Travel to Denali
- By Car: Rural destinations in Alaska are often located by road mile marker rather than mailing address. Denali’s one and only road entrance is located at Mile 237 on Alaska Highway 3 (also called the George Parks Highway). Our mailing address is PO Box 9, Denali Park, AK 99755, though mapping to this location may drop a location pin somewhere inside the park instead of exactly at the park entrance. You can find us 240 miles north of Anchorage, 120 miles south of Fairbanks, and 12 miles south of the nearest year-round community of Healy. If navigating your route by GPS, we recommend inputting the latitude and longitude of the park entrance: 63.728443, -148.886572.
- By Train: The state-owned Alaska Railroad connects Anchorage to Fairbanks and runs directly through Denali’s entrance. The train depot is five-minute walk from the Denali Visitor Center. Please visit Alaska Railroad for more information.
- By Plane: Air travel to either Anchorage (ANC) or Fairbanks (FAI) is the easiest entry to Alaska. You can continue your trip to Denali by train, bus, or car. If you plan to fly your own aircraft to Denali, please see pilot information.
- On Foot: Denali’s mountaineering headquarters are located in Talkeetna, about 100 miles north of Anchorage and 140 miles south of the park entrance.
- Other Transportation: In summer months, a variety of private bus and van services operate daily from Anchorage and Fairbanks. Contact a travel agent or search the web for available companies operating along Highway 3.
Travel within Denali
Explore park maps to help orient yourself to the layout of Denali. Though only one road leads into the park, several side-roads around the park entrance reach the visitor center, train depot, and dirt airstrip. Locations on the park road are generally referred by mile marker as measured from the park entrance (e.g., the Denali Visitor Center is at Mile 1.5 on the park road, meaning it is 1.5 miles from the park entrance).
Summer visitors will find the Denali Park Road restricted to private vehicles beyond the Savage River crossing at Mile 15. We recommend that visitors traveling with or without private vehicles take advantage of Denali’s free and fee-based transit and tour bus services to venture farther into the park. Free shuttles service the entrance area, dog sled kennels, and other stops along the park road up to Mile 15.
Visitors in spring or fall may find anywhere from 3 to 30 miles of the road open to drive in private vehicles, depending on conditions.
Bicycles and pedestrians are permitted to travel on any part of the park road barring temporary, wildlife-related closures.
Travel with a School Group
School groups often arrive at the park via train, school or commercial buses, or personal vehicles. See above for more details on getting to Denali.
If your group qualifies for an academic fee waiver, you may continue to use school or commercial buses to transport students around Denali anywhere that personal vehicles are allowed on the park road. The park road is generally open to personal vehicles as far as Savage River Campground (Mile 15) in summer, Teklanika Campground (Mile 30) in spring and fall, NPS Headquarters (Mile 3) in mid-winter, and Mountain Vista (Mile 12) in late winter. Without an academic fee waiver, school and commercial buses are not permitted to travel beyond the Denali Visitor Center (Mile 1).
Before your trip, consider the size and number of vehicles you plan to use. We strongly encourage school groups to consolidate students into fewer vehicles for in-park exploration. Group parking in Denali can be limited, especially in May when many schools plan end-of-year excursions. Travel and parking along the park road may also be influenced by season, weather, and park road conditions. Check Current Conditions for the most up-to-date weather and road information.
Below are seasonal group visitation and parking availabilities and restrictions for popular stops along the park road:
- Denali Visitor Center (Mile 1): Group visitation and parking at the Denali Visitor Center is available in spring, summer, and fall. School buses should park in lots 4 and 5. Personal vehicles should park in lots 1, 2, 3, and 6.
- Winter Visitor Center (Mile 1): Group visitation and parking at the Winter Visitor Center is available in – you guessed it – winter. School buses should park in lots 4 and 5. Personal vehicles should park in lots 1, 2, 3, and 6.
- Sled Dog Kennels (Mile 3): While the kennels are open to visitors year-round, group parking is not available in any season. If your group qualifies for an academic fee waiver, drivers may drop off students at Park Headquarters, park at the Denali Visitor Center, and return to pick students up at a designated time. Cell service reaches just beyond Mile 3 on the park road for communication with drivers. When park shuttles are in service, you may alternatively park at the Denali Visitor Center and catch the free Savage River Shuttle to NPS Headquarters. You may also park at the Denali Visitor Center and hike the Roadside Trail or Rock Creek Trail to the kennels.
- Mountain Vista Rest Area (Mile 12): Group visitation and parking at Mountain Vista is available in spring, summer, and fall as space allows. When park shuttles are in service, you may alternatively park at the Denali Visitor Center and catch the free Savage River Shuttle to Mountain Vista. Be advised that cell service does not reach far beyond Mile 3.
- Savage River Campground (Mile 15): Savage River Campground is open to visitors in spring, summer, and fall, but group parking is not available in any season. Plan to drop off students in the west parking lot at Savage River Campground, park at the Denali Visitor Center or Mountain Vista, and return at a designated time. When park shuttles are in service, you may alternatively park at the Denali Visitor Center or Mountain Vista and catch the free Savage River Shuttle to its final destination. Be advised that cell service does not reach far beyond Mile 3 and plan accordingly.
- Teklanika Campground (Mile 30): Teklanika Campground is open to visitors in spring, summer, and fall, but private vehicles (including school and commercial buses) are only permitted to travel beyond Mile 15 for a few weeks in shoulder seasons as weather and road conditions allow. If your group plans to visit during this time and qualifies for an academic fee waiver, you may park at Mile 30 as space allows.
Travel across Alaska
Alaska is a vast landscape, with many popular national parks and other public lands. Check with the Alaska Public Lands Information Center for help planning your journey to other parts of the Great Land.