Plan Your Visit

Roughly 400,000 intrepid travelers journey to Denali National Park and Preserve each year, primarily between late May and early September. While the main summer season at Denali is generally May 20 through the second or third week of September, there can be plenty to see and do outside of that season.


The Highlights of a Visit

Most come in search of wildlife or glimpses of 20,310' tall Denali, the roof of North America. All are encouraged to take one of the many bus rides along the Denali Park Road, the sole vehicle access into the heart of the park, and to join a ranger-led program or two.

Whether you seek wildlife, scenery, or solitude and communion with this wild land, these webpages and our park newspaper should be your guides to planning your trip.
 
 

A Quick Overview of Visiting Denali

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Duration:
3 minutes, 26 seconds

Whether you've already reached the park entrance, or you're dreaming about it, this short video offers important information and insights about how you can make the most of your experience in this special place. (Open Captions)

Check out our American Sign Language welcome

 

Step 1: Decide Where to Stay and How Long

The first step to planning your trip is to determine where you're staying, and for how long. Denali has several campgrounds. Other accommodations are either outside the park or are on inholdings of private land inside the park. Because we are legally unable to recommend private businesses, so we suggest you use the local Chamber of Commerce or a third-party trip planning website to find a hotel, cabin, etc.

Step 2: Start Planning Your Activities

Planning a trip to Denali can be a big undertaking! Just getting to the park can take half a day or more, and it is distinctly different from many national parks, so even seasoned park travelers can be unsure how to plan their trip.

Use the simplistic table below to start thinking about what might work well for you, given the amount of time you'll be here. There are plenty of other things to do than what is listed below - this is just a starting point.

Duration of Visit Recommended for Everyone High-energy Activities Low-energy Activities Notes, Other Thoughts
Half a day or less Visit Savage River | Stop in the Denali Visitor Center watch the park film and chat with a ranger Go hiking on one or more trails from the visitor center or at Savage River (note: Triple Lakes and the Savage Alpine Trail are potentially too long for a short visit) Attend a ranger program at the visitor center or sled dog kennels | Hike some of the short trails around the visitor center More time is highly recommended. A visit this short isn't likely to see a ton of wildlife, but you'll have a chance to experience the frontcountry of the park and hopefully be inspired for a longer visit in the future!
One full day or part of two days (i.e., one night in the area) Ride a shuttle or tour bus on the full day | stop in the Denali Visitor Center Hike, especially Triple Lakes Trail, the trails around Savage River and/or hike off-trail | join a ranger-led discovery hike Attend a ranger program at the visitor center or sled dog kennels | Walk some of the short trails around the visitor center This is the real minimum for a visit. If you can stay another night, it is recommended.
One full day and part of two others (i.e., two nights) Ride a shuttle or tour bus on the full day | stop in the Denali Visitor Center | visit Savage River Hike, especially on the half-days or hike off-trail while taking a shuttle bus trip | join a ranger-led discovery hike on the full day (in lieu of a shuttle or tour bus ride) Attend a ranger program at the visitor center or sled dog kennels | Walk some of the short trails around the visitor center | consider a short tour or shuttle ride on one of the partial days This is a common length of visit. More time is recommended, but this gives you a full day for one of the bus rides, and partial days for other activities, like hiking or joining ranger talks or hikes.
Two full days (i.e., three nights) At least one tour or shuttle bus trip | visit Savage River Hike, especially Triple Lakes Trail, the trails around Savage River, around Eielson Visitor Center and/or hike off-trail | join a ranger-led discovery hike | go backpacking Attend a ranger program at the visitor center or sled dog kennels | walk some of the short trails around the visitor center This is a nice amount of time in the area. You have at least one full day for a bus trip. Consider a second bus trip if you want to maximize your chances to see wildlife.
Three or more days (i.e., you're practically moving here) At least one tour or shuttle bus trip | visit Savage River Hike, especially Triple Lakes, around Savage River and Eielson, and/or off-trail | join one or more ranger-led discovery hikes | go backpacking Attend a ranger program at the visitor center or sled dog kennels | Walk some of the short trails around the visitor center You have chosen wisely! Denali is a big place with unpredictable weather. Having three or more days lets you make the most of your good-weather days (bus rides, hiking) and bad-weather days (ranger talks, time at the visitor centers, etc)

Step 3: Dig into the Details of Your Visit
This involves figuring out how you're getting here, orienting yourself to the layout of the park, deciding what to reserve in advance and considering some of the more specific activities that are possible, like flight-seeing, cycling, etc.
  • In Basic Information, learn some important facts about traveling to this beautiful and special part of the world. Pilots, both commercial and non-commercial, will also find a wealth of aviation information here.
  • In Directions, learn where Denali is in relation to major airports and cities in Alaska, and get suggestions on how to travel here once you're in Alaska.
  • In Fees & Passes, find out what park fees you should expect during your visit.
  • In Eating & Sleeping, learn where you can grab a bite to eat in the park - but please note that most restaurants are outside the park!
  • In Things To Do, explore the myriad activities that are possible in Denali.
  • Glance at the park calendar to learn about upcoming ranger programs, special events, and other visitor activities. You can also connect to the park and get help planning your visit via our social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more.

"Traveling Green" is a great way to help Denali and other areas you visit reduce carbon emissions, divert and reduce what goes into the waste stream, and to help the environment. Find helpful tips on planning your next green adventure on our Traveling Green page.

 

Wildlife Safety

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Duration:
12 minutes, 49 seconds

Seeing a wild animal in the backcountry can be an incredible experience. But knowing how to behave in an encounter scenario might make all the difference. Whether it's a moose, a bear or some smaller animal, be prepared to react accordingly.

Key concepts:
• Make noise in areas of low visibility
• Stay 300 yards away from any bear
• Stay at least 25 yards from a moose
• If a wild animal changes its behavior because of you, you’re too close.

 

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Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 9
Denali Park, AK 99755

Phone:

(907) 683-9532
General park information. The phone is answered 9 am - 4 pm daily, except on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. If you reach the voicemail, please leave a message with your number and we'll call you back as soon as we finish helping the visitor on the line ahead of you.

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