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
Your Best Odds of Seeing Denali.
Fly with the original flightseeing company in Denali for a thrilling and inspiring flight around the highest point in North America. Soar amongst the jagged peaks of the Alaska Range on a stunning 200-mile flight through Denali National Park to get within 1/2 mile of Denali. Weather permitting, this flight will circle Denali to see every spectacular corner of this majestic mountain. From takeoff to landing, the breathtaking views will have you on the edge of your seat. The 60-70 minute flight departs from our private airstrip on the eastern edge of Denali National Park, and you’ll enjoy the comfort and views from your window seat on our twin-engine plane. You’ll see braided rivers, wildly colorful ridgelines, and velvety tundra-covered valleys as you climb towards pristine snow-covered peaks and tumbling icefalls en route to the Mountain. As you near Denali, you will thread between snowy alpine peaks, such as Mount Mather, Silverthrone, and Mount Huntington. You’ll be flying at an optimal altitude that will give you the best perspective of the sheer size of the mountains of the Denali Massif. Our company has been operating flightseeing tours to Denali for more than 40 years, and our highly experienced pilots will use their skills and knowledge to guide you to the best views in Denali.
Denali Face to Face:
While this flight focuses heavily on Denali and its immediate vicinity, you will also be able to experience all the striking signature features of the 6 million acres that comprise Denali National Park, including the vivid Polychrome Mountains, the Toklat river basin, and the color contrasts of Denali’s vast geological displays as you ascend along the spine of the Alaska Range. Prepare to be humbled by this vast, utterly unique, and remote Alaskan landscape that is best seen by air in order to appreciate the sheer magnitude of its beauty. Let our highly experienced and knowledgeable pilots help you discover the highlight of your Alaskan vacation.
Highlights of This Once in a Lifetime Tour:
- Views of the Wickersham Wall
Arguably the tallest vertical relief of any mountain in the world. This 14,000-foot sheer wall of ice and snow is the best opportunity you’ll have to gain a stunning perspective of the towering size of Denali.
The spines of Denali, such as the dramatic Carpe and Karstens ridgelines, used by the first climbers to summit Denali
- Views of the Great Gorge
in the expansive Ruth Amphitheater, with its dramatic 5,000-foot granite walls rising straight from glacial ice almost 4,000 feet thick
- Intimate views of the glaciers
tumbling down Denali north side, including the Traleika, Brooks, and the long-running Muldrow flowing from between the north and south summits at 17,000 feet
- Close views of the south side glaciers
including the deepest glacier (the Ruth), the longest glacier in the Alaska Range (the Kahiltna), the meandering Tokositna, and the colorful Eldridge
- Views of Mount Foraker
Mount Russell, and Mount Hunter, the next 3 tallest mountains in the Alaska Range, rounding out the Denali Family
What to expect / what's provided
* Duration: 60-70 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
- The Ruth Gorge (deepest glacier in Denali) and its many surrounding peaks
- The modern climbing route located on the massive Kahiltna glacier (the longest in Denali)
- The Wickersham Wall, a massive 50-degree face of rock and ice that is one of the largest in the world
- The northeast ridgeline composed of Mt Tatum, Carpe, Koven, and Karsten’s ridge, the climbing route used by the first people to stand atop Denali
- The Muldrow Glacier, the longest on the north side of Denali, begins at 17,000 feet & parallels the Alaska Range for over 30 miles
- 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.