Park Contact Information
Denali National Park Headquarters. Denali National Park, Alaska. 907/683--9532; www.nps.gov/dena. All but Riley Creek (no visitor facilities) closed mid-Sept.–late May.
Denali Education Center. Situated on 10 acres of forest across from Denali National Park, this nonprofit offers intensive learning experiences that range from a variety of all-inclusive weeklong Road Scholar programs to weeklong youth programs, including hands-on research in conjunction with the National Park Service or backpacking trips for high schoolers. On the first weekend of August the center sponsors the Fund-raising Auction. The festival draws in hundreds of people and thousands of articles for sale, all for a fantastic cause. Mile 231, Parks Hwy., Box 212, Denali National Park, Alaska, 99755. 907/683–2597; www.denali.org. Closed mid-Sept.–mid-May. 12 cabins.
Denali Visitor Center. Open from mid-May to mid-September, the Denali Visitor Center exhibits beautiful displays about the park's natural and cultural history, and holds regular showings of The Heartbeats of Denali in the Karstens Theater. In addition, the center offers a wide variety of interpretive programs and a chance to browse the nearby Denali Bookstore, a great source for wildlife guides, birding guides, and picture books; send some to relatives to make them jealous of your trip. While the park itself is open year-round with limited vehicle access, everything is up and running from mid-May through mid-September. Denali National Park Rd., Denali National Park, Alaska. 907/683–9532; www.nps.gov/dena.
Eielson Visitor Center. At Mile 66 on the park road is the Eielson Visitor Center, the park's pride and joy. LEED certified as a green building, Eielson offers amazing views of the mountain, the glaciers, and what happens to a landscape when glaciers go away. Inside is the usual interpretive material. Starting around the beginning of June, the center offers a daily guided walk, the Eielson Stroll, at 1 pm, an easy 45-minute exploration of the landscape. Another daily ranger-led experience, the 2-mile Eielson Alpine Hike, takes on a little rougher terrain. Guided hikes vary from day to day to minimize the impact on the surroundings. Mile 66, Park Rd., Denali National Park, Alaska. www.nps.gov/dena/planyourvisit/the-eielson-visitor-center.htm. June–mid-Sept., daily 9–7.
Murie Science and Learning Center. Next to the Denali Visitor Center, Murie Science and Learning Center is the foundation of the park's science-based education programs, and also serves as the winter visitor center when the Denali Visitor Center is closed. This center has basic but informative displays. During off-season camping at the Riley Campground, it's the go-to spot for ranger information and, yes, bathrooms with running water. Mile 1.5, Park Rd., Denali National Park, Alaska, 99755. 907/683–6432; www.nps.gov/rlc/murie. Daily 9 am–4:30 pm.
Wilderness Access Center. The Wilderness Access Center near the park's entrance at Mile 237.3, George Parks Highway, is where you can handle reservations for park campgrounds and bus trips into the park. There's also a coffee stand—your last chance for a cup of joe unless you bring the makings for campsite coffee with you. A smaller building nearby is for those visitors who want to travel and stay overnight in the wilderness. The Backcountry Information Center has backcountry permits and hiking information, including current data on animal sightings (remember the whole park is bear territory), river-crossing conditions, weather, and closed areas. The center is closed in winter (mid-September–mid-May). Free permits are required for overnight backpacking trips, but you won't need one for day hiking. Mile 0.5, Park Rd., Denali National Park, Alaska, 99755. 907/683–9532. Mid-May–mid-Sept., daily 5 am–7 pm.