Getting into the Park
There are several options for getting into Denali National Park and Preserve.
- Private car can be driven the first 15 miles or sometimes farther with a special pass. I drove in several times in an attempt to get a nice photo of Mount McKinley. Unfortunately McKinley stayed clouded over the entire time I was there (which is often the case…it’s so tall that it creates its own weather).
- Shuttle buses are my favorite option. Their prices differ based on distance into the park. When I was there, the park was only open to Toklat River (6.5 hours/53 miles) which cost $26.75. Other sections open up in June and include: Eielson Visitor Center (8 hours/66 miles) for $34, Wonder Lake (11 hours/85 miles) for $46, and Kantishna (12 hours/92 miles) for $50. Passengers can get off and on these buses all day, so if there is a trail to hike jump off and just catch the next bus. Bus drivers will stop for animal sightings.
- Tour buses make the same runs as the shuttle buses, but are narrated by a trained naturalist and include a sack lunch. These cost quite a bit more and frankly I find the shuttle bus drivers quite informed…maybe not as professional as the trained naturalists. Passengers do not get off and on these buses.
When I took the shuttle bus from the Wildlife Access Center (WAC) into the park, I saw 19 Dall Sheep. I love how regal they look, especially the males with their massive horns indicating their age. Animals like moose, deer, and elk have antlers that fall off every year, but Dall Sheep have horns that stay on permanently unless broken off during a fight.
More about My Trip
To see all posts about my Alaska/Canada Road Trip click here.