Current Conditions

 

Learn and Explore

Visiting Denali during a pandemic is going to be a little bit confusing!

Most park operations (e.g., when visitor centers, campgrounds, and other facilities are open) will be changed from normal years. Certain facilities will be closed to the public, while other facilities will have adjusted hours and seasons.

 

Park Operations Altered Due to COVID-19

Below is a list of information pertinent to trip planners in fall 2020. If you encounter discrepancies between other parts of our website and this information, go with what you see below. This supercedes all other trip planning information during this pandemic.

Visitor Centers & Other Facilities

  • As of September 29, the summer-time Denali Visitor Center is closed. The Indoor Picnic Area is open 9:30 am to 5 pm, and is a place to use restrooms, refill water bottles, access park information, and warm up indoors during chilly weather. No food service is provided, but tables are available for visitors who bring their own food and drink to use. The Indoor Picnic Area is across the road from the Denali Visitor Center, and is adjacent to the Murie Science & Learning Center. The Murie Science and Learning Center will not open this fall or winter.
  • The sled dog kennels are closed to visitors this fall and winter.
  • The Backcountry Information Center (adjacent to the Denali Bus Depot) is closed. Please note that you must still reserve your backcountry permit in advance, Learn more about backpacking from October 1, 2020 to April 14, 2021. Backpackers planning for summer 2021 are welcome to refer to the information, but keep in mind that some changes might be necessary to how permits are acquired, depending on the pandemic.

Entrance Fees & Passes

Entrance fees to Denali are required. Visitors can learn about fees & passes in Denali and pay their park entrance fees online in advance, or upon arrival to the entrance area of the park. The Denali Annual Pass is also available for purchase online. Please note that after September 28th, the only option to pay your park entrance fee is by doing so online.


Campgrounds


One of the three loops in Riley Creek Campground is open year-round, and it is free to camp in Riley Creek outside the summer season (from September 23, 2020 til mid-May, 2021). There is no electricity or running water in the campground.

All other campgrounds in Denali are closed for the winter.

Campers are asked to do their part in maintaining social distancing. Bring all supplies for adequate sanitation. It is the responsibility of each camper to understand current Alaska State Health Mandates and their applicability to visitors' camping experience.

 

Trip Planning for 2021

Buses

Reservations for 2021 summer bus trips opened on December 1, 2020. Buses in Denali are operated by our commercial partner, Doyon/Aramark Joint Venture. Visitors should read the Joint Venture's statement on COVID-19 to understand how riding a bus will work next summer.

A noteworthy change for 2021: Most buses will travel no farther than Eielson Visitor Center (Mile 66).
  • Service on May 20 will start, as always, with non-narrated transit buses going to Toklat River (Mile 53). Narrated tour buses also begin going to Toklat River on that date (and some shorter tours are available before May 20, as is usual).
  • On June 1, transit buses will begin going as far as Eielson (Mile 66).
  • On June 8, Wonder Lake Campground (Mile 85, see below) will open. Camper buses will travel to Wonder Lake, so that campers may come and go from the campground. However, no other transit buses will travel beyond Eielson Visitor Center. Thus, the only way to travel by bus beyond Eielson will be to stay at Wonder Lake Campground one or more nights. Cycling or hiking west beyond Eielson is allowed, though visitors should keep in mind that there are very few buses to potentially board and come back out of the park west of Eieislon.

Campgrounds

All of our campgrounds will be open in 2021—including Wonder Lake Campground, which was closed in 2020. However, only half of Wonder Lake Campground will be open in 2021. Advanced reservations for all campgrounds are strongly recommended.

Facilities

  • The Denali Bus Depot and Riley Creek Mercantile will only accept credit/debit cards in 2021. Cash will not be accepted at either location. These two facilities are where campers check in for their campground, and where bus tickets may be purchased. The Mercantile also has food and other camping supplies.
  • The Riley Creek Mercantile shower and laundry facilities will not be open for the 2021 season.

Ranger Programs

  • Discovery Hikes will not occur in 2021.
  • Availability of other ranger-led programs is yet to be determined.
 

Conditions on the Denali Park Road

The map below illustrates which parts of the park road are open to private vehicles (thick green line) and, in summer, to bus traffic (thin black line). Red indicates sections of road closed. Icons also indicate which park campgrounds are open.

 

Last updated: December 7, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 9
Denali Park, AK 99755

Phone:

(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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