• Photo of touchable historic three-dimensional map at the Alaska public lands information Center

    Alaska Public Lands

    Alaska

Denali Frequently Asked Questions

 
  1. Where can I get information on Denali National Park?

    Alaska Public Lands Information Center has the park newsletter Denali Alpenglow, Denali maps and brochures, Healy Lion's Club lodging list, and an outfitter-guide commercial list. We also have various seasonal newsletters, handouts, and educational material on Denali. This information is also available on the park’s web site at http://www.nps.gov/dena.


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  1. Can I make reservations for Denali National Park (DNP) or is it first-come, first-served?You can make reservations for shuttle bus trips into the park and four of the campgrounds by calling (800) 622- 7275 (outside of Anchorage), or (907) 272-7275 (Anchorage and out- of-country). Phone reservations begin mid February. Fax, (907) 264-4684, and mail reservations start the beginning of December and must be received at least 2 days prior to the reservation date. A new and convenient feature is the web reservation system found at http://www.reservedenali.com. Reservations are taken for 65% of the bus seats and 100% of campsites. Remaining spaces are issued on a first-come, first-served basis at the Denali National Park Visitor Center, no earlier than 2 days in advance.


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  1. Where can I find out about lodging for Denali National Park?One of the Denali National Park concessionaires, Denali Park Resorts, manages the Denali Park Hotel, McKinley Chalets, and McKinley Village Lodge; for reservations call (907) 276-7234. Other lodging suggestions can be found in the Healy Lion's Club guide available at APLIC, or in the Alaska Planner available from the AK Division of Tourism at P.O. Box 110801, Juneau, AK 99811-0801.


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  1. Where can I find out about hiking in DNP? Do I need a permit?

    There are no designated wilderness trails in Denali National Park, so for overnight hikes, you will want to talk to the Backcountry Information Center at Denali National Park. Backcountry permits are free and must be obtained in person at the Backcountry Information Center. Permits are available up to 24 hours in advance. No permit is required for day-hiking. Guided and unguided walks are available on trails around the park entrance, along Savage River, and near the McKinley River.


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  1. Can I take my pet into DENALI NATIONAL PARK and other parks?It is best to check with the individual area, but in general pets are allowed in National Parks on roadways and in campgrounds ONLY and must be leashed or physically restrained at all times. They are usually prohibited on buses and trails or in the backcountry. Pets are not recommended in preserves or park additions. Pets must not be left unattended. In state parks, national forests, fish & wildlife refuges and BLM land, pets must be leashed at developed facilities, such as campgrounds and picnic areas, and under control in other areas at all times. Of course, when using sled dogs for skijoring or mushing, different rules apply. Skijoring and mushing are allowed in most parks.


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  1. I'm not driving, are there other modes of transportation to DENALI NATIONAL PARK and other places?

    Buses, trains, ferries, and planes are sources of public transportation which help people to travel the vast stretches of undeveloped land between population centers in Alaska. Alaska Public Lands Information Centers can provide information or brochures on trains, ferries and buses, and outfitter-guide lists for many areas. A wide variety of outfitter-guides and other commercial services are available. Lists are available from Anchorage Convention & Visitor Bureau and Division of Tourism. Also consider auto rentals.


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  1. How can I get campground reservations at DENALI NATIONAL PARK?All of the campsites at Riley Creek, Savage, Teklanika, and Wonder Lake may be reserved in advance by calling (800) 622- 7275 (in Anchorage (907) 272-7275), or by fax: 907-264-4684 up to the day before travel.


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  1. Can I drive into Denali National Park?When shuttle and tour buses are operating in the Park, no private vehicles are allowed beyond Savage River (approximately 15 miles in), except those with a Teklanika campground permit. Early and late season, vehicles are allowed to designated points; often 29 miles to the Teklanika gate. There is also a Fall Road Lottery, winners are allowed to drive the road for one of four designated days following the end of the shuttle bus and tour bus season.


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  1. Can I fish in Denali National Park?Yes, but you might prefer other places. Fishing isn't great because the fish can't tolerate the conditions of most rivers inside the park...too much glacial silt. There are a few clear mountain streams where arctic grayling may be caught. Lake trout may be found in Wonder Lake. No license is required in the original Park. A state license is needed for the 1980 park additions and the Denali National Preserve.


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  1. We don't have time to drive all the way to DENALI NATIONAL PARK, can we see Mt. McKinley from here?

    Actually, you can see the McKinley massif from numerous places in Anchorage: Glen Alps overview and high points throughout town. On the George Parks Highway, views of Mt. McKinley begin at about the 100 mile point. One of the best views is on the spur road to Talkeetna. From Trapper Creek north, turn-outs provide excellent views of the mountain.


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  1. Where can I learn how to be safe around bears, moose and other animals?

    Most of what you need, you already have...common sense. Keep your distance, let them know you are there, and don't run in panic. Bear Facts is a good brochure to review. Many public lands brochures discuss how to safely enjoy Alaska's wildlife.


