We are often asked by visitors how to experience the best of Denali National Park. Without question, the best opportunity to see Mt. McKinley, observe wildlife, and experience a more exclusive, intimate perspective of Denali National Park is to make sure that a visit to Kantishna is included in your travel plans either as a day trip or a two night back-country lodging adventure. Located 92 miles deep into the Park, Kantishna is close to Wonder Lake. This lake, known for its epic reflections of Mt. McKinley, is something most Denali visitors see only on postcards as they don’t get deep enough into the National Park. The rolling foothills of Kantishna with views of Mt. McKinley, the historic streams that seemingly sparkle with gold, the abundant wildlife, and the premium lodging in Denali make the all day journey an adventure that will sure to be the highlight of your trip to Alaska.
How you experience a trip to Kantishna is dependent on how many days you are able to spend at Denali National Park. To really experience Denali National Park, we never recommend visitors spend less than two nights at Denali.
If you have two nights at Denali your best option is to stay at one of the many lodges located just outside of Denali National Park and include a 13-hour day tour into Kantishna. You can choose either the Kantishna Wilderness Tour or the Denali Backcountry Tour. Both of these tours are operated by lodges in Kantishna and provide an excellent narrated tour into Denali National Park with wildlife stops along the way as well as a visit to Eielson Visitor Center. Eielson Visitor Center is Denali’s only visitor center with views of Mt. McKinley and offers short walking trails with expansive views over the alpine tundra. The tour continues on and takes you past Wonder Lake before arriving at the tour’s host Kantishna lodge – either the Kantishna Roadhouse or the Denali Backcountry Lodge. At the lodge you will enjoy lunch, have time to explore on your own or take part in several activities such as gold panning, a guided nature walk or perhaps enjoy a dog sled presentation depending on the day and lodge.
After your visit to Kantishna you will return along the Denali Park Road to the Park entrance – often giving you the opportunity to see more wildlife and a different perspective on the Park’s scenic beauty. If you wish to experience flying over Denali National Park with views of Mt. McKinley an excellent upgrade is to choose to fly back to the entrance from Kantishna with Kantishna Air. This flight is a jaw-dropping, inspiring experience that in combination with the bus tour into the Park will sure to be the highlight of your visit to Alaska.
If you have three or more nights at Denali, consider spending one night at the Park entrance and two nights in Kantishna at either the Denali Backcountry Lodge or the Kantishna Roadhouse. While at the park entrance, spend your day or evening at Denali’s visitor center, take a white-water raft trip or one of many other optional tours before getting a good night’s sleep. Then begin your exclusive 92 miles journey into Kantishna to one of Alaska’s premier lodging experiences deep in Denali National Park. While at the lodges all of your meals and activities are included such as guided nature hikes, mountain biking, and shuttles to Wonder Lake. This is your chance to get away from phones, the internet and the television and enjoy the serenity of a remote Alaskan lodge. An optional return by a Mt. McKinley flightseeing trip from Kantishna will cap off what will sure to be a trip of a lifetime.