Located at Mile 53 on the Park Road, Toklat is a popular destination because it is a shorter bus trip than the other transit options.
With excellent hiking and wildlife viewing opportunities in the area, this rest stop is located at the confluence of the east and west forks of the Toklat River. There are great views of the surrounding mountains across the river.
Interpretive displays and an array of Alaska Geographic Association publications are available in the large tent located here. If this is your final destination, you'll have a break of around 45 minutes here. If you are proceeding to points farther west, your stop here will be shorter—around 15 to 30 minutes.
Turnaround: Toklat River rest stop, Mile 53
Trip duration: 6.5 hours, round-trip
Service: May 20—September 12, 2019
Eielson Visitor Center
This platinum LEED certified visitor center is worthy of the 8-hour bus trip. National Park Service rangers and interactive displays provide insight and information about the park and its myriad of resources.
On a clear day, Eielson offers magnificent views of Denali.
Various ranger-led activities are also offered from Eielson Visitor Center. You will have a break of around 45 minutes at the center. To join a ranger hike, ensure you reach the center by noon (i.e., start your day with an initial bus departure of 8 am or earlier).
Turnaround: Eielson Visitor Center, Mile 66
Trip duration: 8 hours, round-trip
Service: June 1—September 12, 2019
The journey to Wonder Lake offers extraordinary views of the Alaska Range and Denali on a clear days. The road crosses mountain passes and wetland tundra on the way to beautiful Wonder Lake.
Visitors wishing to upgrade their Eielson bus tickets to Wonder Lake tickets may do so at the Eielson Visitor Center bus dispatch office on a space-available basis. (Please note: only cash is accepted for the upgrade).
Mosquitoes can be plentiful during June and July, so bring along some insect repellent or headnets.
One of the most iconic and often-photographed images of the mountain is from Reflection Pond
, just beyond mile 85. The Kantishna transit bus and Kantishna Experience tour will take you past Reflection Pond. If you are on a Wonder Lake-specific bus, be prepared to walk over two miles from the Wonder Lake bus stop to reach Reflection Pond. Alternatively, ask your driver to be let off the bus before it leaves the main park road for a campground spur road, and your walk will be about a third of a mile each way.
You will have a break of around 30 to 45 minutes at Wonder Lake Campground. If you get off the bus early to walk to Reflection Pond, carefully track how long it takes you to get to the pond, so you can make sure you walk back with enough time to meet your bus as it drives up the campground spur road and hits the main park road.
: Wonder Lake Campground
, Mile 85 (south end of the lake)
: 11 hours, round-trip
: June 8—September 12, 2019
Once a gold mining town, few remnants remain of its early history. A stop at the restored Fannie Quiqley house with informative wayside exhibits reminds visitors of the rugged nature of the early settlers.
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An air strip and four privately-owned businesses are the primary sights at the "end of the road." Since much of the Kantishna area is private property, visitors are discouraged from hiking in the area without obtaining permission and guidance ahead of time.
Your bus will have a break of around 15—30 minutes at a rest stop in Kantishna.
Turnaround: Kantishna Air Strip, Mile 92
Trip duration: 12 hours, round-trip
Service: June 8 - September 12, 2019