Your Guide to the Denali National Park and Preserve

Every Road Denali National Park

Denali National Park and Preserve: General Summary

Stretching over 160 miles of the Alaska Range, you can find the snowy summits at the Denali National Park and Preserve. The mountains there are so tall that they’re often lost amidst the clouds. The skyline of this area, however, is dominated by the highest peak in North America –Denali. Ascending to a whopping 20,310 feet, the Denali Mountain offers the most magnificent sight in the whole of Alaska. Hundreds of thousands of curious thrill-seeking travelers set off on their journey to witnessbreathtaking views at the Denali National Park and Preserve. The estimated number of visitors at Denali every year is about 400,000, mainly between the months of May and September.


Date of Inauguration

Two great men, Charles Sheldon, a conservationist,and Harry Karsten, an outdoorsman, came up with the idea of establishing the world’s first national park to preserve the amazing landscape of the area. Sheldon presented a proposal to the congress, which was approved in 1917 and the Mount McKinley National Park was initially established. In 1976, the Mount McKinley National Park was deemed as a biosphere reserve. According to the National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980, over 6 million acres of land were entitled to the park, and it was renamed as the Denali National Park and Preserve. US President Barack Obama renamed Mount McKinley in 2015, changing its name to Denali, meaning “the Tall One.”


The Visitor’s Center

The main visitor centerof the Denali National Park is located near the entrance of the park. It remains open in summers from 8am to 6pm every day. The Denali Visitor Centre, built in 2005, is the first place to visit when you initiate your journey. There are various activities you can do here including watching the park film andviewing the different exhibits representing the natural and cultural history of the area. You can also join different ranger walks and talks. The visitor center is also where backpackers get their mandatory and free backpacking permit.

The main Denali visitor center remains closed during spring, fall and winter. The Murie Science and Learning Center (MSLC) that is situated right across the Denali Visitor Center assumes the role of the visitor center. The Denali Visitor Centre is a short walk away from both the airport and train station. Another important building located near the entrance of the park is the Wilderness Access Center, commonly known as the WAC. Visitors come here to reserve campsites, get a shuttle, and get backcountry permits or to buy tickets for the most famous bus tours.


Introduction

Larger than the state of Massachusetts and one of the top attractions in Alaska, the Denali National Park and Preserve is a sight to see. This park is blessed with breathtaking sights that make visitors want to stay there forever. Mount McKinley, the tallest peak in North America, was renamed as Denali or ‘the tall one’ by President Obama in 2015. This park features 160 miles of the Alaska Range, with the notoriously tall Denali peak dominating the area with its whopping 20,310 feet height.

Even bigger than the state of New Jersey, the Denali National Park and Preserve is a vast area entailing complete wilderness that remains mostly untouched by human hands. This Park and Preserve is popular for its wildlife and the crazy adventures that it offers. From backcountry camping to mountaineering, you can do so much when you visit this park. Those who choose to only avail a bus tour of the park road are also in for a surprise because of itspicturesque overlooks and wild adventures.

The Denali National Park and Preserve has a lot to offer,including gorgeous glacial rivers, tundras and massive peaks. The wildlife over there is baffling— you get a chance to see moose, caribous, grizzly bears and even wolves.


A Brief History

Over a century ago, two great men spent their winter in a cabin located close to the Toklat River. One of these men was Charles Sheldon, a conservationist, while the other was Harry Karsten, an outdoorsman. Little did they know that their interaction with the beautiful, wild landscape of this gorgeous area would change their perspective. The beauty of this landscape gave them the idea to preserve it for many generations to come. They came up with the great idea of turning this amazing area into the world’s first national park, which was established primarily with the motive of conserving wildlife. In 1917, after almost a decade of struggle, Charles Sheldon managed to convince the congress into establishing the Mount McKinley National Park. The original park boundary comprised of a certain portion of Denali, which excluded the main Denali Summit. The Mount McKinley Park Hotel was established in 1921. By the 1930s, the hotel had to be shut down due to many internal issues such as dingy rooms, dirty beds and below average food options.

Then in 1947, it was decided that the boundaries of the park will be expanded. The hotel and the railroad were also sucked into the area of the project. However, in 1950, after being closed for many years, the hotel was finally destroyed by a fire.

Until 1957, the park entrance had no proper road access and very few people visited the place. However, the establishment of the highway, connecting to Anchorage and Fairbanks, caused the attendance to increase significantly.In 1956, the park only had about five thousand visitors, but by 1958,the number of visitors rose up to twenty five thousand.


Geological Formations

The Denali National Park and Preserve features mainly the Alaska Mountain Range. This mountain range is dominated by the tallest peak, Mt. McKinley, now known as Denali. The Denali Mountain is about 20,321 feet high and growing at about a millimeter every year. The plates are currently in a process of tectonics, i.e., the Pacific plate is currently falling beneath Alaska, forcing the land surfaces in Alaska into compression, which is pushing up the Denali Mountain. The Denali Mountain is made of a material called Granite. It is a very hard material that is very resilient and can resist better than other sedimentary rocks such as limestone and sandstone that it’s surrounded by. The Denali Mountain is also surrounded by a vast range of other glacier-clad mountains that are very similar. As the Denali Mountain is pushed up slowly above others, it feels like a resistant sentinel. The Denali Mountain is only 56 million years old, making it way younger than other sedimentary rocks its surrounded by, which vary from a hundred to four hundred million years old.

The sedimentary neighborhood of the Denali Mountain entails a bunch of geologic pieces that come together to not only create the park but also most of Alaska. There’s no denying that the Pacific Plate has plated an awfully big role as a conveyor belt for millions of years. The Pacific plate has brought in pieces of islands, slivers of continents and even an ocean floor. These landforms have formed accretionary terranes that seem like a jigsaw puzzle pieced together. Even today, this accretion of land continues through the region of Alaska and the Pacific Plate moves northwards. Any new geological additions in the Alaskan Region are an extremely slow process. Most of the terranes in the area are recognized as bundles of rocks that are encircled by faults and have various types of rocks, fossils and other physical aspects.

Near the entrance of the Denali National Park and Preserve, you’ll find the oldest terrane and rocks called the Yukon-Tanana rocks. Formed about 400 million years ago, the Yukon-Tanana rocks are shallow sediments that have volcanic flows and intrusions. These rocks have also been buried deep down for the longest time. Their exposure to heat and environmental pressures has transformed them into metamorphic rocks such as phyllites or schists.

