Backpacking Denali National Park
7 Day

Backpacking Denali National Park - 7 Day

This 7-day, 30+ mile backpacking adventure will include 5 full days of backpacking along massive glaciers, past wild creeks, and through virgin wilderness in this most amazing and virtually unexplored area of Denali National Park.  Not only will this experience include float plane access via a flight-seeing tour of the mighty Ruth Glacier,  it will also provide backpackers the opportunity to experience Denali National Park in a way that few ever have.  You’ll finish the trip with a short visit to the quaint town of Talkeenta, and a remarkable train ride back to Anchorage.

*While Alaska Alpine Adventures endeavors to follow our itineraries as written, odds are in fact slim that you actually will during the camping portion of this trip.  The expeditionary factors at play quite often compel our guides to deviate from the written itinerary.  Guide considerations could include weather conditions, group preference, individual ability, specific safety considerations, or unforeseeable circumstances; collectively what many have called “The Alaska Factor.”  Flight times into and out of the wilderness may also vary based on any number of similar factors. Therefore we strongly suggest that you approach any adventure in Alaska with an open mind.

Available Dates

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Trip Details

DURATION 7 days
LENGTH 35+ miles
INTENSITY Level 2
SEASON Summer
BEGINS IN Anchorage
ENDS IN Anchorage
AIRPORT Anchorage International Airport (ANC)
WILDLIFE/
SCENERY
black bears, glaciers, Mt. McKinley
Price$3,150
Youth Price$3,150
Great ForFamilies Couples Individuals

Our exclusive 7-day backpacking trip in Denali National Park is a shorter, but no less spectacular, version of our amazing 10-day adventure through the biggest mountains in North America and the crown jewel of the National Park system!  With float plane access from Anchorage, amazing tundra hiking, and unparalleled views of America's highest summit (after all, you'll be only 17 miles from the 20,320' peak), this trip is both suitable for a new Alaska backpacker yet challenging enough for the seasoned wilderness traveler.  This adventure concludes with the final night at a hotel in Talkeetna, AK and a return trip back to Anchorage aboard the Alaska railroad on day 7. 

What's Included

  • All group gear: Expedition quality tents, group tarp, all cooking equipment & eating utensils
  • Safety Equipment: Satellite phone, maps, GPS, and medical kit
  • Trekking polesComplementary airport transfer
  • Ground Transportation to Lake Hood on Day 1
  • All floatplane flights necessary for the itinerary
  • Lodging on night 6 at a local hotel in Talkeetna
  • Railway transportation from Talkeetna to Anchorage
  • Professional guide service at a maximum 4:1 client to guide ratio
  • All meals from dinner on day one through lunch on the final day of the itinerary
  • Storage for your extra travel items while in the field
Day
1

Your trip begins today in Anchorage, Alaska.  This morning your Alaska Alpine Adventures guide(s) will pick you up in Anchorage by 8:15AM,  You’ll start the day with an orientation and gear check at our Anchorage facility before heading to Lake Hood for the exhilarating floatplane flight from Anchorage to Moraine Lake, deep in the heart of Denali National Park. We'll enjoy spectacular views of Mt. McKinley, the highest peak in North America as we travel up the mighty Ruth Glacier, to the entrance of the Great Gorge - the deepest trench on earth!  Our skilled bush pilot will then take us down to a small lake nestled in a cleft between the Ruth and Tokositna Glaciers, where we will unload our gear on a small beach and then wave the airplane goodbye.  We’ll set up camp near the lake, bask in the first glow of solitude, and perhaps take a short afternoon hike. Lunch & dinner included.  Distance: 3 miles, Elevation Gain: 1000'

