Denali National Park and Preserve has seven campgrounds with a total of 291 sites. The campgrounds are Igloo Creek, Morino Backpacker, Riley Creek, Sanctuary River, Savage River, Teklanika River and Wonder Lake. You may camp a total of 14 days in Park Service campgrounds.
For Teklanika campers who wish to drive their vehicles to the campground there is a three night stay minimum. To reduce road traffic, your road pass is good only for one trip into the campground and one trip out. Make sure you use the RV dump station at Riley Creek Campground and get all necessary items before going to Teklanika. There are no gas stations or services west of the Denali Park Hotel, and no telephones west of Park Headquarters. Once at the campground, you may not return temporarily to headquarters, since transportation back to the campground is unavailable unless you have purchased a camper bus ticket. Please leave towed vehicles in the Riley Creek overflow parking lot.
|Campground||Open||Close||Location-Distance from Entrance - mi/km||Sites||Water||Facilities||Reservations||Dump Station||Fee|
|Riley Creek||All Year||.25 mi west of Alaska Hwy 3 - 0.5 / 0.8||100 RV/Tent||Yes/No Winter||Flush toilets||Yes||Yes||$12.00|
|Morino Backpacker||May||Sep||Mile 1.9 - 1.9 / 2.4||60 Tent||Yes||Pit toilets||Yes||No||$6.00|
|Savage River||May||Sep||Mile 13 - 12.0 / 19.2||33 RV/Tent||Yes||Flush toilets||Yes||No||$12.00|
|Savage Group||May||Sep||Mile 13 - 12.0 / 19.2||3 Tent||Yes||Flush toilets||Yes||No||$40.00|
|Sanctuary River||May||Sep||Mile 23 - 22.0 / 35.0||23/7 Tent||Yes||Pit toilets||Yes||No||$6.00|
|Teklanika River||May||Sep||Mile 29 - 29.0 / 46.4||53 RV/Tent||Yes||Flush toilets||Yes||Yes||$12.00|
|Igloo Creek||May||Sep||Mile 34 - 34.0 / 54.7||7 Tent||Yes||Pit toilets||Yes||No||$6.00|
|Wonder Lake||Jun||Sep||Mile 85 - 85.0 / 136.0||28 Tent||Yes||Flush toilets||Yes||No||$12.00|
Additional Camping Information
Fires are allowed only in established grates. Firewood may be purchased at the store near the Denali Park Hotel. Cutting live vegetation or standing deadwood is prohibited, as is the use of power saws.
Pets must be leashed at all times. They are not allowed on trails or buses. Please dispose of feces in garbage cans.
Quiet hours are between 10:00 pm and 6:00 am. This includes generators. Keep in mind that even with "long" days and little darkness, people still need their sleep.
Checkout time is 11:00 am.
Wildlife and Food Storage
For the safety of visitors and animals alike, observe the following:
Keep a clean camp.
Wash dishes immediately.
Discuss the matter of "gray" water disposal with a ranger or your campground host.
Do not cook directly on fire grates; use foil.
Store and cook food away from sleeping areas.
All food and ice chests must be stored in hard-sided vehicles or in the food lockers provided.
Do not feed any animal or bird. Not only will they become a nuisance, but they will grow to depend on an unnatural food supply.
100% of the campsites at Riley Creek, Savage, Teklanika and Wonder Lake may be reserved in advance by phone and fax or mail-in. Reservations can be made by calling: 1-800-622-7275 from anywhere in the United States or: 272-7275 locally, in Anchorage, or: 907-272-7275 outside the United States. Please note that advanced reservations for campgrounds often sell out. When sites available for advanced reservation are sold out, sites may still be available by walk-in at the Visitor Center.
In Person Reservations
Reservations are made at the Visitor Center, up to two days in advance. Sanctuary and Igloo Campground sites are available only at the Visitor Center and not via phone, fax or mail-in. In addition to camping and entrance fees there is a one-time $ 4.00 service fee, for both phone and in person reservations.
Self-reservation - at Morino Backpacker Campground Only
The Morino backpacker campground is available for those campers who arrive without a vehicle. This 60 site campground is located one quarter mile west of the Alaska Railroad Depot.
Outside the Park
If you do not have advance reservations, plan to camp outside of the park when you first arrive; there may be a two night wait for park campsites.
Reservation Refund Policy
There is a $ 6.00 cancellation fee for each bus seat and/or campground site. This fee will also apply to any changes made to existing reservations.
