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“Central point of departure for everything Denali”

Wilderness Access Center
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed July 8, 2013

All of the tours of Denali and the shuttle buses all depart from the Wilderness Access Center (WAC) and tickets for these buses can be purchased here. Advanced purchase of tour tickets is highly recommended as the number of available seats is limited and many tours fill up early. All of the folks in the WAC were friendly and helpful with information about the tours, shuttles and park activities. The WAC also has snacks, drinks, and souvenirs for sale. Suggest you visit here for planning your visit to Denali.

Thank AustinBobby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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257 - 261 of 308 reviews

Reviewed July 8, 2013

We took the Eielson Shuttle and rode the green bus deep into Denali Park. The staff at the WAC Wilderness Access Center were extremely prompt, friendly, and professional. Our shuttle bus driver was superb; we enjoyed Craig and his narration along the way. I learned a great deal from his stories and advice on bears, moose, wolves, and other Denali treasures. Craig's first address to the bus was "Denali is 6 million acres which is 3 times the size of Yellowstone and about the size of Massachusetts--we are not a ZOO!" Good point! He was right.

The long 8:30am to 4:30pm bus right involved spectacular vistas of the park and amazing geological views, but we only saw 2 caribou and 2 dahl sheep. Whooop-dee-doo. I also learned that Mt. McKinley (Denali) is not viewable by park visitors most of the year due to the mountain's localized weather. The bus ride was slightly miserable because we did not get on early and had to sit in the bumpy back. The road dust was so bad that it blew into my eyes and choked my throat until my voice went hoarse. In addition, we had to sit near a family of enthusiastic parents and spoiled children. I love kids, but these parents irritated me with the way they continued to dote on their kids when they whined as if whining is the signal for more rewards. Augh.

My advice is that I would NOT recommend this trip to friends. Instead, I would recommend the Talkeetna air flight tour of McKinley. I learned that the park has increased the number of bus tours dramatically and in reaction the number of wolf, bear, and other wildlife sightings has reduced tenfold. Assume that you WILL NOT see any bears. Knowing that, is it worth the trip?

Well, Eielson Center was quite impressive, but a whole day's ride on a bus just to spend about 20 minutes there was rather anti-climactic. I was nearly reduced to tears because we couldn't get a decent family picture when we finally arrived there because there was a rush to use the bathrooms and read all the displays. "Take your PICTURES first!" I learned that the hard way.

Knowing that you won't see Mount McKinley (Denali) at all from Eielson Center makes it even more convincing that you would be better off taking an Air Tour out of Talkeetna. You will get magnificent pictures of the geology and will have much more privacy. The tour won't take ALL DAY and you won't have to endure the dust or the strange company.

Lastly, I might add that if you DO decide to take the shuttle bus to Eielson Center, go early and get a seat at the very front of the bus, free from dust, close to the driver who knows his stuff, and with any luck you won't be stuck in the middle near irritating people with spoiled children. Oh, and remember to pack your own snacks, lunch, water, wipes, napkins, etc. Best of luck to you!

Thank akoothoon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 4, 2013

Well organized and friendly, these folks can get you set for bus rides and shuttles deeper into the park.

Thank Roger A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 30, 2013

I prebooked the bus to Eilsson and we picked up our tickets on the morning we were to get our tour. The centre is well set up and the service there was excellent....

1  Thank Michaela M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 27, 2013 via mobile

The staff was fairly friendly but hardly helpful. The attendant at the information desk lacks the ability to provide any information. They just simply pass you on to the tickets desk.

At the tickets desk the staff was short in conversation and expect you to know what you want to do in the park.

We bought tickets to Eielson. Got on the bus. Our driver was Elton Parks... he was friendly and all but he just TALKS WAY TOO MUCH! The man hardly stopped talking and would repeat himself often.

I suggest that you take ear plugs or earphones just in case you end up on his bus or on a bus where the driver talks non-stop.

The stops were all good and the scenery at every stop was very fabulous, but the 8-hours round trip is very taxing and tiresome and with the driver talking non-stop makes it very exhausting!

Thank Omar R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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