Online Junior Ranger: Camp 4

Time to explore Camp 4! Find this camp on your mountain and complete your next three activities.

Canine Rangers of Denali

Denali is one of the last places on Earth where visitors can experience an environment mostly unaltered by humans. Much of Denali is managed as Wilderness, where motorized vehicles are generally not allowed. With some special exceptions, this means no cars, trucks, snow machines, or even chainsaws! When was the last time you heard a motor? Was it a car, bus, plane, lawnmower, or something else? Think of all the motors you hear every day.

1) If there were no motors where you live, what sounds do you think you would hear instead? List two sounds next to Camp 4 on your mountain.

Instead of using motorized vehicles, park rangers mush or drive teams of sled dogs for winter travel in Denali, with minimal impact on wilderness and natural sounds. Would you like to be the musher today? Watch the video below to drive the Denali sled dog team!


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A musher stands on the back of a dogsled pulled by seven Alaskan Huskies. The team passes spruce trees on both sides of a snowy trail. The dogs are focused and silent. Only the sled is heard gliding over the snow and scraping past tree branches.

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20.02 seconds

Watch from the perspective of the musher as the Denali sled dog team runs through a snowy forest.

Mushing is important to the history and traditions of Denali. More than 100 years ago, sled dog teams on the first winter patrols helped park rangers stop illegal hunting of protected wildlife. Today, sled dogs still help park rangers:
  • Patrol the borders of the park
  • Break trails for skiing and snowshoeing
  • Transport researchers and equipment for scientific studies
  • Haul building materials to maintain historic cabins
  • Educate and inspire visitors
  • Uphold Alaskan traditions
A ranger holds two puppies next to a 100th birthday cupcake.
Meet Party and Cupcake from the "Birthday Litter" named to celebrate the 100th birthday of the National Park Service in 2016.

NPS Photo

Meet the Sled Dogs

Denali breeds or adopts a new litter of sled dog puppies every year. The puppies in each litter are named after a theme. The puppies born in 2016 celebrate the 100th birthday of the National Park Service. Their names are Cupcake, Party, Happy, and Piñata!

You can meet the sled dogs for yourself! Follow this link to visit the Denali Sled Dog Kennels online.

2) Draw and write the name of your favorite Denali sled dog next to Camp 4.


Sled Dog Adaptations

Unlike other dog breeds, no two sled dogs look the same. Their coats are black, brown, white, gray, or a combination of colors. They may have blue eyes, brown eyes, or even one of each color. Some dogs have pointy ears, while others have floppy ears. Our sled dogs are Alaskan Huskies, sometimes mixed with other breeds. Despite their differences, all Alaskan Huskies have the right adaptations to survive and thrive in cold and snowy environments.
Sled dog coat, tail, and paw

NPS Photos

Large paws help Alaskan Huskies balance like snowshoes. Compact toes prevent ice from freezing between their toes.

Thick coats help Alaskan Huskies withstand temperatures down to -40 degrees Fahrenheit (-40 degrees Celsius). They curl up and cover their noses with fluffy tails to trap warm air during rest.

Do you ever curl up and pull the covers over your head to keep warm at night? Sled dogs have the same idea!
Sled dogs haul freight with sturdy bodies and long legs.

NPS Photo

Strong, sturdy bodies help Alaskan Huskies break trail and pull heavily loaded sleds over rough terrain. Denali sled dogs can pull about 100 pounds (45 kilograms) each!

Long legs help Alaskan Huskies run through deep snow. On winter patrols, Denali sled dogs run an average of 5-6 miles (8-10 kilometers) per hour and cover 20 miles (32 kilometers) in a day. How far could you run through deep snow in a day?

3) Think of two adaptations in a dog you know. Would these adaptations be helpful to a sled dog? Why or why not? Write your answer next to Camp 4.

Camps along the West Buttress mountaineering route to the summit of Denali.
Click on High Camp to climb onward!

NPS Photo

Base Camp Camp 1 Camp 2 Camp 3 High Camp

Learn More, Climb Higher

(Optional) To take a detour and learn more about the canine rangers and wilderness of Denali, please visit:

Ready to climb onward? Click on High Camp using the interactive image map of Denali! ⇒


Return home or proceed to next camp.

Last updated: February 1, 2024

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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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