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Directions to Denali National Park & Preserve

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Alaska map highlighting Denali National Park a...

Alaska map highlighting Denali National Park and Preserve (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Denali National Park & Preserve is way up in Alaska, and as you may have already gathered there is just one road winding it’s way through the park.

Traveling to Denali National Park & Preserve by Car

The road entrance into the park is along Alaska Highway 3, which is also known as George Parks Highway, some 240 miles to the north of Anchorage, 120 miles to the south of Fairbanks and around 12 miles to the south of Healy (which, incidentally, is the closest year-round community to Denali National Park & Preserve).

The mountaineering headquarters for Denali National Park & Preserve are at Talkeetna, which is approximately 100 miles to the north of Anchorage and 140 miles south of the entrance to the park.

Traveling to Denali National Park & Preserve by Train

The state owned railroad of Alaska linking Anchorage and Fairbanks runs right through the entrance to Denali National Park & Preserve.

Traveling to Denali National Park & Preserve by Plane

Air travel is by far the easiest way to visit Denali National Park & Preserve, then of course you’ll need to hire a car to continue your journey, or jump on the train or bus. You can fly to either Anchorage or Fairbanks for the start of your journey.

Traveling to Denali National Park & Preserve by Bus

There are a number of van and bus services which operate to Denali National Park during the summer on a daily basis from both Anchorage and Fairbanks. Just look for companies which travel along Highway 3 and you’ll be on the right track.

Getting Around Denali National Park & Preserve

Denali National Park & Preserve is open for private vehicles for a little less than 15 miles, as far as the Savage River Bridge. If you want to go further into the park you’ll need to use public transportation, either on a shuttle or on a bus tour. You can also travel through Denali National Park & Preserve by bicycle, which is a very popular way to enjoy the park.

I reckon he’s lost his deposit, don’t you? He could also be in for a long walk.

Cycling in Denali National Park & Preserve

Cyclists may travel on all 92 miles of Denali National Park & Preserve. It’s a fantastic way to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the park whilst getting some well needed exercise.  There are a few things you need to keep in mind in order to make cycling the park a safe but enjoyable experience for all.

  • You may cycle on all of the roads, parking areas, campground loops in the park, as well as on the designated bicycle trail which is between the Denali Visitor Center and the Nenana River. You are not permitted to cycle on any of the other trails.
  • Denali National Park & Preserve is in Alaska, which means that the weather – and the road conditions can change quickly. Keep your wits about you, ride in single file, comply with all traffic regulations and stick to the right side of the road.
  • Cycling downhills is much easier than cycling uphills, we all know that, but don’t be tempted to go whizzing down the roads at high speed. There are some very steep sections with blind corners. It has been known for cyclists to end up in the path of oncoming traffic or large animals – you really don’t want to speed round a corner straight into a grizzly bear now do you? No – you really don’t.
  • Whilst we’re on the subject of bears – treat them (and all other wildlife) as if you were on foot. Bears can run faster than you can run, and bears can also run faster than you can pedal.
  • Treat other motorists with respect and care, then they’ll do the same for cyclists.
  • Bike racks are provided at the campgrounds as well as at the visitor centers and rest areas. If you fancy a little day hiking then make sure that you hide your bike well away from the park road, and if you’re going to leave your cycle overnight then make sure that it is tagged with your contact information.

That’s what life should be all about.

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