Denali National Park & Preserve

Overview

It's more than a mountain. Denali National Park & Preserve features North America's highest mountain, 20,320-foot tall Mount McKinley. The Alaska Range also includes countless other spectacular mountains and many large glaciers. Denali's more than 6 million acres also encompass a complete sub-arctic eco-system with large mammals such as grizzly bears, wolves, Dall sheep, and moose. Today the park accommodates a wide variety of visitor use including wildlife viewing, mountaineering, and backpacking. It continues to provide a laboratory for research in the natural sciences.

Map

Seasonality / Weather

For a visitor to Denali, the summer is when most services and activities are possible, and is when access into the park is easiest. Animals are at their most active and visible from May to September, as they squeeze in as much living (and eating) as they can before the onset of another cold winter. Mosquitoes, too, are active in early summer, although by early August they have disappeared from all but the wettest parts of the park. While snow can fall even in summer, snow that arrives in September tends to stay rather than melt away. Winter announces its arrival not just with snow, but with extreme temperatures and ever-less sunlight. Access into the park and services offered are limited between late September and late April, though self-sufficient folks will find plenty to do in winter.

Directions

Driving: 

There is one road entrance into Denali. The entrance is along Alaska Route 3 (also called the George Parks Highway) about 240 miles north of Anchorage, 120 miles south of Fairbanks, and 12 miles south of Healy - the nearest year-round community.

In Talkeetna, about 100 miles north of Anchorage and 140 miles south of the park entrance, you'll find Denali's mountaineering headquarters.

The Denali Park Road is open to private vehicles for 14.8 miles to the Savage River Bridge. Public travel to destinations farther into the park requires shuttle and tour bus services.

Flying: 

Air travel to either Anchorage or Fairbanks is the easiest entry to Alaska. Then you'll want to use a car, bus or train to reach Denali.

Public Transport: 

In summer a variety of private bus and van services operate daily from Anchorage and Fairbanks. Contact a travel agent or search the web for available companies.