Top three reasons to hike Denali
Encompassing 4,740,911 acres, it’s the third largest park in the country
With its diverse flora and fauna, Denali is a visual spectacle
Get off the beaten path without having to do any technical mountaineering
That’s right. There’s one road that services the park’s five million acres and that road is only 91 miles long. To put it into perspective: the park’s larger than the state of New Hampshire. So no matter how you decide to tour the park’s taiga, tundra, and glaciers, you can count on all of it being big. Epically big. While the park has plenty of trails ranging from super-short (Meadow View Trail, 0.3 mile) to much, much longer (Triple Lakes Trail, 9.5 miles), what appeals to most visitors are the off-trail options. The only way to tour the park in a car is via the lone Denali Park Road, which has various drop-off and stopping points throughout its route. Many hikers will hop off at one of the stops, venture out for a hike of their choosing, and then return to the road where they can catch a shuttle back to the various parts of breathtaking Denali! Find out more about the best hiking trails in Denali from Karl Sander, skier, hiker, and cyclist in the PNW.
Mid-May through mid-September
Anchorage, AK, is four hours away by car
Beginner to advanced
Choose how you spend your day
Denali Walking Tour
Step into a natural Alaskan paradise and take a stroll along the boreal forests and beautiful lakes. Enjoy 3 hours of magnificent lake views and surrounding mountains, learn about the area’s ecosystem and the complicated connections of plants, animals, and people within the splendor of true wilderness in Alaska. Hear from your knowledgeable guide about how people survived long winters in such a cold, yet beautiful setting!
Hiking level: Moderate. The trail is not flat. Some up and down is required for the entire length of the tour. Expect to walk 3-4 miles with up to 800’ elevation gain.
Denali Wilderness Interpretive Hike
This is an engaging 5-hour tour for travelers looking to tackle Denali’s glacier topology in depth. This is a guided, narrated tour that will teach you about the extensive flora and fauna throughout the park while discovering the Nenana River, sub-alpine tundra and the gorgeous vegetation of the taiga. Join a small group of hikers and enjoy exploring the marvelous nature of north side of the Alaska range!
Hiking level: Strenuous. Expect to gain 1500′ in elevation and walk 5-6+ miles.
Meet your guide
Walk Denali Backcountry Guides
My boyfriend and I booked this tour on our last day and Alaska and it did not disappoint! Our guide was very fun to talk to and SO knowledgeable about the national park, the history of the mountains, the animals and their behaviors, the plants, bugs etc… We learned so much interesting information while going on an amazingly scenic hike. The information as well as the hike itself were things we wouldn’t have been able to experience by ourselves without a lot of precious park knowledge. This was the highlight of our trip and we are so happy we could fit this in. I would absolutely recommend this tour to anyone who is interested in seeing and experiencing Denali in a more in depth way
Dana led a 3 hour hike into Denali. We viewed 3 separate lakes and mountain views. She shared fun facts and great knowledge regarding edible plants and berries, wildlife clues and behavior. I learned so much! She paced the hike perfect to fit our comfort level. It was the highlight of our summer. I would definitely hike with Dana again!
We had a very lovely 5 hr hike with Jeff who taught us so much about the tundra and its inhabitants, we tasted wild berries and enjoyed the amazing views of the 3 lakes. Hike was moderately challenging yet very pleasant. Thanks!
Things to know
Covid measures in Denali, Alaska
57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.
We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re travelling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Denali, Alaska, please refer to Alaska’s Department of Health and Social Services website.
Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!
What you get on this adventure:
- A professional, knowledgeable, medically-trained, wilderness guide
- A full day of hiking in Denali
- Use of trekking poles
- Transportation from Denali Wilderness Princess Lodge to the trailhead and back
What’s not included:
- Transportation to Alaska
- Meals and snacks
How fit do I need to be?
The best thing about hiking in Denali is that there are incredible options for all skill levels. For beginner hikes, if you can walk for four to six miles with little elevation gain, you are good to go! Intermediate hikes will see a little more change in elevation and hikes will start to increase in length, hiking anywhere between four to eight miles. Advanced hikes are full day treks with steep descents and challenging switchbacks. Keep in mind, the weather can suddenly change and you’ll also be packing a daypack filled with water and other things you’ll need throughout the day.
What can I expect from hiking with a guide?
Hiring a local guide offers you the chance to experience Denali’s beauty to the fullest. Local guides know all the hidden gems the area has to offer, will explain the history and geology during the hike, and will customize your day to the desires of your group. Because there is so much to see and do in Denali — and it gets crowded quickly — this is one location where it really pays to have a guide by your side to make the most out of this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
What do I need to bring?
Here’s a list of the equipment you need to bring:
- Day pack large enough to carry all the items listed (around a 40L bag)
- Water bottle or hydration bladder (2L capacity)
- Sturdy hiking boots
- Spare clothes for layering
- Waterproof rain jacket
- Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
- Camera — optional (but recommended)
- Binoculars — optional
Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season. Layers are best and don’t wear jeans.
Group sizes and age requirements
Group sizes and prices:
- Hiking tours listed above are not private. Pricing is per person, and costs don’t decrease as your group grows.
- The maximum group size on these day-hiking tours is six guests and one guide. It takes a minimum of two people for the tours to operate.
- If you’re traveling with a larger party, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.
Min. age requirements:
- Everybody over the age of 18 is welcome to book this hiking adventure.
- Children under 15 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
If you plan to hike with anyone under the age of 15, please contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.
Getting there and meeting location
To get to Denali National Park, most people fly into Anchorage International Airport (ANC). From there, you can rent a car or take a shuttle service to Denali Park that is 4 hours away or drive to Talkeetna, 2 hours north of Anchorage.
Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet. You can make arrangements with your guide who can provide you with transportation from Denali Wilderness Princess Lodge. From there, you’ll head straight to your tour. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the hiking ability of the group.
Walking tours operate daily from 8:00am to 11:00am and from 5:00pm to 8:00 pm.
Interpretive hikes operate daily from 11:30am to 4:30pm.