Not all of Alaska's many stunning and remote national parks are accessible, but fortunately, the Denali National Park and Preserve are easily accessed. It is huge - larger than the state of New Hampshire. Denali's landscapes are rugged and wild spanning deciduous taiga, tundra (at mid-elevations), and glaciers.

Visiting Denali is all about the grand outdoors. In the summer, one is free to explore the backcountry, while in the winter there are activities like dog sledding, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing (not to mention the Northern Lights). To see some of the most remote places in Alaska and all of America, see here for how to visit the Alaskan Aleutian Islands.

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About Denali National Park and Preserve

  • Number of Visitors: Around 400,000-600,000
  • First Established: As Mount McKinley National Park In 1917
  • Designated: International Biosphere Reserve In 1976

The park includes 160 miles of the towering glacier-capped Alaska Range. This range includes North America's highest peak - Denali. Click here for what it's like to summit Mt Denali - America's Mt Everest.

  • Height: Denali  20,310 Feet

The main season is from late spring to early autumn (that is late May and early September). The park is full of abundant wildlife with notable species including Alaska's "Big Five". Alaska's Big Five are moose, caribou, wolf, Dall sheep, and the grizzly bear. In total it has around 37 species of mammals and 130 species of birds. While black bears inhabit the forested areas of the park, grizzlies live more on the open tundra.

Related: Here's What You Can Do On The Mysterious Island Of Unalaska

Getting Around The Park

The park offers narrated bus tours that take visitors on the park's 92 miles of road. Keep one's eyes peeled for the wildlife along the way! On buses are naturalist guides who are experts at spotting wildlife and provide educate visitors about the animals and environment. Most of the Park Road running through the park is not open to private vehicles, so these bus tours are the best ways to explore it.

  • Types Of Bus Tours: Narrated Tour Buses And Non-Narrated Transit Buses
  • Tour Bus Options: Options of Half-Day and Full-Day Tours
  • Transit Buses: Hop-on, Hop-off (Designed More For Campers And Hikers)
  • Bus Tour Start Date: Mid-May

Getting To Denali

Denali is quite accessible having multiple ways to reach the park - by train, car, and bus. The closest city is Fairbanks around 120 miles north of the park. The largest Alaskan city of Anchorage is 240 miles south of the park. This is Alaska - so driving to the park is in itself a fantastic way to explore the many rugged and unspoiled sights of America's largest state.

  • By Train: Offered By Alaska Railroad (Train Station Right At The Park Entrance)
  • By Bus: There Are Private Bus Tour Operators Operating Out Of Both Fairbanks And Anchorage

Accommodation In And Around Denali

Most of the accommodation options are the many lodges, cabins, and hotels located near the park entrance. If one would like to stay inside the park, then camping is generally the way to go. There are 6 designated campgrounds - half of them are tent-only and only accessible by bus. The other half is open to both tents and RVs. See the National Park Service website for camping options inside the park.

But there are also four wilderness lodges on private inholdings at the end of the park road. They are inclusive offering meals and the comforts of home - wildlife viewing is right from the front door. See about these four lodges and other outside lodging options here.

  • Reservable: The Campsites Are All Reservable
  • Shuttle Service: Most Accommodations Provide A Shuttle Service To The Park And Arrange Tours For The Area

Summer Vs Winter

Visiting in the summer and winter is completely different. If one wants to see and do the most and view the wildlife then summer is the best time. This is also when the National Park Service is offering the services in the park. This is when the snow has melted, the roads and trails are open and hiking, backpacking, and camping are possible. In the summer some of the other activities include biking, rafting, fishing, and flightseeing.

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But none of that means one shouldn't visit in the winter. In the winter one needs to be ready for short days, long nights, and the harsh, snowy conditions of Denali. At this time the main access road - Park Road, and most of the visitor services are closed. But this is when the Winter Visitor Center and the Sled Dog Kennels are open. One can even go biking with fat tire biking and hike with snowshoes along Park Road and designated winter trails.

  • Winter Bonus: During The Long And Dark Winter Nights, Watch The Northern Lights Dazzle, Flicker, and Light Up The Night's Sky

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