It is predicted that for the next 300 million years to come, Denali will continue to be dominated by ocean environments marine shelf and slopes will accumulate to form limestone and sandstones of the Farewell Terrane. Mount Pendelton and Scott Peak, located in the east of the park, are made of ocean sediments that have been hardened into rock form. Fossils have been commonly discovered in the Farewell terrane. They suggest that the area experienced a tropical climate with coral reefs and other fauna for quite a while.

Another very popular landform in the exotic terrane of Denali is the island arcs. They are volcanic island chains that bear resemblance to the Japanese islands. These island arcs have volcanic and marine sedimentary rocks lying on top of one another. Dating back almost 200 million years, the Pingston and Denali terrains are considered to be from an island arc environment. Volcanic activities occurring in the park almost 56 million years ago resulted in the red, yellow and brown basalts and other volcanic rocks. The volcanic rocks can be found alongside the park road near the Polychrome Pass, named due to the various colorful volcanic rocks found there. Another period of volcanic activity occurred 38 million years ago at Denali, which resulted in basalts that were exposed at Mt. Galen.

A chain of geological faults has fractured the Denali National Park, especially over the last hundred million years. This cluster of faults in the area has been named the Denali Fault System. These faults are highly visible at certain areas with the park such as the Bull River divide, Easy Pass and many other places.


Planning Your Itinerary


The Hotel Stay Itinerary

You can either drive to the recreation park or opt for the train. In the case you decide to travel via train, you can pick housing close to the recreation center. You can use vans or shuttles to travel, or you can even lease a vehicle to travel and enjoy the sights of this gorgeously serene place. You can visit the displays and various exhibitions at the Denali Visitor Center, go to officer/ranger talks, see the Cabin Nite (this is a theatre dinner show), or opt for a short nature stroll around the recreation center at night.

You should try to sleep early and rest so that you can get up early the next day, make it by 7 am to the shuttle bus, visit the surreally scenic area, and witness wildlife at its best. You may also get to see the beautiful mountains and enjoy the animals running free in their natural habitat!

Then you should ride halfway back towards the passage before bouncing off the shuttle so you can take a stroll before lunch. You can also make a nice picnic basket and carry it with you so you can enjoy scrumptious goodies while you enjoy the stunning view and interact with nature. Make sure to visit the educational program at Murie Science and Learning Center, or better yet, go for rafting! You can also opt for train rides, flightseeing and amazing walks.


The Backcountry Camping Itinerary

If you’re an enthusiastic hiker or camper, this itinerary will be perfect for you. You can travel to Denali via train, bus or even a car. Just load up on food, hiking gear and camping gear for a few days and spend them in the mountain range hiking and camping. If you’re interested in doing so, the first task for you to do is to visit the Backcountry Information Center to register yourself. You will have to go through a process to get a backcountry permit from there. the Backcountry Information Center will also provide you with the required information and will let you choose the unit area which appears the best. It is not possible to reserve the Backcountry permits in advance as they can only be applied for at the Backcountry Information Centre at least two days prior to your trip. Since you’ll have time to spare before embarking on your backcountry trip, you will have enough time to get a look of the park and witness the wildlife. Once you’ve landed your backcountry permit, you can commence your hiking journey. You can opt for a camper bus that will drive you to your unit and then you can go around the area for about two weeks.


The Kantishna Wilderness Lodge Itinerary

Isolated from crowds, breathtaking wilderness and amazing views! This lodge although expensive, is an amazing place to be at. It is in a remote area, surrounded by untamed natural beauty.


The Talkeetna Option

Located hundred and ten miles to the north of Anchorage, you can reach The Talkeetna Option by car or train. From there you can see the mountains and a few glaciers clearly.


How Long to Stay at the Park

The Denali National Park is a widespread area of wilderness. The length of your stay highly depends on the amount of time you have to spare and the kind of experience you want. It is located far away from any airport or large city. It can take a few hours to get to this park, so it is suggested that you spend at least 2 nights in the area. If you arrive at the Park in the afternoon, you will have enough time to engage in an activity or two such as rafting or flightseeing. If you have more energy to spare, then you can add in a dinner theater show to your itinerary. You can spend the next day touring the park. On your last day, you can opt for an additional activity and then depart the place around midday. Those who want to enjoy more activities at the park can spend an additional night here. You will get to enjoy a full day of rafting adventures, hiking, fishing or even horseback riding.


When is the Park Most Crowded

Most areas of the park aren’t accessible during mid-May and the overall rates are pretty low, but there are no crowds. This is probably the best time to visit if you don’t want to tour the deeper areas of the park. During June, the park is fully accessible, and many tourists visit during this time.

The crowd remains the same during July even during the rain showers. The temperatures start dropping gradually during August but the area still remains crowded. Eventually, the crowd starts dissipating during September as the temperature continues to drop. This is the perfect time to visit as you can experience that Fall season in a peaceful park atmosphere.

From late September to Mid-October, most services in the area are shut down and there are no crowds there. This is probably the perfect time for you to get the ‘real’ Alaska experience. During winter from October till March, winter sports such as skiing or snowshoeing are at their peak.


When to Visit Denali National Park and Preserve

The Denali National Park and Preserve area experiences different seasons throughout the year. Ranging from snow-covered mountains to fresh green tundra and even red leaves – the Denali area experiences all this within a span of four months.

May – June

A great time to pay a visit to the Denali area is from mid-May to early June. The weather starts getting warmer during mid-May but the snow still doesn’t melt completely. Not only is the weather cooler during these months but you will also come across very limited visitors. If you’re someone who avoids crowds, then this is probably the best time for you to visit this place. Due to the lack of visitors, you are very likely to come across special lodging rates and maybe even discounted rates for activities. During this season, you will also see many animals on the snow-capped hillsides.

June – July

The temperature during June and July is pretty bearable, making it a great time to travel here. During June, the temperatures increase and the flowers are in full bloom. The sunlight lasts for longer periods during this season. The mountains and hillsides also tend to be greener than usual.

August – September

The temperature during the day tends to be warm; however, it is pretty chilly at night. This time is the best to travel for those who don’t mind the chilly weather and want to witness the Northern Lights. The Aurora Borealis are easily visible on clear nights. You will have to ask the front desk of the lodge you’re staying at to inform you when the Northern Lights are visible. There are high chances of snow during this time.

The bottom line is that the summer season in Denali lasts from mid-May till mid-September. This is perhaps the best season to explore Denali if you want to witness lush green mountains and avoid the cold and crowds. Visitors who come in during the spring or fall season should come prepared for unexpected circumstances. It can snow during this season, leading to road blocks and bad weather conditions.


