Q: We have a very short amount of time but would like to see Denali. We arrive in Whittier via a cruise on a Saturday. Is it possible to get to Denali and take an afternoon tour, spend the night in the park and travel by train to Anchorage Sunday morning? What do you suggest?
A: Unfortunately there is no way to make it to Denali for an afternoon tour when you arrive by cruise ship. You could rent a car when you get to Anchorage via your cruise transfer and drive to Denali but you wouldn’t be able to do a tour. You would be limited to driving just thirteen miles into the Park. As an alternative to driving to Denali, I would suggest a visit to Talkeetna, Alaska.
I would recommend taking the Park Connection transfer from Whittier to Talkeetna. While in Talkeetna, you could take a flightseeing tour that would take you over Mt. McKinley and other spectacular peaks. Overnight at the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge and return to Anchorage via the Park Connection on Sunday. The bus would get you back to Anchorage before 2pm. If you wanted to take the train, you would not arrive back in Anchorage on Sunday until 8:30pm.