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  1. I want to climb Mt. McKinley. Can you tell me who to contact?

    Contact Denali National Park's Talkeetna Ranger Station: P.O. Box 588, Talkeetna, AK 99676. Phone: (907) 733-2231. FAX: (907) 733-1465.


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  1. How long does it take to get to Denali NP?

    From Anchorage it takes about 5 hours for a leisurely drive. Consider a detour to Talkeetna, the takeoff point for Mt. McKinley climbers (1,339 climbers registered to climb Mt. McKinley in 2005. 58% of them submitted (774 climbers). Talkeetna is another half hour one way. The rangers have a mountaineering center. This summer there will be original oil paintings on display that Belmore Brown's brother, George Brown, painted on their famous 1912 climb. This climb was close to being the first summit of Mt. McKinley but inclement weather wisely turned the expedition back.


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  1. Can we purchase food in Denali NP or do we need to get it here?

    There is only one small store, the McKinley Mercantile. It would be wise to purchase fresh foods, or freeze-dried foods before arriving to the park. A mile outside the park entrance there are numerous restaurants and another smalle grocery store. 12 miles north of the park entrance is a grocery store in Healy.


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  1. Why do I have to take a bus?

    To increase your chance of viewing wildlife and increasing the chance for wildlife survival. If you've ever traveled to Yellowstone or other Lower 48 national park, you may have been stuck in "wildlife jams" and never had a chance to see the animal that the car 100 spots ahead of you did. The NPS implemented the shuttle bus system in 1972 when the George Parks Highway was completed between Anchorage and Fairbanks. Prior to 1972, people arrived on the train. In 1971, there were 44,000 visitors. In 1972, the visitation doubled. So, we look at it as having the foresight to preserve this wilderness by having a shuttle bus system. Also, on a bus, there are 40 pairs of eyes looking for wildlife and you are sitting higher than if you were in a car. Both of these reasons help you view wildlife. Of interest, Lower 48 parks (Grand Canyon, Zion) are now considering implementing a bus system to deal with the same issues, and because of the millions of people who wish to spend time in national parks.


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  1. Why can't I see the Mt. McKinley for Denali's main visitor center?The main visitor Center is located in a valley and the Jenny Ridge blocks your view of "the high one." Of interest, that ridge blocks the sun for two months for the employees that work year-round at the park headquarters. If you look up that ridge, you will see two huge glacially-deposited rocks. And, if you hike there (cross-country, there is no trail) you will see that they are the size of a three-story building! Where you first see Mt. McKinley from along the park road is near mile 10. Take the Savage Shuttle or drive your car there for a first view (you may have seen the high one driving in from Anchorage or Fairbanks, if it is clear, you will have had a view already).


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  1. Are the bus tours narrated?

    The Denali Park Resorts bus tours are narrated. There are two to choose from, the short tour goes to mile 17, Primrose Ridge. The long tour goes to Toklat (mile 54) and sometimes to Stony Dome (mile 61) if clear. The long tour provides you with a box lunch. You cannot get on and off the tour buses. The shuttle buses can be narrated; the drivers do have microphones. Many of these drivers used to drive tours so they have a wealth of information and like to share it. All buses stop for wildlife viewing. Shuttle buses allow you to get off and back on other shuttle buses (these are the green buses; the tour buses are tan in color) in order to hike or look at wildflowers. See Alpenglow.


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  1. Can I bring a gun?

    In the original national park (now on map as wilderness), you may not have a firearm. In the portions of the new park and preserve (designated in 1980) you may carry a firearm.


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  1. Why do we have to wait two days?

    It is not always necessary to wait two days if you are flexible in what you choose to do (ie: take the 6 p.m. Polychrome bus the day you arrive). You may have to wait two days in July if the only bus you want is a 6 a.m. Wonder Lake bus. Don't forget to try calling for an advance reservation. Tell them to bring food (on the bus?) On the shuttle bus, you need to be self-sufficient with snacks, beverages, water bottle. If you plan to get off, pack it in a daypack. If you plan to be on a bus the entire time, you can take a small cooler that fits underneath the seat. We suggest plastic grocery bags then the too big coolers don't cause problems. Some of the best views of Mt. McKinley are from Denali State Park and the road up. A different view from the south or east yes, it is stunning. Camp at Byers Lake CG! Another stunning view if from Eielson VC at mile 66 (take the Eielson shuttle bus), and you get even closer to the mountain if you reach Wonder Lake. Note: weather dependent! McKinley Princess Hotel is at the southern end of Denali State Park ( not the National Park) True, but the view from their hotel is looking into the national park. NPS interpreters do programs at this hotel about 3x/week during the summer.


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  1. Camping during the Lottery Drive dates?

    Road Lottery winners may make reservations for Riley, Savage, and Teklanika campgrounds. Winning the road lottery does not include campsites.


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Did You Know?

Did You Know?

The difference between antlers and horns is that antlers shed and horns do not. Moose and Caribou have antlers while dall sheep have horns.