Denali is a huge and scenic national park, encompassing 24,281 square kilometres. Its untouched wilderness harbours a vast array of wildlife, including grizzly bears, caribou, moose, Dall sheep, wolves and many species of raptor. It is also home to Mt Denali (formerly Mt McKinley), the highest peak in North America.
There is only one public road leading into Denali and access is regulated by the National Park Service. Only a few lodges are located within the park; the majority of accommodation is at the park gate. With private vehicles not allowed, visitors must take either the park shuttle or one of the tour buses that travel along the single road stopping en route for photographs and wildlife, before returning to the park entrance before the gates close on the same day.
If you would like a longer and more intimate wilderness experience away from the crowds, then we recommend incorporating a stay at one of the backcountry lodges within Denali into your Alaskan itinerary. Backcountry lodges offer comfortable, cosy accommodation in a picture-postcard setting. North Face Lodge and Camp Denali for instance, boast unparalleled views of Alaska’s highest mountain, Mt Denali, while Denali Backcountry Lodge and Kantishna Roadhouse offer unrivalled seclusion deep within the national park. Your days at these rustic properties can be spent embarking on naturalist-guided activities that may include hiking through fields of colourful wildflowers, canoeing, mountain biking or fishing.
If you are approaching Denali from the south, Talkeetna is the best gateway into the preserve. An easy train journey from Anchorage deposits you in this quaint town, considered the centre of flightseeing tours over Mount Denali. Optional excursions out of Talkeetna include jetboating, nature trails and rafting, while accommodation can be enjoyed at the rustic Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge, constructed out of wood and stone, with guest rooms facing majestic mountains and ancient forests.
Please note: Denali is closed from mid-Sep to mid-May due to adverse weather conditions.