For any trip to Denali, especially for a first time trip to Denali, I feel a bus tour into the National Park is a must do. On my most recent trip to Denali National Park I took the Kantishna Wilderness Trails tour, an all day tour into Denali National Park.
My tour began at 6:30am when the bus driver picked up me and other passengers at the Denali Bluffs Hotel. Once we had picked up all the other passengers we headed out with our driver-guide into the park. Our driver-guide was very knowledgeable on park information and told us about the history of Denali National Park as we entered. Our first wildlife sighting was a Bald Eagle. The Eagle sat still on a tree and we were able to take photos.
The Eagle sighting was the first of many wildlife sightings on our tour. Our next sighting was a Grizzly Bear that was walking about on one of the mountain sides in the park. It was great to see the bear not long into our journey in the park, and gave us all hope for more wildlife viewing as the day continued. We made it to our first rest stop, where we were able to get a bathroom break and take some photos by the mountains. Our bus driver had the snacks and warm drinks ready for us right away. We grabbed a cookie, and apple to snack on in the bus, and a nice warm cup of apple cider.
We had a great day of wildlife viewing; we were able to see bears, moose, fox, eagles, and caribou. The bus driver would always stop if someone thought they had seen something. The whole bus worked together to search out the wildlife, and when we found some we would stop to take pictures and get a better look. All of our encounters were great because they were true examples of the animals in their natural environment.
We had 2 more rest stops before we made it to the end of the park at the Kantishna Roadhouse. The new Eielson Visitors Center was a great rest stop in the park. It is a brand new facility that has running water and nice restrooms to use. The center has plenty of information on Denali. The Center also has large windows that on a clear day would have a perfect view of Mt. McKinley. Another highlight of the tour was seeing the Muldrow Glacier as we drove the park road. The glacier is covered with vegetation, so it is an unusual glacier to see. We also passed the beautiful Wonder Lake as we got closer to the end of the park road.
When we arrived at the Kantishna Roadhouse our meal was already waiting for us. The lunch was a nice energy boost, and the warm soup served helped take the edge off the cool day. After lunch we were free to choose which activity we wanted to take part in at the Roadhouse. One can go Gold Panning or choose to do watch the Dog Sled demonstration. Both are fun Alaskan activities and a nice stretch after being on the bus. We then made our way back to Denali the same way we came, continuously searching for wildlife and great sights. Overall the bus trip was a huge success and I was quite happy with my trip on the Kantishna Wilderness Trails Tour.