Top Attractions at the Denali National Park and Preserve

There are a few popular attractions at the Denali National Park and Preserve. This area was mainly preserved due to its extremely beautiful and raw landscape. The most prominent and famous attraction is perhaps Mount Denali, previously known at Mt. McKinley. This Park and Preserved Area is home to gorgeous sceneries and beautiful unexplored sights. This place is also popular because of its wildlife.

Most people visit the Denali Park during summers when the snow loses its grip on the land. Fewer people visit the area during winter as many places are closed and it’s comparatively hard to go around. However, you can expect wintertime to be a period of solace and peace in the area. Here are a few places that you must stop by when you are exploring the Denali National Park and Preserve.


Visitor Centers at the Denali National Park and Preserve

The main visitor center at the Denali National Park is situated at its northeast entrance. You should explore the visitor centre before commencing your trip around the park. The visitor centre will tell you about what you can expect to see in the park and what you’ll be doing there. You can also learn about the tours and activities in the area and pick up a few things from the interesting exhibits. There are many interactive displays, including animal models and even activities that offer you the opportunity to acquaint yourself with the flora and fauna within the area.

The visitor centre also features a short film named “Heartbeats of Denali.” It provides detailed insights into the wildlife and the various seasons of the area. This Visitor Centre is a part of different facilities in the vicinity such as the Murie Science and Learning Centre, the Alaska Geographic Bookstore and Morino’s Grill.

The main Denali Visitor Centre is only open during the summer season from 8 am to 6 pm. During the other seasons (fall, winter and spring) the Murie Science and Learning Centre (MSLC) becomes the park’s main visitor centre.

Another visitor centre at Denali is the Eielson Visitor Centre. Situated on Mile 66 of the Denali Park, this visitor centre only remains open during summers. It can be accessed through shuttle buses or the Kantishna Experience tour bus. The Eielson Visitor Centre has daily ranger-led programs. It also features a concise gallery comprising of art inspired by the natural wonders of the Denali area. During clear days, this area also features gorgeously breathtaking views of the Denali and the Alaska Mountain Range. Various hiking trails can also be accessed via the Eielson area.


Denali Bus Tours

Not many vehicles are permitted to go more than 15 miles into the park. If you want to tour the breathtaking scenery and crazy wildlife in the area, then the interpretive bus tours within Denali are your best bet. These bus tours are full-day adventures and run for 4 ½ to 11 hours.

All bus tours are led and arranged by experts. The drivers are skilled and the journey includes a lot of refreshments and multiple restroom stops. Since it can turn chilly, ensure that you bundle up or carry along a thick jacket with you. You can also bring your camera and binoculars along with you.

If you opt for the bus tour, the time is pretty limited, so you probably won’t get the opportunity to go for a hike. However, when the bus stops, you can get down, stretch your legs and maybe capture a few shots of the place on your camera. The windows of the bus are also pretty wide, allowing you to snap a few good pictures while you are seated.

Here are a few interpretive bus tours that you can hop on to enjoy the majestic views at the Denali National Park and Preserve.


Kantishna Experience Tour

The Kantishna Experience Tour is the longest bus tour in the entire Denali National Park and it lasts for 11 hours. The tour covers up to 90 miles of the road in to the Denali Park, and it is an amazing opportunity for those who want to discover as much of the Denali landscape as possible. The Kantishna tour is the only tour that visits the Eielson Visitor Centre, situated at least 66 miles into the park. A Park Ranger hops on the bus from Wonder Lake onwards and accompanies you for the rest of the tour.


Tundra Wilderness Tour

Focusing on the land, flora and fauna within the park, the Tundra Wilderness Tour is probably the most common option for the visitors. The bus stops multiple times throughout the tour so that the passengers can have a closer look at the wildlife at the Denali National Park. You will get to witness many wild animals such as grizzly bears, wolves and caribou. You can carry your own pair of binoculars if you want a good view.

The bus drivers are equipped with a zoom lens camera. They use it to offer a live view of the wildlife in the distance. This live feed can be seen on drop-down screens that are placed near every bus seat. This makes it much easier for you to witness the wildlife no matter how far it may be.


Denali Natural History Tour

The Denali Natural History Tour is the shortest tour of the area— it lasts for only 4 ½ hours. This tour focuses on the history of the natives of the Denali area. It elaborates on how the people have lived here and experienced the park. This history tour covers the entire timeline, commencing from the Native Alaskans to the early discoverers and settlers.

The tickets for these bus tours are available online. It is preferable that you purchase them in advance so you don’t experience any problems later on. For those who want to camp, hike and spend time independently, these tours are not recommended.

If you want to experience the park independently and try different activities, you can travel within the park in the shuttle or camper buses. Since it’s prohibited to bring your vehicles inside the park, these shuttles and buses offer their transportation services within the park. However, you are required to make reservations for these as well.


Fun Activities to Do in Denali National Park

The Denali National Park and Preserve covers almost 4.5 million acres of land. The entire landscape of the area can be pretty difficult to take in. However, there are a bunch of not-so-big activities that you can enjoy during your visit to the Denali Park. Here are a few things you can do there to make memories of a lifetime.

Ride a Bicycle on the Park Road – You can rent a bicycle at the Denali National Park and Preserve and head out from the main visitor centre farther into the park. You can also find a bike trail that runs from the visitor center till the Nenana River.

Sled Dogs – Due to the extremely cold weather at the Denali National Park, sled dogs are very common. Especially during the winter season, you will get to witness a lot of sled dogs there. There’s also a Denali Sled Dog Kennel, which you can visit throughout the day free of cost. The kennels are only 1.5 miles from the visitor centre. So, you can either opt for a free shuttle service or walk till there.

Ranger-Led Hikes – You’re probably not aware of the geography of the entire area. This is why Ranger-Led Hikes are a good option for you. These are hikes guided by experts. They give you an opportunity to acquaint yourself with the flora, fauna and history of the Denali National Park and Preserve.


Rafting and Hiking

Those visitors who are looking for more adventurous activities should definitely participate in more extreme sports. The Denali National Park and Preserve features the Nenana River that flows through the park. Adventure-seeking individuals can go there to experience a guided whitewater rafting trip. For those who aren’t looking for extreme adventure, they can opt for paddling or canoeing in the water through the park.


Best Accommodations

A variety of lodging options are available in the Denali area. From luxurious hotels and accommodations to campgrounds and wilderness lodges, this 4.5 million-acre breathtaking land has it all. Whether you’re going for a weekend getaway, short vacation with your family or backpacking–here are a few accommodation options for you.

