Hiking in Denali National Park

Trip Code: SAXD

Why we love it

Experience the rugged beauty of Denali National Park – home to the tallest peak in North America and starring some of the most scenic photo ops you’ll find anywhere in the USA., Walk atop the ice of the largest car-accessible glacier in Alaska – the Matanuska – on an educational tour led by a local Alaskan guide and glacier expert (with all technical gear provided)., Hike the North Face Hiking Trail in Girdwood and reach the mountaintop for epic views across the Chugach range and the surrounding glaciers., Take in the sweeping view of Matanuska Valley as you ascend The Butte, surrounded by pine forests and snowcapped mountains. Then, enjoy a beer tasting and group dinner at a local brewery in Talkeetna., Trek on customized trails that your leader chooses specifically for your group and look out for diverse wildlife including various birds, grizzly bears, wolves, moose, caribou and sheep., By travelling on this trip, you’ll directly support our Intrepid Foundation partner, the Grand Canyon Conservancy. Donations help them protect Grand Canyon National Park and support trail restoration, conservation of native plants and wildlife, and educational programs.

Is this trip right for me?

This is a hiking trip, so a good level of fitness is desirable to enjoy all included hikes fully.

Be sure to bring appropriate gear for this trip, including good walking boots, rain gear, warm clothing and sun protection for glacier hikes, including sunglasses.

Important information

1. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 9am on Day 1. Please consider booking extra pre tour night in Anchorage to make sure you will be on time for the start of your adventure. 
2. On the final day, this trip finishes at approximately 3pm on arrival in Anchorage.  If departing this day, please do not book any flights before 8pm. If you would like to spend more time in Anchorage, we can request additional accommodation for you post tour. Please speak to your booking agent.
3. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights on your trip and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.

What to bring/pack

All luggage is carried in trailers or inside the vehicle so please don't bring more than one medium sized bag, backpack or suitcase (20kg/44lb maximum) per person. Your suitcase/rucksack may get some rough handling, so make sure it's a tough one. A small daypack with your water bottle and camera may be carried with you inside the vehicle.

You should be prepared for cold and wet weather in Alaska, even during the summer.

ESSENTIAL:
 Water bottle or bladder system. We recommend 2-3 litres of total capacity
 Sun protection - hat, sunscreen, sunglasses
 Closed-in hiking shoes with a good grip, ankle support and waterproof membrane that are comfortable to walk for an entire day
 Trekking clothing: A mixture covering lightweight clothing and warm layers. Your activities will take place in the outdoors, where weather may change quickly. Lightweight, comfortable, and quick drying clothes for the activities are best. We’ve listed some specific recommended pieces below. Laundry facilities may not be available on every day basis, so make sure you have a few cycles of clothes.
 Light jacket, fleece and base layers including warm non-cotton socks.
 A warm outer layer, a wind and waterproof jacket
 Breathable, non-cotton hiking t-shirts
 Light winter gloves/mittens and a hat
 Long hiking pants or zip-offs
 Comfortable shoes or sport sandals for shorter walks or evenings spent at the hotel
 Torch/flashlight/headtorch
 Personal travel documents which may include a passport, visa, driver's license, travel insurance, flight tickets and your Essential Trip Information. Photocopies of these documents stored separately from the originals will be handy. While not valid, a photocopy of your identification makes it much easier to obtain replacements if necessary.

RECOMMENDED:
 Cell phone, camera with spare batteries, charger, and power/plug adaptor (Types A & B are used in North America. Voltage is 120V). Some of our vans have USB-2 style charging ports inside.
 Insect repellent (Mosquitos can be a nuisance in Alaska, especially in July)
 Personal trekking/hiking poles
 Gaiters or waterproof pants – recommended for wet or snowy conditions
 A bell you can clip to your bag or clothing to alert wildlife to your presence
 Travel eco-friendly wipes/hand sanitizer
 Swimwear
 Personal medical kit. Your guide will carry a large kit but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes, anti-diarrhoeal, antibacterial gel, wet wipes, blister patches/moleskin, bandaids/plasters etc.

OPTIONAL:
 Travel pillow if you like to sleep during long drives
 Binoculars to help you spot far-off wildlife.
 Ear plugs to guard against a snoring roommate
 A good book, a journal or headphones to listen to music with.

If you need some further tips for packing, you can always check out our essential checklist for hiking/trekking trips here:

https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/trekkies-packing-guide/

Physical rating

4

You’re in for a hiking trip and a good level of fitness is essential. We don't ask travellers to complete a physical participation form for this trip however we do ask you read through the trip notes carefully to ensure that this trip is the right trip for you. You must be comfortable hiking up to 8-9 hours a day, with many steep uphill sections, uneven, rocky terrain and in unpredictable weather.

If you’re already a regular exerciser, it might be an idea to up your game a little. Run those extra laps, or take few longer walks, ideally with a day pack on your back. If you’re not exercising so regularly (2-3 times a week), it’s important to start in the weeks leading up to your departure (4-6 weeks prior at least). Your best choice would be to start walking regularly 2-3 times a week including at least one longer walk (up to 15 km). It’s important to not only walk on flat surface, so if you cannot access a hilly terrain easily, walking up and down the stairs is a good replacement. Top that up with some general fitness exercises and any other cardio related classes and you will see a huge progress in your fitness levels.

