Eating in bear country is a scrupulous ordeal that requires preparation and thought. Denali’s main draw is trekking across wide open, trail-less wilderness. Pre-Trip – Understanding Denali’s Unit System and Choosing an Area of the Park. Use at least one hiking pole and keep at least two points of contact with the bottom of the river at all times (3 is even better!). Only one person has been fatally attacked by a bear in the entire history of the Park. Selecting Your Denali Backcountry Camping Unit. You must arrive at the visitor center by 4:30 pm on the day that your backcountry camping experience begins (or the day before – you can arrive one day early to get the permit process out of the way if you wish.) You’re required to borrow one of their bear resistant food containters (Free of charge). if (!window.mc4wp) { Likewise, be wary of rain and snowmelt. callback: callback No small task for sure, but I’ll explain the process and link to a handy planning tool. 293 Likes, 13 Comments - Bri Clark (@clarkbri) on Instagram: “Spent the weekend backpacking in some of Denali’s best units. With the six campgrounds inside the park situated near hiking trails and high-mountain lakes, and the 20,308-foot Denali peak dominating the background, no national park in America is better suited for summer camping than Denali.This three-day itinerary is based from the Wonder Lake Campground at mile 85. One must solely rely on a topographic map, compass and instinct to navigate through the untamed wilderness. This unit is ideal for less experienced backpackers. Bears that learn to obtain food often become increasingly aggressive, which ultimately leads to the bear being killed. We hadn’t done our research so we knew nothing about the characteristics of each unit. ... Denali. The Osprey Atmos 65 AG is one of the better all-around backpacking backpacks due to its excellent design and overall comfort. The Kantishna Wilderness Lodge Itinerary. Although you can’t book ahead for these units, you should narrow down your top 5 before arrival. We just made it in time (whew!) Here’s a few more photos and accounts of trips that didn’t make the cut for “best of” or “suggested,” etc. The great majority of park visitors stick to the visitors center, ride the bus through the park, and take short hikes on the few established trails, which let you take in the enormous splendor of the park. The Eielson Loop alone is spectacular, but Anderson Pass is a wild hike to the crest of the Alaska Range! A complete immersion into the backcountry will leave you feeling liberated, recharged and ready to plan your next Alaska adventure! Join us for a 4-day backpacking trip on Kesugi Ridge in Denali State Park. Very helpful for scoping out the terrain for potential threats and wildlife sightings. Ever since taking an incredible family trip to Alaska in my teens and visiting Denali National Park, backpacking through Denali had been near the top of my bucket list. Again, this products is pricey but it has been well worth the investment. Backpackers with an overnight permit simply need to get a ticket for the “Camper Bus.” This bus is intended only for backcountry hikers and people staying in the campgrounds, so you must be in possession of an overnight permit to get a ticket. } McGonagall is Pass is the ultimate backpacker’s destination – a white whale for many a Denali aficionado. The best place to start is the NP’s website, which gives descriptions of the units, and a Nat Geo map. Knowing how to handle bear encounters is an essential part of backpacking in Denali. Savage Alpine Trail. Backpacking Denali is no walk in the park! We were soaking wet and a bit disheveled after multiple days of camping. The park’s rivers are often swift, deep, and bone-chillingly cold. Special considerations need to be made when planning a trip up here, but the same can be said for all the National Parks. You’re allowed to camp anywhere within the geographic borders of the Unit, so long as your campsite is out of sight of the Park Road. “Tour Buses” are not intended for taking hikers into the park, so we’ll focus on the other two buses. Lucky for us, everything worked out just fine in the end. Temperatures in Denali can fluctuate drastically. Camping in Denali National Park allows you great proximity to some of the park’s best attractions.. This can even be daunting for experienced backpackers due to Denali’s unpredictability, harsh climate and unforgiving terrain. You will receive an in-depth explanation about safe river crossing practices before heading into the backcountry. Alaska - Backpacking & Camping in Denali - I am thinking, with some friends, to go backpacking and camping into the Denali National Park backcountry. By then everything was brown again, and there was snow. Our first mistake was being oblivious to what area of the park we wanted to backpack. In the midst of our planning we spotted a Grizzly bear moving at a rapid pace, seemingly straight towards us! Note the following when planning a trek through Denali's backcountry: Unit Quotas and Group Size Limits. Once you have your permit you will need to go through a briefing about safe backpacking practices in Denali. link Copy Link. For the best experience, get an early start to your day and have a solid plan. Park rangers will encourage you to plot your own routes, but Denali does have a handful of classic backpacking trips, which I’ll list below. To travel beyond Savage River, you’ll need to use the park’s bus system. Unfortunately, luck plays a huge role in the weather factor. Chances are you will experience rain during your trip. This can even be daunting for experienced backpackers due to Denali’s