This magnificent Alaska state park resides next to the east side Denali National Park and covers over 300,000 acres. Created in 1970, the park’s name comes from the Tanana Indian word meaning “The High One."
The park lies next to the Talkeetna Mountains and is part of the Parks Highway, a road that runs over 323 miles long and will take campers and their motorhomes to Anchorage. Along with the nearby mountains, Denali State Park also features a mixture of streams and alpine tundra. The climate here is very chilly, especially during the winter. However, it does warm up a bit during the middle of summer to the mid-60s.
There are quite a few outdoor activities to do in Denali State Park. Visitors to the state park can head out to explore the land and do some wildlife viewing. The park is home to numerous types of animals, including black bears, wolves, minks, and snowshoe hares. It’s also a popular bird migratory destination with species like ravens, boreal chickadees, and trumpeter swans nesting here. However, keep in mind that much of the wildlife here, such as bears, can be very dangerous if you encounter them. Because of this, it’s recommended that you wear bells or make noises to help scare them off.
You could also go hiking in the park. While trekking down its trails, you’ll be taken through various landscapes. One trail to consider is the K'esugi Ridge Trail. This pathway will take you along the K"esugi Ridge, which is lined with ancient birch and spruce trees. Another trail to check out is the Ermine Hill Trail. This trail runs along the Parks Highway and has a very high elevation. You will be able to get incredible panoramic views as you hike up it so don't forget the camera. No matter which trail you decide to explore, you’ll be able to view much of Alaska’s native plants, such paper birch, moss, white spruce, and various types of berries.
Rafting is another activity to try out while here. Visitors can head out on the Nenana River with a special guide who will take you down the rapids. Because the state park is connected with Denali National Park, you'll be able to view parts of it as well during your rafting adventure.
Camping at Denali State Park
The camper campgrounds at Denali State Park are usually open mid-May to Mid-November, so for those who want to book an RV in Yukon-Koyukuk, this would be a great place. Keep in mind that there is a fee, and reservations are usually required. The campground offers several sections to keep your RV in. This includes Denali View North, offering 20 drive-in sites with awesome views, and Denali View South, with views of the tundra, Denali vistas, and the Chulitna River.
At the foot of K'esugi Ridge, you will find Byers Lake Campground offering 73 sites. Across the water is six secluded campsites at Lakeshore Campground.
Some amenities offered at the campgrounds include water, grills, restrooms, fire rings, and firewood. There is no dump station on the campgrounds. Instead, you’ll need to travel about 12 miles away to Byers Lake Campground if you want to dispose of things.
Exploring the Area
The area is packed with many unique things to see and do. For instance, you could take your RV to Anchorage to visit the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. This center is dedicated to helping conserve endangered animals and researching more about them. It offers many animal programs throughout the day which discuss local wildlife. In addition to this, you’ll be able to view many native Alaskan animals who are being rehabilitated, like bears, eagles, foxes, and elk. Visitors can also learn more about the center’s Wood Bison Restoration Project which is designed to help restore this almost extinct species.
Should you like a day outing, head over to Fishhook with your motorhome to check out the Independence Mine State Historic Park. Guests will be able to learn more about the two gold mines located on the site: Martin Mine and Independence Mine. Self-guided tours can be taken which feature interpretive signs along the trail route.
Another place of interest to visit with your travel trailer is the Museum of Alaska Transportation. Situated in Wasilla, this museum is packed with various types of vintage vehicles once used in the state. This includes old trains, cars, tractors, and snowmobiles. While here, you’ll be able to learn more about how each of these devices helped to develop Alaska. You could also visit the museum for one of its many events during the year, such as a Yuletide Bazaar during Christmas.
There is one gas station located next to Denali State Park and is only a few minutes away. It’s also located by a few small restaurants which sell local specialties like baked salmon and sourdough. If you’re looking for some souvenirs to take with you from your trip, there is a gift shop a few miles away.
Denali State Park, AK is the perfect spot to start your next road trip.
There are many popular rentals in Denali State Park. Outdoorsy's Denali State Park RV rental marketplace allows renters to choose from rental options from professional RV rental agencies as well as RVs for rent by owner.