Denali National Park is unique in just how limited car travel is within the park. Because of that the infrastructure is in place throughout the area to help car-free travelers explore this beautiful corner of Alaska. It's one of the best national parks to visit without a rental vehicle.

Getting to Denali National Park

Most travelers arrive in the Denali Park area by train or Park Connection Motorcoach.


  • Service to Denali is available on the Alaska Railroad, Wilderness Express, and McKinley Explorer.
  • The Denali Depot is inside the park and short walk from the Denali Visitor Center.
  • Most of the primary area hotels provide shuttle service from the depot.
  • In the case of Denali lodging we book for you, your checked bags will automatically be transferred to your accommodations.

Park Connection Motorcoach:

  • Drops directly at the Denali Park Village Lodge, Denali Cabins, Denali Park Depot (AM bus service only), Grande Denali Lodge, and Denali Bluffs Hotel.

Aerial view of Denali Bluffs and Park Connection.

Getting Around Denali National Park

Unless you're staying at a fly-in backcountry lodge, your Denali accommodations will be anywhere from two to 10+ miles outside the park. All hotels we book provide a free shuttle to the Visitor Center in the park. Be sure to check at your front desk for the current schedule. The only exception is the Denali Grizzly Bear Resort, which we only recommend for travelers with their own transportation.

To help you explore the Denali front country, the park runs three free shuttle buses:

  • Savage River Shuttle - Runs between the Visitor Center, Denali Bus Depot, and the Mountain Vista and Savage River trailheads.
  • Riley Creek Loop Shuttle - Runs between the Riley Creek Mercantile, Riley Creek Campground, Denali Bus Depot, Horseshoe Lake Trailhead, and Visitor Center.
  • Sled Dog Demonstration Shuttle - Runs between the Visitor Center and Denali sled dog kennels 40 minutes prior to demonstration start times (10am, 2pm, and 4pm, but be sure to check the schedule the days you're there).

Free shuttle buses are usually green but sometimes tan. Look for a placard in the windshield for the shuttle route. You can find current schedules and dates of operation here.

The Denali entrance area also features a network of hiking trails and a bike path.

Horseshoe Lake Trail in Denali National Park.

Exploring Farther in the Park

The Park Road is only open to mile 15 for personal vehicles. Beyond that, aside from your own two feet, the best way to explore the park is on a guided bus tour:

  • Denali Natural History Tour - Travels 25 miles to the Teklanika Flats. Fully guided with a focus on the natural and human history of the park.
  • Tundra Wilderness Tour - Travels 43 miles to the East Fork River. Fully guided with excellent wildlife viewing opportunities.

Both tours pick up from Denali area lodging as well as the Denali Bus Depot inside the park. Check out more about how Denali bus tours work.

Along with tour buses, the park also operates non-narrated transit buses that you can hop on and off of for the length of the Park Road.

East Fork Bridge in Denali National Park.

More Like This: A Practical Guide to Kenai Fjords National Park

At Alaska Tour & Travel, we specialize in building custom trips for every timeline, personality, and budget. If you'd like to have an Alaskan plan your Alaska trip, give us a call at 800-208-0200.

Posted in: Alaska Parks, Getting Around