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Wildlife Watching from Above: Spotting Denali’s Fauna on a Flightseeing Tour



Denali National Park, with its sprawling wilderness and towering peaks, offers a unique vantage point for wildlife enthusiasts. Embarking on Denali flightseeing tours provides an unparalleled opportunity to witness the park’s diverse fauna from a bird’s-eye view. Partnering with a reputable Alaska aviation company can enhance this experience, ensuring safety, expertise, and a wealth of knowledge about the region’s wildlife.

Denali flightseeing tours allow visitors to see a variety of animals that call this majestic landscape home. From the majestic grizzly bear to the elusive Dall sheep, the aerial perspective reveals the abundance and diversity of Denali’s wildlife. This guide details the types of wildlife you can expect to see from above and provides tips for spotting these magnificent creatures.

Grizzly Bears

One of the most iconic animals of Denali, grizzly bears are often seen foraging in open meadows or along riverbanks. These powerful creatures, with their distinctive hump and shaggy fur, are relatively easy to spot from the air due to their size and movement. When scanning for grizzlies, look for brown or blonde shapes moving slowly through vegetation or near water sources.

Tip for Spotting:

Fly during the early morning or late afternoon when bears are most active. Use binoculars for a closer view and look for movement in open areas.


Caribou herds are a spectacular sight from above, especially during migration periods. These large mammals are often seen traversing open tundra or resting in large groups. Their antlers, which can span up to four feet, make them distinguishable from other animals.

Tip for Spotting:

Caribou are more visible in open tundra areas. Look for groups of moving dots or large gatherings in valleys and flatlands.

Dall Sheep

Dall sheep are best spotted in the mountainous regions of Denali. These agile climbers are usually found on steep, rocky slopes, where their white coats blend with the snow and rocks. Spotting Dall sheep requires a keen eye and patience, as they often remain still to avoid detection by predators.

Tip for Spotting:

Focus on rocky cliffs and high ridges. Their white fur contrasts against darker rock formations, making them easier to identify.


Moose are the largest members of the deer family and can often be seen in wetland areas or near bodies of water. Their dark brown coats and large size make them relatively easy to spot from the air, especially when they are feeding on aquatic plants or wading in water.

Tip for Spotting:

Look for moose in wetlands, marshes, and along rivers. Their large, dark bodies stand out against the green landscape.


Wolves are more elusive and harder to spot than some of Denali’s other wildlife. However, they can occasionally be seen from above, especially when traveling in packs. Wolves often follow caribou herds or hunt in open areas, making sightings more likely in these regions.

Tip for Spotting:

Look for movement in open areas or near caribou herds. Wolves are more visible during winter when their dark fur contrasts with the snow.

Golden Eagles

Golden eagles, with their impressive wingspans, are a majestic sight as they soar above Denali’s landscapes. These birds of prey are often seen gliding over open areas in search of food. Their large size and distinctive flight pattern make them relatively easy to identify from the air.

Tip for Spotting:

Look up! Golden eagles often soar at high altitudes. Use binoculars to get a closer view and watch for their broad wings and slow, deliberate flight.

Tips for an Enhanced Wildlife Viewing Experience

1. Choose the Right Time of Year

The best time for wildlife viewing in Denali is during the summer months, from late May to early September. During this period, animals are more active, and visibility is higher due to the extended daylight hours.

2. Book with an Experienced Alaska Aviation Company

Selecting a knowledgeable and experienced Alaska aviation company can greatly enhance your wildlife viewing experience. Experienced pilots know the best routes and times for spotting various animals and can provide informative commentary throughout the flight.

3. Bring the Right Gear

Binoculars and a good camera with a zoom lens are essential for spotting and capturing wildlife from the air. Wear comfortable clothing and bring layers, as temperatures can vary at different altitudes.

4. Stay Patient and Observant

Wildlife spotting from the air requires patience and a keen eye. Stay observant, and don’t be discouraged if you don’t spot animals immediately. Sometimes, the most memorable sightings happen unexpectedly.

5. Respect Wildlife and Their Habitat

While it’s exciting to spot wildlife from the air, it’s important to respect their natural habitat. Choose flightseeing tours that prioritize ethical wildlife viewing and minimize disturbance to the animals.


Denali flightseeing tours offer a unique and exhilarating way to experience the park’s abundant wildlife. From the powerful grizzly bear to the graceful golden eagle, the diverse fauna of Denali can be seen in their natural habitats, undisturbed and free. By choosing a reputable Alaska aviation company, bringing the right gear, and maintaining patience and respect, you can enjoy an unforgettable wildlife viewing experience from above.

Exploring Denali from the air not only provides a unique perspective on its wildlife but also highlights the breathtaking beauty of Alaska’s wilderness. Whether you’re a seasoned wildlife enthusiast or a curious traveler, a flightseeing tour over Denali is an adventure that promises to leave you in awe of nature’s grandeur.

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