The Ultimate Guide to Camping in Denali National Park

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Denali National Park and Preserve is one of the United States largest national parks.  The park spans across river valleys, aspen forests, tundra, and the Alaskan mountain range.  The park is a wild and untamed place.  This untamed nature can make Denali National Park a foreboding place.  She is a massive 6 million acre park with only 92 miles of road where only 15 miles of road is open to the public.  This can make access and camping in Denali National Park and Preserve a challenge.

Here is everything you need to know about front-country camping in Denali National Park and Preserve.

Further Reading – Eight Books to Read Before Visiting Denali

Denali National Park Camping

Things to Know about Denali National Park

  • Camping is available year around. Only one campground is open year around.  The rest open and close with the Denali Park Road.  Opening and Closing Dates can vary from year to year.  These dates are weather dependent. Check the NPS website for the latest on campground opening and closing dates.
  • Only Riely Creek Campground has ADA specific sites. The ADA accessibility of other campsites can vary please check with NPS for specifics.
  • Reservations for summer start January 1 for the following summer.  Make your reservation as early as possible.  Space can fill up fast and there are 34 first-come first-serve tent sites in the park.
  • RV’s are limited to Riley Creek, Savage River, or Teklanika River Campgrounds.
  • Quiet Hours are 10 pm to 6 am. Generators may only be operated from 8 am to 10 am, and 4 pm to 8 p
  • Most campsites can have up to 8 people.  There is space for three tents and two vehicles at the campsite (except for walk-in sites).  The campsite has a picnic table.
  • Camp Fires are limited to fire grates in Riley Creek, Savage River, and Teklanika River Campgrounds. Please do NOT transport firewood. Buy it where you burn it. Please double check the fire regulations and ensure your fire is completely out before going to bed.
  • Store all food items in your car.  Please do NOT leave any food, utensils out, or any scented items.  This includes toothpaste, toothbrush, chapstick.  Pretty much put everything but what you are going to sleep in your car.  Denali National Park is in bear country. Properly secure all items so no wildlife can get it.
Check out Things to Know Before Visiting Denali 
Getting to Denali National Park and Preserve

Denali National Park and Preserve is one of the few national parks that is accessible via public transport.  Denali is a 4-hour train ride from Fairbanks or 8-hour train ride from Anchorage.  The Denali Park Train Station is located in the park and transport is available to all the campgrounds from the train station.

If you are on an Alaska Road Trip or want to drive yourself, Denali National Park is a 2 hour drive from Fairbanks or a 5 hour drive from Anchorage along the Parks Highway.

Where to camp in in Denali National Park?

Campgrounds in Denali National Park

  • Riley Creek Campground
  • Savage River Campground
  • Sanctuary River Campground
  • Teklanika River Campground
  • Igloo Campground
  • Wonder Lake Campground

Campgrounds near Denali National Park

  • Cantwell RV Park
  • Denali RV Park
  • Midnight Sun RV & Campground
  • Brushkana Campground
  • Dispersal Camping along the Denali Highway

** All Campground prices are valid as of 27 December 2018.

Denali Campgrounds

Riley Creek Campground

Riley Creek Campground is the largest of the Denali Campgrounds and the most developed of the bunch.  Riley Creek is located at mile 0.25 on the Denali Park Road.  This campground is fairly wooded and allows for a bit of privacy between each campsite.  This campground does not provide a view of Denali but is located near town making supplies easy to get.  This campground is accessible by car or park shuttle.

Season Year Around 
Number of Sites 147 individual sites & 1 group sites (ADA individual sites available)
Fee per night

Fees charged from Mother’s Day weekend until mid-September.  Camping is free the rest of the year

$30 per Large RV site

$24 per Small RV Site

$ 15 per Tent Only site

$46 per Group Site

Reservations Available

Only available from May 10 until Denali Road Lottery week.  Reservations strongly recommended.

There are 20 first come first serve walk-in tent sites.

Max RV Length 40 ft
RV Hook-up No
Restrooms

Flush Toilets – Summer Only

Vault Toilets – Year Round

Water Cold Running Water – Summer Only
Showers Yes – Summer Only
Max Length of Stay 14  Days
Wheelchair Accessibility Yes
Wifi on Property No
Laundry Facilities Yes – Summer Only
Pets Allowed Yes, but please review the Denali National Park Pet Policy
Typical Fill Time

Walk-in typically fills early afternoon on the weekends and late afternoon on weekdays.  

During early May and late September campground may fill early in the day when the weather is nice.

Closest General Store 

Healy – Year Round

Riley Creek Mercantile – Summer Only

Savage River Campground

Savage River Campground is the first of Denali camping to provide a view of Denali (formerly Mount McKinley).  Savage River is located at mile 13 on the Denali Park Road. The campground is spread out in a small spruce forest to allow for privacy of the campsites.  This campground is accessible by car or park shuttle.

