Denali National Park is one of those places that once you go once you are ready to return again and again. There is just something about Alaska that draws you in. We really hope that these Denali National Park Travel Tips help you plan an amazing trip to the park. Be prepared to take so many more photos that what you think you will take.
We came home from our trip with literally 1000’s of photos to go through. We are already trying to plan a return trip to see Denali National Park again.
Denali National Park Travel Tips
Denali National Park gives sled dog demonstrations three times a day in the summer/peak season. The kennels are open from 8 am – 5 pm daily and are free to visit.
Be prepared for cell phone service to be minimal if any during your visit. Set up your out of office that you are on the lookout for bears, caribou, and moose oh my and enjoy your time in the park.
Have your camera/cell phone ready to take pics at all times. You never know what is around the next bend in the road.
How do I get to Denali National Park?
Fairbanks to Denali on Parks Highway is 122 miles
Anchorage to Denali is 237 miles
Where can I find current conditions for Denali National Park?
Current conditions/road closures and weather information can be found on this page on the Denali National Park Website.
How much does it cost to visit Denali National Park?
Denali Entrance Fee: $10.00 Per Person
The park entrance fee is $10.00 per person (youth age 15 years or younger are free). This fee provides the visitor a 7-day entrance permit. It is charged year-round.
Denali Annual Pass: $40.00
This pass is valid for a year from the month of purchase. The pass covers the cardholder plus up to three fellow-travelers.
America the Beautiful—National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass: $80
Annual pass covering entrance and standard amenity fees for national parks and other federal fee areas. This replaces the National Parks Pass and Golden Eagle Pass.
Annual 4th Grade Pass: Free
Annual pass covering entrance fees for 4th-grade students for 2016-2017 school year.
Annual Pass for US Military: Free
Annual pass covering entrance and standard amenity fees for all active military personnel and their dependents. (For active duty military personnel and dependents with proper identification (CAC Card or DD Form 1173).)
Access Pass: Free
Lifetime admission and discount pass for US citizens or permanent residents with permanent disabilities.
Senior Pass: $10
Lifetime admission and discount pass for US citizens or permanent residents who are age 62 or older.
Free Entrance Days in 2017 The National Park Service offers the following Entrance Fee Free Days this year:
- January 16: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
- February 20: Presidents’ Day
- April 15-16 and 22-23: Weekends of National Park Week
- August 25: National Park Service Birthday
- September 30: National Public Lands Day
- November 11-12: Veterans Day Weekend
Other fees such as reservation, camping, lodging, tours, concession and fees collected by third parties are not included unless stated otherwise.
Where are the Denali National Park Visitor Centers?
There are four visitor centers in Denali.
Denali National Park and Preserve Information Center – Located at mile 1.5 on the Denali Park Road. This visitor center provides natural and cultural history exhibits, ranger programs and you can screen the film Heartbeats of Denali. Open May through mid-September (closes the second Tuesday after Labor Day each year). Daily hours: 8 am – 6 pm
The Wilderness Access Center and Backcountry Information Center – Located at mile 1 on the Denali Park Road. This center provides information, reservations, and permits for park campgrounds, tour and shuttle buses, and overnight backcountry trips. Open: May 15 through mid-September each year (closing date varies). Daily hours: 5 am – 7 pm for coffee service, bus loading; 7 am – 7 pm for reservation desk
The Murie Science and Learning Center is run by the National Park Service in partnership with Alaska Geographic. They showcase the research being done in Denali. Open year-round. Daily hours: 9 am – 4:30 pm.
The Eielson Visitor Center – Located at mile 66 on the Denali Park Road. This visitor center is only accessible via park shuttle bus. They offer a great view of Denali, on clear days. Rangers are on hand to answer questions. Open June 1 through mid-September (closing the second Tuesday after Labor Day each year). Daily hours: 9 am – 7 pm. (The restroom portion of the facility remains unlocked 24 hours a day)
Where can I find out about staying/camping in Denali?