Since Sanctuary, Igloo, and Wonder Lake campgrounds are accessible only by bus, camper buses are provided to take campers and their gear into the park. Teklanika (Tek) campers may drive their vehicles to that campground (see info below); however, those without cars or who wish to leave their cars behind, may take a camper bus in order to camp at Tek.
When you make your campsite reservations, reserve your seat on a camper bus ($ 18.50 for adults, $ 9.25 for young adults 15-17. Youth 14 and under are free on all shuttle and camper buses). Return reservations are not necessary for camper buses. Campers may board any shuttle bus with available seats to exit the park. Be sure to pick up a bus schedule before leaving the Visitors Center.
Campers planning to take the train to Anchorage cannot camp beyond Riley Creek Campground on their final night in the park. Camper buses will not return to the entrance in time to catch the train. Plan on camping at Riley Creek Campground for your final night in the park and you'll be able to catch the train
Boarding the Bus
Park your vehicle in the Riley Creek Campground overflow parking lot where the camper bus will pick you up. You may also board at the Visitor Center. Although the camper bus can accommodate more luggage than regular shuttle buses, for your own convenience, pack efficiently.
Group sites are located at Savage Campground (mile 13). There are three tent-only sites for 9 - 20 people each. Advance reservations are available. For further information or to reserve a group site, write to Denali National Park, Box 9, Denali National Park, Alaska, 99755 or call: 907-683-2294.
Overnight stays in the backcountry of Denali National Park require a free backcountry permit. Permits are available at the Visitor Center during the summer months and at Headquarters during the winter months. Permits are issued only one day in advance; reservations are not accepted. There is a quota system for backcountry units.
All areas require the use of Bear Resistant Food Containers distributed free of charge with your backcountry permit. Please return your container(s) promptly at the end of your trip. To purchase your own container, stop by the Visitor Center bookstore.
Campfires are not permitted in the Denali backcountry.
|Packing Tip||Pack clothes, sleeping bag, and emergency gear in plastic bag to protect them during rainstorms and river crossings.|
|Bear Resistant Food Container||For storage of all food and trash|
|Food||Large daily portions plus several days of emergency rations are recommended. Double layers of plastic bags reduce food/garbage odors that attract bear. Avoid scented, spiced, or smoked foods, such as bacon or tuna fish. Leave behind odorous, non-food items|
|Water||Please Note: Giardia, a water borne cyst which causes severe intestinal illness, occurs in the park. Boil all water, or use an approved filter of one micron or less.|
|Stove, Fuel, Cooking Gear||Campfires are not permitted in the Denali wilderness. White gas is available at the McKinley Mercantile, adjacent to the post office|
|Boot and Socks||Wear sturdy hiking boots, take extra socks. Extras include neoprene socks and gaiters to keep feet dry; a pair of comfortable soft-soled shoes to minimize impact at campsite.|
|Clothing||Prepare for cool, wet and windy weather. Dress in layers. Wool, pile or other non-absorbent synthetic insulation is preferable to cotton or down. Hat and gloves are advisable.|
|Rain gear||Rain parkas and pants, or chaps over lightweight wool or polypropylene clothing are effective combinations. Weather is unpredictable and changes quickly.|
|Sleeping Bag and Pad||For any overnight summer trip, protection to 20° F is suggested. This is the time for a "good" bag and pad for cold weather camping.|
|Tent||Your shelter should have a waterproof floor, rain fly, and protection from mosquitoes.|
|Insect Repellent and/or Head Net||Heavy duty protection from mosquitoes and other biting insects.|
|Toilet Paper and Trowel||Dig a small latrine hole up to six inches deep and at least 100 yards from the nearest water. Cover waste with soil and vegetation; pack out all toilet paper, and used sanitary supplies. Double wrap in plastic.|
|Map and Compass||Topographic maps are available at the park visitor center bookstores.|
|Emergency Gear||Bring waterproof matches or lighter, first aid kit, knife, and a signaling device such as a whistle, light or flare.|
Bear Safety Precautions
Denali National Park and Preserve is home to both black bears and grizzly bears. Black bears inhabit the forested areas of the park and are rarely encountered. Grizzly bears live mainly on the open tundra. Most bears seen by visitors along the park road are grizzlies, or brown bears.
The bears of Denali are wild creatures, free to behave as they wish. If annoyed, these solitary animals can be very dangerous to intruders. For your own protection, as well as to keep the Denali bears healthy and wild, please carefully read and abide by the following rules:
Be alert at all times, in all places. Bears are active both day and night and can be found anywhere. Watch for their tracks and scat. Avoid surprising bears. They may perceive you as a threat if you startle them. Sing, shout, or make other loud noises as you walk to warn bears of your presence. Be especially careful in dense brush, where visibility is low, and along rivers, where bears cannot hear you over the noise of the water.
