Denali Park Road Closure
On August 21, 2021 Denali National Park and Preserve closed a portion of the 92-mile Denali Park Road at mile 43 near Polychrome Pass due to a landslide. The road remained closed for the rest of the season. View the NPS News Release Road Closure.
On October 14, 2021 the National Park announced that about half of the road will remain closed for the 2022 visitor season while a permanent bridge is constructed over the slide area. View the NPS News Release Pretty Rocks Bridge. We anticipate this closure will extend through the 2023 visitor season as well.
It is important to note that Denali remains open to visitors and buses will continue to provide access to mile 43 of the Denali Park Road. Travelers will continue to have access to great wildlife viewing, views of Denali, front country trails, and backcountry hiking and camping. Most travelers to Denali should not have their experience greatly impacted by the road closure.
This announcement does create uncertainties for travelers seeking to proceed to Kantishna, our recommended means of experiencing Denali National Park. Lodges in Kantishna, including Camp Denali, Kantishna Roadhouse and Denali Backcountry Lodge have not cancelled the 2022 season at this time. They are actively exploring air travel alternatives for access to Kantishna. We anticipate that pricing and other terms will be reviewed and updated as part of this new reality. We will update this post as soon as information is available.
Wilderness Lodges In Denali
For a true melding of luxury and wilderness, you can also book one of the wilderness lodges scattered in Kantishna at the end of the Denali Park Road, the single, 92-mile roadway that leads into the park. These include the Denali Backcountry Lodge, Skyline Lodge, Kantishna Roadhouse and Camp Denali/North Face Lodge.
Because vehicle traffic is restricted on the Denali Park Road, you cant drive to these properties, but you can either take one of the shuttle buses that runs all the way to Kantishna or catch a private shuttle from the property. Double-check transportation arrangements when you book your reservations, and make sure youre prepared for a truly off-grid experience. Although youll have a bed to sleep in and great food to eat, you wont have cell service or other technological amenities while youre in the lodges.
Getting To Denali National Park Without A Car
Despite its well-developed tourism infrastructure, there’s no commuter service to speak of between Denali National Park and the nearby communities: small Healy, about 11 miles away tiny Cantwell, some 30 miles away and Fairbanks, 120 miles to the north. Because of this, having your own wheels is the most convenient way of getting to and from Denali.
But you do have a few public transportation options of a sort to choose from. The first and grandest is the Alaska Railroad’s seasonal Denali Star train route, which runs passenger train service from Anchorage to Fairbanks, passing through Wasilla, Talkeetna and Denali National Park along the way. Passenger service on this train isn’t cheap, but it is a fine and scenic way of getting to and from Denali, and most hotels offer free shuttle service from the train depot.
If you’re visiting Denali as part of a land excursion on a cruise line, they’ll take care of every aspect of your transportation which usually means transportation on the train or in a dedicated motor coach that’ll take you straight to your hotel. And, finally, if you plan ahead, you can book your own motor coach transportation with a company like The Park Connection or Denali Transportation.
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Where To Stay In Denali Without A Car
You can only take your private car as far as mile 15 of the Denali Park Road so if you were planning to go farther, you might not want to bring a car at all. Many, though not all, of the lodging options near the park entrance offer a shuttle to the park visitor center. And if you book tours, you can usually arrange a pickup either at your hotel or at the park visitor center. With that said, always double-check these details when finalizing your plans.
How To Get To Denali National Park
Getting to Denali National Park in the heart of Alaskas interior is a trip in itself since its located more than 200 miles north of Anchorage. But thankfully, it is fairly easily accessed by road, rail or air so you can take your pick of a few options.
To visit Denali from Anchorage by car, the trip will take about 5.5 hours by road . Coming from Fairbanks, the drive takes about 3 hours. Getting to Denali National Park by train takes 8 hours northbound from Anchorage, and about 4 hours southbound from Fairbanks. Look for the Alaska Railroad Denali Star Line that runs parallel to the Parks Highway. There is a departure from each city every summer morning for this quintessential rail route.
An efficient but more expensive way of getting to Denali National Park is to fly. Charter options from Anchorage can take you to the park entrance or Kantishna, the small community that sits within the park at the end of the Denali Park Road. With a flight you will save a long day of travel and you will receive an incredible flightseeing experience along the way, but keep in mind that weather in Alaska is unpredictable and flights can get delayed or cancelled. If you fly all the way into Kantishna, you will miss the drive along the Park Road, which is a highlight of any visit to Denali.
