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To the Heart of Denali: An Unrivaled Kantishna Experience

Program Number: 4189RJ
Start and End Dates:
8/17/2014 - 8/25/2014; 6/14/2015 - 6/22/2015; 8/16/2015 - 8/24/2015;
Duration: 8 nights
Location: Denali National Park, Alaska
Price starting at: $3,966.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: National Parks; Walking/Hiking; Natural History
Meals: 23; 8 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 8 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Vegetarian; Low Salt; Gluten Free    

Immerse yourself in the wild splendor of Alaska during the most brilliant season. Combine five days at the Denali Education Center’s riverside campus with three nights at North Face Lodge in Kantishna, the heart of Denali. This small family-owned lodge near Wonder Lake offers unparalleled views of Mount McKinley, fine dining, expert-led backcountry hikes, and the opportunity to canoe, fish, or bike in the shadow of the Alaska Range.




Highlights

• Discover the special plants and animals that call Denali home on expert-led hikes in Denali’s front country.
• Travel the entire 90-mile Denali park road and enjoy stunning scenery and wildlife-watching opportunities.
• In Kantishna, experience a variety of hiking opportunities, wildlife habitat, geologic formations and scenery on guided trips to different areas of the park.



Activity Particulars

Walking up to three miles with 250-foot elevation gain. Terrain may be slippery, uneven. Elevations up to 3,900 feet.




Date Specific Information

8-17-2014, 8-16-2015

Autumn arrives early in Alaska! This is the perfect time to capture the peaks of the Alaska Range as they are draped in snow and lit by the pinks and purples of the evening alpenglow. View the carpet of tundra saturated in red, orange, and gold. Witness Denali’s wildlife as they prepare for the approaching winter.



6-14-2015

Birds and blooms is the theme of this program. Take in the lush Alaskan summer in Denali National Park, where resident species such as Willow Ptarmigan, Boreal Chickadees and Northern Goshawks mingle with more than 160 migratory birds from every continent. Have fun photographing and botanizing wildflowers with your naturalist guides in Denali and Kantishna.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Denali, 5 nights; coach to Kantishna, 3 nights; coach to Denali Railroad Depot, departure.



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.



Kantishna

Founded as a gold mining camp in 1905, Kantishna sits at the heart of what is now Denali National Park and Preserve. This protected wilderness features only one road, which runs 91 miles from the park entrance to Kantishna. The community is surrounded by the spectacular natural beauty of the Kantishna Hills, Wonder Lake and massive Denali itself.



Accommodations
Denali: Two-room cabins with shared bath, located on forested acres along the Nenana River. Kantishna: Full-service lodge with double-occupancy rooms with private baths.
Meals and Lodgings
   Denali Education Center
  Denali National Park 5 nights
   North Face Lodge
  Kantishna 3 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:  We do not offer additional nights on our campus, however there are 2 places within walking distance. You may contact The Grizzly Bear Cabins http://www.denaligrizzlybear.com/. They offer everything from a soft sided tent to a small cozy lodge. You may also contact The Denali Park Village at denaliparkvillage.com Both are located within yards from the Denali Education Center campus.
  Check in time: 12:00 PM

 North Face Lodge
Type: Lodge
  Description: Family owned and operated for more than 30 years, North Face Lodge lies in the heart of Denali National Park, just twenty-nine air miles from Mt. McKinley. At their North Face Lodge fifteen small, well-appointed guestrooms, each with a private bath, connect to a covered walkway that leads to the inn's comfortably furnished living room and dining room. On cool mornings, a crackling fire in the stone fireplace compliments fine Denali views from the living room's tall windows. On warm, sunny afternoons, a spacious patio invites relaxation in view of Denali's summit.
  Contact info: PO Box 67
Denali National Park, AK 99755 USA
phone: 907-683-2290
web: www.campdenali.com/
  Smoking allowed: No


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Start time: 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:
End time: 11:30 a.m. at the Denali Railroad Depot. You will be staying at North Face Lodge 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 near the Denali campus. Private cars may not travel to Kantishna, but can remain in this free parking lot throughout the program.
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:  Kantishna
  Nearest city or town:  Fairbanks
  Nearest highway: George Parks Highway
  Nearest airport:  Fairbanks International Airport
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 Denali Park Village Lodge, a three minute walk from our campus. The Denali Education Center provides transportation, on request, from the Denali Park 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 Denali Park Village Lodge (240 miles north of Anchorage, and 125 miles south of Fairbanks). From the highway, turn into the Denali Park 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 Denali Park 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, August 17)
   
 Arrive To: Independent arrivals, noon to 5pm.
 Afternoon: Orientation
 Dinner: Riverside Hall
 Evening: Introductions
   
Accommodations: Denali Education Center
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Savage River Tundra Hike
(Monday, August 18)
   
 Breakfast: Riverside Hall
 Morning: Leisurely guided hike in the subarctic tundra along Savage River in Denali National Park. Wildflowers and bird life abound. Dall sheep and grizzlies are sometimes seen from this trail. Independent cross-country hiking is an option in this area. 2 miles with 100 ft. elevation change.
 Lunch: In the field
 Afternoon: Meet the four-legged heroes of Denali and watch a mushing demonstration at the only park in the US National Park Service system that has a kennel of working sled dogs.
 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: Explore the Subarctic
(Tuesday, August 19)
   
 Breakfast: Riverside Hall
 Morning: Learn about the sometimes surprising, always extreme, conditions that shape life in Denali and define a subarctic ecosystem in “Explore the Subarctic.”
 Lunch: Riverside Hall
 Afternoon: Explore the rich habitat of Horseshoe Lake. Join an expert naturalist for a 1.5 mile round-trip walk with 250 feet elevation change.
 Dinner: Riverside Hall
 Evening: Guest speaker TBA.
   
