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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:
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.
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
All About Denali's Dogs
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?
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.
Last updated: September 23, 2020