor center about every 40 minutes and arrive in time for the demonstrations. For those who want to stretch their legs, it’s a mile-and-a-half walk from the visitor center. Children will enjoy petting the dogs and standing on the sleds for pictures. For most visitors to Denali, the Sled Dog Demonstration is a must-see.

Address: Denali National Park, Alaska

| Map
Phone:
URL: http://www.nps.gov/dena/planyourvisit/sled-dog-demonstrations.htm
Hours: Hours vary. For details, check schedule
Price: Free

Loading

Showing current page attraction and hotels results in the area

Nearby Points of Interest

Want to see more? Click here