Day One: Fairbanks & Denali NP
DENALI: Today you will be met in the lobby of your hotel by your escort driver at approximately 8:00 AM, who will assist with your luggage and boarding process. Begin your Denali Fall Colors adventure, with a scenic drive from Fairbanks to Denali National Park. This 2 hours drive offers great views and possible wildlife sightings. Upon arrival in Denali National Park, you may choose one of the following two adventures:
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Denali Wildlife Park Tour:
Everything about Denali National Park is big: the scenery, the mountains, the incredible beauty, and the animals. Early this morning, you will embark on the Denali Park Tour, an excellent way to spot the wildlife for which Alaska is so famous: moose, bear, wolves, caribou, dall sheep. It is a fascinating 6 to 8 hour motorcoach tour into the park. A snack and beverage are included. It is the only way to enter the park, as it is a preserve. So bring your camera and binoculars. Mount McKinley National Park was established in 1917 to protect its large mammals, not because of majestic Mt. McKinley. In 1980, the boundary was expanded to include both the Denali caribou herds wintering and calving ground and the entire Mt. McKinley massif. This more than tripled the size of the park, and was renamed Denali National Park and Preserve. It was also designated an International Biosphere Reserve significant for the potential for sub-arctic ecosystem research.
Denali is an Athabascan word meaning The High One. The mountain is officially named Mt. McKinley but is also referred to as Denali. Mt. McKinley is the highest peak in North America at 20,320 feet. It creates its own weather system and is often covered in clouds. Mt. McKinley is only visible about 1/3 of the time, so visitors to the park only have about a 30% chance of viewing Mt. McKinley.
Denali is one of the greatest wildlife viewing areas in the world. Visitors have a chance of seeing grizzly bears, caribou, moose, Dall sheep, foxes, and wolves. Many smaller animals also inhabit the park such as arctic ground squirrels, hoary marmots, pikas, snowshoe hares, and beavers. For those interested in bird watching, there are a variety of birds that migrate to the park for the summer. The list includes arctic tern, American golden plover, long tailed jaegers, the surfbird, arctic warbler, the wheatear, willow ptarmigan, golden eagles, and ravens. Approximately 150 species live in and around the Denali area during the summer months.
Denali Rafting & Cabin Nite Dinner Theater:
Hang on! It’s class 3 to 4 whitewater ahead! You’ll get wet and enjoy every minute of it as we head for Healy, 11 miles down river. Get into real whitewater rafting as you hang on through thrilling rapids such as “Cable Car”, “Coffee Grinder”, and “Ice Worm”! Or choose to hold on and enjoy your introduction to scenic rafting in a slower class 2 section of the Nenana river in Alaska. You may see moose, sheep, caribou and bear, as you raft downstream 11 miles. The most scenic portion of the Nenana River gives you thrilling, yet enjoyable rafting. A great trip for families!
This evening, after resting up from your thrilling raft adventure, enjoy the evening at Cabin Nite Dinner Theater. Fannie Quigley and her group of unforgettable characters treat you to hilarious stories of the Gold Rush featuring foot-stompin’, knee-slapping music. The all-you-can-eat, family style meal is sure to please. Feast on salmon, BBQ ribs, corn on the cob, baked beans, sour dough rolls and tasty dessert.
EVENING FOR ALL GUESTS:
All guests overnight at a quaint 20 room Inn on a lake featuring private balconies, great pillow-top beds a jetted tubs! Relax and get ready for another day of fun.
View our preferred accommodations for this area:
Denali National Park Area Lodging