Road Scholar : Home
Hike Denali National Park: Taiga to Tundra

Program Number: 9748RJ
Start and End Dates:
7/7/2013 - 7/13/2013; 7/19/2015 - 7/25/2015; 8/23/2015 - 8/29/2015;
Duration: 6 nights
Location: Denali National Park, Alaska
Price starting at: $1,395.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Walking/Hiking; National Parks Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 17; 6 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 6 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Low Salt; Vegetarian    

Hike the glacier-fed river valleys, spruce and aspen forests and sweeping tundra of Denali National Park as you learn firsthand about the natural history of this unique subarctic wilderness. On expert-led hikes and field trips savor the magnificent scenery of the Alaska Range and search for moose, caribou, Dall sheep, bears and wolves in this six-million-acre International Biosphere Reserve.




Highlights

• Hike along the Triple Lakes trail amid a land covered in deep moss and fragrant wildflowers.
• Stretch your legs on an invigorating climb up Mount Healy, with excellent views of the Alaska Range, and a chance to get a glimpse of Mount McKinley.
• Hike through the boreal forest to Park Headquarters to meet the working sled dogs of Denali.



Activity Particulars

Hiking up to six miles, steep, slippery, uneven terrain, elevations up to 3,500 feet, vertical gains up to 1,800 feet.




Date Specific Information

7-7-2013

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



Coordinated by Denali Education Center




Denali National Park

Established in 1917, this 6 million-acre wilderness is home to 20,320 foot Mount McKinley, and wildlife such as moose, caribou, Dall sheep and grizzly bear, and is considered one of the most intact sub-arctic ecosystems in the world.



Accommodations
Cabins with private bath, located on forested acres along the Nenana River.
Meals and Lodgings
   Denali Education Center
  Denali National Park 6 nights
 Denali Education Center
Type: Cabin
  Description: The Denali Education Center campus was built in 1990 along the eastern boundary of Denali National Park, on the banks of the Nenana River. This quiet wooded campus, consisting of 12 cabins and Riverside Hall, was the first in the U.S. built exclusively for Road Scholar programs. All facilities are on the ground floor with four steps leading into each cabin. The longest walk from your cabin to Riverside Hall is about 200 yards on a gravel walkway, and the shortest is about 15 yards.
  Contact info: Milepost 231 George Parks Highway
Denali Park, AK  99755 USA
phone: 907-683-2597
web: www.denali.org
  Room amenities: Our location is idyllic, rooms and services are simple. Each cabin at the Denali Education Center has one bathroom that may be shared by up to four people. There is no housekeeping during the week, though fresh towels are available mid-week. Rooms do not have clocks, radios, TV’s, microwaves, or hair dryers. All rooms are non-smoking. There are no phones in the rooms, though cell phone reception is fine. Emergency calls may be received in the office, as needed. An answering machine will receive calls after hours or when staff is in the field.
  Facility amenities: Laundry facilities are available for $2 per wash and $2 per dry, laundry detergent included. Internet access is available nearby.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Bathroom: Each cabin has two rooms with one shared bath.
  Additional nights prior: $117/room/night plus tax Please call (907) 683-2597 or contact roadscholarprograms@denali.org to reserve a room for additional nights.
  Check in time: 12:00 PM
  Additional nights after: $117/room/night plus tax Please call (907) 683-2597 or contact roadscholarprograms@denali.org to reserve a room for additional nights.
  Check out time: 10:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Check-in and register any time between noon - 5:00 p.m. on campus. Orientation begins at 5:00 p.m. You will be staying at Denali Education Center that night.
  End of Program:
After breakfast. Room checkout is 10:00 a.m. You will be staying at Denali Education Center the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Participants must sign and return both the Participant Information & Supplemental forms.
  Parking availability:
Free parking is available at Denali Park.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Denali National Park
  Nearest city or town:  Fairbanks
  Nearest highway: George Parks Highway
  Nearest airport:  Fairbanks
  From End of Program
  Location: Denali National Park
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Anchorage

 

From Train Station

 
 

Service:

 

Train
Alaska Railroad
phone: 800-544-0552
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$150
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

7.5 hours 

   

Use a taxi to get from the airport or hotel to the train station in Anchorage. The Denali Education Center provides transportation from the train station to campus once you arrive in Denali. If you arrive via the Alaska Railroad, please make sure you have “Denali Education Center” and your name written on a tag on the outside of your luggage. There will be a program coordinator waiting at the Denali depot (there is only one stop in Denali) to meet you and bring you to our campus.

