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
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 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
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.
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.
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
2019 UPDATE: Trail, day use area, kayak tours & rentals, and public use cabins are open, but the main campground will be temporarily closed beginning in 2019 due to the danger posed by trees infested with spruce-bark beetles. Rotting trees have been toppling. State parks plans to reopen the campground after the hazardous trees have been removed. This is one of four trails that lead to Kesugi Ridge. From the Denali State Park campground at ...more
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.