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How to Get to Denali National Park

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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.

Cover photo credit –  Joris Beugels on Unsplash

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Photo by Joris Beugels on Unsplash

Best way to get to Denali National Park

Flying to Denali National Park

Map of Denali National Park Airports

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 guest 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 primary used by Denali National Park flight tours and private planes. It is possible to charter a flight from other Alaskan airport 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 taxi’s operating out of this airport. They offer flight seeing 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 regularly commercial passenger service outside of the Denali flights.

Distance from Denali Park Entrance: 153 miles

Drive time from Denali Park Entrance: 2.5 hours

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 hub 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 Airline, 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 year, there is weekend service and select midweek service. Check the schedule for exact times.

Anchorage to Denali: 7 hours

Fairbanks to Denali: 4 hours

Buses to Denali

The Alaska Park Connection Motorcoach provides bus service between Anchorage and Denali. These bus provide transport to 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.

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 provides 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 the 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’s 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, CA 3,400 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
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