To explore Denali Park, you don’t need a very high budget! Look for places that directly fit your needs and your spending limit in the process. Research as you plan! This will help you narrow down your options. Here's our recommendation: First, choose what part of Denali do you need to remain close to. For instance, do you want to live close to the Denali Park Entrance or want to explore the remote and isolated areas of the Park or the seldom-treaded territory known as Kantishna.

90% of the guests pick a Denali inn close to the recreation center entrance since it’s helpful, more affordable, offers an assortment of hotels, from super expensive ones to more reasonable ones, and is close to several must-visit tourist areas. One major advantage of the Denali Inn is the simple and hassle free access to transportation.

There are 8 famous lodgings close to the Denali Park Entrance, namely Denali Grizzly Bear Resort, McKinley Chalet Resort, Denali Princess Lodge, and The Lodge at Denali Park Village, The Cabins at Denali Park Village, Denali Princess Lodge, Grande Denali Lodge, and Denali Bluffs Hotel.

On the off chance that you need a confined setting and have some additional cash and time to spend in the remote area of the recreation center, pick a Kantishna region wild cabin. There are some random small lodges towards the end of the generally unpaved, winding 90-mile Denali Park Road. These lodges are a 6-hour drive from the recreation center entrance. You won't find lots of food shops, restaurants or souvenir shops here; instead, you will find peaceful and untouched natural areas, where you can think and relax.

You can also opt for Denali wild cabins as well. These cabins are expensive, around $100-$200 per night. These cabins are ideal for those who don’t want to stay in the slightly more populated center of Denali.

Denali Lodge and North Face Lodge are the best wild hotels in the state; you can stay here in the peace and quiet forever! It is peaceful, calm and away from the noise and hustle bustle.

Campers, backpackers and hikers can opt for the shuttle service that these lodges offer to travel and enjoy the natural views.

The home base for all flights is the McKinley Airport. Some people may prefer to find an accommodation that is close to the airport. There is also a variety of flying and Ariel travel choices to choose from; you can use local airline services like Fly Denali to go sightseeing around the large peaks or visit the valleys at the south side of Denali.

You can stay at a lodge or hotel or camp out in the wilderness. You can also opt for the private lodges in Kantishna, whatever suits you best.


Safety Traveling Tips

The Denali National Park is an extensive area of pure beauty and wilderness. Apart from the geological formations, there’s a lot of fascinating flora and fauna here too. Due to the landscape of this area, the wildlife here is really popular. Wolves, bears, moose and even caribous have been witnessed in the area. While this might be very fascinating, it can be pretty dangerous too. It is important that you acquaint yourself with the hazards associated with visiting the park and prepare yourself before you go there.

For any emergencies, you should instantly contact 9-1-1. Phone network coverage, however, only exists within the initial three miles of the park’s entrance. Therefore, any emergencies should be reported to the park rangers that are patrolling. Weather

The weather of the Denali National Park is of great concern. Warmer seasons only last for about three to four months. It can even rain and remain chilly during summers. Ensure that you bring along a rain jacket or umbrella even when you visit in summers.

The rest of the year can be pretty chilly, considering the altitude of the Alaskan Range. Don’t forget to wear multiple layers of clothing. The temperature in winters can go as low as -40 degrees. Such extreme cold can cause hyperthermia.


Wildlife

The Denali National Park and Preserve is an area of wilderness. The wildlife in the area is very popular. Animals like moose, wild boars, grizzly bears and even wolves are very common throughout the area. The bus tours allow you to view these animals from a distance. However, if you come across them, do not intentionally approach them, especially for pictures. Be careful of the wild animals in the area.


Plants

The Denali National Park and Preserve is home to many plants. You will also come across a lot of trees. Ensure that you don’t eat anything unless you’re fairly certain about what it is. Especially if you have any allergies, avoid eating anything. There aren’t any poison oaks or ivy, but some plants can cause allergic reactions.


Injuries

Depending on where you are, some areas within the park can be rugged. Especially if you’re hiking up a mountain, be wary of your footing. Most of the Denali area doesn’t have any trails. If you’re going for a long trail, the route is usually of your own choosing. Falls are very common in this area and can be extremely deadly.


Be Bear Aware

Wild animals, including bears, are popularly spotted within the wilderness of the area. Here are a few safety tips for dealing with a bear encounter. Don’t Panic– We know it’s easier said than done. Remain calm if you come across a bear and if you’re in a group, make sure you tell others to remain calm as well.

Bear Spray – Always carry a bear spray along with you and learn how to use it. Do Not Run–If you encounter a bear, don’t run or make any sudden movements. The bear can instinctively charge right at you. If you start running, the bear will definitely chase after you and you can’t outrun it no matter how fast you run. Stand Your Ground–In case you spot a bear but it hasn’t seen you yet, leave the area very slowly. If the bear spots you, then stay in your place and wave your arms slowly to establish a connection with the bear. This way, the bear will identify you as a human and not a potential threat.


Additional Safety Tips:

Apart from some of the major safety traveling trips, here a few smaller safety concerns you should keep in mind.

  1. Never go for hiking alone. Hiking here is pretty dangerous, especially because there aren’t many hiking trails in the area. Always go for hiking with at least one more person. Also, ensure that you inform someone about where you’re going and the time they can expect to have you back. Have that person contact concerned persons if you don’t show up within a specific time period.
  2. The Denali Park covers millions of acres of land, even the closest hospital is multiple hours away from the entrance of the park. If you have any medical condition, consult your doctor before visiting the park.
  3. If you go hiking, make sure you take along proper hiking gear with you.
  4. Take extra layers if you’re planning to hike till the top.


Final Word

The Denali National Park and Preserve is a must-visit place of Alaska. It covers 6 million acres of wild land. Travelers come here to visit this mesmerizing park and to witness the largest peak in North America called “Denali.” The Denali Mountain stands at a height of 20,310 with gorgeously astonishing views. The landscape of the Denali area drove two great men to preserve this place. Travelers from all over the world visit the park during the summer season, which only lasts 2-4 months. Around 400,000 visitors explore this park‘s wondrous landscape per year.

Whether you are planning a long or short trip, the Denali National Park and Preserve should be your go-to place! This area has a lot to offer. Apart from Mount Denali, you can witness the flora and fauna in the area. This park has managed to preserve its raw beauty, which can be witnessed by the occasional sighting of wild animals.

This guide comprehensively discusses everything you need to know about visiting the Denali National Park and Preserve - from the best spots to the best accommodations and even traveling tips. So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags because you’re in for a treat when you visit the Denali National Park! Safe and happy travels!



