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Things to do in Denali National Park

Things to do in  Denali National Park

Welcome to Denali National Park

Three times the size of Yellowstone, Denali’s wilderness has no rival in the Lower 48. With nearly five million acres (over two million hectares) open to on-foot exploration, witnessing the continent’s highest peak is just one of many things to do in Denali National Park. You can also spy on moose, bears, and Dall sheep near Polychrome Pass; hike “social trails” along braided glacial rivers; camp beneath the stars and auroras; or catch a tranquil sunset from your backcountry lodge, 92 miles (148 kilometers) deep. Wherever you wind up in Denali, you’ll be somewhere truly wild.

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All about Denali National Park

When to visit

There are sharp differences among the seasons in Denali National Park. From mid-September to May 19, daily train and bus services to Denali from Anchorage and Fairbanks typically end, and the 92-mile road may not be fully accessible to private vehicles. Once May 20 hits, travel resumes. Spring and fall visits can be highly rewarding with a rental car—you’ll encounter a fraction of the amount of summer visitors to share in this 6-million-acre wilderness.

Getting around

In the main season—mid-May to mid-September—private vehicles are restricted past mile 15 of the 92-mile Denali Park Road. Most visitors will see the park on transit, tour, or camper buses, which operate from mile zero onward. Transit buses shuttle visitors to specific points to explore on their own; tour buses provide narration and stop at scenic viewpoints; and camper buses are for those spending the night under the Alaskan stars.

Traveler tips

The Denali Star Train, the Alaska Railroad’s flagship train, stops in Anchorage, Wasilla, Fairbanks, Talkeetna, and at Denali National Park (technically mile 1.5 of Denali Park Road). If you’re coming from Fairbanks, you can have a magical half-day excursion in Denali—car-free!—and be back home by nightfall. Or, let the park’s bus system take over from there, delivering you deep into the Alaskan wilderness to stay overnight at one of the in-park backcountry lodges.

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