Most visitors to Denali National Park stay two nights, possibly three, and have limited time to experience all the opportunities that Denali offers. We believe that if you have two days in Denali, the best excursion that you can take is a full day tour to Kantishna either on the Kantishna Wilderness Tour or the Denali Backcountry Tour. These tours are operated by two lodges that are about 93 miles deep into Denali, in fact, their lodges are located at the end of the Denali Park Road in Kantishna.
The tours into Kantishna include a bus ride both directions during which you see more of Denali National Park and have more opportunities to see wildlife and Mt. McKinley then you would on any other tour. It is a 12 hour adventure and so you are in Denali for a full day. It’s an unforgettable experience and one we recommend without hesitation to visitors that desire to really immerse themselves in Denali.
For those whose budget can afford it, an upgrade that we recommend is to take the bus tour one way to Kantishna and return to the Denali Park entrance by a majestic Denali Park Flightseeing excursion. If you choose to take the Denali Park Flightseeing excursion form Kantishna, you will still experience the Park Road excursion to Kantishna, then take part in lunch at either the Kantishna Roadhouse or the Denali Backcountry Lodge and have time to explore on your own or take part in one of several included activities at Kantishna. Then, Kantishna Air will meet you at your Kantishna Lodge after you have lunch and transport you to the Kantishna Air Strip for the flight back to Denali’s Front Country where their staff will then return you by van to your hotel.
The 35-minute return flight is very scenic and from our experience their pilots are clearly excited to show you Denali National park from their perspective. The focus is on the landscape and geography of the park but you’ll still be on the watch for possible wildlife sightings. As you take off from Kantishna you’ll see parts of Denali National Park that no other visitor can see from the ground, crossing the valley floor as you head over to the Alaska Range and Mt. McKinley before turning north towards the Park Entrance. As you travel you’ll travel over the Muldrow Glacier as you follow the spine of the Alaska Range. It’s an incredible experience, and will complete an incredible day in Denali National Park. You’ll arrive back at your lodge several hours earlier than if you were returning by bus and will have stories to tell about what will sure to be a trip of a lifetime.