Frequently Asked Questions for Denali National Park
Where can I get information on Denali National Park and Preserve?
Information is located online at their website, http://nps.gov/dena or information can be requested from the Anchorage Alaska Public Lands Information Center, either by phone at 1-866-869-6887 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Throughout the summer "Heartbeats of Denali" (17 mins) can be seen at the Anchorage Alaska Public Lands Information Center every day at 10:00 and and 3:00 pm through September 11, 2015. While in the Anchorage visitor center you can also request an orientation about Denali National Park with one of the park rangers.
Download the latest version of the Alpenglow, the official newspaper of Denali National Park and Preserve.
A tour bus navigates the narrow road in Denali National Park and Preserve.
How can I make reservations for the shuttle and tour buses? Or is it first come, first serve?
Bus reservations can be made online at http://www.reservedenali.com/, by phone at 1-800-622-7275 in the US or 907-272-7275 if calling from Alaska or from outside the US. Currently, 65% of the seats are available for reservation; the remaining seats are first come, first serve. Bus service ends this year (2015) on Wednesday, September 16th.
What types of lodging does Denali National Park and Preserve have?
There are places to stay outside of the Park in the nearest communities of Healy, located about 11 miles north of the park entrance and Cantwell, located about 30 miles south of the park entrance. There are many hotels, motels, and B&Bs, etc, that exist in these communities and along the highway between them.
Inside the park, lodging is limited to a handful of privately owned remote wilderness lodges in the Kantishna area at the end of the Park Road. You may also camp in the park, either in an established campground or, with a permit, in the backcountry.
Campsite at Riley Creek Campground.
How can I get campground reservations for Denali National Park and Preserve?
There are a total of six campgrounds along the park road and these campgrounds vary in size and distance from the developed area at the entrance to the park. There is a limited number of sites that are available to recreational vehicles up to 40' in length.
Hikers have many opportunities for adventure and scenic views in Denali National Park and Preserve.
Are there good hiking opportunities within Denali National Park and Preserve?
Whether you're planning a leisurely day hike or a week long backcountry trek Denali NP&P offers several options. There are many maintained trails originating near the park entrance that offer scenic views and a vigorous workout without the need for a heavy pack or a compass. There are also Ranger lead hikes available which encompass the entrance area as well. However, for the more adventurous visitor, the six million trail-less acres of the park provides the opportunity for a memorable backpacking trip.
Denali National Park and Preserve's working sled dogs are the only pups allowed on the trails.
Can I take my pet with me into Denali National Park and Preserve?
Pets are welcome in Denali, but to protect other visitors, wildlife and your pets themselves, please remember these regulations:
•Pets must be leashed (6' or shorter leash) at all times
•You may not leave a tethered pet unattended
•Pets may be walked on the Park Road, in parking lots, or on campground roads
•Pets are not permitted on park trails, nor off trail in the wilderness
•Pets are not permitted on any of the various buses in Denali
Biking is an option for visitors who don't want to take a shuttle bus into the park's interior.
What are the other modes of transportation inside Denali National Park and Preserve other than the various shuttle buses?
In the summer months, when the park road is open, visitors can walk, hike, or bike along the park road. Many flightseeing tours also operate during the summer and offer a unique view of the area. During the winter months, visitors can cross country ski, snowshoe, or even dogsled within the park.
You can drive your personal vehicle up to the entrance to the Savage River parking area at mile 15.
What about driving your own car in on the Park Road?
Starting around May 20th and ending around September 15th, you can drive a private vehicle up to mile 15. Only shuttles and vehicles with permits can go beyond this point. Winners of the Denali Road Lottery that occurs in June are allowed one day of access into the park over a designated weekend in September. Once the week long road lottery operation ends, personal vehicles are allowed approximately 30 miles down the Denali park road until the snow falls. For more information on the road lottery, see below.
Driving the park road offers a unique wildlife viewing opportunity.
What is the Road Lottery?
Each September the park hosts a four-day event called the "Road Lottery." During these four days, winners of a lottery drawing are given a chance to purchase a single, day-long permit, allowing them to drive as much of the Denali Park Road as weather allows. In years with early snow, the Park Road might open no farther than Savage River (mile 15); in milder years, lottery winners are able to enjoy a trip out to Wonder Lake (mile 85). The four consecutive days of the Road Lottery always begin the second Friday after Labor Day. The application period for the September lottery is June 1st - 30th of the same year and winners are generally announced by mid July.
Catching an Arctic Grayling is a unique Alaskan experience.
Can I fish in Denali National Park and Preserve?
Fishing is allowed within Denali National Park and Preserve, however due to the high silt content of most bodies of water within the park, you will only find good fishing in a few rare lakes and streams. If you do want to try your luck though, more information on fishing within the park can be found at:
A classic view of Mt. McKinley reflected in Mirror Lake.
We do not have time to drive all the way to the park; will we still be able to see Mount McKinley?
Yes, on a clear day you can see Mount McKinley from downtown Anchorage as well as at several points on the highway driving up to Denali National Park and Preserve.
This ground squirrel may be quite vocal in his request for snacks, but don't feed him!
What are the wildlife safety tips I need to know?
Denali is home to sheep, caribou, wolves, foxes, bears, moose, eagles, ptarmigan, and other wildlife that you are very likely to encounter while in Denali. Below are some basic tips for viewing wildlife safely.
• Do not feed or allow wildlife to obtain human foods.
• Do not approach or follow wildlife. Maintain a minimum of 25 yards distance from all other animals, dens, and nests.
• If your presence alters an animal's behavior, you are too close.
• Maintain a minimum 300 yard distance from bears
What to do with a Wildlife Encounters in Denali NP?
Note: This Embedded video resides on the official Denali National Park YouTube channel
Mountaineers face harsh conditions when climbing in the Alaska Range.
Who was the first person to summit Mt. McKinley?
On June 7, 1913 Walter Harper, Harry Karstens, Hudson Stuck and Robert Tatum were the first men to officially summit Mt. McKinley, North America’s highest peak. At the time the mountain was called Denali, a name taken from one of the local Native languages, meaning “the great one.” For more information on the first ascent, please visit Denali’shistory and culture web page.You can also contact Park staff by calling 907-683-9532.
I want to climb Mount McKinley. Where can I go to get information on mountaineering in the park?
For basic information go to http://www.nps.gov/dena/planyourvisit/mountaineering.htm and for more detailed information contact the Talkeetna Ranger Station at phone number 907-773-2231.