Explanation of Backcountry UnitsThe six million acres of Denali are divided into 87 separate backcountry units. Forty-one units have a limit on the number of individuals that can camp in each unit per night. During peak summer visitation, many of these units are heavily used, so please come to the Backcountry Desk with several alternative trip itineraries. Don't become discouraged if your first choice is not available. Remember, there are six million acres to choose from, and all units offer excellent wilderness trips.
Note the following key information when planning a trek through Denali's backcountry:
- Unit Quotas and Group Size Limits
- Forty-one backcountry units have a specific quota. The quota is the maximum number of campers in that unit each night (e.g., if a unit quota is 8, there might be 8 solo backpackers, or 4 groups of 2 people, etc).
- Every unit has a group size limit, too. The group size limit is how many individuals can travel and/or camp together as a single party. Generally, units west of the Muddy River have a group size limit of 6, while units east of that river have a limit of 12 (unless the unit quota is less than 12, of course).
- Unit availability determines where you may camp each night, and you must camp in the unit for which you have a permit
- Individual Limits
- For each camper, there is a maximum of seven consecutive nights in a single unit.
- For each camper, there is a maximum thirty nights in the backcountry during a summer season (April 15 - September 30).
- Permits are issued only in person (no telephone or email reservations), and no more than one day in advance of your trip.
- "Double booking" a single night in two different units or a unit and a campground is not allowed.
- All party members must be present to receive a permit.
- Note: Permits are not required for day-hiking in the backcountry
There are some areas closed to human entry, usually due to the presence of nests/dens, or heightened bear activity (e.g., the presence of a killed animal). Closures are indicated on the unit map, below, and on a map at the Backcountry Desk in the park.