• pond surrounded by green brush, reflecting a distant range of snow-covered mountains that are dominated by one massive mountain

    Denali

    National Park & Preserve Alaska

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  • Road Open to: Mile 15 (Savage River)

    The Denali Park Road is open to Mile 15, Savage River. Conditions beyond this point prevent vehicle travel, though pedestrian travel is permitted. More »

Shuttles

green bus stopped along a dirt road, mountains in the distance, and a sheep downslope.
A shuttle pauses to view sheep near the Park Road
nps photo / nathan kostegian
 

Ticket Prices and Reservations

All shuttle bus, tour bus and campground reservations are handled by our bus concessioner, Doyon/ARAMARK Joint Venture.

You can call them at 1-800-622-7275 (or 907 272-7275 for international or local Anchorage callers); or visit their website.

Reservations for a given summer can be made as early as December 1, the year before, via the phone or online system. Shuttle ticket prices fluctuate with CPI year-to-year.

Children (14 and younger) ride for free on shuttle buses. Alaska's car seat laws apply to young children.


 

Shuttle Bus Explanation

All shuttle buses, regardless of destination, are designed to move people around within the park. Shuttles make regular restroom stops and wildlife-viewing stops, just like the tour buses.

Unlike tour buses, however, you're not limited to staying on the bus in which you originally started. This is the type of bus you want to take if you're interested in a day hike, or just want to experience the park on your own terms rather than as part of a tour group.

If you get off your initial bus, you can flag down any other shuttle bus going in your desired direction - i.e., farther into the park, or back towards the entrance. Re-boarding is on a seat-available basis, so you may wait anywhere from five minutes to an hour or more for a bus with ample seating.

Trips on the shuttle buses are informal. The drivers provide basic park and safety information, assist you in spotting wildlife along the road and answer questions, and make restroom stops - but they do not provide formal narration.

Bring food and beverages with you. No food or drink is available once you depart the Wilderness Access Center. Rest stops occur around every ninety minutes throughout the trip.

All shuttle buses are green. Tour buses are tan-colored, and will not stop to pick up hikers. Tickets are priced based on destination. There are over twenty shuttle buses each day in mid-summer, all of which go to a pre-specified place on the road, where they turn around and travel back to the entrance of the park.

There are four such destinations from which to choose: Toklat River, Eielson Visitor Center, Wonder Lake and Kantishna. These stops are detailed lower on this page.

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What are 'Camper Buses?'

Dedicated and specially configured (the rear seats have been removed to accommodate backpacks and bicycles), camper buses are used to transport visitors to campgrounds and/or backcountry units within the park.

People biking the park road can also place up to two bikes on any camper bus. Check at the Wilderness Access Center (WAC) to reserve space for bikes.

Camper buses may only be reserved in advance for those visitors with campground reservations or a backcountry permit.

Service: June 1 - September 11, 2014 (weather permitting). Prior to June 1 each year, campground and backcountry users will use regular shuttle buses.

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Destinations: Choose Your Own Adventure

Up to 25 or 30 shuttle buses operate each day during the peak summer season in Denali. Each shuttle bus travels to one of four destinations, listed below. Buses traveling farther in the park than others will stop briefly at each of the other turnaround points - i.e., a Toklat bus turns around at Mile 53, Toklat River; while an Eielson bus makes a rest stop at Toklat River, before carrying on to Mile 66, Eielson Visitor Center.

All trip durations listed on this page are round-trip, and factor in not only driving time on the mountainous, winding Park Road, but they account for restroom stops and the average amount of time buses stop to view wildlife and wilderness.

 
Toklat River


Located at Mile 53 on the Park Road, Toklat is a popular destination because it is a shorter bus trip than the other shuttle options.

With excellent hiking and wildlife viewing opportunities in the area, this rest stop is located at the confluence of the east and west forks of the Toklat River. There are great views of the surrounding mountains across the river.

Interpretive displays and an array of Alaska Geographic Association publications are available in the large tent located here.

Turnaround: Toklat River rest stop, Mile 53
Trip duration: 6.5 hours, round-trip
Service: May 20* - September 11, 2014

* weather dependent

Eielson Visitor Center


This recently renovated, platinum LEED certified visitor center is worthy of the 8-hour bus trip. National Park Service rangers and interactive displays provide insight and information about the park and its myriad of resources.

On a clear day, Eielson offers magnificent views of Mt. McKinley.

Various ranger-led activities are also offered from Eielson Visitor Center.

Turnaround: Eielson Visitor Center, Mile 66
Trip duration: 8 hours, round-trip
Service: June 1 - September 11, 2014


Wonder Lake

The journey to Wonder Lake offers extraordinary views of the Alaska Range and Mt. McKinley on a clear days. The road crosses mountain passes and wetland tundra on the way to beautiful Wonder Lake.

Visitors wishing to upgrade their Eielson bus tickets to Wonder Lake tickets may do so at the Eielson Visitor Center bus dispatch office on a space-available basis. (Please note: only cash is accepted for the upgrade).

Mosquitoes can be plentiful during June and July, so bring along some insect repellent or headnets.

One of the most iconic and often-photographed images of the mountain is from Reflection Pond, just beyond mile 85. The Kantishna shuttle and Kantishna Experience tour will take you past Reflection Pond. If you are on a Wonder Lake-bound shuttle, be prepared to walk over two miles from the Wonder Lake bus stop to reach Reflection Pond.

Turnaround: Wonder Lake Campground, Mile 85 (south end of the lake)
Trip duration: 11 hours, round-trip
Service: June 8 - September 11, 2014


Kantishna

Once a gold mining town, few remnants remain of its early history. A stop at the restored Fannie Quiqley house with informative wayside exhibits reminds visitors of the rugged nature of the early settlers.

An air strip and four privately-owned businesses are the primary sights at the "end of the road." Since much of the Kantishna area is private property, visitors are discouraged from hiking in the area without obtaining permission and guidance ahead of time.

Turnaround: Kantishna Air Strip, Mile 92
Trip duration: 13 hours, round-trip
Service: June 8 - September 11, 2014

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Schedules and Prices

Please keep in mind that specific schedules are subject to small adjustments throughout the season. Always acquire the most-recent schedule upon arriving in person, either at the Wilderness Access Center or Denali Visitor Center.

View the 2014 shuttle bus schedules. Please note that all schedules are subject to minor changes.


2014 ticket prices:

Destination Season Adult fare (16 years+)
Toklat River
May 20 - Sept 11
$27.00
Eielson Visitor Center
June 1 - Sept 11
$34.50
Wonder Lake
June 8 - Sept 11
$47.25
Kantishna
June 8 - Sept 11
$51.50
Camper Bus
June 8 - Sept 10
$34.50

All ticket prices are round-trip; children (age 15 and younger) ride free on all shuttle buses. Descriptions of each destination (including camper buses) can be found higher on this page. Contact the bus concessioner directly to inquire about special packages or other possible deals.

Tour buses do not have fixed, daily schedules. The schedule may change form day to day, allowing the bus concessioner to maximize the number of visitors on each bus. You can learn more specifics about tour bus schedules directly from the bus concessioner or by calling them at 1-800-622-7275.

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Did You Know?

close view of Arnica, a small yellow flower

Over 650 species of flowering plants as well as many species of mosses, lichens, fungi, algae, and others grace the slopes and valleys of Denali.