Camping, Cooking, Water, Sanitation
There are no established campsites in the Denali backcountry; therefore, campsite selection is very important. Plan to spend 30 minutes surveying for the best place to establish your camp. The following guidelines will assist you in this process:
Fires are not permitted in the Denali Wilderness during the summer season. Use a portable camp stove instead to heat your food and choose a durable surface such as a gravel bar or a rock to cook on. If none are available, lay a foil base beneath your stove to protect the vegetation and prevent fires.
Fuel is available for purchase at the Riley Creek Mercantile and the Wilderness Access Center, both of which are located in the immediate vicinity of the Backcountry Information Center (BIC). You can also ask for free fuel at the BIC from other visitors who have left behind white gas or the threaded, self-sealing Isobutane canisters.
When cooking, remain alert for bears; be ready to pack up and move quickly. Take a different route each time between your food storage, cooking and sleeping areas to help prevent small trails from developing.
Giardia and Cryptosporidium are protozoa found in unfiltered water and present serious health risks. Take one or more of the following precautions before drinking water from a natural source:
Many of Denali's rivers carry glacial silt. This silt will quickly clog any water filter and render it inoperable. The addition of silt-stopper devices is highly recommended for any water filter. Using chemicals (like iodine) to treat water is ineffective against some protozoa, and requires much longer than normal to work if the water is full of sediment or is very cold.
Neither pit nor chemical toilets are available in the backcountry. You must be prepared for proper waste disposal using the following guidelines:
Did You Know?
Cold temperatures limit trees from growing at high elevation in Denali. Warmer temperatures, however, have led to woody vegetation growing at ever-higher elevations. Treeline changes are a conspicuous sign of climate change.