Winter is a wonderful time to view the northern lights and experience a still landscape. You will get to experience our coldest temperatures and bring home great stories. Come prepared with lots of warm, layered clothing, your camera and an adventurous spirit.
There are many ways to arrive in the Denali Borough. Each option offers unique opportunities, scenery and limitations. There are two main airports in Alaska. They are Ted Stevens International Airport (Anchorage, 250 miles and approximately 5 hours south) and Fairbanks International Airport (Fairbanks, 110 miles and approximately 2 hours north).
There is NO public transportation in the Denali Borough. Some businesses do offer shuttle service to their guests. However, depending on how you arrive for your visit and where you stay, day-to-day logistics can be challenging.
- TOUR GROUP* – If you are coming to Denali as part of a organized tour your transportation should be included. You are all set!
- TRAIN – This mode of travel offers amazing scenery, opportunity to view wildlife and a relaxed travel pace. Schedules are plentiful during the summer months, but are limited during other seasons. Train travel options can be found here.
- MOTOR-COACH – Motor-coach service is available during summer months (from Anchorage only). Contact The Park Connection for schedules and pricing.
- RENTAL CAR – If you like having freedom, or plan to stay at an establishment without shuttle service, this is your best option! Cars are available to rent at both airports, and there is also a local rental company who can coordinate local service. Contact Keys to Denali car rental for schedules and pricing.
Spring brings returning light and warmer temperatures. Increased outdoor recreation opportunities are available. This is a great time to experience our state sport – dog mushing!
Summer is the domain of the Midnight Sun. Most visitors come during summertime, so there can be crowds. However, other benefits such as tour opportunities and active wildlife, make it worth it.
Fall in Alaska is beautiful and full of adventure. Don’t mind a nip in the air! You might even get a glimpse of snow on the mountains, while migration, hibernation and procreation of animals (bull moose rut) provides excitement for visitors.
Access to Denali National Park varies depending on the time of year. A year-round visitor center can be reached by calling 907-683-9532. Most of their information can be found on the Denali National Park & Preserve website.
Answers to FAQ’s can be found below.
- Which bus tour is better? There is one road in Denali National Park, so no matter what tour you select, you will start and end at the same place. The difference is in how far along the road you travel. Tour options include 30 miles in, 63 miles in, or a visit to the end of the road at 92 miles. Reservations can be made at www.reservedenali.com
- What about transit buses? Transit buses provide transportation between campgrounds and facilities, they do not offer tours. The 2021 schedule can be found here.
- What are the hiking options? Visit this link for a comprehensive list of hiking inside Denali National Park.
- Can I stay inside the park? Yes! There are NPS campgrounds & private accommodations available. The DNP campground information can be found here. Go to this website for those campground reservations. The private accommodations available are different from most other national parks, in that the lodging is deep within Denali Park, rather than at the entrance. Those accommodations can be found here.
- What are other ways to experience Denali National Park? Because DNP only has one road, other viewing options are restricted to flight seeing. However there are also a few businesses who offer back-country access in specialty tours.
- What is the Denali Road Lottery? Each September the park hosts a four-day event called “Road Lottery.” During these four days, winners of a lottery drawing are given a chance to purchase a single, day-long permit, allowing them to drive as much of the Denali Park Road as weather allows. In years with early snow, the Park Road might open no farther than Savage River (Mile 15); in milder years, lottery winners are able to enjoy a trip out to the end of the park road (Mile 92). An extra (fifth) day of lottery, called Military Appreciation Day, is open only to active duty military service-members and their families. The military is in charge of distributing road travel permits for Military Appreciation Day. You can learn about road lottery here.
The Denali Borough is the gateway to Denali National Park. The Denali Borough is located 250 miles north of Anchorage, and 110 miles south of Fairbanks.
The borough covers 8.2 million acres across the heart of Alaska and is adjacent to the highest mountain on North America (Denali: 20,320 feet). Covering nearly 100 miles of highway, the Denali Borough is home to multiple small communities (Anderson, Healy, McKinley Village and Cantwell are the largest four) and just under 2000 residents.
Recreational opportunities, amenities and services vary by community. View our YouTube Channel for the latest community videos.
The City of Anderson is a small municipality adjacent to Clear Air Force Station. It is also the northernmost community of the Denali Borough. There are limited services available in Anderson, and most visitors are there to enjoy the quiet and spacious RV park. Trails and 4-wheeling opportunities near the Nenana River offer recreation popular with Alaskans. The turn for this community is located at mile 293.5 Parks Highway (56.5 miles from the entrance to DNP).
The small community known as Clear is located near milepost 278 (41 miles from the entrance to DNP) of the Parks Highway and encompasses residential homes and a variety of businesses, with a few geared toward visitors in the way of camping and dining.
Cantwell is the southernmost community of the Denali borough and the western end of the Denali Highway. Milepost 200 (37 miles from the entrance to DNP) is where the Parks Highway and Denali Highway intersect. Cantwell has most amenities available, including camping, lodging and dining. This community offers some of the most scenic areas of the Denali Borough and ample recreation opportunities.
The entrance to Denali National Park is located at milepost 237 of the Parks Hwy. One mile to the north of this is the area known as “Denali Park Canyon”, which is home to multiple hotel properties, stores, dining, excursions and more. This is considered the center of tourism for the Denali Borough.
Healy is centered near milepost 248 (11 miles from the entrance to DNP) of the Parks Highway. With nearly 1000 residents, it is the largest community in the Denali Borough, thus having the most services. There is a full service grocery store, auto part and hardware stores, a bank, health services, numerous hotels/B&B’s, tour companies and dining.
Located near milepost 230 (7 miles from the entrance to DNP) is McKinley Village. This small community is a mix of residential neighborhoods and tourism resorts and services. It is popular for its hiking trails, fine dining opportunities and small town feel.