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Backcountry Orientation At Denali National Park
The park service recommends allowing an hour and a half for orientation and trip planning at the visitor center and it did take us this long. Again, if you can get your permit and go through orientation the day before you leave, then youll be ready to hit the grounding running on your departure day.
Orientation includes a ranger led safety talk and watching a series of films in the theater. Once youve completed these steps, youll record that youve done so in a ledger at the backcountry ranger desk. If youre local to the area or planning to backpack Denali National Park multiple times you only need to complete the orientation once per season.
During the orientation youll learn all about how to keep your impact on the land to a minimum during your visit as well as backcountry wildlife safety. Honestly, we were a bit more nervous after the orientation because it includes numerous bear encounter tales. We did however, learn a lot about what to do if we cross paths with a bear and how to set-up our camp, cooking area, and food storage using the triangle method.
Best Cabins In Healy: Alaskan Spruce Cabins
The Alaskan Spruce Cabins are our top pick for where to stay in Healy. They offer comfortable lodgings with private bathrooms and a kitchenette. Each room also comes with complimentary tea and coffee supplies. This property offers free wifi, stunning views and a central location near cafes and bars.
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Rv Parks Near Denali National Park
In addition to the Riley Creek Campground and Savage River Campground inside Denali National Park, both of which are open to RVs, youll also find a smattering of private RV parks and campgrounds located up and down the Parks Highway. These include the Denali Rainbow Village RV Park and Motel, the Denali RV Park and Motel, and Midnight Sun RV and Campground, all of which are fairly close to the park entrance or, head south to Cantwell, about 30 miles away, for the Cantwell RV Park.
View Trips & Book Your Denali Vacation
We hope youve enjoyed reading how to visit Denali National Park. If youre ready to go, let our experts be your guide from this research stage to booking your Denali National Park vacation. Our travel philosophy is to venture beyond the roads and rails to explore true Alaskan wilderness. In Denali, this ethos means spending a little more time and money to avoid tourist crowds to actively experience the true wilderness of Alaska. We believe folks visit Denali Park not only for the incredible scenery, amazing wildlife and quiet solitude, but also to learn from experienced guides and return home as ambassadors for these wild lands. All of our Denali vacation options are designed with this focus in mind, equating to the best tour in Denali National Park for you. Choose from:
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Denali Grizzly Bear Resort Toll Free: 8665832696
Our resort is pioneer family owned and operated since 1968. The highlight of any trip to Alaska is Denali National Parkand Denali Grizzly Bear Resort has it all! Explore our website to see all that we offer our guests!
Visit the general store, local tour desk, gift shop, liquor store, showers, laundromat and more!
Where To Eat In And Around Denali National Park
There is a small grocery store at the park entrance , but other than that there are no food or drinks available in the park. Its important that you bring your own food and drinks for the day or multiple days if youre camping. This is especially important if you are on the all day bus trip, as there is no food available for purchase anywhere during the day.
All of these local favorites near Denali are near the park entrance. All except 229 Parks are in Healy, located about 10 miles north of the park. These are all seasonal except for Roses, which has limited winter hours.
- 229 Parks: A favorite locals stop on the drive between Fairbanks and Anchorage, its located just south of the Denali park entrance. Owned by Laura Cole , this is the place for local and seasonal ingredients made into amazing food.
- 49th State Brewing: Great pub food and beer, located in Healy. There is also a location in downtown Anchorage that is open all year.
- Black Diamond Golf course and grill: Great food and affordable prices make this a good stop in Healy even if youre not a golfer!
- Roses cafe: Bakery with good breakfasts and burgers too
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Where To Stay Near Denali National Park
If you’re a first time visitor to Denali National Park, you mightprefer a more touristy area, but if you’re a solo traveler, a localneighborhood could be more interesting. Some areas have lots of thingsto do within walking distance, but the hotels may be more expensive.To give you a starting point for your trip research, we looked at what people say about neighborhoods and places to stay near Denali National Park.
What are some good hotels near Denali National Park?
Depending on the neighborhood you choose, you may want toresearch hotels in the area. If you’d rather start with themost recommended hotels near Denali National Park, here’s a list toget you started.
Where To Stay In Denali National Park Alaska
Where to Stay in Denali National Park Alaska
Few wilderness areas are as pristine, yet as accessible, as 6-million-acre Denali National Park and Preserve. In 2017, more than 640,000 visitors flocked to Denali National Park to enjoy everything from horseback riding to helicopter flightseeing, backcountry camping and, along the single road that runs into the park, the most scenic bus ride you’ll ever experience. Although some of those visits are day trips, that still leaves a lot of bodies looking for a place to sleep in or near the park. As with most travel choices, choosing where to stay in Denali National Park depends on your personal priorities.