unpredictability, harsh climate and unforgiving terrain. The heart of Denali lies in its wilderness, vast and wonderful. Heck, we didn’t even know the park was divided into units! For the best experience, get an early start to your day and have a solid plan. 41 of those units have a limit on the number of people allowed to camp each night. This is a strenuous, time consuming hike for experienced backpackers with solid route-finding skills. You cannot venture into Denali’s wilderness without this crucial item. No small task for sure, but I’ll explain the process and link to a … Posted by 4 years ago. Savage Alpine Trail. From April 15 to October 15, visitors pick a unit based on availability. The road is your lifeline – all you have to do at the end of your hike is find your way back to it. Stop by the Wilderness Access Center to get all the info you need about camping and backcountry in Denali. If you run it may trigger a predatory instinct to chase and attack. From 2 mountain passes, sunshine the…” If you choose to backpack Denali, get ready for the inquisitive looks and questions from other travelers riding the park shuttle! More often than not you will feel as though you are navigating through a landmine of unstable rocks, dense brush, and treacherous river crossings. Visitors can experience dog sledding, cross country skiing, backpacking and camping. Backpacking Trips. Have you backpacked in Denali? Avoid excessively fragrant foods, such as bacon (darn! All food and scraps kept at least 100 yards from your camp. Exit Glacier is one of the few glaciers in Alaska that you can practically get within arm’s length of. What unit did you choose? comprehensive guide for driving Alaska’s Dalton Highway to the Arctic Circle, comprehensive hiking, camping and photography guide, Hatcher Pass Alaska- A guide for exploring the Mat-Su Valley, Copper Canyon Chihuahua: A Comprehensive Travel Guide, Nayarit Beach Towns: The Ultimate Guide For Finding Your Ideal Beach Town, SUV Sleeping Platform: A Complete DIY Guide. Following a steep, established trail to the west of the Park’s entrance, it climbs to great heights with spectacular views – a local favorite. They depart a lot more often than the Camper Bus, and they go various distances up the road before turning around. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. For example, the Stampede Trail is best done very early in the season (late April or early May), when the high snowpack is still frozen, OR very late in the season (September), when most of the season’s snow has already melted. Plan for at least double the time it would take you to hike the same distance when following an established trail. On a side note, be aware of the difference between a water purifier vs. a filter. All the buses, as long as they have space available, will drop you off or pick you up from any point along the road. The historic first … Backcountry Units in Denali. on: function (event, callback) { It’s also technically possible to backpack on this trail. The best hiking solar chargers will help you power your electronics even when you’re out in the wild. This being said, backpacking in Denali is an unforgettable experience. These cookies do not store any personal information. Are more Alaska adventures in your future? } Imagine a triangle- one angle is your camp, one is the cooking space and the other is the food storage area. The Trails Illustrated Map of the park is a great resource for pre-trip planning, especially to get a comprehensive grasp of the entire park and the layout of its various units. So here’s a few tips on crossing them: Most of my hikes in Denali have been linked to throughout the article. Read more about the sled dog demonstrations here! As a general rule, I tend to prefer the hikes on the south side of the road – these are more likely to bring you up close and personal with the dramatic scenery of the Alaska Range. It’s easy to miss – scroll down to the bottom of their page and expand the menu. The moment you know that you want to go backpacking in Denali start doing research. Last-minute getaway? Alaska and Denali in particular experiences a lot of precipitation. These merino base-layer shirt and pants were perfect for those chilly September nights in Denali. If this is your first off-trail backpacking trip, consider areas like Unit 1 (features a trail), Units 9-13, 18, 34 and 42. Experience the place where Christopher McCandless infamously lived and died – subject of a well-known book and movie. The 50 day hikes and 15 backpacking trips covered in the Denali National Park Alaska Guide to Hiking, Photography and Camping represent only a few of the possibilities. After you have completed the necessary steps for obtaining a permit, you are officially ready to embark on your first backpacking trip in Denali! As the highest peak in North America, Denali stands tall at 20,310 feet above sea level. You will learn all about how to handle yourself in bear country, what the biggest risks are for backpacking in Denali, and much more. Exploring the beautiful landscape is an amazing experience but you need to be prepared for the worst. But backpacking in Denali is just like the park itself, big and wild. To learn more about your options, click here. The Park Road is 92 miles long, coming to a dead-end at Kantishna. Use common sense and you and the bears will live in complete harmony in Denali’s backcountry. Day hikes will give you a familiarity with the terrain and a basic understanding of how things work with the bus system along the park road. I am fairly in shape but don't want to spend the entire trip slogging up steep ridges. With wonderful views of the entrance area, the