Permits & Reservations

This page includes information about: Bus and campground reservations | Backpacking and mountaineering permits | Permits for other special activities | Note on entrance fees

Denali charges an entrance fee. In addition, there are sometimes other costs associated with certain types of reservations or permits (although some activities which require a permit, like backpacking, are free).

What Do I Need to Reserve in Denali?

Advance reservations are recommended for just two specific activities:

  • Riding a bus
  • Camping

Most other activities in the park either do not require reservations of any kind, or can only be reserved once you are physically here. Bus and campground reservations are explained in more detail, below.


Bus Tickets & Campground Reservations

Advance reservations are recommended for bus trips and campground stays in Denali.

Already know what you need? Make bus and/or campground reservations through our concessionaire's website.

The National Park Service does not handle bus or campground reservations, though we're happy to answer questions about the bus systems or campgrounds.



  • Two campgrounds - Igloo Creek and Sanctuary River - cannot be reserved in advance, only once you arrive in the park. The other four campgrounds can be reserved in advance.
  • Senior and Access pass holders will receive a discount on nightly campground fees. These passes do not modify bus ticket prices.
  • Most lodging choices (as opposed to campgrounds) are outside of the park. There are no NPS-operated hotels or lodges. We suggest you visit the local Denali Chamber of Commerce's website to research your options.
  • Bus and campground reservations can be made as early as December 1 of the year before you plan to visit (e.g., Dec 1, 2016 for a 2017 visit).


What Activities Require a Permit?

Permits are not quite the same thing as reservations, although there are similarities. A permit in Denali is for some kind of very specific activity, like mountaineering or backpacking. Getting a permit for a specific activity usually involves talking to a ranger, too, either because the activity is inherently dangerous or because it's really complex and there is information you need from us, and that we need from you, before you visit.

Most Denali visitors do not do these complicated or dangerous activities, and so most park visitors do not need to worry about "permits." Just focus on bus tickets and campgrounds (if you're camping - if you are looking for lodgings, you must look outside the park, as there are no NPS-run accommodations, just campgrounds).

Some permitted activities have a fee involved, while other permits are free. More details are lower on this page, broken out by activity.


Backpacking & Mountaineering Permits

  • Permits are required for backpacking in most of Denali. Permits are free. Learn more about how to obtain a backcountry permit.
  • If you plan to climb Denali or Mt. Foraker, you are required to register and pay for a permit 60 days in advance of your climb. Learn more about mountaineering in Denali.

Permits for Commercial Activities

A business or an individual must obtain either a Concession Contract or a Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) prior to conducting any commercial activity in Denali National Park and Preserve.

These contracts and permits are issued and administered by the National Park Service (NPS).


Other Permits or Reservations

  • Road Lottery
    This annual event is a public lottery for a chance to drive the Denali Park Road in a private vehicle. Applications are taken in late spring, the lottery drawing occurs in mid-summer, and the actual event takes place in mid-September each year.
  • Filming & Still Photography
    This information is for anyone interested in conducting filming or still photography within the boundaries of the park and preserve.
  • Special Use Permits
    This catch-all category covers permits that may be necessary for a variety of activities, such as filming in wilderness, organizing a wedding, religious gatherings, or first amendment demonstrations in Denali.
  • Discovery Hikes
    These ranger-led programs are offered June 8—September each year (ending date varies year to year). "Disco" hikes take place off-trail in the wilderness, and typically involve a bus ride of variable length before and after the hike. You cannot reserve a spot on a disco hike in advance remotely. Come in person to the Denali Visitor Center one or two days in advance to sign up for a given hike.

Other Activities

Any activity not mentioned on this page does not require reservations. For example, any ranger program other than Discovery Hikes, or just dayhiking on your own, are activities that do not require any kind of registration, permit or reservations.


Entrance Fees

In addition to permit fees, there is an overall entrance fee for any visitor traveling to Denali. 

Denali Entrance Fee—Per Person - $15.00

Youth age 15 years or younger are free. For people age 16 or older: This fee provides the visitor a 7-day entrance permit. It is charged year-round.

Last updated: March 3, 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.

Contact Us