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Your Guide to the Denali National Park and Preserve

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Your Guide to the Denali National Park and Preserve

Denali National Park and Preserve: General Summary

Stretching over 160 miles of the Alaska Range, you can find the snowy summits at the Denali National Park and Preserve. The mountains there are so tall that they’re often lost amidst the clouds. The skyline of this area, however, is dominated by the highest peak in North America –Denali. Ascending to a whopping 20,310 feet, the Denali Mountain offers the most magnificent sight in the whole of Alaska. Hundreds of thousands of curious thrill-seeking travelers set off on their journey to witnessbreathtaking views at the Denali National Park and Preserve. The estimated number of visitors at Denali every year is about 400,000, mainly between the months of May and September.


Date of Inauguration

Two great men, Charles Sheldon, a conservationist,and Harry Karsten, an outdoorsman, came up with the idea of establishing the world’s first national park to preserve the amazing landscape of the area. Sheldon presented a proposal to the congress, which was approved in 1917 and the Mount McKinley National Park was initially established. In 1976, the Mount McKinley National Park was deemed as a biosphere reserve. According to the National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980, over 6 million acres of land were entitled to the park, and it was renamed as the Denali National Park and Preserve. US President Barack Obama renamed Mount McKinley in 2015, changing its name to Denali, meaning “the Tall One.”


The Visitor’s Center

The main visitor centerof the Denali National Park is located near the entrance of the park. It remains open in summers from 8am to 6pm every day. The Denali Visitor Centre, built in 2005, is the first place to visit when you initiate your journey. There are various activities you can do here including watching the park film andviewing the different exhibits representing the natural and cultural history of the area. You can also join different ranger walks and talks. The visitor center is also where backpackers get their mandatory and free backpacking permit.

The main Denali visitor center remains closed during spring, fall and winter. The Murie Science and Learning Center (MSLC) that is situated right across the Denali Visitor Center assumes the role of the visitor center. The Denali Visitor Centre is a short walk away from both the airport and train station. Another important building located near the entrance of the park is the Wilderness Access Center, commonly known as the WAC. Visitors come here to reserve campsites, get a shuttle, and get backcountry permits or to buy tickets for the most famous bus tours.


Introduction

Larger than the state of Massachusetts and one of the top attractions in Alaska, the Denali National Park and Preserve is a sight to see. This park is blessed with breathtaking sights that make visitors want to stay there forever. Mount McKinley, the tallest peak in North America, was renamed as Denali or ‘the tall one’ by President Obama in 2015. This park features 160 miles of the Alaska Range, with the notoriously tall Denali peak dominating the area with its whopping 20,310 feet height.

Even bigger than the state of New Jersey, the Denali National Park and Preserve is a vast area entailing complete wilderness that remains mostly untouched by human hands. This Park and Preserve is popular for its wildlife and the crazy adventures that it offers. From backcountry camping to mountaineering, you can do so much when you visit this park. Those who choose to only avail a bus tour of the park road are also in for a surprise because of itspicturesque overlooks and wild adventures.

The Denali National Park and Preserve has a lot to offer,including gorgeous glacial rivers, tundras and massive peaks. The wildlife over there is baffling— you get a chance to see moose, caribous, grizzly bears and even wolves.


A Brief History

Over a century ago, two great men spent their winter in a cabin located close to the Toklat River. One of these men was Charles Sheldon, a conservationist, while the other was Harry Karsten, an outdoorsman. Little did they know that their interaction with the beautiful, wild landscape of this gorgeous area would change their perspective. The beauty of this landscape gave them the idea to preserve it for many generations to come. They came up with the great idea of turning this amazing area into the world’s first national park, which was established primarily with the motive of conserving wildlife. In 1917, after almost a decade of struggle, Charles Sheldon managed to convince the congress into establishing the Mount McKinley National Park. The original park boundary comprised of a certain portion of Denali, which excluded the main Denali Summit. The Mount McKinley Park Hotel was established in 1921. By the 1930s, the hotel had to be shut down due to many internal issues such as dingy rooms, dirty beds and below average food options.

Then in 1947, it was decided that the boundaries of the park will be expanded. The hotel and the railroad were also sucked into the area of the project. However, in 1950, after being closed for many years, the hotel was finally destroyed by a fire.

Until 1957, the park entrance had no proper road access and very few people visited the place. However, the establishment of the highway, connecting to Anchorage and Fairbanks, caused the attendance to increase significantly.In 1956, the park only had about five thousand visitors, but by 1958,the number of visitors rose up to twenty five thousand.


Geological Formations

The Denali National Park and Preserve features mainly the Alaska Mountain Range. This mountain range is dominated by the tallest peak, Mt. McKinley, now known as Denali. The Denali Mountain is about 20,321 feet high and growing at about a millimeter every year. The plates are currently in a process of tectonics, i.e., the Pacific plate is currently falling beneath Alaska, forcing the land surfaces in Alaska into compression, which is pushing up the Denali Mountain. The Denali Mountain is made of a material called Granite. It is a very hard material that is very resilient and can resist better than other sedimentary rocks such as limestone and sandstone that it’s surrounded by. The Denali Mountain is also surrounded by a vast range of other glacier-clad mountains that are very similar. As the Denali Mountain is pushed up slowly above others, it feels like a resistant sentinel. The Denali Mountain is only 56 million years old, making it way younger than other sedimentary rocks its surrounded by, which vary from a hundred to four hundred million years old.

The sedimentary neighborhood of the Denali Mountain entails a bunch of geologic pieces that come together to not only create the park but also most of Alaska. There’s no denying that the Pacific Plate has plated an awfully big role as a conveyor belt for millions of years. The Pacific plate has brought in pieces of islands, slivers of continents and even an ocean floor. These landforms have formed accretionary terranes that seem like a jigsaw puzzle pieced together. Even today, this accretion of land continues through the region of Alaska and the Pacific Plate moves northwards. Any new geological additions in the Alaskan Region are an extremely slow process. Most of the terranes in the area are recognized as bundles of rocks that are encircled by faults and have various types of rocks, fossils and other physical aspects.

Near the entrance of the Denali National Park and Preserve, you’ll find the oldest terrane and rocks called the Yukon-Tanana rocks. Formed about 400 million years ago, the Yukon-Tanana rocks are shallow sediments that have volcanic flows and intrusions. These rocks have also been buried deep down for the longest time. Their exposure to heat and environmental pressures has transformed them into metamorphic rocks such as phyllites or schists.