Accommodations: Denali Education Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Triple Lakes Hike
(Wednesday, August 20)
   
 Breakfast: Riverside Hall
 Morning: Soak in the many marvels of a forest carpeted in deep moss and berries on guided hike along the Triple Lakes trail. Up to 4 miles and 900 ft. elevation gain on a maintained trail.
 Lunch: Riverside Hall
 Afternoon: Free time to rest and relax, explore the park independently, or pursue optional activities like rafting, flightseeing or visiting the kennels of an Iditarod champion.
 Dinner: Riverside Hall
 Evening: Guest speaker TBA.
   
Accommodations: Denali Education Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Wildlife of Denali
(Thursday, August 21)
   
 Breakfast: Riverside Hall
 Morning: Discover the animals that call Denali home and learn about their superb adaptations to life at high latitudes in “Wildlife of Denali.”
 Lunch: Riverside Hall
 Afternoon: Explore the the world's largest biome, the northern boreal forest, on an optional guided walk along the Roadside or Rock Creek trail. Up to 3 miles and 400 ft elevation change.
 Dinner: Riverside Hall
 Evening: Free Time
   
Accommodations: Denali Education Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Journey to the Heart of the Park
(Friday, August 22)
   
 Breakfast: Riverside Hall
 Morning: Walk through the spruce forest that is reclaiming the ruins of a frontier railroad building community on the McKinley Station Trail. This is an optional walk that travels 1.6 miles with 50 ft of elevation gain.
 Lunch: En route
 Afternoon: Travel the entire 90 mile park road with an expert naturalist-driver from Camp Denali & North Face Lodge. Enjoy stunning scenery and wildlife watching opportunities on this journey to the heart of the park.
 Dinner: Savor a picnic dinner en route.
 Evening: Orientation to North Face Lodge.
   
Accommodations: North Face Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Cross-country Hike
(Saturday, August 23)

Note: Day-long guided cross-country walks are offered on both Day 7 and Day 8 at North Face Lodge. On each day you will have a choice of an easy, moderate, or strenuous hike. Hikes return to the Lodge sometime between 3-5pm. You may explore the Park independently after you return from the hike... or even opt out of either or both hikes if you like.



   
 Breakfast: Enjoy your first meal at the North Face Lodge with breakfast.
 Morning: Take off on a day-long naturalist-guided cross-country hike through the heart of Denali's wilderness.
 Lunch: In the field
 Afternoon: If you'd like to explore independently, set out for Wonder Lake by bike or on foot. Enjoy the water from a canoe or look for Mt McKinley and its reflection from the shore.
 Dinner: Enjoy the world class hospitality at North Face Lodge. A meat or fish entree and a vegetarian option are available at each meal.
 Evening: Join lodge staff for an evening program or set out on your own to discover the wilderness spirit of Denali on a flightseeing journey or a quiet evening walk.
   
Accommodations: North Face Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Hike, bike, fish, or fly... the sky's the limit!
(Sunday, August 24)
   
 Breakfast: Another delicious meal at North Face Lodge.
 Morning: Join an expert naturalist for a day-long hike. Stop for bird watching, berry picking, and wildlife sightings.
 Lunch: In the field
 Afternoon: Optional activities for the duration of your stay at North Face Lodge include: fishing in Moose Creek or Wonder Lake (for Arctic Grayling or Mackinaw Trout respectively), bicycling the Park Road, canoeing Wonder Lake, or reserving a flight seeing tour to Mt. McKinley.
 Dinner: Enjoy dinner at the North Face Lodge
   
Accommodations: North Face Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Arrive at Denali Rail Depot by 11:30am. Independent departures.
(Monday, August 25)
   
 Arrive To: Arrive at Denali Railroad Depot. Independent departures.
 Breakfast: Enjoy an early morning breakfast before departing North Face Lodge.
 In Transit: Travel the entire 90 mile park road with an expert naturalist-driver from Camp Denali & North Face Lodge. Enjoy stunning scenery and wildlife watching opportunities on this journey from the heart of the park back to the Denali Railroad Depot.
   
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


Alaska: History of the 49th State


Author: Claus M. Naske


Arctic Village


Author: Robert Marshall


Birds of Denali


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


Coming Into the Country


Author: John McPhee


Last New Land


Author: Wayne Mergler


Minus 148 Degrees: The First Winter Ascent of Mount McKinley


Author: Art Davidson


Mount McKinley: Conquest of Denali


Author: Bradford Washburn


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 in the Far North


Author: Margaret Murie


Wildflowers of Denali National Park


Author: Verna E. Pratt


Wolves of Mount McKinley


Author: Adolph Murie




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