After a long trip to Denali National Park by train or car, you may be reluctant to sit through a bus tour. Why not hop on a bicycle and tour the park (and the surrounding area) at your own pace? Chances are you'll see more wildlife, too. The Denali Outdoor Center will set you up with a bike rental or a guided tour so you can "pedal into paradise."
Bike Rental Options
No guides are required for the park road, and there are two great options.
Option 1: Pedal one mile south from the Denali Outdoor Center office to the park road, turn right, and head west. The paved park road is free of charge up to Mile 15, at Savage River, so you can expect lots of traffic in both directions. Further than that, buses are the only motorized traffic allowed. To ride on past Savage River, you must show proof that you paid the park entrance fee ($5 per individual or $10 per family, payable at the Visitor Center at the beginning of the park road). The road turns to gravel after Savage River and can be dusty, particularly when buses pass. After Mile 30, the road narrows, with few shoulders.
Option 2: catch a “camper”bus at the Visitor Center, which holds up to 2 bicycles. You can get dropped off as far as you want to ride, and then pedal back to the park entrance and Denali Outdoor Center. From Savage River, it is almost all downhill. Occasionally, riders with reservations at park campgrounds pedal in wearing small backpacks for a multi - day camping trip. No matter which option you choose, if you ride into the park, you must follow the rules of the road.
Some riders rent bikes to ride the scenic Denali Highway, a road that begins 28 miles south of the park entrance and runs through pristine wilderness. An hourly rental also works well for folks who want to ride around the local area to orient themselves, or just to get some exercise—riding 7 miles south to the McKinley Village area, or 11 miles north to Healy.
If you're not comfortable riding alone, or if you want to ride where there is little or no vehicle traffic, sign up for a guided tour. You'll find there are remote areas outside of Denali National Park that are just as beautiful. For 2 to 2 - ½ hours, you can pedal through spectacular mountains and valleys. Your bicycle tour guide will lead the way and interpret the area, but also give you the freedom to explore independently.
The destinations vary from group to group and season to season (wet or dry), and sometimes departure schedules dictate which route will be taken. One popular bike ride is our Stampede Trail, about 14 miles north of the park entrance. There are 2 lodges on this road: Touch of Wilderness (Mile 2.9) and Earth Song Lodge (Mile 4.1). Depending on the physical condition of the group, riders journey from one of those lodges out to 8 Mile Lake and back. This is a ride through high tundra, with vast panoramas and sweeping mountain views. Brace yourself for wind.
Another route travels through the historic mining district of Ferry, just north of Healy, up to Boot Hill. This is a strenuous ride for fit bicyclists, but it pays off with a 360 - degree panoramic view of the Alaska Range.
If your group is experienced and strong and conditions are dry, you might be able to ride on remote trails. One challenging trip in particular climbs into the high country about 10 miles south of the park entrance. The views near the top are spectacular in all directions.
If you know how to ride a bike, you can do this. For families wanting a leisurely ride in the local area or in more remote areas outside Denali National Park. Challenging rides for adventure - seekers also available.