How to Get a Backcountry Permit

Backcountry permits are free and required for overnight trips in the Denali backcountry. From mid-May to late September, they are issued in person at the Backcountry Information Center on the Denali Bus Depot campus, no more than one day prior to the start of the trip. You will need a backcountry permit prior to acquiring Camper Bus tickets at the Denali Bus Depot.

In the fall, winter, and spring, backcountry permits are available at the visitor center.

All members of the backpacking party must attend a backcountry orientation before the permit is issued. The backcountry video series may be viewed ahead of time, otherwise Chapters 3–5 will be included in your backcountry orientation when your party arrives to obtain the backcountry permit. Bear Resistant Food Containers are required from April 15 – September 30. You may bring your own approved BRFC or check one out from the NPS. Your permit will specify the backcountry unit in which you must camp for each night of your trip. A map of Denali’s backcountry units and their current availability may be found in the Backcountry Unit Guide.

a man standing on a rocky outcropping atop a mountain

Courtesy Alaska Geographic

Wilderness—A Land Without Trails

Traveling and camping in this expansive terrain is special. You will find that Denali is different from other national parks. There are no trails, designated routes, or backcountry campsites to guide your wilderness adventure. Our goal is to provide visitors with the means of self-reliance and self-discovery; to encourage hikers to find what appeals to them rather than following specific routes.

Rangers working here will provide you with the knowledge to make your trip as safe and enjoyable as possible—but, the path you choose in the backcountry will be your own. The more effort your group invests in planning your trip, the larger the reward. Come prepared to travel cross-country through remote terrain in harsh weather and to rescue yourself in the event of problems.

It is also your responsibility to help protect Denali by carefully following the principles of Leave No Trace, so that your travels do not diminish the experience of those who follow you.

Begin Planning Your Backpacking Adventure

A backpacking trip in Denali is unlike backpacking in most other national parks. Denali is about the size of Vermont, with only a handful of trails—most of which are near the entrance of the park for day-hiking, rather than overnight backpacking.

Backpacking permits are issued only in person, no more than a day before you begin your backcountry adventure—so use the information on this site as a guide, to familiarize yourself with the permit process and the landscape of Denali, but be ready to hash out the details of your itinerary only once you're in the park, speaking to one of our backcountry rangers.

people setting up tents in a grassy meadow
Video Series: Backpacking in Denali

Prefer videos to text? This video series helps you understand what it means to backpack in Denali, and how to prepare for your adventure.


Trip Planning Part 1:
Research Before You Travel

Below is a detailed look at what you should think about before traveling to the park for a backpacking adventure.

Answering these questions will make it much faster and easier to get your permit once you're here. Some of these are simple to answer, while others will take some time for you to fully understand and/or answer.



Trip Planning Part 2:
Pack for Your Trip (Gear and Supplies)

This section explains not just what you should bring backpacking, but how you can get it here (e.g., transporting stove fuel can be tricky).



Trip Planning Part 3:
What to Do Once You're in the Park



Detailed Planning Resources

After reading through the material above, browse these resources to learn more about specific backpacking topics.

Specialized Trips

Certain types of backcountry trips require additional information, skills and equipment. For trips like these, the information and rules listed above generally apply.


Contact Information & the Backcountry Desk

Email us

Call us

  • (907) 683-9590 (backcountry office, mid-May to late September only, 9 am–6 pm)
  • (907) 683-9532 (general park information, year-round, 9 am–4 pm)
Find Us
  • Backcountry Information Center on the Denali Bus Depot campus (May 15 to late September) 9 am–6 pm
  • Winter Visitor Center, open daily in fall, winter and spring (late September to May 14): 9:30 am–5 pm

Last updated: May 20, 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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