Season Mid-May to Mid-September
Number of Sites 29 individual sites & 3 group sites
Fee per night

$30 per Large RV site

$24 per Small RV Site

$46 per Group Site

Reservations Available Reservations strongly recommended.
Max RV Length 40 ft
RV Hook-up No
Restrooms Flush Toilets
Water Cold Running Water
Showers No
Max Length of Stay 14  Days
Wheelchair Accessibility Yes **No specific ADA sites but paths are compacted gravel, with limited gradient change.
Wifi on Property No
Laundry Facilities No
Pets Allowed Yes, but please review the Denali National Park Pet Policy
Typical Fill Time Limited if any walk-in space
Closest General Store  Riley Creek Mercantile

Sanctuary River Campground

Sanctuary River Campground is the first of tent only no vehicle access campgrounds.  This small campground is located at mile 22 on the Denali Park Road. The campground can doesn’t have a clear view of Denali but a short hike up nearby mountains can provide an epic view.  The campground is brushy and wooded providing each campsite with a bit of privacy.

Please note no campfires are allowed.

Season May 20 – mid-September
Number of Sites 7 individual sites
Fee per night $15 per site
Reservations Available No
Max RV Length No
RV Hook-up No
Restrooms Vault Toilets
Water No
Showers No
Max Length of Stay 14  Days
Wheelchair Accessibility Yes **No specific ADA sites but paths and sites are generally flat, compact surfaces. Some areas of mud or obstacles such as tree roots may be present.
Wifi on Property No
Laundry Facilities No
Pets Allowed No, they are not allowed on the camper bus
Typical Fill Time Typically spots are claimed the night before to allow for the taking the bus into the park.  
Closest General Store  Riley Creek Mercantile – Summer Only

Teklanika River Campground

Teklanika River Campground is an interesting campground.  Normally, private vehicles are limited to mile 15 but Teklanika offers the chance to dive to mile 29 of the Denali Park Road. Once there, your vehicle has to stay in the campground for the duration of your stay but it lets you start your adventures an extra 14 miles into the park.

You must bring all your supplies with you into Teklanika as you can not leave and re-enter without an addition reservation or bus pass.  It is highly recommended that you purchase a Tek pass to allow you to access bus assess further into the park.

Campfires are allowed.  Be sure to bring all the wood you need with you.

Season May 20 – mid-September
Number of Sites 53 individual sites
Fee per night

$25 per site

$40 per person for the Tek Pass (provides bus access to the rest of the park)

Reservations Available Reservations strongly recommended.
Max RV Length 40 ft
RV Hook-up No
Restrooms Vault Toilets – Year Round
Water Cold Running Water
Showers No
Max Length of Stay 14  Days
Wheelchair Accessibility Yes **No specific ADA sites but paths are compacted gravel, with limited gradient change.
Wifi on Property No
Laundry Facilities No
Pets Allowed Yes, but please review the Denali National Park Pet Policy
Typical Fill Time Limited if any walk-in space
Closest General Store  Riley Creek Mercantile – Summer Only

Igloo Campground

Igloo Campground is another small tent-only campground.  Like Sanctuary River, this campground has no water and is first-come first-serve.  This campground is nestled near Cathedral Mountain and Igloo Mountain.  While there is no potable water, the nearby Igloo Creek is an available water source.  The campground is wooded with hiking available nearby.  It is only accessible via the bus system.  Igloo Campground is located at mile marker 35.

No campfires allowed.

Season May 20 – mid-September
Number of Sites 7 individual sites
Fee per night $ 15 per site
Reservations Available First come first serve
Max RV Length No
RV Hook-up No
Restrooms Vault Toilets – Year Round
Water No
Showers No
Max Length of Stay 14  Days
Wheelchair Accessibility Yes **No specific ADA sites but surfaces in the campground are largely compacted gravel or native soils with roots and rocks. The path from the campground to the bus stop on the Denali Park Road is compacted gravel.
Wifi on Property No
Laundry Facilities No
Pets Allowed No
Typical Fill Time Typically spots are claimed the night before to allow for the taking the bus into the park.  
Closest General Store  Riley Creek Mercantile – Summer Only

Wonder Lake Campground

Wonder Lake Campground is the most spectacular campground in the park.  Wonderland is located at mile 85 on the Denali Park Road.  On clear days, Denali fills the sky and the view is unmatched.  The only downside is the Wonder Lake is a breeding ground for Alaska’s state bird – the Mosquito. The campground is only accessible via bus.

No campfires are allowed.

Season June 8 – mid-September
Number of Sites 28 individual sites
Fee per night

$6 per reservation

$16 per night

Reservations Available Reservations strongly recommended.
Max RV Length No
RV Hook-up No
Restrooms Vault Toilets 
Water Cold Running Water
Showers Yes – Summer Only
Max Length of Stay 14  Days
Wheelchair Accessibility Maybe **Paths between campsites vary from compact gravel to muddy, rocky surfaces. The campground is laid out with some sites on a small hill above the level of the main campground road, while others are level with or slightly downhill from the level of the road.
Wifi on Property No
Laundry Facilities No
Pets Allowed No
Typical Fill Time Limited if any walk-in space
Closest General Store  Riley Creek Mercantile – Summer Only

 

Further Reading – 10 Essential Tips for Visiting Denali National Park

Planning on going camping in Denali National Park?  Confused about which campsite to pick. National Park Obsessed's Ultimate Guide is here to help you pick the very best campsite.

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Jennifer Melroy

Jennifer has been obsessed with national parks as a child.  This Tennessee native spent her childhood exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and traveling with her parents to National Parks and around the Caribbean.  She is always planning her next adventure and is ready to see the world while trying to visit all 59 National Park (*She is ignoring the hunk of concrete that just became a national park).

Jennifer Melroy has 68 posts and counting. See all posts by Jennifer Melroy

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