It is predicted that for the next 300 million years to come, Denali will continue to be dominated by ocean environments marine shelf and slopes will accumulate to form limestone and sandstones of the Farewell Terrane. Mount Pendelton and Scott Peak, located in the east of the park, are made of ocean sediments that have been hardened into rock form. Fossils have been commonly discovered in the Farewell terrane. They suggest that the area experienced a tropical climate with coral reefs and other fauna for quite a while.

Another very popular landform in the exotic terrane of Denali is the island arcs. They are volcanic island chains that bear resemblance to the Japanese islands. These island arcs have volcanic and marine sedimentary rocks lying on top of one another. Dating back almost 200 million years, the Pingston and Denali terrains are considered to be from an island arc environment. Volcanic activities occurring in the park almost 56 million years ago resulted in the red, yellow and brown basalts and other volcanic rocks. The volcanic rocks can be found alongside the park road near the Polychrome Pass, named due to the various colorful volcanic rocks found there. Another period of volcanic activity occurred 38 million years ago at Denali, which resulted in basalts that were exposed at Mt. Galen.

A chain of geological faults has fractured the Denali National Park, especially over the last hundred million years. This cluster of faults in the area has been named the Denali Fault System. These faults are highly visible at certain areas with the park such as the Bull River divide, Easy Pass and many other places.


Planning Your Itinerary


The Hotel Stay Itinerary

You can either drive to the recreation park or opt for the train. In the case you decide to travel via train, you can pick housing close to the recreation center. You can use vans or shuttles to travel, or you can even lease a vehicle to travel and enjoy the sights of this gorgeously serene place. You can visit the displays and various exhibitions at the Denali Visitor Center, go to officer/ranger talks, see the Cabin Nite (this is a theatre dinner show), or opt for a short nature stroll around the recreation center at night.

You should try to sleep early and rest so that you can get up early the next day, make it by 7 am to the shuttle bus, visit the surreally scenic area, and witness wildlife at its best. You may also get to see the beautiful mountains and enjoy the animals running free in their natural habitat!

Then you should ride halfway back towards the passage before bouncing off the shuttle so you can take a stroll before lunch. You can also make a nice picnic basket and carry it with you so you can enjoy scrumptious goodies while you enjoy the stunning view and interact with nature. Make sure to visit the educational program at Murie Science and Learning Center, or better yet, go for rafting! You can also opt for train rides, flightseeing and amazing walks.


The Backcountry Camping Itinerary

If you’re an enthusiastic hiker or camper, this itinerary will be perfect for you. You can travel to Denali via train, bus or even a car. Just load up on food, hiking gear and camping gear for a few days and spend them in the mountain range hiking and camping. If you’re interested in doing so, the first task for you to do is to visit the Backcountry Information Center to register yourself. You will have to go through a process to get a backcountry permit from there. the Backcountry Information Center will also provide you with the required information and will let you choose the unit area which appears the best. It is not possible to reserve the Backcountry permits in advance as they can only be applied for at the Backcountry Information Centre at least two days prior to your trip. Since you’ll have time to spare before embarking on your backcountry trip, you will have enough time to get a look of the park and witness the wildlife. Once you’ve landed your backcountry permit, you can commence your hiking journey. You can opt for a camper bus that will drive you to your unit and then you can go around the area for about two weeks.


The Kantishna Wilderness Lodge Itinerary

Isolated from crowds, breathtaking wilderness and amazing views! This lodge although expensive, is an amazing place to be at. It is in a remote area, surrounded by untamed natural beauty.


The Talkeetna Option

Located hundred and ten miles to the north of Anchorage, you can reach The Talkeetna Option by car or train. From there you can see the mountains and a few glaciers clearly.


How Long to Stay at the Park

The Denali National Park is a widespread area of wilderness. The length of your stay highly depends on the amount of time you have to spare and the kind of experience you want. It is located far away from any airport or large city. It can take a few hours to get to this park, so it is suggested that you spend at least 2 nights in the area. If you arrive at the Park in the afternoon, you will have enough time to engage in an activity or two such as rafting or flightseeing. If you have more energy to spare, then you can add in a dinner theater show to your itinerary. You can spend the next day touring the park. On your last day, you can opt for an additional activity and then depart the place around midday. Those who want to enjoy more activities at the park can spend an additional night here. You will get to enjoy a full day of rafting adventures, hiking, fishing or even horseback riding.


When is the Park Most Crowded

Most areas of the park aren’t accessible during mid-May and the overall rates are pretty low, but there are no crowds. This is probably the best time to visit if you don’t want to tour the deeper areas of the park. During June, the park is fully accessible, and many tourists visit during this time.

The crowd remains the same during July even during the rain showers. The temperatures start dropping gradually during August but the area still remains crowded. Eventually, the crowd starts dissipating during September as the temperature continues to drop. This is the perfect time to visit as you can experience that Fall season in a peaceful park atmosphere.

From late September to Mid-October, most services in the area are shut down and there are no crowds there. This is probably the perfect time for you to get the ‘real’ Alaska experience. During winter from October till March, winter sports such as skiing or snowshoeing are at their peak.


When to Visit Denali National Park and Preserve

The Denali National Park and Preserve area experiences different seasons throughout the year. Ranging from snow-covered mountains to fresh green tundra and even red leaves – the Denali area experiences all this within a span of four months.

May – June

A great time to pay a visit to the Denali area is from mid-May to early June. The weather starts getting warmer during mid-May but the snow still doesn’t melt completely. Not only is the weather cooler during these months but you will also come across very limited visitors. If you’re someone who avoids crowds, then this is probably the best time for you to visit this place. Due to the lack of visitors, you are very likely to come across special lodging rates and maybe even discounted rates for activities. During this season, you will also see many animals on the snow-capped hillsides.

June – July

The temperature during June and July is pretty bearable, making it a great time to travel here. During June, the temperatures increase and the flowers are in full bloom. The sunlight lasts for longer periods during this season. The mountains and hillsides also tend to be greener than usual.

August – September

The temperature during the day tends to be warm; however, it is pretty chilly at night. This time is the best to travel for those who don’t mind the chilly weather and want to witness the Northern Lights. The Aurora Borealis are easily visible on clear nights. You will have to ask the front desk of the lodge you’re staying at to inform you when the Northern Lights are visible. There are high chances of snow during this time.

The bottom line is that the summer season in Denali lasts from mid-May till mid-September. This is perhaps the best season to explore Denali if you want to witness lush green mountains and avoid the cold and crowds. Visitors who come in during the spring or fall season should come prepared for unexpected circumstances. It can snow during this season, leading to road blocks and bad weather conditions.


