Denali Tundra Wilderness Tour – Lunch or Snack?

denali-wildlife-tour-busOne of the most common questions we receive regarding the Tundra Wilderness Tour in Denali National Park is if lunch is included. The Park concessionaire that operates the tour calls the meal a “small snack.” Each year we inquire what the snack includes as it can change. Often, when we advise visitors to arrange for a box lunch from their hotel before they go we later hear back from them that the snack was a lunch and why did we tell them to purchase a box lunch for the trip? The reality is that whether you will need additional food on your tour depends on your appetite and what you ate for breakfast or lunch before you depart on either the morning or afternoon tour.

For 2016, we have been advised by the Park Concessionaire that the “snack” will be similar to the following in terms of content and amounts:

Tundra Wilderness Snack:

Indian Valley Summer Sausage – 2 oz
1 Croissant – small
Tillamook Cheddar Cheese – .75 oz
Mustard Packet
Alaska Potato Chips – 1 oz bag
Carrots – 2 oz bag or an orange
Snack mix – 1 packet
Water bottle – 16 oz
Wet Nap


Whether this is a “large snack” or a “small lunch” is a matter of continual debate in our office! There is also no guarantee that the tour operator won’t change the contents if they run short of supplies in Denali, but this will give you an idea of the size of the snack that is included in the Tundra Wilderness Tour. Our suggestion is that when in Denali National Park on a Tundra Wilderness Tour, bring along a supplemental snack – perhaps pick up some fresh fruit, a few energy bars, or a muffin. If you are worried about getting by on a snack or lunch similar to the size and description of the above then ask your hotel to make you a fresh box lunch to bring along with you.

Keep in mind that if you are booked on the shorter Natural History Tour that there is no snack or lunch provided. If you are booked on the Kantishna Wilderness tour that travels deep into Denali National Park, that you’ll be provided a hot lunch at the Kantishna Roadhouse about half way through your 11-12 hour tour. In that case, you’ll still want to bring snacks along that you can enjoy along the ride.


  1. May 8th, 2013 | 11:01 am

    you have really helped me

  2. Gwen Braun
    April 3rd, 2017 | 4:23 pm

    Really grateful to have found your info on what’s included in the
    snack box for the Tundra Wilderness Tour. Info they should tell you
    about – but if it’s there anywhere I couldn’t find it. So thank you!! Now just have to find which restaurants provide box lunches.

  3. April 4th, 2017 | 7:09 am

    Good question! Most of the hotels such as the Grande Denali and Denali Bluffs will prepare a box lunch but they want you to order it the night before. I’ve had the Grande’s its really nice. In the canyon area there are several small restaurants that will put together a box lunch and there is even a Subway. You can also order bag lunches at such restaurants as the McKinley Creekside Cafe which is located south of the park entrance at Mile 224 on the Parks. The Creekside has excellent food. I try to stop there everytime I’m leaving Denali and heading south to Anchorage.

  4. December 8th, 2017 | 4:41 pm

    I hope people read this post before they go to Denali, as you bring up a common issue which will help many. One of the reasons I choose McKinley Village Lodge in Denali Park Village is because they packed picnic lunches for hikers. Just simple sandwiches/ rolls, snacks, and drinks – perfect.

    If I were to go to Denali again (and hopefully I will) I would certainly book accommodation that can organise a good picnic lunch (and many do), as it enables you to focus on exploring this amazing region at your own pace.

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