Guided rafting and kayaking tours on the Chulitna River in Denali Park, Alaska

Land and Water Tours

Denali Southside River Guides has partnered with Alaska Nature Guides for many years to bring a combination of exciting land and water tours which blend a Hike & Raft tour or Nature walk & Kayak experience.

We like to call these our Surf & Turf tours. These tours are a perfect mix for any traveler. The South Denali Hike and Raft Tour mixes an active morning hike with a relaxing river float. The South Denali Kayak and Nature Walk mixes an easy stroll along the shoreline of Byers Lake with a kayak trip that is perfect for beginners or experienced paddlers.

For the avid water lover, you can still spend a whole day on the water on our Full-Day Kayak & Raft Adventure.

South Denali Hike and Raft Tour

This wilderness hike and raft adventure starts with a scenic drive from the quaint town of Talkeetna followed by a vigorous morning hike.  Starting in Denali State Park’s lush boreal forest and steadily gaining altitude until getting above the alpine tree line.  You are rewarded with panoramic views of Denali from this vantage, that are unparalleled in the state (weather permitting).  Along the path, your experienced naturalist guide will share stories and insights about the area and its wildlife.

Your next stop is the famous Mary Carey’s historic McKinley View Lodge.  You will enjoy a hearty, made-to-order lunch with more amazing views and stories from the frontier days in Alaska.

A five-minute drive places you at the river’s edge. Here rafts await to carry you downstream for the rest of your adventure. Under the care of your expert guides, you will sit back, relax and ride the glacial waters of the Chulitna River.  Take in the stunning canyon walls, expansive landscapes and both the Talkeetna and Alaska mountain ranges as you watch for the area’s abundant wildlife.  The tour ends 19 miles downstream back in the town of Talkeetna.

This combination hike and raft tour is a great way to discover and experience all the South Denali area has to offer in a single day.

Trip Details

  • Trip begins: Downtown Talkeetna at 8 am or Princess McKinley Lodge at 9 am.
  • Trip ends: ~5:30 pm in Talkeetna.
  • Includes: Pick up and return to Talkeetna.  Princess Guest will take the Princess Lodge shuttle to return to the lodge.
  • Price: $239.00 per person, 4 person minimum (small groups call for availability).
  • Note:  The hike is approximately 6 miles with 1100 feet of elevation gain. Wear sturdy walking shoes, bring bottled water, and dress for the weather. The trail is not steep or difficult and is a long, steady climb.  Please call and speak to us if you are unsure of your physical ability to participate. Routes may vary.
  • Gear: Each guest is provided rain/splash jackets, pants, and boots for the river trip to ensure your comfort.  Guest should dress in layers as Alaska weather can vary greatly even over the course of one day.  It may be warm and sun or cold and rainy.  We want all guest to be comfortable and prepared.  We do not cancel for rain.
Hike & raft tour Denali State Park in Alaska
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grizzly bear

South Denali Kayak and Nature Walk

Step into a natural Alaskan paradise…Travelers of any age will love this trip.

Start with an easy stroll along the Byers Lake shoreline with a guide that knows this place intimately and will help you to get the most out of your experience. Along the two mile walk you will enjoy magnificent views of Byers Lake and learn about the area’s animal and plant life. Explore a log cabin that once belonged to a pioneering couple. Hear about how the adventuresome family survived the long winters in this beautiful setting. The pace is comfortable with frequent stops and photo opportunities. To end this part of your tour a gift to take home ~ a healing salve made from native plants.

After your walk enjoy lunch from Mary Carey’s McKinley View Lodge with fresh sandwich or wrap, side of kettle chips, potato salad or garden salad, apple and fresh baked cookie.

You will then gear up and get out on the pristine water of Byers Lake. Start your tour with brief and easy paddle instructions then embark for one of the most beautiful experiences in Alaska. As you glide through tranquil waters on single or tandem sit-on-top kayaks, watch for resident trumpeter swans, loons and beavers. You will paddle over pools of spawning salmon (July -Sept) and look for the bears and eagles that come to feed on them. Take pictures of the breathtaking views of majestic Denali and the Alaska Mountain Range.

This tour is great for families and large groups.  The kayaks are perfect for beginners or experienced paddlers; very stable and easy to maneuver.

Trip Details

  • This is a custom trip.  Please call about availability and pricing.
  • Includes: Lunch, shuttle service.
  • Note: We will provide you with rain pants and jackets, boots or croc and dry bags for cameras. Guest should dress in layers as Alaska weather can vary greatly even over the course of one day.  It may be warm and sunny or cool and rainy.  We want all guest to be comfortable and prepared.  We do not cancel for rain.
Alaska kayaking in Denali State Park
Amazing view of denali from byers lake
Denali Shuttle Service