Ready, Set, Go! Denali National Park
Denali National Park. It's famous for its vast wilderness. But you don't have to spend days in the backcountry to enjoy and appreciate this pristine habitat. Even if you have only a few hours to spend, it's worth a visit.
In this blog, I share some ideas on how to get to the park, and what to do once you arrive. Ideas for lodging and restaurants are included as well. This post is rather lengthy, but if exploring untamed wilderness excites you, keep reading!
Getting to Denali
“All roads lead to Rome”. Well, maybe in Italy, but in Alaska, there aren’t many roads at all and only one leads to Denali - AK-3S, and it wasn’t finished until 1958! Pretty simple huh? It’s kind of hard to get lost in this vast state, that is…. if one is driving. Now hiking and backpacking…that’s another story we will get to in a bit. But for those of us who are directionally challenged, you will love the simplicity of Alaska’s road systems. You can see the roads here: http://www.alaska.org/assets/content/maps/Alaska-Driving-Map.pdf
Most people who visit Denali National Park fly into Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport which is 238 miles from the park. It’s a 4.5-hour drive if you are hankering for a road trip, and be sure to check out milepost.com for valuable highway information. Unlike the lower 48, gas stations and provisions may be few and far between. Cars and campers can be rented from companies near the airport. Just do a Google search - there are many to choose from.
Before the Denali Highway opened, most tourists came by the Alaska Railroad which was completed in 1923. Today, one can still travel to the park by rail. From mid -May through mid -September, the train provides daily passenger service from Anchorage to Denali. The convenient depot drops you off right at the Denali National Park Visitor Center. You can find more information out about the train service here: https://www.alaskarailroad.com.
Check out the short video clip below, but please forgive my camera shake. I was so excited…only in Alaska can you get this close to a speeding train!
If driving isn’t your idea of a vacation, there are cruises which offer side trips to Denali, motorcoach tours which originate in Anchorage, or you can charter a light plane via http://www.katair.com to fly you to Kantishna, an old mining town located deep in Denali National Park. Visit https://www.anchorage.net for helpful information with trip planning.