Days
2-5

We’ll spend the next 4 days completing a 20+mile circuit.  Our route will take us through gun sight passes, over open tundra benches, down spectacular creeks, and along big Alaska Range glaciers.  We’ll camp near small lakes, drink from alpine streams, and walk through country that has seen few human footsteps.  We’ll bask in the majesty of the Alaska Range and scan mountainsides for black & grizzly bears as we hike through North America’s crown jewel, completely immersed in the wild.  When the weather permits, views of North America’s highest mountain range will dominate our panorama, and we’ll savor the incomprehensible vastness of Alaska. By the afternoon of day 6, we’ll arrive at our last campsite near the lake, and we’ll spend the evening truly enjoying our final moments of solitude in Denali. All Meals Included.  Average daily distance: 5-7 miles, Average daily elevation gain: 1000-3000'



Day
6

By early afternoon, and too soon for most, the sound of the floatplane fill the massive canyon of the Alaska Range.  And as the pilot touches down on the lake, taxis up to the beach, and steps out of the cockpit onto the floats, everyone will recognize this as the first phase of the transformation of coming out of the wilderness - a combination of excitement, accomplishment, relief, and for some sadness. The spectacular flight out of the range will take us from the stunning magnificence of the lake, down the Ruth Glacier,  directly past much of the real estate you just explored, over the Tokosha Mountains, and along the mighty Susitna River.  In that way, the flight is both exhilarating and rewarding!  Within 1/2 hour, we’ll be touching down on Fish Lake - a small lake near the frontier town of Talkeetna, AK and our destination for the next 24 hours!  After de-planing, we’ll make our way by van to the the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge where we’ll settle into our accommodations before making our way downtown for a celebratory dinner at a local restaurant & brewery.   Accommodations & all meals included.

Day
7

After breakfast and coffee at the hotel cafe, we’ll again make our way downtown for a day in Talkeetna.  While some may choose to simply relax and wander around this quaint town, others may choose an optional day of guided sport fishing, a jet boat tour, or even a zip line adventure. This railroad town, with a population of around 800, is listed as as a National Historic Site and has a rich mountaineering and aviation history.  After exploring Talkeetna for the day,  we will board the Alaska Railroad's Denali Star train at 4:30 pm bound for Anchorage.  This 3-hour trip will take us across the beautiful Matanuska-Susitna Valley, through Southcentral Alaska's boreal forests, past small farms & homesteads, and finally to Anchorage by 8pm.  Options to stay in Talkeetna or Anchorage for an extra night are available.  If you are returning home from Anchorage this evening, please schedule your return home-bound flights for after 10:00PM.  Breakfast & lunch included.


CONTINGENCY ITINERARY

Please note that occasionally weather conditions prevent us from flying into Denali National Park.  Our itinerary plan allows for a full 30 hours of wait time in Anchorage.  It's possible that the group will have to spend the night in Anchorage on night one.   In this case, you'll have two options.  Option one is to spend the first night at our warehouse in south Anchorage.  This option is free of charge.  The second option will be choose a local hotel.  You will be responsible for any hotel charges.  If, we aren't able to fly into Denali National Park by 2:30pm the next day (day 2), the venue will change to Lake Clark National Park.   Please download the detailed itinerary for the Backpacking Denali National Park - 7 Day Adventure for more information.

*While Alaska Alpine Adventures endeavors to follow our itineraries as written, odds are in fact slim that you actually will during the camping portion of this trip.  The expeditionary factors at play quite often compel our guides to deviate from the written itinerary.  Guide considerations could include weather conditions, group preference, individual ability, specific safety considerations, or unforeseeable circumstances; collectively what many have called “The Alaska Factor.”  Flight times into and out of the wilderness may also vary based on any number of similar factors. Therefore we strongly suggest that you approach any adventure in Alaska with an open mind.

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Overall, this was one of the most amazing things we have ever done. The float plane ride, hiking, camping, the AMAZING food, the whole trip top to bottom was incredible.

Paul Penta
Trip Highlights:
  • See the summit of Mt. McKinley from a mere 17 miles away
  • Explore tundra carpeted valleys while scanning the hillsides for bears
  • Gaze in awe at the magnificent Ruth Glacier


Need more details? Download a detailed itinerary of this trip

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Need more details? Download a detailed itinerary of this trip

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