|Why Denali National
Denali National Park and Preserve
encompasses 6 million acres of wilderness in the heart of
one of Alaska's predominant mountain range, the Alaska Range.
North America's tallest mountain, known as both Mount McKinley
and Denali, 'The Great One,' stands at 20,320 ft and is staggeringly
beautiful from the Park road on days when the mountain decides
to show its many facades from behind its customary scarf of
cloud. Denali National Park provides one of the best opportunities
in the state of Alaska for viewing birds and wildlife such
as grizzly or brown bears, Dall sheep, moose, wolves, caribou,
black bears, marmot, fox, and more. Denali National Park also
provides one of the best opportunities for extended backpacking
trips, mountaineering and hiking in the state.
|How do I get into
Denali National Park?
There is one road that leads into
Denali National Park. This road begins at the park entrance at mile
237 of the Parks Highway, 13 miles north of the Denali Mountain
Morning Hostel & Cabins. The park road winds 91 miles into the park.
You can drive or take a free shuttle the first 15 miles into the National
Park, after that you must be on a
bus, a bike, dog sled, your own two feet, or in the air. All Park tour
and shuttle buses depart from the Wilderness Access Center (WAC) at mile 1 of the
park road. Please continue reading the next section, National Park Tour Buses below for VERY IMPORTANT information before you reserve travel into the Park.
See the national park web site for
complete information on tour bus options, rates and schedules. We recommend the the Park's SHUTTLE BUS trips over TOUR BUSES.
The two are essentially the same, but the tours are MUCH
more expensive and offer less flexibility in terms of departure
time and the ability to get on and off the bus at your own
discretion to go for a hike. Additionally it is MUCH cheaper to take the Park's shuttle bus than OTHER PRIVATE COMPANIES' tour buses and you still get narration from the driver. The options are described in
more detail at the above national park web site.
Another VERY IMPORTANT consideration is time. If you are utilizing our free shuttle, even our earliest shuttle WILL NOT get you to the other companies' departure locations in time. If you have a car it's not a problem, just a waste of money.
We HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you make
your reservations for the Park buses IN ADVANCE, particularly
if you are only staying two nights in the area. Many visitors
arrive and are out of luck because the buses going
into the National Park do fill up. Of course this is not always
the case, and at times a person can find an open seat
at just the right time. Generally, particularly once the summer
gets going (mid-June), you can arrive on one day and
make reservations for the following day. If you wait until you arrive to buy tickets, we recommend you buy them at the Wilderness Access Center, from where they depart, but you can also buy them at The Visitors Center
next to the Railroad Depot. Busses into the Park are the only local reservations that we can
not book for our guests, but you can do so and learn more about the options by going HERE.
To avoid confusion about all the buses remember this. We are located 13 miles south of the park entrance. We offer a free shuttle between the park entrance and the hostel. The Park buses go from the entrance INTO the park. They have tour buses (expensive, tan in color); shuttle buses (the way to go, green in color); camper buses (room for bikes). Other private companies offer buses into the park, but they cost more and our shuttle times don't match up (unless you have a car, avoid). The Park Connection Bus travels between Seward, Anchorage and Denali. They don't take you INTO the park. I hope that makes sense to everyone. If you aren't sure just ask us!