Best Things to Do In Denali State Park
1. Go for a Hike
With a whopping 300,000-plus acres, Denali State Park offers every kind of landscape and terrain, from gentle streams to high alpine peaks, along with spectacular views of Denali and tons of wildlife. Going on a guided hiking tour helps steer you straight to the highlights; choose from easy 2-hour hikes to multi-day adventures in the backcountry.
2. Stay at a Lodge
Book a lodge room inside Denali State Park and awe-inspiring Denali will practically be at your doorstep. Enjoy the luxurious accommodations at the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge on the banks of the Chulitna River, which boasts a grand lobby and outdoor hot tub, all with Denali views. And take advantage of the lodge’s thrilling excursions, like horseback riding, jetboating, rafting, and more.
3. Go Camping
Get the full flavor of Denali State Park’s magnificent wilderness. Go camping with a tent or RV in one of the park’s several stunning campgrounds and you’ll wake up surrounded by the sights and sounds of natural Alaska—including a stellar view of Denali.
4. Visit Talkeetna
The small pioneer town of Talkeetna exudes Alaskan charm and is a favorite for locals and visitors alike; it also makes for the perfect stop if you’re headed south after visiting the park. Even from town you can take in great mountain views; you can also book exciting excursions.
Things to Do
Denali State Park Day Tours & Attractions View All
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Land Package Type: Photography Tours
Award-winning Alaska-based photographer Jeff Schultz can take you to stunning Alaska locations to create your dream images of Alaskan landscapes & wildlife. Whether you want to make photos in classic Alaska locations or in places that the average traveler will never see, based on decades of living, traveling and photographing all over Alaska, Jeff can create a custom photo trip that will meet all your wants and desires.
Get a unique view of the Alaskan wilderness on a four- or seven-day backpacking trip through the backcountry. You’ll be trekking on Kesugi Ridge in Denali State Park, with magnificent views of Mt. McKinley and of course plenty of wildlife to spot along the way. Your experienced naturalist guide will be with you the whole way, cooking up great meals at your campsites. You should be fit enough to carry a pack up moderate hills, though you’ll ...more
This tour operator, based in Talkeetna and Denali State Park, offers guided kayaking tours and kayak, canoe and stand up paddle board rentals at X Lake in Talkeetna Lakes Park and at Byers Lake in Denali State Park. Denali Southside also offers trailhead shuttle service along the 25 miles of hiking trails of Kesugi Ridge.
Explore Alaska on foot — take a scenic day hike into the South Denali area. Choose one of 3 great hikes; from an easy, 2‑mile stroll to a moderately strenuous 5½-hour hike. You’ll get spectacular views and see plenty of wildlife as you trek with your experienced naturalist guide. Depending on the hike you may pass pristine lakes, see an old pioneer’s cabin, catch a glimpse of Mt. McKinley, and even have the chance to spot foraging bears. These ...more
Get out there on one or more of these super-accessible trips, which range from easy nature walks to strenuous alpine multi-day treks. You’ll not only get a healthy dose of scenery, you’ll also exercise your body, mind, and soul. In winter, marvel at frozen waterfalls, snowshoe treks and even heli-snowshoeing!
Talkeetna River Guides has offered expertly guided rafting day trips for over 20 years. Float through the remote wilderness of Denali State Park, just a stone’s throw away from Denali National Park’s wild south side. Choose the two-hour Talkeetna River Natural History Float Trip, the four-hour Chultina River Raft Tour, or an overnight or multi-day excursion.
Everyone from beginners to experts can book a custom, multi-day photography trip in Alaska. As a longtime Alaskan, Michael knows the best spots to go. And he can carefully craft custom trips to take you to the most magical areas. His specialty is landscape, wildlife and adventure-travel based trips around Southcentral Alaska — places like Chugach and Denali State parks, and the region’s accessible glaciers.
Denali State Park Parks & Trails View All
During periods of clear weather, this route through Denali State Park offers similar terrain and scenery to Denali National Park — including unparalleled views of Denali — without the cumbersome permitting process. This trail system offers many options for starting and ending points, as there are four trailheads along its length.
The Curry Ridge Trail is a newly constructed trail (2016) that departs from the Kesugi K’en Campground and climbs moderately (1100 ft in about 3.5 miles) up Curry Ridge. On a clear day, hikers are rewarded with stunning views of Mt. Denali in the distance.
This is one of four trails that lead to the high Kesugi Ridge along the Parks Highway about an hour north of Talkeetna. The trail begins in a forested area and ends up above the tree line looking down on muliple drainages. The view at the top is wonderful, so bring a camera! It takes about 2 hours on average to get above treeline.
This is the southernmost trail that leads to Kesugi Ridge. On average, it takes a hiker 4 hours to get above the treeline. This trail is often closed due to flooding as well as bear activity for the safety of its hikers. Please check with Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources to make sure that the trail is open to hikers before starting this trip.
This trail follows Troublesome Creek .3 miles down to where it enters the broad, glacial gravel bar of the Chulitan River. Marvel at the Ent-like Grandaddy Cottonwood, just five minutes down the trail. The trail’s end has been swept away by floods, so it can be confusing, but the adventurous can keep going onto the Chulitna’s gravel bar to look for wildlife, tracks, or views of Denali. The large-leaved plants along the trail are Cow Parsnip and ...more
This is one of four trails that lead to Kesugi Ridge. From the Denali State Park campground at Byers Lake, this gentle stroll is the perfect way to spend a few hours. Wander through spruce and birch trees on the north side of the lake and enjoy big views of the Alaska Range and Denali (formerly Mt. McKinley) from the east side.
This trail is the northernmost trail that provides access to Kesugi Ridge. On a clear day, Little Coal Creek Trail takes you to amazing views of Denali (Mt. McKinley). It also gives you those views in the shortest amount of time, about 1.5 hours, of any of the access trails to Kesugi Ridge.