Never intentionally approach a bear. Bears should live as free from human interference as possible, so give them space. It is illegal to approach within .25 mile / 0.4 km of a bear.
Be Bear Aware
Avoid surprising animals at close range. Whistle, talk, sing, or otherwise make noise when hiking in areas where visibility is limited or bear sign present. Take no pets; they are prohibited in the backcountry. A dog's valor may turn into retreat bringing an infuriated bear to you.
Be alert to sign (droppings, diggings, fresh tracks, etc.), sounds, or other indications of bears. Be particularly wary when hiking wildlife trails, salmon streams, or other areas where bears concentrate.
Food and beverages should never be left unattended. Foodstuffs with strong odors such as fish, cheese, sausage, and fresh meats should be stored in a food cache, a bear resistant container, or suspended 10 feet above ground. Carry all refuse and garbage out! Buried refuse will attract bears.
Keep packs and other personal gear on your person. It is easy to become separated from belongings left lying on the ground when a bear unexpectedly approaches. Bears will investigate, often destructively.
Bears approach anglers because they have learned to recognize them as a source of food. Stop fishing when bears are present.
If you keep a fish, you should remove the fish immediately to a proper food storage area.
Do not approach bears
The minimum safe distance from any bear is 50 yards; from a sow with young it is 100 yards. These are MINIMUM distances, there are many times that greater distances are required!
Regardless of precautions taken, you may come across a bear. Usually they will run away. A bear standing on hind legs may only be trying to sense you better, not preparing to attack. Even a charge is often a bluff, ending abruptly short of physical contact.
If you see a bear at a distance, turn around or make a wide detour. Keep upwind if possible so the bear will get your scent and know you're there. Talk in an assured tone to communicate your presence. Treat animals as if cubs are nearby. Assume the bear will be defensive. Do not approach closer to scare a bear away as you may be considered a threat.
Avoid actions that interfere with bear movement or foraging activities.
Be satisfied with a distant photograph, or use a telephoto lense. Many fatalities and injuries have been related to photography.
Do not corner an animal. Allow them plenty of space and an escape route.
Bears are typically solitary animals. Much of their communication at feeding aggregations, such as occur on Brooks River, serves to maintain spacing and avoid conflict. Bears appear to have only a limited repertoire for this purpose. These behavior patterns are not highly ritualized, as in some species; therefore, their meaning is largely dependent on the context of the situation.
Descriptions of some behavior and a general interpretation of meaning follow to help you understand what a bear may be trying to tell you. Remember, each bear is an individual and each encounter is unique.
Standing on hind legs - A bear standing bipedally is typically not expressing aggression. Bears generally stand on their hind legs to gain more information, both olfactory and visual.
Stationary lateral body orientation - A bear may stand broadside to assert itself in some instances. In encounters with human, it has usually been interpreted as a demonstration of size.
Stationary frontal orientation - If a bear is standing and facing you, it is certainly not being submissive. This is an aggressive position and may signal a charge. It is likely waiting for you to withdraw.
Huffing - When a bear is tense, it may forcibly exhale a series of several sharp, rasping huffs. A mother may also huff in order to gain the attention of her young.
Woof - A startled bear may emit a single sharp exhale that lakes the harsh quality of a huff. If her cubs woof, a mother will immediately become alert to the situation.
Jaw-Popping - Females with young often emit a throaty popping sound, apparently to beckon their cubs when danger is sensed. A mother vocalizing in this manner should be considered nervous and extremely stressed. Bears other than sows also jaw-pop.
Growl, snarl, roar - Clear indication of intolerance.
Yawning - Indicates tension. This behavior may results from the close proximity of another bear or human presence.
Excessive Salivation - A clear sign of tension, salivation may appear as white foam around the bear's mouth.
The vast majority of charges are ones in which the bear stops before making contact. The intensity of the charge or associated vocalizations may vary, but it is distinct in that it is an aggressive or defensive act clearly directed at another bear or human. Bears may charge immediately, as a sow fearing for her cubs, or may emit stressed or erratic behavior before charging.
There is no guaranteed lifesaving method of reacting to an aggressive bear. Some behavior patterns have proven more successful in close encounters than others. Take a calm assured posture. A firm voice and gradual departure are better than a retreat in panic. Include the nature of your surroundings in your reaction.
As a last resort, lie face down, protect your neck with your hands and arms, and don't move. This requires considerable courage, but resistance would be futile. Numerous incidents exist where a bear has sniffed and departed without serious injury.
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