Are you ready for a summer vacation?
Well, pack your camera and grab the family because it’s time for an outdoor adventure.
Destination: Denali National Park!
Denali National Park is one of the true natural wonders of the world. Boasting the highest peak in North America and thousands of miles of beautiful, open terrain, it’s no wonder why Denali attracts over 600,000 visitors every year.
If you want to see it all in comfort and style, your best option is an RV. It doesn’t get any better than RV camping in Denali National Park, keep reading to learn more.
Denali National Park Facts
Established in 1917, Denali National Park covers over six million acres, making it one of the nation’s largest national parks. The land’s rich Native American history, natural beauty, and world-class mountaineering make it well worth visiting.
Before you head up to Alaska on the RV camping trip of a lifetime, we have a few Denali National Park facts that might help you appreciate the experience even more.
Denali is known for its unique wildlife. From dall sheep to peregrine falcon, this place has it all. In fact, there are 39 species of mammals, 14 fish species, 169 species of birds, and only one species of amphibians that live in the park.
Formerly called Mount McKinley after the 25th President of the US, Denali (‘the tall one’) was renamed in 2015 to honor Native American traditions.
Over 15% of Denali National Park's landmass is covered with glaciers. However, over 8% of all the glacier ice has been lost since 1950.
Known for its seismic activity, Denali National Park averages an incredible 3,000 small earthquakes per year within park boundaries.
Denali has some wild weather! The park gets 18 inches of rain and over 80 inches of snow each year, and the coldest temp on record is an incredible -54° F.
Denali’s highest peak stands at 20,310 feet, making it the tallest peak in North America.
Best Denali National Park RV Parks and Campgrounds
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The best way to see everything Denali National Park offers is in the comfort of an RV. Finding a place to stay in the park is a piece of cake if you know the area. For the uninitiated, we put together a few top Denali National Park RV parks and campgrounds to make your experience memorable.
Savage River Campground
Amenities: Savage River Campground is one of the most beautiful RV campgrounds in Denali National Park. It sits along the Savage River at mile 13 on the Denali Park Road. The campground is at one of the lowest elevations in the park at 3000 feet. It’s a rustic campground with water, but no shower or laundry facilities. Savage River Campground is also only open during the summer.
Capacity: There are 32 sites at Savage River, but no RV hookups. The max RV length is 40 feet.
More information: Savage River Campground
Riley Creek Campground
Amenities: Riley Creek Campground is the only RV campground within Denali that is open year-round. However, it’s close to Highway 3 and the visitor center, which can make it noisy. On the other hand, there are plenty of amenities like WiFi, laundry, a dump station, a camp store, and food lockers.
Capacity: Riley Creek boats 142 sites, including 20 tent-only sites, but there are no full RV hookups. The max RV length is 40 feet.
More information: Riley Creek Campground
Teklanika River Campground
Amenities: Teklanika is the final RV campground in Denali National Park. It is more rugged and off the beaten path than the other two on this list. That comes with benefits and drawbacks. First, it’s an absolutely beautiful forested campground along the Teklanika River. However, there is a 3-night minimum stay for RVs, and all RVs must stay within the campground. Also, there are not many amenities at the campground—other than potable water.
Capacity: Teklanika boasts 53 campsites, but there are no full hookups. The max RV length is 40 feet.
More information: Teklanika River Campground
Denali RV Park and Motel
Amenities: If you need more amenities, this park is for you. Denali RV Park and Motel is located just nine minutes from Denali National Park. It offers free satellite TV and WiFi, dog walking (for an additional charge), and full baths with showers and locking individual bathrooms.
Capacity: There are 86 RV sites at Denali RV Park, all with full hookups. RVs of all sizes are welcome.
More information: Denali RV Park and Motel
Denali Rainbow Village and RV
Amenities: Denali Rainbow Village is another great RV park near Denali National Park. It has all the amenities you could want with WiFI, a dump station, a laundry house, clean restrooms, picnic tables, fire rings, potable water, and cable TV. Plus, there is a shopping center nearby with a gas station, grocery store, and post office.
