Flightseeing FAQ

Why fly with K2 Aviation?

This is a great question to ask when choosing a flight tour. K2 Aviation has a long history of flying Alaska. The Rust family who owns and operates K2 Aviation has been flying Alaska's back country since 1963. K2 Aviation is a National Park Service approved concessionaire with an excellent safety record. We have an extremely experienced staff and we love what we do. The Anchorage Daily News has awarded K2 the gold award for the last two years in a row.

What flight experience do your pilots have?

K2 Aviation pilots have flown more people to Mt. McKinley than any other air service in Alaska. The average pilot at K2 Aviation has well over 5000 hours of flight time. Additionally, we have more than 46 years of flying into Alaska's backcountry. More than anyone in Denali!

What is your favorite tour?

We are certain that you will be happy with any tour you choose. Here are some tips on making the best decision for your group:

  • Most Popular: The Denali Flyer Tour offers visitors a thorough look at the south side of the Alaska Range. It is longer than our basic route and allows guests more opportunities to see the summit of Denali from the east, south and west. Add a glacier landing and it only gets better.

  • Best for Small Children: We suggest our shorter tour the Denali Experience with or without glacier landing. This tour is the foundation for all of our tours. It also stays at a lower altitude thus limiting a small child's discomfort with changes in pressure.

  • See it all: The Denali Grand Tour allows guests to see the mountain from all angles, north, south, east and west!

What is the best seat in the airplane? Can I have the co-pilot seat?

You will be happy with any seat. Everyone gets to sit next to a window. Many guests request the co-pilot seat. The pilot places passengers in particular seats to balance the airplane and it is their decision. We are glad to let the pilot know that a passenger is interested.

What should I wear/bring?

During the summer season, May through September 15, we encourage you to layer your clothing, bring a light jacket and wear long pants. In addition, it is a very good idea to have comfortable, closed toe shoes and sunglasses. We provide glacier overboots for landings. During the shoulder seasons: It is a good idea to bring a heavier coat, gloves/mittens, a hat and boots.

Remember to bring sunglasses, a camera, a charged battery and a memory card or film.

Will we see the summit of Denali on our tour?

This is a great question. We cannot see the summit on every flight. The viewing opportunities change as the weather does. Denali creates its own weather environment and it can change from flight to flight. K2 Aviation pilots will look for best viewing opportunities, which may mean changing from the routes outlined in our brochure. When the summit cannot easily be seen, K2 pilots will alter the flight route if they feel they can provide a better tour with opportunities to see more of the Alaska Range.

Do I need to make a reservation, or can I just walk in?

We encourage you to make a reservation in advance as soon as you know the dates you will be in our area. The sooner you make a reservation the more likely we will have the tour and time available that suits your travel plans. The Denali flights from Talkeetna have become increasingly popular and we can't always accommodate walk-ins. Also, since you can cancel 48 hours in advance free of charge, there is no risk to you in making a reservation. If your flight is cancelled because of weather, your deposit will be refunded. All that is required to secure a reservation is a 50% deposit per person and as stated, fully refundable with 48 hour notice or inclement weather.

What if my tour is canceled due to weather? What happens to my deposit?

This is your vacation – don't worry. We will do the best to inform you about what the weather is at your flight time. If the weather prevents you from flightseeing, we will give you options that include canceling, rescheduling or receiving a full refund of your deposit. If you purchased your tour through a tour company, the refund will be processed through the company. Sometimes the credit will take up to six weeks to appear on you're your statement.

Should I add a glacier landing?

YES! You will be hard pressed to find an experience that will top landing on the slopes beneath North America's tallest mountain. You will be awestruck. We don't recall ever having anyone come back disappointed!

If I have been to the Mendenhall Glacier should I consider doing this trip?

YES! YES! These two experiences are entirely different. In Denali, landing on the Ruth Glacier at 5600 feet above sea level amongst the towering peaks of the Alaska Range reveals a world in total contrast to the more level coastal ice fields in Southeastern Alaska.

What is the best seat in the plane?

Everybody has the best seat in the plane. We provide window seats for each passenger. The pilots fly each tour route so that everyone is able to enjoy the spectacular scenery and take photographs.

What is your safety record?

K2 Aviation has an excellent safety record and is owned by the Rust family who have owned and operated Rust's Flying Service since 1963. Both companies are highly respected in the aviation industry of Alaska.

I am worried about getting motion sick? Do you have suggestions?

