When planning our trip to Alaska, one thing I knew we had to do (because my husband REALLY wanted to) was to go to Denali and see the tallest mountain in North America. The peak of Denali (formerly known as Mt. McKinley) is over 20,000 feet high!
Denali National Park is about a 5 hour drive from Anchorage. Once you get to the park, no vehicles are allowed. Since we only had 8 days in Alaska, we opted not to drive to Denali and stay overnight, but instead experience Denali through an epic flight tour!
How to Get There
We found that many flightseeing tours of Denali take off from the town of Talkeetna.
Talkeetna is about a 2.5 hour drive north from Anchorage – making it possible to do Denali by flight tour in just a day trip!
The tour we did was almost 2 hours (1 hour and 45 minutes) and included a glacier landing!
The plane we were on held around 10 people. And each person had a window seat which was really nice. I was lucky enough to get the copilot seat!
Headsets were provided for the guided tour. Our pilot was awesome! He shared many fun facts and pointed out things as we passed by.
According to their website, Talkeenta Air Taxi is known around Alaska as “THE glacier landing company” and does more glacier landings than any other company in the world!!
Glacier landings are always weather dependent and cannot be guaranteed. Luckily we had a gorgeous day and were able to land on the glacier!
Note that if you do a glacier landing, you’ll be landing in Denali National Park so a park day pass is required. It was quick to book online the day of the tour and was $15 / person.
What to Bring
- Bring a light jacket / wear layers in the Summer
- Motion sickness remedies (ie. Dramamine) if you are prone to motion sickness – while the flights are typically smooth, I would recommend preparing ahead of time just in case! I still got motion sick despite a smooth ride just with all the loops we did.
Planning Your Trip
The Mountain Voyager with Glacier Landing tour through Talkeetna Air is offered from May 1st – September 30th.
Starting in October, other winter tours are offered instead.
Talkeetna Air offers 4 different flight tour options during the summer months. We chose the Mountain Voyager because it was the 2nd cheapest option, but still included epic views of Denali and the option to do a glacier landing!
If a flightseeing tour of Denali is super high on your priority list, I would highly recommend planning it earlier in your trip. Since flights are weather dependent, there is always the possibility that your tour may be cancelled. If this happens and you have another day open, you could always try to see if another day is an option!
Mitch and I will never forget our flight tour with Talkeetna Air exploring the beauty of Denali. It was an incredible way to view the tallest mountain peak in North America and cross another US National Park off the bucket list!
Disclaimer: While I received a discount for this experience, all opinions reflected in this article are my own.