One Week in Alaska | Denali | Part 2 of 2


It’s time for part two of our week in Alaska! Passing back through Anchorage for brunch, we headed north towards Denali for part two of our Alaska trip. Our first stop was Talkeetna, an absolutely adorable little town filled with shops and restaurants.

Loved the town of Talkeetna!

Birch bark baskets and handmade knives.

Root beer floats!

And salmon fish chips.


A National Parks Ranger Station for the people who try and climb Mt. Denali, the highest peak in North America. We spotted a Taiwanese American banner!

Yay Denali in the distance! Well, this would be the last of sunny skies, since our whole time actually in the park was spent in gray skies and rain.

Dinner across the street from our hostel.

Salmon chowder.


We started our visit to Denali National Park with a ranger-led hike through the rainy woods. It was supposed to be a naturalist hike, but instead she spent 80% of the time talking about the men who started the park. We did learn that mushrooms are treats for squirrels though!

After the hike, a nice lunch break with our lunch boxes that we bought from the restaurant the night before!

I will say that Denali National Park is kind of an odd one. Unlike most national parks where you can just drive around and see viewpoints at your leisure, the only way to get past mile 15 of the road is via their bus tours, which are pricey and start at a minimum of four hours. I can see how this helps preserve the park from motorized traffic, but especially with the rain and the screaming children on day two, it did not make for the most enjoyable park experience. But at least we got to see a couple animals in the 10.5 hours we spent sitting on busses across the two days!

A family of ptarmigans, round little birds that are the state bird of Alaska!

My favorite wildlife sighting of the day: a moose as it walked alongside our bus.

Back in our cute little cabin.

Day two was kind of a dud. We had already booked a transit bus ride for the day, initially intending to take it out and then go on some off-trail backcountry hikes. But given the rain and our lack of expertise– we were told it would involve a lot of bushwhacking– we ended up just taking the bus out and back for all 6.5 hours minus any hikes.

We were so excited in the beginning with this cute sign and the cute green bus… but then our bus driver decided to bring his two young daughters to work, and they were sitting right next to us screaming loudly the entire time. For six and a half hours. I was so glad Amy was nice enough to lend me her headphones, because I might not have survived the bus ride otherwise.

But hey, look, a caribou.

That dot in the sidewalk is a snowshoe hare. And here’s Amy at our Toklat end point with some antlers. We also saw Dall sheep, which looked like white dots in the hills.

I was just glad to be turning around and going back. But would not recommend. One bus ride is more than enough. Denali is really meant more for backcountry camping. Otherwise just go for one day on the narrated tour and be sure to catch a sled dog demonstration. Do not end up trapped on a day-long bus ride with screaming children like us.

More moose!

And of course it was sunny once we left the park.

Back in Anchorage, the best remedy for rainy day spent on a bus with screaming children: tofu soup.

Our last stay for the trip was in an adorable B&B! The woman was so sweet and served us a delicious breakfast.

No longer trapped in a bus! We went on a short little hike in Earthquake park.

So many beautiful birch trees.

A little view of Anchorage from across the way.

And we were lucky enough to be in Anchorage for the Saturday market, which I loved! So many fun craft booths.

This artist, Good Migrations, makes the most elaborate little paintings with pigments he collects all over Alaska.

This was the perfect addition to my map wall! A tiny Alaska. Mine includes squid ink, chochineal, and gunpowder.

Apparently the produce in Alaska really likes growing in the midnight sun.

And that was it! A wonderful week in Alaska.

Revisit part one of our trip here!

Anna Wu is a wedding and portrait photographer based in San Francisco. She creates beautiful, soft, and timeless imagery while capturing the most fleeting of moments. View her work at, follow her daily adventures on instagram, and contact her to book your own session today.