Denali National Park
Denali National Park
PO Box 9
Denali Park, AK 99755-0009
Denali National Park pays homage to a single geological entity: Mount McKinley, or Denali ("the Great One"), as native Alaskans call it. At 20,320 feet above sea level, it is North America's highest peak and one of the grandest mountains in the entire world.
Denali National Park is accessible via train, bus, or car from either Anchorage (240 miles south) or Fairbanks (125 miles north). Besides climbing Mount McKinley, Denali visitors can backpack, hike, cross-country ski, fish, and raft. Travelers can also explore the sub-artic eco-system, which is inhabited by moose, caribou, grizzly bears, Dall sheep, and wolves.
Entrance fees: $20/family for seven days or $10/individual for seven days
Visitor center: The visitor center is open daily from May to August.
Other services: Talkeetna Ranger Station and Murie Science and Learning Center are open year-round. There are also four lodges and cabins available.
- Riley Creek Campground. Open year-round. Reservations are recommended. 800-622-7275.
- Savage River Campground. Open from May to September (weather-dependent). Reservations are recommended. 800-622-7275.
- Sanctuary River Campground. Open from May to September (weather-dependent). Reservations are recommended. 800-622-7275.
- Teklanika River Campground. Open from May to September (weather-dependent). Reservations are recommended. 800-622-7275.
- Wonder Lake Campground. Open from June to September (weather-dependent). Reservations are recommended. 800-622-7275.
Visiting Denali National Park
A cold wind rattled through the tundra valley, letting everyone know this was the rooftop of the world. Suddenly there was the sound of hooves, of lungs breathing hard, of animals grunting from exertion. On the hill across the river there was one caribou, then three, then a dozen, then 50, and then still more. In a continual mass the caribou moved steadily down the hill and toward the river. When they reached it, the herd did not pause but jumped in and began swimming across until the river seemed not a river of water but a river of caribou.
It is scenes like this -- of vast herds of migratory animals living in absolute freedom and natural abundance -- that make Denali National Park such a unique wildlife sanctuary in the modern world. One of the largest national parks anywhere in the world, Denali stretches more than 100 miles along the Alaska range and protects an area approximately the size of the state of Massachusetts.
Alaska's most popular park, Denali seems unusually civilized and accessible compared with other Alaskan parks, especially Kobuk Valley and Gates of the Arctic. The Anchorage-Fairbanks Highway (also known as the George Parks Highway) leads directly to Riley Creek Information Center on the park's eastern border, and the Alaska Railroad has a passenger station here. From this eastern gateway, a gravel road leads deep into the park's subarctic landscape.
Because it is one of the most accessible national parks in Alaska, Denali is frequented by hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. For details on sightseeing highlights at Denali, turn to the next page.