Basic Planning Information

Arrival BusesReservations Camping FAQ
Information CentersWhat to BringMaps Where to See the Mountain

Hiking In Denali National Park.
rangers lead walks from the Denali Visitor Center
How About Hiking In The Park?
Denali National Park has plenty of opportunities for hiking. Some hikes may seem easy but don't underestimate any walk in Alaska. There is always a chance you will meet wildlife and also that the weather may change or you may have an emergency. Always tell someone where you are going and take basic precautions. Don't walk through thick brush, take care crossing streams and don't walk on loose rocks.

First, you can hike around the Entrance Area by yourself. Some trails are paved and others are gravel. The Savage River Area has more rugged trails.

Second, you can take a ranger guided hike in the entrance area. Ask at the Visitor Center.

Third, you can take a "Discovery Hike" where you go with a Ranger on a bus and take a guided hike further in the Park.

Fourth, you can get off any bus and walk along the park road then get back on a different bus.

Fifth, you can hike and camp in certain parts of the Park. You must register for this type of backcountry hike at the Backcountry Information Center located next to the Wilderness Access Center.

Denali's Name Change From "McKInley" To "Denali."

In one year, America’s highest peak shrank 10 feet to 20,310 feet and went back to its maiden name "Denali". The name of Alaska’s greatest mountain has been debated for over 100 years. In 1896, a gold prospector named William Dickey named the mountain after William McKinley, who was running for president. In 1975, the Alaska state legislature asked the federal government to change the name of the mountain back to “Denali,” its original Athabascan name.

In 1980, Mt. McKinley National Park was expanded and renamed “Denali National Park & Preserve.” For a long time, the mountain was known by both names, McKinley and Denali. In the latest chapter of this name debate, President Obama announced in September, 2015, that Mount McKinley, too, would be officially renamed “Denali” – the name most Alaskans have used for many years.

Then there's the question of the mountain's height. In June, 2015, a group of four scientists climbed to the summit, carrying GPS equipment. The Geological Survey measured the mountain’s south peak at 20,310 feet – which was ten feet less than determined in 1953. Actually, the mountain continues to grow, at the rate of one millimeter every year as the Pacific Plate pushes northward beneath the North American Plate.

Even at its shorter “official” height, Denali is still 680 feet taller than the closest runner-up, Mount Logan in Canada.

Although many of Alaska’s large mountains are volcanic, Denali is not a volcano. Denali is unique in that the mountain rises high above its surroundings, making the mountain one the greatest views in the world.

Will I See Denali?
Believe it or not, your chances of seeing a grizzly bear in Denali National Park are higher than your chance of seeing the entire mountain. This is because Denali is so tall that passing clouds pile up on its flanks, obscuring it. So, if someone tells you, "Denali's out today," you'd better grab your camera.

How Big Is The Park?
Denali National Park is comprised of the "Park" and the "Preserve." Together, they contain over 6 million (6,075,029) acres – or 9,492 square miles. Most of the original park (which was originally called Mount McKinley National Park) is now designated as "Wilderness."

How Do You Get Into The Park?
Denali National Park has one road that is 92 miles long. Only 15 miles of the road is paved. You can only drive the first 15 (paved) miles to Savage River in your personal vehicle.

Here Are Some Practical Things You Need To Know To Help You Plan Your Visit.

Arrival Orient yourself. A list of things you can do when you arrive, and a map of the entrance area.

Buses A general description of the park's buses. What to take, where they're going and how much they cost.

Reservations How to make them.

Camping The park has six campgrounds. There are also several campgrounds outside of the park.

FAQ's A list of common questions about Denali National Park.

Information Centers Different places you can go to get information.

What to Bring Things you should bring with you to make your trip more successful.

Maps General maps to help you get the lay of the land.
ranger at the information desk
Denali Park information desk
Denali Park Ranger leads a hike from the visitor center