Do Denali National Park United States the Right Way

Denali National Park and Preserve is a breathtaking and truly majestic wilderness expanse in Alaska.

The centerpiece of the park is Denali, North America's tallest peak, towering at 20,310 feet above sea level. Formerly known as Mount McKinley, Denali holds significant cultural and spiritual importance for indigenous peoples and serves as an iconic symbol of Alaska's untamed beauty.

Beyond the towering peaks, the park encompasses a diverse range of ecosystems, from boreal forests and alpine tundra to glaciers and braided rivers, providing a sanctuary for diverse wildlife amidst its rugged landscapes.

Grizzly bears, wolves, moose
, Dall sheep, and caribou are among the park's notable inhabitants, thriving in habitats largely untouched by human development.

Facts about Denali National Park and Preserve

Denali national park is 6,075,030 acres consisting of almost 5 million acres of park and slightly over 1.3M acres of preserve.

Be sure to get yourself a picture of the Denali National Park entrance sign!

Lowest Elevation in Denali National Park

The lowest point in the park is found at the Yentna River at 240 feet. You cannot access this point by driving. The only way for visitors to get to the lowest elevation in Denali National Park is by taking a plane, dogsled, or a snow machine.

Denali National Park Summer Jobs

The park staffs over 100 permanent employees along with about that same number needed as seasonal employees and also relies on the work of interns and volunteers

Denali National Park Rangers
A ranger's role in Denali National Park, Alaska, can be as vast and wild as the landscape they serve.

They are like guardians of this untamed wilderness, they embark on a multifaceted mission to protect its natural wonders and ensure the safety of its visitors. Rangers play a vital role in preserving the pristine beauty and ecological integrity of Denali, leaving a lasting legacy for generations to come.

Being a ranger in Denali National Park, Alaska, is like being the ultimate outdoor enthusiast meets protector of the wild.

Here's what they're all about:

Wildlife Watch: Rangers are like the animal whisperers of the park, keeping tabs on the diverse critters that call Denali home, from grizzlies to caribou.

Trail Tacklers: They're the trailblazers, making sure the paths are clear and safe for hikers and adventurers, all while embracing the rugged beauty of the terrain.

Nature's Ambassadors: Rangers aren't just guardians. They're also storytellers, sharing the importance of Denali's ecosystem with visitors, sparking a love for conservation that reverberates far beyond the park's boundaries.

How to Tour Denali National Park

Visiting Denali National Park offers a rare opportunity to witness grizzly bears, moose, foxes and many other incredible creatures in their natural habitats.

Driving through this park means you have to keep your eyes open! The animals are all around you, and you can turn it into a game of who can spot the first moose or grizzly bear.

Denali National Park also offers a unique approach to conservation. Be sure to check the latest updates for information before your trip on park openings and/or road closures that could impact your trip.

Denali National Park Closest Airport
The closest airport to Denali National Park is in Fairbanks. It’s about 125 miles away.

Flying into Anchorage is also a great option. The Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) is about 250.

Distance to Denali National Park
Denali National Park is a bit of a drive from any major city but the distance is very manageable, especially if you love a good road trip.

Seriously, the views on an Alaskan road trip more than make up for any discomfort caused by a long drive.

Denali National Park Rental Cars

Renting a car from the airport is a convenient option for exploring Denali National Park, offering visitors flexibility and independence to navigate the park's vast wilderness at their own pace.

When I was in Denali National Park during the month of September, we flew into ANC and rented an SUV from the airport. I made the reservation online ahead of time.

Be mindful that just because you make a reservation, it does not mean that you automatically are reserving that specific type of car you chose. Rental car companies operate somewhat on a first-come-first-serve basis.

To help ensure that you get the vehicle you need, call your rental car company the day before and confirm your arrival. Ask for a specific vehicle to be marked for you!

Alaska Auto Rental is another service you can rent directly from to explore Denali and other parts of Alaska.

The cool thing about Denali National Park is that even with a car, you can see so much of the park! You can easily access many of the highlights that make up Denali's various scenic viewpoints and trailheads and help you make the most of your time exploring the park's landscapes and catching views of the wildlife.

Amazing Wildlife

It is one thing to see these animals in pictures, but it is a completely different experience to witness these animals in person.

Pro Tip: Bring binoculars with you! Even if you do not plan to do any hiking or leave your vehicle at all, there is room in some areas to pull over on the side of the road.

Check out the Denali Visitor Center for up to date details to plan your adventure!

What Town is Denali National Park In?

Healy, Alaska is the closest town at just over 10 miles away from Denali. You can find lodging options in this little town along with restaurants and grocery stores.

The closest town of any significant size is Fairbanks. It’s the second-largest city in the state, covering approximately 32 square miles.

Despite its relatively modest size compared to urban centers in the lower 48 states, Fairbanks serves as a vital cultural, economic, and transportation hub for the region. Fairbanks is in the Alaska Time Zone, which is an hour behind Pacific Time and 4 hours behind Eastern Time Zone.

Fairbanks experiences the long summer days and equally extended winter nights due to its high latitude.

The city's economy is diverse, with key industries including tourism, mining, and research, thanks in part to its proximity to the Arctic Circle and the University of Alaska Fairbanks, which is renowned for its Arctic research programs.

Fairbanks boasts a rich history, shaped by its origins as a trading post during the Klondike Gold Rush in the late 19th century. Find out more about Fairbanks here.

Denali National Park and Preserve Trails

Trees in Denali National Park
Denali is home to a variety of trees such as the white spruce, black spruce, and larch. In addition to these coniferous species, Denali National Park also boasts a diverse array of deciduous trees, including quaking aspen, paper birch, and balsam poplar.

The park's forests exhibit a unique blend of boreal and alpine ecosystems, with tree species adapting to harsh climatic conditions and varying elevations.

The white spruce, characterized by its tall stature and thick foliage, dominates lower elevations, while the hardier black spruce thrives in the park's more rugged terrain and higher altitudes.

Larch trees, known for their vibrant golden foliage in the fall, add a splash of color to the park's landscape.

These trees provide essential habitat for a wide range of wildlife, including moose, bears, and various bird species.

They also contribute to the park's scenic beauty, enhancing the experience for visitors exploring Denali's vast wilderness.

Is Denali National Park open in Winter?

There is a Winter Visitor Center that opens around October and is open daily with the exception of major holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.

Denali National Park December weather and weather throughout the entire winter can be quite extreme. The days are shorter in the winter and snow storms become a concern with road blockages.

You can get more information on the winter activities at the Winter Visitor Center.

While the actual park is open throughout the year, you will find that services are much more limited during the winter time. After the park has a significant amount of snow accumulation, the road at Mile 3 will be closed for the remainder of the winter.

Denali National Park and Preserve Visitor Center

I love a good visitor center and recommend you stopping in to ask any questions for your day in the park. It’s also a good bathroom break!

Denali National Park Visitor Center Hours:
The main visitor center is open to the public only in the summer time.


Mile 1.5 Denali Park Road
Denali Park, AK 99755

Get yourself a Denali National Park hoodie! Of course, you need the right attire or souvenir to remember your experience in the park, and there’s nothing better than a Denali National Park Hoodie. Here are some favorites for you to see!

Looking for food near Denali National Park? The Morino Grill is located conveniently near the Denali Visitor Center is the only restaurant within the park.  

Be sure to bring your own snacks with you before heading on your adventures in the park!

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