 

Fairbanks

 

From Train Station

 
 

Service:

 

Train
Alaska Railroad
phone: 800-544-0552
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$66 train from Fairbanks to Denali
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

4 hours 

   

Use a taxi to get from the airport or hotel to the train station in Fairbanks. The Denali Education Center provides transportation from the train station to campus once you arrive in Denali. If you arrive via the Alaska Railroad, please make sure you have “Denali Education Center” and your name written on a tag on the outside of your luggage. There will be a program coordinator waiting at the Denali depot (there is only one stop in Denali) to meet you and bring you to our campus.

 

Anchorage

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Park Connection motor coach
phone: 800-266-8625
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$80 - $90
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

5.5 hours 

   

The Park Connection motor coach picks up in downtown Anchorage. The same coach stops in Denali at the McKinley Village Lodge, a three minute walk from our campus. The Denali Education Center provides transportation, on request, from the McKinley Village Lodge to our campus.

 
Driving Directions
  Anchorage or Fairbanks The Denali Education Center is located on the east side of the Parks Highway at Milepost 231, behind the McKinley Village Lodge (240 miles north of Anchorage, and 125 miles south of Fairbanks). From the highway, turn into the McKinley Village Lodge driveway, continue downhill and straight ahead. Travel down the narrow one-way drive through the hotel property until it reaches a large parking lot. The Denali Education Center is located on the far side of this lot. After you check in and unload your bags you will be asked to park your car or RV in a free parking lot in front of the McKinley Village Lodge for the duration of your stay at Denali.
Elevation Note: Participants will travel to 3900 feet during the trip into Denali National Park.

Equipment Requirements: Waterproof footwear with ankle support and proper rain gear are both highly recommended.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Independent arrivals and Introductions
(Sunday, July 7)
   
 Arrive To: Independent arrivals, noon to 5pm
 Afternoon: Orientation.
 Dinner: Riverside Hall
 Evening: Introductions.
   
Accommodations: Denali Education Center
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Hike to Triple Lakes
(Monday, July 8)
   
 Breakfast: Riverside Hall
 Morning: Get oriented to the northern forest on a guided hike along the Triple Lakes trail. The trail begins near the Denali Education Center and climbs to three lakes. The trail gains about 300 feet in the first mile, then meanders through boreal forests with views of each lake. This is an excellent opportunity to explore the boreal forest and high latitude aquatic ecosystems. You may see beaver, moose, or a variety of waterfowl. The lakes are 1.5 to 2.5 miles from the trailhead. Up to 4 miles and 900 ft. elevation gain on a maintained trail.
 Lunch: In the field
 Afternoon: Learn about the sometimes surprising, always extreme, conditions that shape life in Denali and define a subarctic ecosystem in “Welcome to the Subarctic.”
 Dinner: Riverside Hall
 Evening: Guest speaker TBA. Schedule for expert local evening presenters in Denali will be announced on first day of program.
   
Accommodations: Denali Education Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: A wild hike up Mount Healy
(Tuesday, July 9)
   
 Breakfast: Riverside Hall
 Morning: Stretch your legs on an invigorating climb up Mount Healy. Excellent views of the Alaska Range can be had from Mount Healy, weather permitting. The second half of the trail is steep and travels over difficult terrain that is often slippery. This is the most challenging hike of the week, takes about 4-6 hours for the 4 mile roundtrip with 1700 feet elevation gain.
 Lunch: In the field
 Afternoon: Discover the extraordinary animals that call Denali home and learn about their marvelous adaptations to life at high latitudes in Wildlife of Denali.
 Dinner: Riverside Hall
 Evening: Guest speaker TBA.
   
