What is the activity level?
The activity level is easy. Your guide will do the driving and stop at several locations to get out and shoot pictures. You have the option to walk on the landscape if desired. There are no trails. Comfortable shoes are recommended.
How long is the tour?
Tours are approximately 3 to 3.5 hours from pick-up to drop-off. Your tour begins as soon as you are picked up at your hotel and your guide will answer questions and start giving you tips and pointers on the way to the first location.
How do I get on the tour?
We will pick you up! If you are staying at any of the Denali area hotels, your guide will pick you up outside the main lobby. If you are staying in Healy, we ask that you drive to McKinley Chalet Resort, park, and we'll pick you up outside the lobby about 5 minutes prior to the tour start time.
What should I bring with me?
Weather can change quickly in Denali so bring an extra layer and a raincoat. Comfortable shoes are recommended - there may be some walking on variable terrain if desired. Don't forget your camera, lenses, and extra battery! We provide tripods, polarizing filters, and graduated neutral density filters.
Is there a bathroom?
There are limited opportunities to use a bathroom on the tour, however there are many "facili-trees" that you can use at any time. We do not have scheduled stops for bathroom breaks but we will stop if needed. There is a gas station and a coffee shop that could be used after the first 40 minutes to an hour and again in the last 40 minutes. The bushes are always an option and we carry TP, trash bags, wipes and hand sanitizer in all of our trucks.
When is the best time to take this tour?
The number one thing that our guests say about our tour is that they wish they had taken it at the beginning of their trip - that way they would be prepared to capture their adventures into the park and the remainder of their travels in Alaska. Other than that, you are going to learn a lot and have a great time no matter what time of day or season.
Will I see wildlife?
Our guides do their best to find wildlife on every tour, but wildlife sightings are not guaranteed. Most tours see moose, and sometimes they are right next to the road. Caribou sightings occur occasionally and bears are spotted less often. Contrary to what the advertisements portray, animal density is actually quite low in the Denali area. So the best way to see wildlife is to cover a lot of ground over a long period of time – which is best accomplished by taking a bus tour into Denali National Park. We recommend taking our tour before you go on the bus tour so that you can acquire the skills you need to photograph the animals and beautiful scenery. If you take a bus tour into the park, we highly recommend the green shuttle bus to Eielson Visitor Center for photographers – on this bus you have the option to get off when and where you want, then just flag down another green bus heading in your direction when you want to continue. The other option is the tan tour bus, which costs much more and you cannot get off except at designated rest stops. Both options travel the same road, but you have the option to travel farther distances on the green shuttle bus.
Will I see Mt. McKinley?
“The Mountain,” as it is commonly referred to by locals, is officially known as Denali, and previously known as Mt. McKinley. Standing at 20,310 feet high, it is the tallest mountain in North America. As such, it has a way of creating its own weather and is often shrouded in clouds. The average visitor to Denali only has a 30% chance of seeing any part of the mountain. In addition to the weather, the location of the roads in relation to the mountain also makes it difficult to see. There are 90 miles of other mountains between the highway and Denali, so you can only see it if you drive to particular locations on the highway (or take a flightseeing tour above the range). If the mountain is out, your guide will take you to the best locations to see and photograph it.
We’re going into Denali National Park, right?
The park does not allow commercially guided trips so our tour travels on the edge of the park boundaries and into a nearby wilderness area via the Denali Highway, which offers equally stunning vistas as the park road. See the above topic on wildlife for more information about getting into the park.
What if the weather is bad?
Actual weather conditions vary greatly from weather forecasts and conditions change rapidly in Denali. Storms move in and out very quickly and the weather is likely to change several times over the duration of your tour. This can be really exciting and can provide some great opportunities for cloudscapes and dynamic lighting on the mountain range.
We rarely need to cancel due to weather, but in the case of a weather cancellation, participants who cannot reschedule will receive a full refund. Weather cancellations are at the discretion of Terry Boyd Photography Tours, LLC. We do not make decisions based on weather prior to the day of the tour, and we usually cannot make the call until right before the tour starts. Typically, your guide will meet you at the start of the tour to discuss the current conditions, your skill level & expectations, and determine the best option for each guest.
Can you accommodate special needs?
In most cases, we can accommodate limited mobility. Individuals requiring wheelchairs can take this tour if they are able to get in and out of the truck at least once (at pick-up and drop-off) either on their own or with assistance from a companion. Guides may not be able to provide assistance. Please let us know your specific needs before booking so that we can make sure this tour is suitable for you.
Is there a minimum to book?
There is no minimum to book, but we do have a three-person minimum for a tour to run. If in the rare case the minimum is not met one day prior to the reservation, we will try to reschedule or issue a refund.
My companion who isn't that into photography wants to tag along. Can they come for free?
Because our maximum capacity is only 4 guests, we cannot offer any seats for free or at a discount.