Denali National Park in Alaska is one of the worlds most impressive and inspiring wildernesses, and after travelling there ourselves in 2015 we simply had to pull a trip that explores this amazing place and its impressive wildlife together. Our main target throughout the trip will be the striking moose who will be gathering up in harem type groups as this is the beginning of the annual rut for these magnificent creatures. With a couple of excursions deeper into the park planned, and an array of other specialities including caribou, dall sheep, willow grouse and arctic ground squirrels along with some striking landscape opportunities this will be a week that offers a real taste, as well as the accompanying photographic opportunities, of a true north american wilderness.
Itinerary Open +Close -
Day 1: We are due to arrive in at Anchorage Airport from our chosen connecting flights. We will then transfer to our accommodation which is a local hotel in Anchorage. Over dinner we will discuss what to expect over the coming days photography.
Day 2: After an early breakfast we then make our way to Denali National Park. This is a long drive of between 4 – 5 hours but might take longer as we could see photo opportunities along the way. We will check straight into our accommodation and then head out for our first drive into the park. We will spend this first evening looking for moose.
Day 3: It will be an early morning start as we head into the park looking for moose. In late August the female moose head down to lower ground to browse on the last of the willow and they are followed by the large bulls as it is the start of the annual rut. These large bulls are some of the largest moose in the world and it is such an impressive sight to witness these huge animals. The moose in Denali are very confiding with humans as no hunting is allowed in the national park. We have timed this trip to coincide with the autumnal colours which will be reaching their peak during our stay. After an early morning session looking for moose we will then head back for a well-earned breakfast. The moose are mainly active during the early mornings and evenings so we will rest during the middle part of the day (when the light can still be quite harsh too) and then head out during the afternoon for our evening session.
Day 4: We will again be heading out to the park looking for moose during the early morning but on this day we plan to head further into the park to look for other subjects. Denali is closed for tourist traffic so we have to go into the park by special buses that take you into the main areas. We just use these as a form of transport as we can get off at any point along the way. We will hopefully head off to Eielson for this day where we can encounter Willow Grouse and Arctic ground squirrels. Along the way we might find Caribou, Dall sheep and of course moose. Grizzly Bears can be encountered along the route at any time but we are not allowed to leave the bus if they are encountered. The landscape of Denali is impressive and hopefully we get some clear views of Mount Denali as we meander through the park. It depends on how long the drive takes and of course what we find along the way but hopefully we will be back in time to have another evening session with the moose.
Day 5: Again it will be an early start to look for moose along the first part of Denali were we are allowed to take our hired cars. On this day we plan to go back into the park by using the park buses but hopefully go a little further and head to Wonder Lake. We could encounter anything along the way and at Wonder Lake have a good chance of seeing Caribou and Moose set against the beautiful backdrop of Mount Denali. It will take all day do this so will be a long day but the effort is worth it to see this wonderful park.
Day 6: The weather can be hard to predict in Denali at this time of the year and so the itinerary could change throughout this trip as we need to try to be as flexible as we can to make the most of things. We will head out each morning looking for Moose, which is the main target for this trip but we could decide to go back into the park if the weather conditions allow. We will head back out in the afternoon for another moose session.
Day 7: This will be our last full day and will follow the same pattern as the previous day. Again we will make the decision regarding weather conditions and how we get on with the previous days visits into the interior of the park. Throughout this trip we have a good chance of seeing the northern lights and so we have to take this into consideration too as if we get lucky with a strong Aurora forecast we will certainly not want to miss that chance. There is so much to do in Denali that it can be a jam packed trip and so decisions will be made each day.
Day 8: It will be our last early start as we head back into the park for our last morning session with the moose. We will then head back south to Anchorage for our final night.
Day 9: Back to Ted Stevens airport for our return flights back to our chosen destinations and we will arrive back home early the next morning on the 7th September.