Accommodations: Denali Education Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Journey to the heart of the Park
(Wednesday, July 10)
   
 Breakfast: Riverside Hall
 Morning: Enjoy stunning scenery and wildlife watching opportunities on a day-long journey into Denali National Park by shuttle bus to Eielson Visitor Center.
 Lunch: In the field
 Afternoon: Want to hike independently in this pristine wilderness? We invite you to leave the bus behind and travel cross-country... at any time throughout the day.
 Dinner: Riverside Hall
 Evening: Free time.
   
Accommodations: Denali Education Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Sled dogs and boreal forest hike
(Thursday, July 11)
   
 Breakfast: Riverside Hall
 Morning: The Rock Creek Trail hike includes a stop at Park Headquarters to meet the working sled dogs of Denali and the opportunity to see the dogs in action during a demonstration. Up to 6 miles and 850 ft elevation change, mostly gravel paths, some portions may be muddy and uneven. Although wildlife may be difficult to spot in the forest, signs of their presence can be discovered by the careful observer, and intriguing flora abounds. The trail parallels the Park Road at first, then continues for 3 miles through mixed boreal forest. Highlights include stands of birch and spruce trees, and beautiful ridge views.
 Lunch: In the field
 Afternoon: Sign-up for optional free time activities on Friday. Enjoy a bit of free time.
 Dinner: Riverside Hall
 Evening: Guest speaker TBA.
   
Accommodations: Denali Education Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Savage River tundra hike
(Friday, July 12)
   
 Breakfast: Riverside Hall
 Morning: Leisurely guided hike in the subarctic tundra along Savage River in Denali National Park. The trail follows the Savage River for nearly a mile, then crosses the river and returns along the opposite bank. This short hike is an excellent opportunity to explore a river-cut valley in a tree-less tundra with diverse flora. There are many moderate and strenuous areas to explore off-trail in this area. Venture off trail and hike uphill from the Savage River area, and quickly gain views of Mt. McKinley, weather permitting.
 Lunch: In the field
 Afternoon: Choose your own adventure. Explore the Park independently or pursue optional activities including rafting, flightseeing or visiting the kennels of an Iditarod champion.
 Dinner: Riverside Hall
 Evening: Program wrap-up.
   
Accommodations: Denali Education Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Independent departures. 11am check-out
(Saturday, July 13)
   
 Breakfast: Riverside Hall
 Morning: Independent departures. 10 am check-out.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Birds of Denali


Author: Carol McIntyre, Nan Eagleson, Alan Seegert, and David Allen Sibley


Make Prayers to the Raven


Author: Richard Nelson


Mount McKinley: Conquest of Denali


Author: Bradford Washburn


Naturalist’s Guide to the Arctic


Author: E.C. Pielou


Roadside Geology of Alaska


Author: Cathy Connor


Ten Thousand Miles With a Dog Sled


Author: Hudson Stuck


The Geology of Denali National Park and Preserve


Author: Michael Collier


The Wilderness of Denali


Author: Charles Sheldon


Two Old Women: An Alaskan Legend of Betrayal, Courage and Survival


Author: Velma Wallis


Two in the Far North


Author: Margaret Murie


Wildflowers of Denali National Park


Author: Verna E. Pratt


Wolves of Mount McKinley


Author: Adolph Murie




You can't find a better value than Road Scholar.


As a not-for-profit organization, we are dedicated to providing all-inclusive educational programs at great value. From lectures to gratuities to field trips to accommodations - the tuition you pay up front is all that you pay.



Specifically, this program includes:

Plus these special experiences...

View the Daily Schedule to see more

And included with all Road Scholar programs:


© Road Scholar 2014 | Call toll-free: 1-800-454-5768