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Denali National Park and Preserve is a park located in the central part of Alaska. The park is named after the Denali mountain, the local name for Mount McKinley, the highest mountain in the United States and in fact of North America. The park and preserve together for almost 10,000 square miles of pure nature and wilderness, with loads of trekking opportunities and wildlife as well.
Although the park is open year-round, most visitors come to Denali National Park from late May to mid-September. This is the time that all visitor services and activities are available. Mid-June to mid-August is the high season and this is also the time that almost all roads are open, buses operate and trekking is possible. In winter, dogsleds form the main mode of transport, but be prepared for extreme winter weather and most roads are not plowed and only driveable for a few miles into the park. Access into the park and services offered are limited between late September and late April, so be totally self-sufficient during those times.
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The park entrance fee is $10 per person or $20 per vehicle. This fee provides the visitor a 7-day entrance permit. The entrance fee is collected when you purchase a bus ticket or a campground stay, or otherwise you can pay at the Denali Visitor Center when you arrive. A Denali annual pass is $40 and valid for exactly one year after purchase. An annual national parks pass is $80 and provides unlimited access to all national parks, reserves and monuments.
Princess Tours offers trains between Anchorage and Fairbanks in season, stopping at Denali National Park as well. Trains continue south to Whittier and Seward.
Denali National Park is located about 120 miles from Fairbanks and 240 miles from Anchorage, both along good tarred roads. The highway is open all year, although the main road through the park may close at any time due to weather conditions. The main road through the park is open to automobile traffic only as far as Savage River (mile 14). Travel beyond this point is allowed only on the park shuttle buses, on foot, or on a bicycle. When buses stop running around mid-September, the road is open all the way to Teklanika Campground (mile 29) until weather closes it for the season. Only 400 vehicles per day are admitted, and each vehicle requires a special permit. To potentially obtain one of these permits contact the park and inquire about the Denali Road Lottery. The park service will ask you to mail your address, preference of dates, and a fee during the month of July. In mid-August you will be contacted if you have been selected.
Shuttle buses are allowed past Savage River (mile 15) on the park road, as far as Kantishna (the end of the road). Passengers may disembark from the buses at any point west of mile 20, and then re-board any bus on a space-available basis (allow at least an hour for this). The bus is actually quite expensive, but unavoidable. For prices, check the bus fees at the NPS website.
There are quite a few options regarding camping and lodging inside the park, and many many more outside the park itself. Some of the options available inside the park are:
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