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How to Get to Denali National Park in 2022

Post Summary: How to Get to Denali National Park in 2022

The first step in planning any visit to Denali National Park is planning how long to spend in the park and how you are going to get there. Denali is one of the most accessible national parks in Alaska but it is still a remote National Park and can be a little tricky to visit. We are going to break down all your options for how to get to Denali National Park.

Update of the 2022 Summer Season in Denali – Due to the Pretty Rocks Landslide, the Denali Park road will be closed at Mile 43. This means that all park services past mile 43 (Eielson Visitor Center, Igloo Campground, Wonder Lake) will be closed. Additionally, the 2022 Denali Road Lottery is canceled. All Transit Buses and Tour Buses are limited to mile 43.

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Planning a visit to Denali but confused on how to get there?  Check out our how to get to Denali National Park guide.  We break down all the ways to get to Denali. 

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Quick Guide for getting to Denali National Park

Compared to other Alaska National Parks, Denali National Park and Preserve is pretty easy to get to. The park is located in south-central Alaska between Alaska’s two major cities with the park’s only road entrance. The park entrance is located at Mile 237 on Highway 3.

Denali can be reached by car, train, or bus from Fairbanks and Anchorage.

Feeling overwhelmed with planning your Alaska National Park trip? Our expertly designed Alaska Park itinearies will show you how to make the most of your time and make booking your trip easy.

>>> Find the best Alaska National Itineary for you.

Denali National Park Entrances

Denali’s one-road entrance is located at Mile 237 on Highway 3. The latitude and longitude of the entrance is 63.728443, -148.886572.

Denali National Park Gateway Cities

Denali National Park Map with Park Entrance and Denali Gateway Citites.

McKinley Park, AK

McKinley Park is a small seasonal hamlet that is only open from late May to mid-September. Locals refer to the area as “Glitter Gluch” as its primarily made up of hotels, tourist restaurants, and kick-knack shops. Most of the hotels cater to cruise ship passengers doing a land tour, but you can book hotels without doing a cruise.

Where to stay in McKinley Park?

Hotels in McKinley Park
  • McKinley Chalet Resort – A rustic style resort complex with dining and a river view. Rooms from $129/night; book on Booking.com, or Hotels.com
  • Denali Bluffs Hotel – This hotel over looks McKinley park on Sugarloaf Mountain with comfortable rooms.  Rooms from $329/night; book on Booking.com or Hotels.com
  • Denali Grizzly Bear Resort – This quiet lodge is located a little ways away from McKinley Park and has a riverview. Rooms from $289/night; book on Booking.com or Hotels.com
Vacation Rentals & Airbnbs in McKinley Park
  • Denali Sunset House – The Denali Sunset House is a craftsman log cabin with amazing decks. Sleep 10. Rent from $649/night; book on VRBO
  • Denali Park Place – Park place is a homey apartment that sleeps 4. Rent from $101/night; book on VRBO
  • Harbor House – Harbor House offers Denali views with a wraparound deck. Rent from $375/night; book on VRBO
Camping in McKinley Park

There is no camping or RV parks in McKinley Park but Denali’s Riley Creek Campground is located nearby.

Healy, AK

Healy is a small town located about 13 mile north of Denali National Park’s entrance on the Parks Highway. The town boasts a grocery store and a couple of gas stations along with a collection of locally owned hotels and restaurants. If you have read Jon Krakauer’s book Into the Wild, the Stampede Road is where Christopher McCandless was dropped off for his hike into the Alaskan wilderness. The actual bus that McCandless lived in has been removed and will be displayed in the Musuem of the North in Fairbanks. If you wish to follow McCandless’s path, please come prepared for the river crossings. These river crossing prevent McCandless from returning to civilization and in recent years several other people have died trying to cross these rivers.

Where to stay in Healy?

Hotels in Healy
  • Denali Lakeview Inn – Lakeview Inn is a gorgeous inn located on a lake on the outskirts of Healy. Rooms from $240/night; book on Booking.com
  • Healy Heights Family Cabins – These family cabins are quiant cabins with kitchenettes and mountain view. Rooms from $229/night; book on Booking.com.
Vacation Rentals & Airbnbs in Healy
  • Denali Hideaway – This breathtaking Alaskan studio aparment sleeps 4. Rent from $119/night; book on VRBO
  • Luxury Home – This luxury home has a great room with views to die for and sleeps 8 Rent from $242/night; book on VRBO
  • Denali Bear Cabin – Deanli Bear Cabin has a hot tub and sleeps 6. Rent from $390/night; book on VRBO
Camping in Healy

There are several RV parks in Healy and tent camping is located at Eight Mile Lake.

