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21 minutes, 31 seconds

Denali's canine rangers connect the past to the present. Sled dogs and rangers continue to work together to protect the wilderness of the park as they have since the 1920s.


How to Visit the Kennels

Located about 3 miles inside the park, the kennels are open year-round to visitors. In winter, the dogs and rangers are frequently in the park rather than at the kennels, so you may wish to inquire at the visitor center before coming to see if the dogs are around.

You can reach the kennels any of the following ways:
  • By car
    If you have a vehicle, you may drive here. There is a parking lot at Mile 3 on the Denali Park Road—however, there is no RV parking available. Signs indicate that it is the Headquarters area; park anywhere near that sign and the flagpole, and take a short walk (< 200 yards) to the kennels. Please note that parking in summer is very limited, and we encourage you to use the bus system described below.
  • By bus
    In summer (May 15—mid-September), you can use a free bus to travel here. The bus will drop you off at the Headquarters parking lot, a short walk from the kennels.
  • On foot
    From the Denali Visitor Center, you can hike either the Roadside or Rock Creek Trail to reach the kennels. The hike is mainly uphill from the visitor center to the kennels, ~1.5 miles. You could also ride a bus here in summer, visit the kennels, and then walk (downhill!) back to the visitor center. Please note that there is no food or water for sale here, but we are happy to refill your water bottle from our tap.

Note on Visiting in Winter

In winter (roughly mid-September through mid-May), the kennels focus on preparing for multi-night trips in the park. You may get to see teams packing or harnessing to leave on a run, teams returning from a run, or you may find very few dogs in the kennel as the rest are out in the park. If the entrance to the kennels is blocked, that means the facility is closed.
  • Do not enter dog pens. This is their home. If a dog seems unsure, do not approach.
  • Keep young children by your side or in your arms.
  • Leave your pet behind, for your dog’s safety and the safety of the park dogs.

Note on Pets and Service Animals

To keep the Denali sled dogs, your pets and all of our visitors happy and healthy, pets are prohibited from the kennels at all times.

During ranger demonstrations in the summer, an unknown pet in the area will trigger a pack response in our kennel that causes all the dogs to lunge, bark and jump in an attempt to scare the unknown animal from their home. This creates a very dangerous environment for the hundreds of people hoping to pet and visit with the Denali NPS sled dogs before and after the program. It would also make it impossible for attendees to hear the ranger and we cannot be able to safely hook up and run a demonstration team for the crowd if outside pets are in the area. Unfortunately, there is nowhere to leave a pet unattended in the Headquarters area, either.

During the winter months it is just as dangerous for an outside pet to be brought into the kennels area. Kennels staff may be harnessing dogs or driving teams in and out of the kennels at any time and an unknown pet in the area could cause serious safety hazards for everyone.

If you wish to visit the kennels with a qualified service animal, we ask that you notify the kennels staff in advance, by calling 907-683-9586. Ideally, we can assist you during your visit in a way that lets you leave your service animal in capable hands outside the kennels area while you meet our NPS sled dogs and/or attend the ranger program. We know your service animal is exceptionally well trained, but our dogs do not differentiate their response from any other outside pet, so the same safety concerns apply.

Learn more about visiting Denali with a pet


The sled dogs of Denali have been important to the park for so long that they have become a part of the resource, and a cultural tradition worthy of protection. The dogs, and the kennels where they live, represent important pieces of the American story. They have cultural significance, representing both the Native Alaskan and the pioneer experience in the far north; and have a role in the history of Alaska's first national park.

These are the only sled dogs in the United States that help protect a national park and the wildlife, scenery, and wilderness therein, and it has been this way nearly as long as there has been a park here.


Where Are They Now?

In winter, you can use the map below to follow the progress of the dogs as they mush through the park. On occasion, they may not be using their SPOT device, and the map will be blank. It will also be blank in summer, when the teams are not out in the park.

The map also shows conditions on various trails. Click on a trail segment to see if we have any important additional info to offer for that section.

  • Yellow: Indicates a route our teams have traveled recently (in the past two weeks). Only minor hazards or difficulties should be expected.
  • Orange: Also a route our teams traveled recently, but with more significant hazards or challenges
  • Red: Either a route we have not traveled recently, or a route with extremely difficult hazards or challenges.
  • Blue: Illustrate common routes used each year, but do not indicate recent conditions.
  • Download the trail routes: KML trail routes (for use in programs like Google Earth) | GPX trail routes (for use in a GPS device)
    (Note: These files are general routes; there is no current status information associated with them, and the actual trail you find in the park may deviate slightly in course and location).

Last updated: March 24, 2021

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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