There are six campgrounds within Denali National Park. The campgrounds have both tent and RV sites, though none of them have electricity or hookups. You will need a reservation to camp in the park. To make a reservation you can call 800-622-7275, You can make reservations online, through a third-party reservation system. Reservations are possible as early as December 1 of the year before you wish to visit.
For more information on camping in Denali National Park check out the Denali National Park website. This is the best place to check for current conditions, rates, and campground information.
There are no lodges within the park owned by the National Park Service. There are a few lodges that are privately owned within the park. These lodges include Camp Denali / Denali North Face Lodge; the Kantishna Roadhouse; Denali Backcountry Lodge; and Skyline Lodge.
If you are camping in Denali you can rent Bear Resistant Food Containers (BRFC) which are made of plastic and seal your food inside keeping any odors from leaking out. The bear cans can be checked out from the Backcountry Information Center or you can buy them in the park or ahead of time on Amazon.
Can I bring my Dog/Pet with me to Denali?
Pets are welcome in Denali National Park and Preserve, but these rules apply:
- Pets must be leashed (6′ or shorter leash) at all times
- You must clean up your pet’s poop.
- You may not leave a tethered pet unattended
- Pets may be walked on the park road, in parking lots, or on campground roads
- In general, pets are not permitted on park trails, nor off-trail in the wilderness; the exceptions to this rule are the Roadside Trail and the Bike Path, where they may be walked on leash. Check out a map of hiking trails to orient yourself.
- Pets are not permitted on any of the various buses in Denali
Please note, there is a temporary closure prohibiting pet goats in the park. There is a chance that they can pass diseases to park wildlife, particularly Dall sheep. Yes, you read that right…no pet goats.
Can I drive my car into Denali National Park?
During the summer you can drive to mile 15 of the Park Road. After this point, you will need to be on a park shuttle bus. There is a lottery that you can enter to drive your car into the park in September. The lottery is open to entering from May 1st to the 31st. You can find out more information on the lottery here.
Do I need a reservation to take a tour in Denali?
YES! Denali is super busy in the summer, and your best bet is to have a reservation ahead of time. This way you know that you are going to be able to tour into the park.
There are three ways to buy bus tickets:
- Make bus and campground reservations online
1 800 622-7275 (U.S. and Canada)
1 907 272-7275 (international and Anchorage local)
- In person at the Wilderness Access Center
Reservations for bus trips and campground stays in a given summer are possible as early as December 1 of the year before your trip.
What do I need to bring for my tour in Denali National Park?
-Refillable Water Bottle
-Camera, extra cards, extra batteries. You will take WAY MORE photos than you plan on.
-Small amount of cash
-Rain gear, umbrella, jacket, coat, dress in layers so you are prepared for the weather, this is Alaska
-Hiking boots, shoes you can get muddy
– a bag/backpack that will fit everything.
We also like these plastic Denali Wildlife spotting guides. They are great for kids and adults. You can mark off with a marker the animals you have seen.
What kind of bus tours are offered in Denali National Park?
There are three kinds of buses that operate within Denali National Park. The 1st is a free entrance area courtesy bus that will take you around the entrance area and up to Savage River.
The next bus is either a tan or green bus that will take you from Savage River. On the green buses, you can bring your own food and drinks. On the Tan buses, they offer a narrated trip and may supply food and drink. These are a little more expensive so make sure and check prices and what is included while you are there.
Is there a Junior Ranger Program in Denali National Park?
YES! There is a great Junior Ranger Program at Denali National Park. You can even download a virtual Jr. Ranger program if you want to work on it ahead of your trip. Visit the Junior Ranger Page for Denali National Park to learn more.
Denali National Park Facts
In 2015, the US Department of Interior changed the name Mt. McKinley to Denali.
Denali National Park and Preserve is larger than New Hampshire.
Additional Information Resources
Denali Chamber Of Commerce website – www.denalichamber.com