Commercial Use Authorizations


About CUAs in Denali

Commercial Use Authorizations (CUAs) are limited authorizations to provide specific visitor services within the boundaries of Denali National Park and Preserve. Section 418 of the National Parks Omnibus Management Act of 1998, Public Law 105-391, authorizes the National Park Service to issue Commercial Use Authorizations (CUAs) to persons (referring to individuals, corporations, and other entities) to provide commercial services to park area visitors in limited circumstances. CUAs provide a means to authorize suitable commercial services to visitors in park areas.

The CUA is used to provide for incidental use of park area resources by operators who provide commercial services originating and terminating outside of the park area (Out-of-Park-Services). The term of a CUA may not exceed two years and no preferential right of renewal or similar provisions for renewal may be provided. Please note CUA holders are required to complete Annual Activity and Annual Financial reports both due by January 31 for the preceding operating year. These reports are required whether the CUA holder operates or not within the respective operating year.

Denali National Park and Preserve accepts CUA applications for the following activities:

  1. Guided Day Hiking—Frontcountry
  2. Guided Day Hiking—Kantishna and Wonder Lake
  3. Guided Day Hiking—Backcountry
  4. Guided Overnight Hiking
  5. Group Camping—Savage River Campground
  6. Guided Winter Activities
  7. Guided Mountaineering
  8. Air Taxi (includes Incidental Hunt Transport)

How to Apply

We are excited to announce the launch of the online CUA application and reporting system pilot. CUA applications for the 2023 CUA season will be accepted through the system until April 30, 2023. The system will streamline the application and reporting process for CUA applicants and holders, and NPS will use information gathered during this pilot to further refine the online system before it is fully launched in all NPS sites for the 2024 CUA season. Please reach out to the CUA office if you have questions or concerns. Thank you for your participation!

View available CUA opportunities and apply now

An instructional video, below, is available if you need help using the new online system.


Application Period: November 1 to April 30

  • All applicants: Please submit applications a minimum of six weeks prior to operating.
  • Online applicants must complete their application in the system by April 30.
  • Please reach out to the CUA office if you have questions or concerns.

  1. National and Interior Region 11 (Alaska) Stipulations Common to All CUAs

  2. Denali National Park Stipulations Common to All CUAs

  3. Denali National Park Activity Specific Stipulations

    1. Guided Day Hiking - Frontcountry
    2. Air Taxi and Incidental Hunt Transport
    3. Group Camping at Savage River Campground
    4. Guided Day Hiking - Wonder Lake and Kantishna
    5. Guided Day Hiking - Backcountry
    6. Guided Overnight Camping/Hiking Backcountry
    7. Guided Winter Activities
    8. Guided Mountaineering Stipulations and Guided Mountaineering Supplemental Information

    CUA holders are required to meet Common to All Stipulations for National, Interior Region 11, and Denali National Park as well as Activity Specific Stipulations. Please note, all Stipulations are provided and agreed upon during the application process. Please take the time to review the Stipulations and be certain guides understand operating expectations before guiding trips in Denali National Park.

  1. Guide & Vehicle List Template

    An Excel file which can be used to document guides and guide certifications as well as the list of vehicles used in performance of the visitor service.  A vehicle list is only required for the Camping- frontcountry (Savage River), Winter Activities - Guided, and Guided Day Hiking - Wonder Lake and Kantishna CUA's.

    Guide lists along with required guide certifications are due May 1 or before CUA operation begins.

  2. Annual Activity Reporting—Visitor Use Reporting (VURn) system 

    We are excited to announce the launch of the online Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) Visitor Use Reporting system (VURn). The system is designed to streamline administrative reporting procedures for both CUA holders and the National Park Service (NPS).  VURn facilitates the collection and analysis of commercial visitor use data in Interior Region 11 – Alaska and provides a more user friendly and flexible reporting process than available in the past. Beginning with the 2023 season, CUA holders in Alaska are required to use the online Visitor Use Reporting system to submit Activity Reports.

    System resources, how to create a VURn account, maps, and more
    Visitor Use Reporting System CUA Holder User Guide

  3. Annual Financial Report Form (10-660)

    Required for all CUA holders. Please note: If you are a business applying for a CUA in more than one national park in Alaska, you only need to submit one 10-660 form to the National Park Service.

    This form must be submitted by January 31 of each year, following the year of operations.


Types and Descriptions of CUAs in Denali

Below is a description of possible CUAs in Denali. These "service category descriptions" are separated out by broad categories. Some refer to particular locations or trails; see our maps if you're unfamiliar with these specific areas.

Land-Based Activities

Activity Details
Guided Day Hiking - Frontcountry CUA holders are authorized to conduct one hike per day on the following trails and routes:
  • Triple Lakes Trail starting from the DVC
  • Triple Lakes Trail starting from Mile 230 of the George Parks Highway
  • McKinley Station Trail starting from the DVC
  • McKinley Station Trail starting from the Riley Creek Day Use Area and Overflow Parking
  • Roadside Trail to Rock Creek Trail loop
  • Rock Creek to Roadside Trail loop
  • Oxbow Trail
  • Only the portions of the Horseshoe Lake Trail from the DVC and the DVC parking area as allowed as connections to the McKinley Station and Roadside Trails
  • Use of the Meadow View, Morino, Spruce Forest, and Jonesville Connector Trails are allowed when using the McKinley Station, Triple Lakes, Roadside, and Rock Creek Trails
  • Use of the Roadside Bike Trail is allowed
Guided Day Hiking - Backcountry Day hiking in areas of the park backcountry. Special provisions apply to Backside Lake.
Guided Day Hiking - Kantishna & Wonder Lake Day hiking within the Kantishna Backcountry Day Use Area, Backcountry units 41, 42, 43 and select areas around Wonder Lake.
Guided Overnight Hiking Hiking and carrying backpacks and necessary supplies and equipment with the intent of establishing and staying in temporary overnight camps.
Group Camping - Savage River Campground Overnight camping in the Savage Campground in designated group campsites.
Guided Winter Activities Skiing, snowshoeing and hiking on snow.


Activity Details
Guided Mountaineering Activities that involve rock, ice or snow climbing and/or glacier travel requiring the use of ropes, ice axes, harnesses, climbing hardware, crampons, specialized clothing, etc.

Air Transportation

Activity Details
Air Taxi Air transportation involving the drop-off and/or pick-up of visitors within park boundaries.
Incidental Hunt Transport An air taxi for the carriage of big game hunters, their equipment, or big game animals harvested by hunters is only an incidental portion of its’ business. The word “incidental” means transportation provided to a big game hunter by an air taxi who does not :
(i) charge more than the usual tariff or charter rate for the carriage of bug game hunters, their equipment, or big game animals harvested by hunters; or
(ii) advertise transportation services or big game hunting services to the public. The word “advertise” means soliciting big game hunters to be customers of an air taxi operator or air carrier for the purpose of providing air transportation to, from, or in the field through the use of print or electronic media, including advertising at trade shows or the use of hunt broker services or other promotional services.

Last updated: July 27, 2023

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

PO Box 9
Denali Park, AK 99755


907 683-9532
A ranger is available 9 am to 4 pm daily (except on major holidays). If you reach 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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