Top Attractions at the Denali National Park and Preserve

There are a few popular attractions at the Denali National Park and Preserve. This area was mainly preserved due to its extremely beautiful and raw landscape. The most prominent and famous attraction is perhaps Mount Denali, previously known at Mt. McKinley. This Park and Preserved Area is home to gorgeous sceneries and beautiful unexplored sights. This place is also popular because of its wildlife.

Most people visit the Denali Park during summers when the snow loses its grip on the land. Fewer people visit the area during winter as many places are closed and it’s comparatively hard to go around. However, you can expect wintertime to be a period of solace and peace in the area. Here are a few places that you must stop by when you are exploring the Denali National Park and Preserve.


Visitor Centers at the Denali National Park and Preserve

The main visitor center at the Denali National Park is situated at its northeast entrance. You should explore the visitor centre before commencing your trip around the park. The visitor centre will tell you about what you can expect to see in the park and what you’ll be doing there. You can also learn about the tours and activities in the area and pick up a few things from the interesting exhibits. There are many interactive displays, including animal models and even activities that offer you the opportunity to acquaint yourself with the flora and fauna within the area.

The visitor centre also features a short film named “Heartbeats of Denali.” It provides detailed insights into the wildlife and the various seasons of the area. This Visitor Centre is a part of different facilities in the vicinity such as the Murie Science and Learning Centre, the Alaska Geographic Bookstore and Morino’s Grill.

The main Denali Visitor Centre is only open during the summer season from 8 am to 6 pm. During the other seasons (fall, winter and spring) the Murie Science and Learning Centre (MSLC) becomes the park’s main visitor centre.

Another visitor centre at Denali is the Eielson Visitor Centre. Situated on Mile 66 of the Denali Park, this visitor centre only remains open during summers. It can be accessed through shuttle buses or the Kantishna Experience tour bus. The Eielson Visitor Centre has daily ranger-led programs. It also features a concise gallery comprising of art inspired by the natural wonders of the Denali area. During clear days, this area also features gorgeously breathtaking views of the Denali and the Alaska Mountain Range. Various hiking trails can also be accessed via the Eielson area.


Denali Bus Tours

Not many vehicles are permitted to go more than 15 miles into the park. If you want to tour the breathtaking scenery and crazy wildlife in the area, then the interpretive bus tours within Denali are your best bet. These bus tours are full-day adventures and run for 4 ½ to 11 hours.

All bus tours are led and arranged by experts. The drivers are skilled and the journey includes a lot of refreshments and multiple restroom stops. Since it can turn chilly, ensure that you bundle up or carry along a thick jacket with you. You can also bring your camera and binoculars along with you.

If you opt for the bus tour, the time is pretty limited, so you probably won’t get the opportunity to go for a hike. However, when the bus stops, you can get down, stretch your legs and maybe capture a few shots of the place on your camera. The windows of the bus are also pretty wide, allowing you to snap a few good pictures while you are seated.

Here are a few interpretive bus tours that you can hop on to enjoy the majestic views at the Denali National Park and Preserve.


Kantishna Experience Tour

The Kantishna Experience Tour is the longest bus tour in the entire Denali National Park and it lasts for 11 hours. The tour covers up to 90 miles of the road in to the Denali Park, and it is an amazing opportunity for those who want to discover as much of the Denali landscape as possible. The Kantishna tour is the only tour that visits the Eielson Visitor Centre, situated at least 66 miles into the park. A Park Ranger hops on the bus from Wonder Lake onwards and accompanies you for the rest of the tour.


Tundra Wilderness Tour

Focusing on the land, flora and fauna within the park, the Tundra Wilderness Tour is probably the most common option for the visitors. The bus stops multiple times throughout the tour so that the passengers can have a closer look at the wildlife at the Denali National Park. You will get to witness many wild animals such as grizzly bears, wolves and caribou. You can carry your own pair of binoculars if you want a good view.

The bus drivers are equipped with a zoom lens camera. They use it to offer a live view of the wildlife in the distance. This live feed can be seen on drop-down screens that are placed near every bus seat. This makes it much easier for you to witness the wildlife no matter how far it may be.


Denali Natural History Tour

The Denali Natural History Tour is the shortest tour of the area— it lasts for only 4 ½ hours. This tour focuses on the history of the natives of the Denali area. It elaborates on how the people have lived here and experienced the park. This history tour covers the entire timeline, commencing from the Native Alaskans to the early discoverers and settlers.

The tickets for these bus tours are available online. It is preferable that you purchase them in advance so you don’t experience any problems later on. For those who want to camp, hike and spend time independently, these tours are not recommended.

If you want to experience the park independently and try different activities, you can travel within the park in the shuttle or camper buses. Since it’s prohibited to bring your vehicles inside the park, these shuttles and buses offer their transportation services within the park. However, you are required to make reservations for these as well.


Fun Activities to Do in Denali National Park

The Denali National Park and Preserve covers almost 4.5 million acres of land. The entire landscape of the area can be pretty difficult to take in. However, there are a bunch of not-so-big activities that you can enjoy during your visit to the Denali Park. Here are a few things you can do there to make memories of a lifetime.

Ride a Bicycle on the Park Road – You can rent a bicycle at the Denali National Park and Preserve and head out from the main visitor centre farther into the park. You can also find a bike trail that runs from the visitor center till the Nenana River.

Sled Dogs – Due to the extremely cold weather at the Denali National Park, sled dogs are very common. Especially during the winter season, you will get to witness a lot of sled dogs there. There’s also a Denali Sled Dog Kennel, which you can visit throughout the day free of cost. The kennels are only 1.5 miles from the visitor centre. So, you can either opt for a free shuttle service or walk till there.

Ranger-Led Hikes – You’re probably not aware of the geography of the entire area. This is why Ranger-Led Hikes are a good option for you. These are hikes guided by experts. They give you an opportunity to acquaint yourself with the flora, fauna and history of the Denali National Park and Preserve.


Rafting and Hiking

Those visitors who are looking for more adventurous activities should definitely participate in more extreme sports. The Denali National Park and Preserve features the Nenana River that flows through the park. Adventure-seeking individuals can go there to experience a guided whitewater rafting trip. For those who aren’t looking for extreme adventure, they can opt for paddling or canoeing in the water through the park.


Best Accommodations

A variety of lodging options are available in the Denali area. From luxurious hotels and accommodations to campgrounds and wilderness lodges, this 4.5 million-acre breathtaking land has it all. Whether you’re going for a weekend getaway, short vacation with your family or backpacking–here are a few accommodation options for you.

