The Original Flightseeing Company in Denali National Park.
Denali Air has been in operation since 1970 and is the original flightseeing company in Denali National Park. Our private airstrip is located in the heart of the Alaska Range on the Parks Highway, at mile 229.5, just south of the road entrance to Denali National Park. Our central location allows us easy access to either side of the Alaska Range, ensuring the best possible viewing opportunities on flights to Denali.
Denali Air is a family-owned operation with a dedicated and tight-knit crew of employees. You’re as likely to see a couple of toddlers and a golden retriever in the office as you are to see a plane departing. Dan, the owner, has been part of Denali Air for 18 years as a Denali Air airplane mechanic, pilot, and Director of Operations before transitioning to ownership. What started out as a passion for aviation, the outdoors, and adventure has turned into a career dedicated to flightseeing operations in Alaska and a deep commitment to the Denali area.
Our pilots are all veterans of Alaskan wilderness flying, with many years and tens of thousands of hours of flight experience. Our location and qualifications are what allow us to provide you with the experience of a lifetime.
We have been safely sharing our love of these majestic peaks with adventuresome travelers from around the world for 45 years. Come join us!
Why should you choose Denali Air?
Denali Air is the original flight tour company operating out of the Denali National Park entrance area. We have more than 40 years of experience in Denali!
Pilots: Our pilots are veterans of Alaska wilderness flying with many years and thousands of hours of experience.
Location: Our location on the east side of Denali National Park allows us to access the Park within minutes of departing from our airstrip. We cover more ground within Denali than any other tour operator. Due to our location, we are also able to fly on the north or south side of the Alaska Range, which gives us great flexibility when weather conditions dictate alternate flight routes.
Planes: Our twin-engine aircraft provide comfort and safety. Every seat is a window seat accessed by a center aisle.
Flexibility: We have more flight departure times than other tour operators, making it easier to schedule a flight that suits your itinerary and also allows easier rescheduling as weather conditions necessitate.
What we'll do
Explore Denali National Park.
Fly on an Alaskan adventure into the heart of Denali National Park. The focus of this tour is to give visitors an optimal bird’s-eye of all the features of the Park with the chance to see Denali when weather conditions permit. You’ll fly along the snow-capped peaks of the Alaska Range on your way to the Muldrow, Brooks, and Traleika Glaciers, the massive rivers of ice that flow from Denali’s east face. Your flight begins from our private airstrip on the eastern border of the Park. The 150-mile flight will cover an astonishing array of terrain, from the marshy and green lowlands, through the colorful mid-levels of the Cantwell Formation and the foothills of the Alaska Range, up to the stunning rock and ice of the alpine peaks as you near the Denali Massif. Your pilot will get you within 5 miles of Denali itself. The unparalleled views on this flight offer you the chance to witness how the various natural forces in the Park came together to shape Denali.
Weather permitting, you’ll enjoy breathtaking views of the northeast corner of Denali, which was the original access point for the first climbers to stand atop the summits. You may also see portions of the Wickersham Wall, the steepest vertical relief in the world. From this vantage point, you will enjoy views of Denali’s sharp ridgelines contrasting with the tumbling ice of the Muldrow Glacier. Prepare to see the majestic and rugged beauty of Denali from a perspective that is impossible to gain from the Park road.
Highlights of This Once in a Lifetime Tour:
- Polychrome and Cathedral Mountains
Views of the vivid Polychrome and Cathedral Mountains.
- Meandering braided rivers
Flowing through glacially carved valleys
- Intimate views of the north side glaciers
With their bright blue crevasses and contrasting gravel overlays
- The heart of the original Park
Fly over the heart of the original Park boundaries
- Spectacularly unique
geological formations throughout the park
- The Muldrow glacier
The longest on the north side of the Alaska Range, which begins at over 17,000 feet
What to expect / what's provided
* Duration: 45 minutes
* Offered mid-May through mid-September.
* This tour is headset equipped, fully narrated, and all seats are window seats.
* Free for children below 2 years old!!
* We suggest that passengers dress according to temperatures on the ground; a sweater or light jacket is usually sufficient for the plane. We also highly recommend bringing sunglasses due to the bright glare off the snow of the glaciers and peaks.
* We recommend that passengers bring their cameras/phones with extra batteries and sunglasses. Most guests do not find binoculars helpful during the flight but feel free to bring binoculars if you’d like.
