Fill your lungs with fresh mountain air and lose yourself in the untamed beauty of Denali National Park.
Alaska means "The Great Land" in the indigenous Aleut language, and a Denali National Park tour will show you why. Home to rolling tundra, abundant wildlife and North America's tallest peak, this national park ticks all the boxes for nature lovers and adventure seekers. Whether you want to tackle some seriously scenic hiking trails, watch the magical northern lights or go on a safari – Alaskan style – to look for grizzlies, moose and wolves, Denali is a place that will wow you over and over again.
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Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards
From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises).
However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.
Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.
Denali National Park and Preserve is in the central area of the Alaska Range in Alaska, USA.
You can get to Denali National Park either by car, bus or train. The closest cities are Fairbanks and Anchorage. It takes about four hours to drive from Fairbanks and five hours from Anchorage. Coaches and trains operate daily from Fairbanks and Anchorage in the summer months. Public transport services are limited during the winter.
There is only one road in Denali National Park and most of it is only open to buses. If you take your car, you can drive the first 15 miles up to Savage River. To see the rest of the park you either have to jump on a transit bus (non-narrated) or a tour bus. There is also a free shuttle bus that travels to different hiking trails, campgrounds and facilities along the part of the road open to the public.
Denali is stunning all year round and the best time to visit depends on the type of adventure you want. Winter is the best time to go if you want to see the mountains and landscapes covered in snow – the whole park turns into a winter wonderland that would give Santa Claus a run for his money. Winter is also the best time to see the northern lights. Spring and summer are equally as beautiful when the land thaws, wildflowers cover the tundra and life blooms all around. Peak season is from June to August but it still feels relatively quiet compared to other US national parks.
Packing essentials for Denali include a good pair of hiking boots, a waterproof jacket and pants, warm hat and gloves, warm layers (e.g. a fleece), t-shirts, lightweight pants, daypack, water bottle, sunglasses, bathing suit, warm socks, basic medications, sunscreen, insect repellent and plenty of snacks to keep you going throughout the day. If you go during winter you’ll need a decent winter jacket. It’s worth bringing a small amount of cash as ATMs are scarce.
Denali is one of the best places in the world to see the northern lights as there’s hardly any light pollution. The best time to see the lights is during the fall, winter and spring when there’s enough darkness. The sky is too bright in the summer so if you’re hoping to see the lights you should avoid going any time between the six weeks before and after the summer solstice.
Denali is home to a diverse range of wildlife including black bears, grizzly bears, caribou, moose, wolves, Dall’s sheep, marmots, foxes, red squirrels, arctic ground squirrels, bald eagles, golden eagles, ravens and gray jays. There are also 160 species of birds and 1,500 plant species.
You can use your cell phone within the first three miles of the park entrance but the signal may be patchy in some areas. It’s important to note that once you go further into the park you will not have cell phone service. There is free public wifi in the Denali Visitor Centre, the Riley Creek Mercantile and the Denali Bus Depot.
Many trails, campground programs, attractions and tours in Denali are accessible for people with physical/mobility disabilities. Wheelchairs are available to borrow at the Denali Visitor Center free of charge. Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. We’re always happy to talk to travelers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.