Riley Creek Campground


Partial Closure in Summer 2020

We're undertaking a water and sewer line upgrade project in the Riley Creek Campground, which will begin on May 1 and last the entire summer season.

During this time, part of Riley Creek Campground will be closed. As you plan whether or not to camp at Riley Creek in 2020, keep the following in mind:

  • Scope of Work
    The campground is made up of three loops: Wolf, Bear, and Caribou. Most of the Caribou Loop, as well as small parts of Wolf and Bear Loops, will be closed, including the group campsite. In total, about 40% of sites will be closed.
  • Noise
    Construction work may be audible during daytime hours, but not at night. Construction work is allowed from 8 am to 8 pm. Quiet hours, 10:00 pm to 6:00 am, will remain in effect through the project.
  • Amenities
    The Riley Creek Mercantile and RV dump/fill station will remain open—however, temporary closures may occur on occasion, since this is a water and sewer line project. Parking at the nearby Riley Creek overflow parking lot will be limited.
  • Note for Tent Campers
    Walk-in tent sites will be available on a first-come, first-served basis with no advanced reservations, as is usual. Normally, vehicles can temporarily park near the walk-in sites for visitors to unload gear; however, the construction in Caribou Loop means vehicle access may not be possible for most of the summer. Information on how and where to access the walk-in sites will be provided when you check-in, in person at the Riley Creek Mercantile or Denali Bus Depot.
Riley Creek Campground is located just inside the park entrance. It is the largest campground in Denali, with sites that can accommodate tents or RVs, up to 40' in length.

A small section in the third loop is designated as walk-in, tent-only camping. "Walk-in" means two things here: no vehicles are permitted in this part of the campground (you must walk into the sites), and that these sites can only be booked upon arriving in the park, not in advance.

You may make reservations online, through a third-party reservation system. Reservations are possible as early as December 1 of the summer before you wish to visit (e.g., Dec 1, 2015 for a 2016 visit).

What to Expect in Riley

No campground in Denali has electrical or water hookups for RVs. However, Riley Creek has a nearby mercantile, or general store, which features camping supplies, food, a shower house and laundry facilities. The mercantile also has a dump / fill station for RV use.

Spring visitors take note:

  • The yearly goal is turn on the dump / fill station and water spigots in Riley on May 15 each year. However, weather can delay that date.
  • Drinking fountains and water bottle refilling stations are at the Murie Science and Learning Center, the Denali Visitor Center, and at the Denali Bus Depot. Contact us in the spring to find out if delays in turning on the water are anticipated.
  • Riley Creek can fill entirely in spring, before fees are charged. Spring visits are very popular, especially when the weather in May is nice. Be prepared to look outside the park for campsites if Riley Creek is full. The local Chamber of Commerce is one starting point for researching what is available outside of Denali.

Small animals, such as red squirrels and snowshoe hare, are commonly seen in Riley. Large animals, like moose, occasionally appear in the campground. Bear sightings in Riley are more rare, but do happen. Read below for wildlife safety information.

There is a maximum of eight people per site.

Campground Basics

  • Necessities
    Restrooms, both flush-toilet and pit-vault, can be found throughout the campground. Potable water is available both at the mercantile and at spigots throughout the campground. All sites have a picnic table and fire grates (see below).
  • Be courteous
    Quiet hours are between 10 pm and 6 am. Generators may only be operated from 8 am to 10 am, and 4 pm to 8 pm. There are no exceptions to these rules.
  • Wildlife & food storage
    Keep all food and scented items (e.g., toothpaste, sunscreen, ice chests/coolers, etc) in your hard-sided vehicle if available. If you are tent-camping without a vehicle, use the food lockers found throughout the campground. Label and date your items in the food locker. Keep a clean camp and wash your dishes immediately. Learn more about wildlife safety.
  • Fire
    Fires are allowed only in established grates. Wood may be purchased at the mercantile. Use of power saws, and the cutting of live vegetation or standing deadwood, are prohibited. Do not leave your campfire unattended. Do not cook directly on fire grates - use foil, and immediately dispose of it after cooking.
  • Pets
    Pets are welcome at Riley. Dispose of pet feces in garbage cans. Secure pet food in your vehicle or a food locker. Learn more about camping with your pet.

Last updated: November 21, 2019

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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