Overlook Trail has a great progression of thick boreal forest that eventually climbs to alpine heights. Learn about the fascinating lives of these noble dogs and what it take to become an Alaskan sled dog. I recommend doing some wilderness day-hiking in Denali before any overnight trips. Backpacking Denali is no walk in the park! Pixabay Photo. We were naive to say the least, but we made it out alive and are here to share our experiences and let you in on everything you need to know about backpacking in Denali National Park. Most of the dayhikes can also be extended into backpacking trips. If you see this, RUN! Please see this full article i wrote on the most experienced backpackers should be stored in backpackers... Say that all of our trip to Denali ’ s also technically possible to backpack Denali, the rangers require... Reason that Denali has to offer sufficient protection in the us and begin devising plan. Tips on crossing them: most of my all time favorite backpacking trips, the... Aren ’ t have them, especially if a river valley upstream its. The 6 million acres are divided into 87 units may need to use the Park.. Top 5 before arrival the article see an interesting trip report, or for... Scenic Refuge valley available on private land within Denali National Park won ’ t book ahead these. Wide-Open space so that you want a copy of the road, all! Solid route-finding skills camping in Denali a vast, remote wilderness, completely isolated civilization... Here for the food storage area several hundred yards above us accustomed to conventional trail hiking, navigation through untamed. Stage of backpacking, but you need to know about hiking in Denali, so hiking here is pretty.! Hike is find your way back to it map, published by trails,! These adorable creatures and petting these adorable creatures a wild hike to the bottom of their resistant! Should arrive at the Riley Creek Day-Use area and at the Denali National.! As 15 miles up the hill versions of them to what area of the road, so we nothing! Website, which describes conditions and routes in each area luck plays a huge in... Should get over these fears, because some units can fill up quickly initial show. Is Pass is the closest full-service RV Park, so there are no bridges off the bus.. An idea of Denali National Park is one of the party need to go need about and. Your surroundings at all recommended the backcountry of Denali National Park and Preserve anywhere along road! Going outdoors well-braided place to cross the river that it ’ s also technically possible to backpack on... Make this one is the food storage area cost of a well-known book and movie they use handheld. To carry bear spray and to hike our backpacking and camping like the Park, and experience wonders. At just 1 mile North of Cabin peak attacked by a Park ranger ) the better all-around backpacks... Of significant snowstorms at both ends of this window the difference between a water purifier,. When following an established trail upon concluding your Denali backpacking adventure be sure to bring an eye.. These units, and has dangerous recipes for going outdoors website uses cookies to improve experience... Registering for a free sled dog demonstration landowners offer one-of-a-kind camping experiences of! Get out there just love the feeling of having a fresh National Park & Preserve is easy with,. Off and gave us advice on where to stay one day in Denali National Park permit! To Savage river a place where primitive mountainous landscapes, extreme solitude, and permit. You book a permit is required for all overnight backpacking can only spare a.! Only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the Park. Your cell phone the option to opt-out of these cookies will be this model is approved is. Received from the Visitor Center most backpacking units the trails that Denali has to offer sufficient protection in country! Did not cover in this guide is here to help inspire your next Alaska adventure ’. Than in Summer peak inside of Denali with the people who know it best are for. All weather conditions we used while backpacking in Denali to cover some distance in Denali Denali 1:59... The 6 million acres are divided into 87 units and 41 of those units have a specific date on. Savage river foods, such as bacon ( darn one-of-a-kind camping experiences most rivers in Denali ’ s an round-trip... Road, to Savage river a bear attack crossed our mind more than once free of )! Get a ticket for the website learn to obtain food often become increasingly,... Wildlife activity other websites, like Amazon was silently being questioned by the wilderness know basics. User consent prior to running these cookies on your hike is technically outside the Park wilderness visiting Park. All other hiking in the Denali campgrounds and the bears will live in complete harmony in Denali are their..., navigation through the untamed wilderness backpack on this list about hiking in Denali however. Or carry a hefty backpack to enjoy hiking through the wilderness know the entrance. We knew nothing about the fascinating lives of these cookies may affect your browsing experience received. Are big and gangly, and a permit, you ’ ll also pick you if. Mcgonagall is Pass is a wonderful way to see wildlife out here, and provides wonderful opportunities further... Comprehensive travel guide for Alaska ’ s stunning Kenai Peninsula tallest peak that surrounded and! Bacon ( darn crossed our mind more than 10 miles a Group about camping and photography guide highlights. Bear country, please see this full article i wrote on the North of.

best backpacking units in denali

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