Denali National Park sees over a half million people visit each year, and it is the most visited park in Alaska. The staggering landscape encompasses over 6 million acres of sweeping tundra, snow capped peaks and sparse forest. The park is a heaven for animals with grizzly bears often seen from the parks one dirt road. Add to that the highest mountain in North America, Denali, and you have one of the most beautiful national parks you can visit. Just be sure to bring your survival skills if you want to get off of the park’s main road. Here is all the information on how to best visit Denali National Park. You can watch the video I made about the park above and we visited in June and July.

How to Access Denali National Park

People can access Denali National Park in two ways: by bus and by plane. You can drive about 15 miles into the park with a personal vehicle and access some nice trails, but if you want to experience the park, you need to take a bus or plane. 

Bus

The bus tour is the primary way to see the park; you can see my video on that¬†here. Note, that a washout on the road made it so the bus does not go to the end at the moment (and there is no date for that to be fixed). Because of this, some of the drive’s most beautiful parts are off-limits until the road is fixed. You can still potentially see amazing wildlife on the bus ride, but without the end section, I am not sure I would do the 8-hour bumping bus ride myself. Hopefully, it is fixed soon.¬†

Here is more information on the bus tour.

Plane

Flying on a plane is also a great way to visit the park, allowing you to see more of this massive area from above. The aircraft typically leave from Talkeetna, making them an easy day trip from Anchorage. You can book a plane that just flies over the park for views or one that will land on the Ruth Glacier and allow you to get out and explore a little bit. If you want to see the park this way, I recommend landing on the glacier as it will enable you to set foot in the park, and it is pretty impressive to see the mountains from a normally inaccessible glacier.

Here is more information on the flight service we used.

What can you see in Denali National Park?

Denali Mountain

The main reason people visit Denali is to try to get a peak at the tallest mountain in North America. This mountain is notoriously difficult to see, and only one out of every three people who visit Alaska ever see it. That being said, the Alaska Range has so many stunning mountains that, with any luck, you will see many amazing peaks on your visit to the park.

Wildlife

The other thing Denali is known for is wildlife. The park is so remote, with no established trails past the first 15 miles of road, so the ability to see animals here is pretty great. On our 8-hour bus ride, we saw grizzly bears, Dall Sheep, Caribou, and Moose. It felt like we were on a safari and I hope that you get this lucky if you visit the park.

Where to Stay in Denali National Park

If you are driving in, the best place to fly into is Fairbanks. It is only 110 miles from Denali, which takes about two and a half hours. You can then stay at the many hotels right next to the park entrance or one of the campgrounds in the park. You can also stay in Healy, which is about 15 minutes north of the park entrance.

You can also drive from Anchorage, but this takes about 4.5 hours and is long. From Anchorage, your best bet is to take the train or drive to Talkeetna for a day trip and flight around Denali.

2 Day Itinerary for Denali National Park

Day 1

  • Drive to the park from Fairbanks
  • Explore the visitor center
  • Drive the parks accessible 15 mile road
  • Hike the Savage River Loop or the Savage Alpine Trail

Day 2

  • Take the full 8 hour bus ride into the parks interior
  • Or book a flight tour with a glacier landing

Cost to Visit the Park

Here is the breakdown of what it cost us to visit the park. This does not include any travel to get to the park as it totally depends on where you are coming from, driving, etc.

  • Hotel – ~$150 – $200 a night
  • Bus Tour – $115 – $140 per person. More information here
  • Flight Tour – $435 a person (Denali Flyer Tour with Glacier Landing)
  • Total – $1,350 for two people (minus gas, rental car, food, etc.)

Let me know what other questions you have in the comments, and watch my Denali videos in the description.