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Denali Wildlife ~ Grizzly Bears
Denali’s grizzlies are smaller than what people call a brown bear along the coast. Still, grizzlies can weigh in at up to 600 lbs., which is pretty big. They vary in color from brown to blond or sometimes brown with blond streaks. Around 300 to 350 grizzly bears live in the park on the north side of the Alaska Range. You can see them on open tundra, and along the gravel bars of streams and rivers.
Trapper Creek Coolest Place To Stay In Denali
Trapper Creek is located south of Denali and its our pick for the coolest town in the region. This small village is ideally located at the intersection of Petersville Road and is spread out along the Parks Highway. It offers easy access to Denali National Park as well as to the stunning surrounding countryside.
Have your cameras ready throughout your stay in Trapper Creek, because this is the best place to capture exceptional photos of the towering mountain. Travel down Petersville Road, towards the recreation country in the foothills of the Alaska Range, and youll be rewarded with breathtaking views of this natural giant.
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Final Thoughts On Where To Stay In Denali
Denali National Park is a spectacular and unique destination for travellers. Home to the tallest mountain in North America, Denali is a haven for hikers, climbers and outdoor adventures. The Park is surrounded by distinct small towns that are packed with interesting attractions and burst with history and charm. With so much to see and do, there really is something for everyone in and around Denali.
Just to recap the Talkeetna Hostel International is our pick for the best budget accommodations in Denali. It offers panoramic views and comes complete with a rustic back yard with a campfire, grill and hammock.
Our recommendation for the best hotel is Susitna River Lodging thanks to its location, range of amenities, and rustic and charming rooms.
And dont forget to take out Travel Insurance for your trip! I have been using World Nomads for some time now and made a few claims over the years. Theyre easy to use, professional and relatively affordable. They may also let you buy or extend a policy once youve started your trip and are already abroad which is super handy.
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Best Hotel In Mckinley Park: Denali Park Village Mckinley Park
Located in central McKinley Park, this three-star hotel is ideally located near Denali National Park. It is also close to great restaurants, bars, and nightlife attractions. This three-star hotel offers spacious and clean rooms with private bathrooms, hair dryers and coffee/tea facilities. Youll also enjoy free wifi, room service and an on-site restaurant.
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Common Winter Activities: Skiing Biking Snowshoeing
Cross-country skiing, winter biking and snowshoeing are peaceful and rewarding ways to explore Denali, whether for an afternoon or a multi-day trip following sled dog trails or along the Denali Park Road.Some of Denali’s summer hiking trails are also good for skiing. Please note that winter biking is only possible on the Roadside Bike Trail and the park road other summer hiking trails cannot be biked, in summer or winter.Telemark skiing and snowboarding involve long climbs on foot, but are possible in good snow years. If you plan to travel in areas that present avalanche hazards, please have proper training and equipment. We encourage you to travel with a partner or a group.If you wish to do an overnight trip in the park please review information on winter backcountry permits.Explore the park’s Sled Dog Kennels in winter. Open hours are hosted by a ranger on Saturdays and Sundays from 1-4pm, except for major holidays.
Best B& b In Healy: Denali Primrose B& b
This charming and rustic bed and breakfast is ideally located in Healy. It is close to the river and the Alaskan countryside and is a short drive from 49th State Brewing. This property has two comfortable rooms with a variety of amenities and features. Youll enjoy free wifi and incredible scenery.
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Alaska offers tons of top-notch attractions that are worth seeing. One of the most well-known destinations in the state is Denali National Park. The national park is massive, with a size larger than New Jersey state. While you are here, you can admire the beauty of glaciers, tundras, and spruce forests. You can also witness several wildlife species during your visit, with the parks permanent residents being wolves, grizzly bears, and Dall sheep. The best time to visit the national park is during the summer months, where you can indulge in hiking, backcountry camping, and biking, among other activities. If you want to explore this attraction and are looking for a cozy place to stay, read on for the best cabins near Denali National Park, Alaska.
Located 11 minutes away from the entrance of Denali National Park, this lovely cabin can offer spectacular mountain views. There are two bedrooms with cozy king beds, easily sleeping a group of four. In each bedroom, you can find a private full bathroom for convenience. You can head to the spacious deck, which comes with a barbecue grill and comfortable patio furniture, to enjoy al fresco dining with your loved ones. High-speed WiFi is available, along with a television, to keep you entertained. You can cook some delicious meals in the well-stocked kitchen.