* Due to FAA regulations, passengers are not permitted to bring carry-on bags on our flights. Passengers must carry all small personal items, such as cameras and phones. Passengers are encouraged to leave any backpacks and purses in a secure location in our office.
* The Denali Peak Experience Flight highlights the core of Denali National Park’s original park boundaries along with additional features including:
- All the major glacial rivers of the north side of the Alaska Range
- The vivid coloring in the areas of the Polychrome hills, Cathedral Mountain, and Mt. Eielson
- The dramatic glaciated spine of the Alaska Range
- A view of some of the major glaciers that flow from the east side of Mt. Denali
- Can we bring our kids?
Yes! Children under age 2-years are lap babies and are free of charge; a lap baby does not get his/her own seat. We appreciate advance notice when you will be traveling with a lap baby. Children aged 2-12 qualify for a reduce
- Do you offer transportation from Denali hotels/campgrounds?
Yes, we offer courtesy shuttles to and from all area accommodations and landmarks. Pick-up times range from 30-60 minutes prior to flight times, depending on location.
- Do you have a per passenger weight limit? Will passengers over a certain weight be charged an additional fee?
No, we do not have an individual passenger weight limit and we do not charge additional fees based on passenger weight. Please note that passengers must be able to enter and exit the airplane door. Please contact our office with specific questions.
- Can Denali Air accommodate passengers with limited mobility/in wheelchairs?
Our vans can accommodate folding wheelchairs. We do not use lifts or have ramps for the vans or the aircraft. Passengers must be able to ascend/descend 2-3 steps (with assistance). Our office and our restrooms are wheelchair-accessible.
- What are your flight routes?
In general, 99% of our flights occur within Park boundaries. Our private airstrip is located across the Nenana River, which forms the eastern boundary of the Park. Although our flight routes are weather-dependent, we generally fly along the spine of the Alaska Range en route to Denali. Our goal on both flights (Denali Express and Peak Experience) is to showcase all the features of the Park, and on the Peak Experience, we also focus heavily on the area directly surrounding Denali. On the Peak Experience flight, we get within approximately a mile of Denali, weather permitting.
- How long will I be gone from my hotel?
Please allow for approximately 2.5 hours for the entire tour, including ground transportation, checking in at our office, pre-flight safety briefing, and post-flight debriefing.
- What is the best time of day to fly?
This is a very common question and is unfortunately impossible to answer! There is not a predictable weather pattern in Denali. The massive size of Mt. Denali results in unique weather patterns that can vary throughout the day. We recommend that clients contact us for recent flight reports. We also highly recommend that passengers book their flights as early into their Denali stay as possible in order to maximize opportunities to reschedule according to weather conditions.
- What is the altitude of your flights?
Our flights do not exceed 12,000 feet and most of the flight ranges between 7,000 to 10,000 feet. We believe this is the optimal altitude to really capture the enormity of the towering peaks and also get close views of the breathtaking glaciers and valleys in Denali.
- What if the weather is bad?
Weather questions are the most common ones fielded by our office staff since it is always a concern for visitors. The weather in the mountains is difficult to predict and we rely on a variety of sources to make decisions about flights and educate visitors about flight conditions. We check whether cameras in the Denali vicinity and also rely on pilot reports in addition to more traditional weather sources (radar, etc). The weather in the Park and especially Mt. Denali can be very different than the weather at the hotels/in the Park entrance area. We always recommend that visitors contact us directly to find out the most current weather reports.
- What kind of planes do you fly?
Our fleet consists of Piper Navajos (seat 6) and a Piper Chieftain (seat 8). Our twin-engine planes are relatively spacious compared to smaller Alaskan bush planes with an aisle running down the center and one seat on either side of the aisle. All seats are window seats.
- Are all seat window seats? Can we choose where we sit? Can I sit co-pilot?
Yes, all seats are window seats. You are welcome to request a specific seat, including a co-pilot, but seating is ultimately decided by the pilot due to configuring weights and balance for the aircraft. If you have a specific request, please notify the front desk upon check-in. Also, if you are traveling with a group under different last names, please notify your van driver or the front desk if you would like to sit on the same plane.
- Do your planes have oxygen?
No, our planes do not have oxygen and they are not pressurized since our flights do not exceed 12,000 feet.
Reservations may be canceled with no penalty 24 hours or more prior to flight time. Flights may be rescheduled, as needed, based on availability. Weather cancellations are at the discretion of Denali Air. Please contact us for recent pilot reports and weather updates if you have concerns about your flight.