Glacier Landing in Denali National Park, Alaska
Traveling to Alaska and exploring the last frontier is one of the coolest trips we have ever done. There is so much to do whether it’s hiking, sightseeing, fishing, shopping, or visiting historic towns.
However, what took the entire trip to the next level, was an airplane ride that took us into Denali National Park, landing on a massive glacier and being able to walk around, explore, take pictures and soak in the experience.
Flightseeing Over Denali National Park
We got to Denali National Park by a small bush plane. The views were incredible, as we could see the entire National Park and all the snow-capped mountains below. We have been to some mind-blowing places such as Switzerland, Colorado, Washington and the Italian Alps and this exceeded them all.
The plane flew into the valleys between the mountains which made it feel as if we were in some great exploration movie and an experience we will never forget.
This truly is one of those adventures where pictures cannot do it justice. If you are planning to visit Alaska, a flightseeing tour over Denali National Park has got to be the #1 thing on your bucket list.
The flightseeing tour was by far the best experience we had while we were in Alaska. We did things such as ice climbing, whale watching, hiking and this tour was the best! The flight starts from Talkeetna rather than the town of Denali, which is only 2 hours from Anchorage (the main airport in Alaska). The best way to travel the area is to do a road trip in Alaska with a rental car or small RV. Alaska is big, more than twice the size of Texas! The best way you can get a rental car is at either Anchorage or Fairbanks airport.
The town of Talkeetna itself is a destination to visit because of the history and amazing small-town charm, so don’t skip it! The town started in the early 1900s because it was a central location between Anchorage and Fairbanks, it became a district headquarters for the Alaskan railroad.
The town is very different nowadays as it relies almost exclusively on tourism. Talkeetna is known for its mountain biking, rafting, hiking, fishing and of course its flightseeing tours of Denali. Talkeetna is also famous for being the home base for expeditions that take people to the summit of Mount McKinley. If outdoor activities don’t interest you, there are plenty of unique shops, restaurants, food trucks and even artist galleries to check out!
Denali National Park
Denali is home to the tallest mountain on the entire North American continent, Mount McKinley. The flight itself will take you inside Denali National Park and eventually land on the Ruth glacier.
One of the most insane things about the Ruth glacier is that it is considered to be around 4,000 feet thick, meaning you will be landing on 4,000 feet of ice! The flight is roughly 2 hours long and does a complete loop around Mount McKinley.
Two companies operate tours from Talkeetna to Denali National Park, we went with Talkeetna Air Taxi. They offer 5 different tours, with options to take part in a glacier landing or not. We opted for the Grand Denali tour with Glacier landing which was around $450 per person. You can do this tour without the glacier landing for $350, but the best part for us was being able to land and explore the glacier.
When it comes to the Grand Denali tour, under 12s cost $311.50 compared to 12+ being $450. Kids 2 and under are free, so this is a great excursion to do with family or friends! Alaska is not a cheap vacation destination but this tour truly was worth the money for us!
Alaska is one of the most visited tourist destinations in America and tours, hotels, car rentals and just about everything can fill up quickly during the summer months. Book any tourist activity well in advance, months if not a year, before your vacation dates to make sure you get a spot.
What do you think? Hopefully, you’re completely sold on adding a flightseeing tour of Denali National Park to your bucket list! If you are looking to stay a night or more in the area consider staying at the Susitna River Lodge, Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge or Denali Overlook Inn. We stayed at the Denali Overlook Inn which is 10 minutes outside of town but has incredible views of the National Park. There are plenty of budget-friendly options for solo travelers who prefer hostels to meet other like-minded people.
Before or after your flightseeing tour, we recommend the Denali Brewpub or the Talkeetna Tako food truck, as both are amazing. The Talkeetna Tako has the best cheeseburger that I have ever eaten in my life and I absolutely love eating burgers!
About the Author
Maddie and James and have been traveling around the world documenting their journey on Wanderusliving. Their most recent adventures have been traveling around the United States for a year and a half in an RV! They are big into hiking, beaches, off-roading, scuba diving and just exploring lesser-known areas on a budget. Their ultimate bucket list trip is to drive the Pan American trail to the tip of Argentina.
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