Denali Southside River Guides
Mile 147.5 Parks Hwy
Byers Lake Campground, Day Use Area
Denali State Park, AK
Denali Southside River Guides
P.O. Box 455
Talkeetna, AK 99676
Hours of Operation
Seasonal operation from June 1st to mid-September
Denali Raft & Kayak
Check out our pre-season discount!
Departing at 7am from Talkeetna Daily
Byers Lake Paddle Trip
(Mile 147 Parks Hwy) in Denali State Park
Canoe & Kayak Rentals
on Byers Lake in Denali State Park
Denali Southside River Guides is the premier kayaking and rafting guide company in Talkeetna and Denali State Park. If you are looking for a place to experience a quiet, peaceful and natural Alaska with abundant wildlife and unparalleled views, this is the place for you. Exploring Alaska’s waterways is an excellent way to experience this amazing state and to leave the crowded highways, bus seats, and restaurants behind. Come with us and escape into the natural beauty of this area.
Denali Southside River Guides is family-owned and operated. The owners are year-round residents of Talkeetna, Alaska. Their guides live locally and have extensive knowledge of area waterways, history and wildlife and provide high-quality, low-impact kayaking and rafting experiences.
If you have a chance to take a guided kayak trip with Denali Southside River Guides on Byers Lake, go for it! We went in late August on a sunny afternoon and enjoyed a comfortable 90 minute paddle on the lake and to a feeder stream, led by the very knowledgeable guide. We heard loons, saw a scaup, visited the nests of loons and tundra swans, and saw sockeye salmon that had recently spawned. Our guide helped us to better appreciate the ecosystem of this interior lake, as well as sharing some of his own encounters with wildlife. He was especially admiring of beavers, and after hearing him talk about them, so were we! We were able to take binoculars and a camera - grateful to have both on hand. In the clear waters the reflection of Denali shimmered. If you want to get close to Alaska, get off of a tour bus and get into a kayak!
We took a full day with these educated and committed guides. A 4 mile kayaking trip around Byers lake was calming, peaceful, and even in the rain, had the most beautiful scenery. Lunch was provided by Mary Cary's Mt. McKinley lodge. It's a historical landmark that from the outside looks like a hole in the wall, but the culinary goodness that was served inside was well enjoyed. We then traveled to the Chulitna river, where our guide, Paul, gave us a narrated tour of the 19 miles from Denali to Talkeetna. This guide service has been around a good while. The staff is professional, friendly, and most importantly, prepared. Being an Alaskan, I consider myself pretty well prepared when heading outdoors, but if there was anything I forgot, or that they thought would make my trip more enjoyable, they were sure to have it on hand. Waterproof boots, pants, jackets, warmer clothing, it was all on hand. The entire trip was well organized, and for a few people running it, events took place in a timely manner, and there was not a lot of waiting for preparations to happen. I would recommend this trip to Alaskans and tourists alike. It is a lot to do for one day, so if time is short, it's the perfect adventure.