Fairbanks to Denali National Park in Pictures – Alaska Photo Tours

12/08/2010
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Visiting Alaska’s awe-inspiring scenery can be one of the most memorable experiences you’ll ever have.  With such a vast array of natural beauty across the state, it is essential to explore the Last Frontier.

If your Alaska vacation includes a trip to the Fairbanks Princess Riverside Lodge, make sure to plan a trip to Denali National Park.  Home to the tallest mountain on the continent – the majestic Mt. McKinley – Denali National park emerges from under the snow every spring to display some of the most breathtaking scenery you can find in the world.

From Fairbanks, you can easily book a ticket on a Princess rail tour down to Denali, or if you’d rather do things on your own time, the drive down George Parks Highway is simple and straightforward.

Here are some amazing vistas you can expect to see on your trip to one of America’s proudest National Parks:

8:00 AM- Fairbanks

The First Family of Fairbanks statue inspires travelers to explore Alaska’s wilderness (source: Joyce Longfellow)
The First Family of Fairbanks statue inspires travelers to explore Alaska’s wilderness (source: Joyce Longfellow)

8:30 AM- Tanana Valley

Less than an hour outside Fairbanks is the lush Tanana Valley State Forest, which surrounds George Parks Highway on both sides (Source: Justus Havelaar)
Less than an hour outside Fairbanks is the lush Tanana Valley State Forest, which surrounds George Parks Highway on both sides (Source: Justus Havelaar)

9:00 AM- Nenana, AK

The highway crosses the Tanana River near the tiny town of Nenana, home to the Nenana Ice Classic. Every year a state-wide contest is held to see who can guess the moment the ice breaks for the spring.  The winner gets thousands; in 2010, the grand prize was $279,030. (Wikimedia Commons)
The highway crosses the Tanana River near the tiny town of Nenana, home to the Nenana Ice Classic. Every year a state-wide contest is held to see who can guess the moment the ice breaks for the spring. The winner gets thousands; in 2010, the grand prize was $279,030. (Wikimedia Commons)

9:30- First Glimpse of Mt. McKinley

A picture only conveys a fraction of the true majesty of Mt. McKinley, seen here from George Parks Highway (Wikimedia Commons)
A picture only conveys a fraction of the true majesty of Mt. McKinley, seen here from George Parks Highway (Wikimedia Commons)

9:45- Healy, AK

Greetings from Healy, the last town before Denali.  Healy was also the last town Chris McCandless passed through before his ill-fated trek through the wilderness, as profiled in the book Into the Wild.
Greetings from Healy, the last town before Denali. Healy was also the last town Chris McCandless passed through before his ill-fated trek through the wilderness, as profiled in the book Into the Wild.

10:15 AM- Denali Visitor Center

Just a 2 hour drive from Fairbanks, Denali Visitor Center is the gateway to Denali National Park. (Source: Ron Niebrugge)
Just a 2 hour drive from Fairbanks, Denali Visitor Center is the gateway to Denali National Park. (Source: Ron Niebrugge)

Rest of the Day:

Now that you’ve made it to Denali, there are countless things to see and do. Find the best view of Mt. McKinley from countless vantage points.  Go on an exhilarating hike through Alaska’s wilderness.  Canoe on Wonder Lake in the shadow of the tallest mountain on the continent.  Or drive to the park’s furthest reaches on the Denali Highway.  As these images attest, you can never have a bad day in Denali National Park.

Denali National Park offers a wide array of gorgeous natural colors (Wikimedia Commons)
Denali National Park offers a wide array of gorgeous natural colors (Wikimedia Commons)
Be warned, after canoeing Wonder Lake you may never think any other canoe trip is worth taking.  (Denali National Park Website)
Be warned, after canoeing Wonder Lake you may never think any other canoe trip is worth taking. (Denali National Park Website)
While its summit is lower in elevation than Mt. Everest’s, Mt. McKinley’s peak raises 18,000 feet from its base, 6,000 feet more than Mt. Everest.  (Wikimedia Commons)
While its summit is lower in elevation than Mt. Everest’s, Mt. McKinley’s peak raises 18,000 feet from its base, 6,000 feet more than Mt. Everest. (Wikimedia Commons)

6:00 PM- Denali Princess Lodge

The Denali Princess Lodge awaits just outside the park, so you can unwind with world-class accommodations after a fruitful day exploring the foremost of Alaska’s natural splendor.
The Denali Princess Lodge awaits just outside the park, so you can unwind with world-class accommodations after a fruitful day exploring the foremost of Alaska’s natural splendor.