Many people worry about getting air sick. Luckily, the south side of the Alaska Range is most often calm and not particularly bumpy. However, here are some tips that you might find helpful. Passengers have had good luck with Seaband Bracelets, ginger products, and Dramamine. If you are prone to motion sickness, you should take whatever measures you normally take to combat it. K2 Aviation does not provide Dramamine. In the event you do get sick, we do have sick sacks in the airplanes and the pilot will make you aware of their location.

Do you offer flights out of Denali Park?

K2 Aviation does not provide our basic flight tours out of Denali National Park. If you are interested in transportation out of Denali, please call our office for a special rate.

What type of airplanes do you operate and what is the seating capacity?

K2 Aviation operates several different types of aircraft which include the Cessna 185 (4 passengers), DeHaviland Beaver (6-7 passengers), DeHavilland Turbine Otter (10 passengers), Piper Chieftain Twin engine (9 passengers), and the Cherokee Six (5 passengers).

What credit cards do you take?

Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.

Are we able to view wildlife on the tour?

Sometimes wildlife is visible from the airplane but this is not K2's main focus on the tour. We generally are flying too high to get a good look at any specific animal. Wildlife viewing tours are available by special request; please contact our office for pricing.

Are your trips handicap accessible?

We can accommodate most people as long as we know in advance the nature of their disability. Our vans do not have wheelchair lifts.

Where are you located?

K2 Aviation is located in the town of Talkeetna at the Talkeetna State Airport. We are about 2 ½ hours north of Anchorage and about 2 ½ hours south of Denali National Park. The Talkeetna exit is located at mile marker 98 on the Parks Highway (Alaska Route 3).

Find us on the map and get directions

How can I get there?

Here are some great options for getting to Talkeetna:

  • Rent a car and drive
  • Contact a shuttle service
  • Park Connection at Alaska Tour and Travel
  • Go Purple Shuttle
  • Fly from Anchorage via floatplane or wheel plane contact us at K2 Aviation
  • Take the Alaska Railroad

How long will it take to get there?

  • From Anchorage: mileage 122 miles/time 2 hrs 29 min
  • From Seward: mileage 237 miles/time 4 hrs 50 minutes
  • From Denali: mileage 154 miles/time 3 hrs 19 minutes
  • From Fairbanks: mileage 274 miles/5 hours 32 minutes

How do I get to and from the Talkeetna Alaska Lodge?

You have two great options:

K2 Shuttle: It is simple. When you make your flight reservation, ask for a pick-up at the Talkeetna Alaska Lodge. A K2 Van will meet you at the main lobby 30 minutes before flight time. We will be glad to return you to lodge or take you into to town following your flight.

Talkeetna Alaska Lodge Shuttle:

  • On the hour: The Talkeetna Alaska Lodge Shuttle departs every hour for Talkeetna from the main lobby. The shuttle will drop you 1 block from K2 Aviation and one block from town.

  • Every half hour: The Talkeetna Alaska Lodge Shuttle picks up guests at the parking lot next to Mahay's, just across the railroad tracks from our office(same place you would be dropped off).

How do I get to and from McKinley Princess Lodge?

The McKinley Princess Lodge is approximately 50 minutes away form Talkeetna. In order to arrive 30 minutes before flight time, you should plan on taking a shuttle departing 1 hour and 30 minutes before your scheduled flight time.

  • Shuttle departures: 7 a.m., 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 12 p.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.
  • Shuttle returns: 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.

How do I get to and from my Talkeetna B&B or the train station?

We will be happy to provide shuttle service. Please call in advance to make arrangements.

Is there any place to eat at the airport?

There are no restaurants at the airport. K2 Aviation offers complimentary coffee. We also have soda, juice and small snack foods for purchase. If you are on foot, there are restaurants located a short walk into town.

When are you open?

In summer we are open 7 days a week, even on holidays such as Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day. Our office hours are approx. 7:00 am to 9:00 pm.

During the winter, we are open seven days a week 9:00 am – 3:00 pm. Advance notice is helpful as winter flights require more preparation time.

Are you open year-round?

Yes, we offer our three main flight tours, Denali Experience, Denali Flyer and the Denali Grand Tour. We are not able to provide glacier landings in the winter.

Mountain Information:

How tall is Denali?

20,320 ft.

Is the mountain called McKinley or Denali?

It's official name used to be McKinley, but it is has been changed to it's original Alaskan name Denali. 

Denali Day Hikes

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Interested in exploring Alaska?

Venture out on a Denali Day Hike.

K2 Specials

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AK residents celebrate your birthday with K2!

Happy birthday Alaskans! In your birthday month, we will offer you a percentage discount that matches your age...