Capacity: The park features 55 RV sites with both full and partial hookups. All RV sizes are welcome.
More information: Denali Rainbow Village and RV
Best Time to Visit Denali National Park
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Believe it or not, Denali National Park is open year-round! That’s right—even in the dead of winter, you can head out to Denali and experience all the park has to offer.
No matter the season Denali has something for everyone. From skiing in the winter to fishing in the summer, there’s no best time to visit Denali National Park.
Summer in Denali National Park is the most crowded time of year. Thousands of visitors pack the park as temperatures rise to a perfect 50 to 75°F for months.
It’s the perfect season to go fishing on one of the many lakes or rivers in the park. Many visitors also like to go backpacking out into the wilderness during the summer. Just remember that summer is mosquito season, so bring some extra bug spray.
Talk about a winter wonderland! Denali National Park is winter sports heaven. Skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing—you can do it all at Denali.
There’s even a Winterfest in February that attracts thousands for fun events the whole family will enjoy. Just remember to pack the right gear because the average winter temperature in Denali is 5 °F.
Spring is a beautiful time of year at Denali National Park. Temperatures can remain at freezing or below until late March, but after that spring starts to take hold, roads open, and the wildflowers begin to bloom.
Denali’s 1000+ species of plants are on full display in the spring. It’s the perfect time of year to take a hike down Savage River or head off mountain biking into the wild.
Fall in Denali is like most national parks. Winter recreational activities like skiing and snowboarding are available, and temperatures average just 24°F
Also, fall is the best time of year to see Alaska's amazing Northern Lights. The phenomenon occurs year-round, but mid-September through late April is prime time for the aurora.
Things to do in Denali National Park
Photo Credit: Instagram Users @thejurgys & @harkanfilms
Now that you know where to stay and what the best time to visit is, it’s time to go over the best things to do in Denali National Park.
Try a day hike down the gentle two-mile Horseshoe Lake Trail. For the more adventurous hikers, try the 9.5-mile long Triple Lakes Trail.
Escape into the wilderness on a multi-day backpacking trip, just remember to leave no trace of your trip. Denali is serious about its green initiatives.
Go snowmobiling down the hundreds of miles of available trails around Denali during the winter.
Test your mountaineering skills by climbing the highest peak in North America at over 20,000 feet.
Take the Savage River Shuttle down to one of the most beautiful places to go mountain biking in the world—the Teklanika River!
Try your hand at fishing for lake trout on Wonder Lake. It’s even accessible via bus.
There are so many things to do in Denali National Park. You could stay all year and still not get it all done.
Tips on Visiting Denali National Park
Before you head out to Alaska and take on the wilderness, we have a few tips that can help make your trip a safer, more enjoyable experience.
No matter the season, Denali’s weather can be unpredictable. Dress in layers with wool or synthetic material. And bring a small tent and fire starter, just in case.
If you plan on coming in the summer, remember the bug repellant! The area is known for mosquitoes until late August.
Wildlife can be unpredictable in Denali National Park. The park is home to over 70 wolves, as well as dozens of wolverines, moose, and several other dangerous animals. Make sure to read the National Park Service’s Wildlife Safety page before heading out, and always keep your distance.
The main wildlife threat at Denali is grizzly bears. There are around 350 inside the park, and they can be territorial. Ensure you always keep your distance and consider bringing bear spray.
Denali is mostly made up of open wilderness. Unlike many other national parks, you can't drive in much of the area. So don’t be afraid to get out of the RV campground and try backpacking or camping off-trail.
RV Rental for Denali National Park
Without a doubt, the best way to visit Alaska is by RV camping near Denali National Park. It’s an experience everyone should have at least once.
Cruise America RV Rentals can make it happen! Cruise America’s rentals are affordable, plus they include free insurance and 24-hour roadside assistance.
Not mention, rentals start at just $50/Night! Call Cruise America today, and your next RV trip will be safe, easy, and affordable.