Off the Beaten Path

About This Blog

Backpackers travel from around the world to explore the 6 million acres of Denali National Park. As a wilderness area with almost no trails, a backpacking trip here can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Our backcountry rangers use this blog to share stories and details of the park's wild lands in spring, summer and fall. Whether you are planning a backpacking trip or living vicariously from far away, stay tuned for some of the stories and lessons you can learn in Denali.

That's a Wrap

September 14, 2017 Posted by: Brian Moe, Backcountry Ranger

A look back at the summer that was, and ahead at the short fall season soon to come.


August 21st Conditions Update

August 21, 2017 Posted by: Brian Moe, Backcountry Ranger

A change has come to Denali. Blueberries are ripe, darkness has returned in the evenings, the willow is turning golden yellow, and snow is falling on the ridgelines. Fall has arrived and winter is just around the corner.


What Do Backcountry Rangers Do?

August 10, 2017 Posted by: Brian Moe, Backcountry Ranger

Have you ever wondered what it means to be a backcountry ranger? Take a look inside a recent 3-day "backcountry operation" to understand what it means to live and work in the wilderness!


Packrafting in Denali: Frigid and Far Away

August 01, 2017 Posted by: Chad Oelke

Packrafting is a fantastic way to explore the trail-less terrain of the Denali Wilderness. However, before you bomb the (very challenging) Eagle Gorge, or even take a Class II adventure down the Sanctuary River, the backcountry rangers at Denali have some tips we want you to keep in mind.


Birds of a Feather: Choosing Compatible Backcountry Partners

July 27, 2017 Posted by: Taylor Bracher, Park Ranger

The first of the Leave No Trace Principles is to “Plan ahead and prepare.” Before arriving in Denali National Park for your trip, you will likely look at maps, pore over the unit descriptions, or make lists of the gear you will need to pack. Remember that choosing compatible backcountry partners is another key component of preparedness.


The Road Less Traveled

July 19, 2017 Posted by: Sarah Hayes, Park Ranger

Hiking off trail is not for everyone, and neither is the opera. Yet we as a society have chosen to build opera houses and support the arts because we have decided it is valuable. So too have we valued the opportunity to hike unhindered through trail-less terrain by protecting vast areas of trail-less public land, like most of Denali.


July 3rd Conditions Report

July 03, 2017 Posted by: Ranger Brian Moe

A quick update on general backcountry conditions in early July.


Are We There Y… Wait, Where Are We?

June 08, 2017 Posted by: Jaz Ammon, Backcountry Ranger

Backpacking is different without a trail system to guide your way. Even experienced backcountry travelers will find navigation more difficult here than in the lower-48. Denali's rangers have some tips, though, for how to approach this tricky topic.


What to Expect in the Denali Backcountry

May 26, 2017 Posted by: Brian Moe, Backcountry Ranger

Backpacking in Denali is inspirational, refreshing, and challenging. With more than 6-million acres of mostly trail-less terrain, there are a lifetime of adventures waiting for everyone in Denali. Sometimes figuring out where to start and what to expect can be overwhelming. We’re here to help.


Up and Running

May 15, 2017 Posted by: Brian Moe, Backcountry Ranger

The first post in our new blog series gives a bit of background on backpacking in Denali, and a look at current conditions for backcountry travel. Spring is a short season in Denali, and May is a slightly complicated time to visit, with certain key dates important to know for accessing the more remote parts of the Denali Park Road.


Last updated: May 15, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 9
Denali Park, AK 99755


(907) 683-9532
A ranger is available 9 am—4 pm daily (except on major holidays). If you get to the voicemail, please leave a message and we'll call you back as soon as we finish with the previous caller.

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