Joining your group

Springhill Suites by Marriott Anchorage Midtown, 3401 A Street, Anchorage, 99503, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Phone: +1 9075623247

Located near Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, our hotel is right in the center of the hustle and bustle of the city. With downtown just north of the hotel you are not too far away from restaurants and shops. All rooms have a microwave, mini-refrigerator, hairdryer and coffee maker as well as a separate living room and spacious bedroom. All rooms have complimentary Wi-Fi. A hot breakfast buffet is available each morning in the hotel breakfast area. There is also an indoor pool onsite.

Alternate Joining Point


Joining instructions

The hotel has a complimentary airport transfer which is on request. Upon arrival call the hotel to advise them of your arrival +1 (907) 562-3247. Alternatively a taxi will cost $10 USD one way (approximately).

Finishing your trip

Springhill Suites by Marriott Anchorage Midtown, 3401 A Street, Anchorage, 99503, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Phone: +1 9075623247

Located near Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, our hotel is right in the center of the hustle and bustle of the city. With downtown just north of the hotel you are not too far away from restaurants and shops. All rooms have a microwave, mini-refrigerator, hairdryer and coffee maker as well as a separate living room and spacious bedroom. All rooms have complimentary Wi-Fi. A hot breakfast buffet is available each morning in the hotel breakfast area. There is also an indoor pool onsite.

Alternate Finish Point


Meals & dietary information

Breakfasts included: 2

Lunches included: 2

Dinners included: 1

While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader or local representative will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. If you have dietary requirements and/or food allergies, please let your booking agent know prior to departure.

Since most food is shipped to Alaska from outside, you may find the cost of groceries as well as restaurant meals expensive.  Our leaders are experienced with giving restaurant recommendations based on a variety of budgets, but you should plan to spend about 30% more on food than you would elsewhere in the USA.

Climate & seasonal information

WEATHER IN NORTH AMERICA
Due to the size and topography of the US and Canada, there's a huge amount of variation in the climate. We recommend you consider both the season and the part of North America you intend to visit, so that you can best pack for your adventure. We recommend you check the weather in your destination 10 days prior to your arrival to help guide your packing choices.

WEATHER IN ALASKA
Alaska's weather can be highly variable, so it's essential to be prepared for rapid changes in conditions. Alaska is famous for its “midnight sun” during the summer when there can be up to 20 hours of daylight so you may want to bring a sleep mask. Don’t be fooled by the northerly latitude – the sun can be quite strong so bring sun protection. You will almost certainly experience rain during your trip so come prepared with appropriate clothing and footwear.

Coastal Areas:
Coastal areas, such as Anchorage and Seward, experience a maritime climate with milder temperatures and more precipitation than interior areas. It is not uncommon to experience a wide range of weather conditions from bright sunshine to cold wind and rain on the same day. Summers (June-August) have long daylight hours (16-19 hours) and high temperatures ranging from about 15°C to 21°C (59°F to 70°F) and average lows from 9°C to 13°C (48°F to 55°F). Fall (September-October) has cooler temperatures and beautiful fall foliage. Fall highs average 10°C to 5°C (50°F to 41°F) and lows average 3°C to -3°C (37°F to 26°F).

Interior Alaska:
Inland areas, like Talkeetna and Denali National Park, have a subarctic climate with warm summers, frigid winters and drier conditions, however they can experience periods of rain during the summer. Mosquitoes can be abundant during summer, so pack insect repellent. Daylight hours are especially long during the summer months in interior Alaska (18-20 hours). In Denali National Park average summer high temperatures are in the 60s to the low 70s Fahrenheit (around 15°C to 24°C) and average low temperatures are 40s to the mid-50s Fahrenheit (around 7°C to 13°C). In the fall, temperatures can drop more than in coastal areas. Average highs in September and October are 28°F to 50°F (-2°C to 10°C) and average lows are 16°F to 38°F (-9°C to 3°C).

USA NATIONAL HOLIDAYS
The following national holidays are observed in the US, which can affect our itinerary as traffic can be extreme, and shops, restaurants and attractions can be closed:

New Year's Day (01 January)
Martin Luther King Jr. Day (third Monday of January)
Washington's Birthday (third Monday of February)
Memorial Day (last Monday of May)
Independence Day (4 July)
Labor Day (first Monday in September)
Columbus Day (second Monday of October)
Veterans Day (11 November)
Thanksgiving Day (fourth Thursday of November)
Christmas Day (25 December)

In case of emergency

POLICE AND AMBULANCE
In case of an emergency, local authorities can be contacted by calling 911 – this is the toll free phone number for the police, fire department and the ambulance in the USA and Canada. In case of doubt, call the operator on 0.

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader or local representative may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the group leader or local representative to speak to their direct manager.

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time.

For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local office on the numbers below:

Intrepid local operator : Available for phone call on +30 697 800 6335 

Intrepid local operator : Available for phone call on +1 435-231-9696

Accommodations

The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline only and may change. On some occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our preferred accommodation. In these cases, we will use a similar standard of accommodation.

Throughout the trip, we request that our properties prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However, this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination or on some trips, have use of shared day rooms until all rooms are available.

Transportation

NORTH AMERICA VEHICLES
Our large fleet of 15-passenger vans are fully equipped with air-conditioning system, V8 engines and any camping or cooking equipment needed for your trip. Most have cloth-upholstered seats and carpeted interior with radio or CD players. Your luggage is typically transported in a trailer which is towed behind the van.

The vans are regularly serviced by a well-established network of maintenance and service facilities throughout the continent. However, unforeseen maintenance problems can still occur while on the road and we appreciate the patience of our travellers as we make necessary repairs as quickly as possible.

While your group will have a van for all included activities on the trip, the services of the van and leader may not be available for your use during free time, or after you have arrived for the day. If you need a special trip into town you may need to arrange transport or a taxi.