Cantwell, AK

Cantwell is a about 29 miles and a 30 minute drive from the Denali entrance. The town is most noted for being where the Denali Highway (a different road than the Denali Park road) meets the Parks Highway. The landscape surrounding the town was the film location for the Into the Wild Movie. The replica bus used during filming is located at the 49th State Brewery in Healy.

Where to stay in Cantwell?

Hotels in Cantwell
  • McKinley Creekside Cabins – These cabins split the difference between the park and cantwell and have several nearby hiking trails. Cabins from $252/night; book on Booking.com or Hotels.com
  • Backwoods Lodge – Backwoods Lodge offers Denali views with moded amentities. Rooms from $320/night; book on Booking.com
Vacation Rentals & Airbnbs in Cantwell
  • Adventure Denali – Adventure Denali is a handbult log cabin that is lakeside with mountain views. Sleeps 8. Rooms from $176/night; book on VRBO
  • Off Grid True Alaska Experience – Off Grid True Alaska Experience offers a true Alaska extrance for true adventurours. Outhouse inlcuded. Rooms from $150/night; book on VRBO
  • Gorgeous Lakeside Chalet – Gorgeous Lakeside Chalet sleeps 6 with a lake and its own boat launch. Rooms from $400/night; book on VRBO
Camping in Cantwell

There are several RV parks in Cantwell and camping can be found along the Denali Highway.

Flying to Denali National Park

Map of Denali National Park Airports

Map of the airports near Denali National Park

Click here to see an interactive map of the airports near Denali National Park.

Airport in Denali National Park

Kantishna Airport

The Kantishnia Airport is located in the heart of Denali National Park. This tiny airport only serviced by air taxis from Talkeetna. These flights are used to shuttle guests back to their hotels after the long bus ride into Denali or by Kantishnia area lodge guests.

Airports near Denali National Park

Healy River Airport

Healy River Airport (HRR) is the closest airport to Denali National Park. This airport is a small regional airport that has NO commercial passenger service. The airport is primarily used by Denali National Park flight tours and private planes. It is possible to charter a flight from other Alaskan airports to Healy, AK. There is a car rental company in Healy.

Distance from Denali Park Entrance: 14 miles

Drive time from Denali Park Entrance: 18 minutes

Talkeetna Airport

Like Healy River Airport, Talkeetna Airport (TKA) is a small regional airport located in Talkeetna, AK. There are seven air taxis operating out of this airport. They offer flightseeing tours of Denali and the Talkeetna area as well as shuttle flights to the Kantishna Airport and the Denali Climbing Base Camp. There is no regular commercial passenger service outside of the Denali flights.

Distance from Denali Park Entrance: 153 miles

Drive time from Denali Park Entrance: 2.5 hours

A plane at the Healy airport

Major Airports within a one day drive of Denali National Park

Fairbanks International Airport

Fairbanks International Airport (FAI) is the largest airport in Northern Alaska. The airport is the main hub for northern Alaska air travel. There are several small operations that provide regional service to Alaska’s small towns. Fairbanks has year-round service from Alaska Airlines and Delta to Seattle, WA, and Anchorage, AK From late spring to early fall, there are flights from most major airline hubs such as Chicago, Dallas, Denver, and San Francisco.

Distance from Denali Park Entrance: 120 miles

Drive time from Denali Park Entrance: 2 hours

Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport

Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) is the largest airport in Alaska. Anchorage is a medium-sized airport. During the busy summer season, there are over 50 nonstop flights to 14 U.S. States and other countries like Canada, Germany, and Russia or China from most major airlines. During the winter, Alaska Airlines, Delta, and United offer direct flights to their hub cities. There are also several local carriers who service smaller Alaskan cities such as Kodiak or King Salmon.

Distance from Denali Park Entrance: 243 miles

Drive time from Denali Park Entrance: 4.25 hours

Public Transportation to Denali National Park

Alaskan Railroad

The Alaskan Railroad offers year-round service to Denali National Park. It has regular trains that run from Anchorage to Fairbanks. There is daily service from mid-May to mid-September. During the rest of the year, there is weekend service and select midweek service. Check the schedule for exact times.

Anchorage to Denali: 8 hours

Fairbanks to Denali: 4 hours

Buses to Denali

The Alaska Park Connection Motorcoach provides bus service between Anchorage and Denali. These buses provide transport to the McKinley Park hotel area outside of the park. From here, you can arrange a shuttle into Denali National Park. There is a free shuttle running from McKinley Park to the Visitor Center and free shuttles running to Mile 15. Beyond mile 15, you will have to pay for a shuttle bus.