To explore Denali Park, you don’t need a very high budget! Look for places that directly fit your needs and your spending limit in the process. Research as you plan! This will help you narrow down your options. Here's our recommendation: First, choose what part of Denali do you need to remain close to. For instance, do you want to live close to the Denali Park Entrance or want to explore the remote and isolated areas of the Park or the seldom-treaded territory known as Kantishna.

90% of the guests pick a Denali inn close to the recreation center entrance since it’s helpful, more affordable, offers an assortment of hotels, from super expensive ones to more reasonable ones, and is close to several must-visit tourist areas. One major advantage of the Denali Inn is the simple and hassle free access to transportation.

There are 8 famous lodgings close to the Denali Park Entrance, namely Denali Grizzly Bear Resort, McKinley Chalet Resort, Denali Princess Lodge, and The Lodge at Denali Park Village, The Cabins at Denali Park Village, Denali Princess Lodge, Grande Denali Lodge, and Denali Bluffs Hotel.

On the off chance that you need a confined setting and have some additional cash and time to spend in the remote area of the recreation center, pick a Kantishna region wild cabin. There are some random small lodges towards the end of the generally unpaved, winding 90-mile Denali Park Road. These lodges are a 6-hour drive from the recreation center entrance. You won't find lots of food shops, restaurants or souvenir shops here; instead, you will find peaceful and untouched natural areas, where you can think and relax.

You can also opt for Denali wild cabins as well. These cabins are expensive, around $100-$200 per night. These cabins are ideal for those who don’t want to stay in the slightly more populated center of Denali.

Denali Lodge and North Face Lodge are the best wild hotels in the state; you can stay here in the peace and quiet forever! It is peaceful, calm and away from the noise and hustle bustle.

Campers, backpackers and hikers can opt for the shuttle service that these lodges offer to travel and enjoy the natural views.

The home base for all flights is the McKinley Airport. Some people may prefer to find an accommodation that is close to the airport. There is also a variety of flying and Ariel travel choices to choose from; you can use local airline services like Fly Denali to go sightseeing around the large peaks or visit the valleys at the south side of Denali.

You can stay at a lodge or hotel or camp out in the wilderness. You can also opt for the private lodges in Kantishna, whatever suits you best.


Safety Traveling Tips

The Denali National Park is an extensive area of pure beauty and wilderness. Apart from the geological formations, there’s a lot of fascinating flora and fauna here too. Due to the landscape of this area, the wildlife here is really popular. Wolves, bears, moose and even caribous have been witnessed in the area. While this might be very fascinating, it can be pretty dangerous too. It is important that you acquaint yourself with the hazards associated with visiting the park and prepare yourself before you go there.

For any emergencies, you should instantly contact 9-1-1. Phone network coverage, however, only exists within the initial three miles of the park’s entrance. Therefore, any emergencies should be reported to the park rangers that are patrolling. Weather

The weather of the Denali National Park is of great concern. Warmer seasons only last for about three to four months. It can even rain and remain chilly during summers. Ensure that you bring along a rain jacket or umbrella even when you visit in summers.

The rest of the year can be pretty chilly, considering the altitude of the Alaskan Range. Don’t forget to wear multiple layers of clothing. The temperature in winters can go as low as -40 degrees. Such extreme cold can cause hyperthermia.


Wildlife

The Denali National Park and Preserve is an area of wilderness. The wildlife in the area is very popular. Animals like moose, wild boars, grizzly bears and even wolves are very common throughout the area. The bus tours allow you to view these animals from a distance. However, if you come across them, do not intentionally approach them, especially for pictures. Be careful of the wild animals in the area.


Plants

The Denali National Park and Preserve is home to many plants. You will also come across a lot of trees. Ensure that you don’t eat anything unless you’re fairly certain about what it is. Especially if you have any allergies, avoid eating anything. There aren’t any poison oaks or ivy, but some plants can cause allergic reactions.


Injuries

Depending on where you are, some areas within the park can be rugged. Especially if you’re hiking up a mountain, be wary of your footing. Most of the Denali area doesn’t have any trails. If you’re going for a long trail, the route is usually of your own choosing. Falls are very common in this area and can be extremely deadly.


Be Bear Aware

Wild animals, including bears, are popularly spotted within the wilderness of the area. Here are a few safety tips for dealing with a bear encounter. Don’t Panic– We know it’s easier said than done. Remain calm if you come across a bear and if you’re in a group, make sure you tell others to remain calm as well.

Bear Spray – Always carry a bear spray along with you and learn how to use it. Do Not Run–If you encounter a bear, don’t run or make any sudden movements. The bear can instinctively charge right at you. If you start running, the bear will definitely chase after you and you can’t outrun it no matter how fast you run. Stand Your Ground–In case you spot a bear but it hasn’t seen you yet, leave the area very slowly. If the bear spots you, then stay in your place and wave your arms slowly to establish a connection with the bear. This way, the bear will identify you as a human and not a potential threat.


Additional Safety Tips:

Apart from some of the major safety traveling trips, here a few smaller safety concerns you should keep in mind.

  1. Never go for hiking alone. Hiking here is pretty dangerous, especially because there aren’t many hiking trails in the area. Always go for hiking with at least one more person. Also, ensure that you inform someone about where you’re going and the time they can expect to have you back. Have that person contact concerned persons if you don’t show up within a specific time period.
  2. The Denali Park covers millions of acres of land, even the closest hospital is multiple hours away from the entrance of the park. If you have any medical condition, consult your doctor before visiting the park.
  3. If you go hiking, make sure you take along proper hiking gear with you.
  4. Take extra layers if you’re planning to hike till the top.


Final Word

The Denali National Park and Preserve is a must-visit place of Alaska. It covers 6 million acres of wild land. Travelers come here to visit this mesmerizing park and to witness the largest peak in North America called “Denali.” The Denali Mountain stands at a height of 20,310 with gorgeously astonishing views. The landscape of the Denali area drove two great men to preserve this place. Travelers from all over the world visit the park during the summer season, which only lasts 2-4 months. Around 400,000 visitors explore this park‘s wondrous landscape per year.

Whether you are planning a long or short trip, the Denali National Park and Preserve should be your go-to place! This area has a lot to offer. Apart from Mount Denali, you can witness the flora and fauna in the area. This park has managed to preserve its raw beauty, which can be witnessed by the occasional sighting of wild animals.

This guide comprehensively discusses everything you need to know about visiting the Denali National Park and Preserve - from the best spots to the best accommodations and even traveling tips. So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags because you’re in for a treat when you visit the Denali National Park! Safe and happy travels!