Anchorage to Denali: 6 hours

Guided Tours of Denali National Park

There is currently only one guided tour day tour to Denali from Anchorage.

There are some great Denali tours from Healy or Talkeetna. Here are a few of my favorite.

The Alaska Railroad train on the tracks

Driving to Denali National Park

Denali National Park only has one road entrance. It is located on the Parks Highway that runs from Anchorage to Fairbanks. The Parks Highway is a scenic drive and can provide some of the best views of Denali the mountain.

You can drive to Denali National Park but access to the park itself is limited to the first 15 miles of Denali Park Road. The road is closed to the public for most of the year. During the summer season, access to the full 92-mile park road is limited to bus tours and hiker shuttles.

The Denali Park Road is only open to public vehicles for five days a year during the September Denali Road Lottery.

Driving Distances to Denali National Park

CityMileageKilometersDrive Time
Fairbanks, AK123 mi198 km2 hours
Anchorage AK238 mi383 km4.25 hours
Seattle, WA 2,265 mi 3,645 km43 hours
Portland, OR 2,439 mi 3,925 km45 hours
Bozeman, MT 2,598 mi 4,181 km45 hours
Jackson, WY2,777 mi4,469 km48 hours
Boise, ID 2,704 mi 4,351 km50 hours
Salt Lake City, UT2,983 mi4,801 km51 hours
Minneapolis, MN 3,174 mi 5,108 km53 hours
Denver, CO3,188 mi5,131 km54 hours
Omaha, NE 3,330 mi 5,359 km56 hours
Las Vegas, NV 3,402 mi 5,475 km56 hours
Los Angeles, CA3,400 mi 5,471 km59 hours
Chicago, IL3,581 mi5,763 km60 hours
Houston, TX4,137 mi6,658 km68 hours
Atlanta, GA4,302 mi6,923 km70 hours
Washington, D.C.4,284 mi6,894 km71 hours
New York City, NY4,378 mi7,046 km72 hours
Orlando, FL4,739 mi7,627 km76 hours

Frequently Asked Questions about getting to Denali National Park

What airport do you fly into for Denali National Park?

You can either fly to Fairbanks International Airport or Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. It’s a toss-up as to which airport is better to fly into for Denali National Parks.

Personally, I’d look at the big picture. Which airport has the best flight options from your home airport and which one has cheaper rental car options? I’m based in Knoxville and I can usually get better routing when I fly into Anchorage.

How do you get to Denali?

Can you drive into Denali?

You can drive the first 15 miles of Denali Park Road year-round. The rest of the Denali Park road is bus-only except for the Denali Road Lottery.

How long is the train ride from Anchorage to Denali?

The train takes 8 hours from Anchorage to Denali and 4 hours from Fairbanks to Denali.

Is Denali closer to Anchorage or Fairbanks?

Denali National Park is about 120 miles from Fairbanks. It’s a 2-hour drive or 4-hour train ride from Fairbanks to Denali. Anchorage is about 240 miles from Denali and is a 4-hour drive or 8-hour train ride.

Do I need a car in Denali?

It depends. If you are staying at a hotel that has a courtesy shuttle or camping within the park, then it is definitely possible to visit Denali without a car. Take the train or bus to Denali and then use the courtesy shuttle and park buses to explore.

How do I get from Fairbanks to Denali National Park?

There are two options for getting from Fairbanks to Denali National Park. You can either make the 2-hour drive or 4-hour train ride.

How do I get from Anchorage to Denali National Park?

There are three options for getting from Anchorage to Denali National Park. You can either make the 4-hour drive, 4-hour bus ride, or 8-hour train ride.

Feeling overwhelmed with planning your Alaska National Park trip? Our expertly designed Alaska Park itinearies will show you how to make the most of your time and make booking your trip easy.

>>> Find the best Alaska National Itineary for you.

Final Thoughts on Getting to Denali National Park

Do you have any questions about Denali National Park or need help planning your National Park trips. Check out our other articles on Denali.

Get help planning your trip to Denali National Park

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Pin for Later: How to Get to Denali National Park in 2022

Planning a visit to Denali but confused on how to get there?  Check out our how to get to Denali National Park guide.  We break down all the ways to get to Denali. 

airport closest to denali national park / flights to denali national park / getting to denali national park / how to get to denali from anchorage / how to get to denali national park

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