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Campers who wish to experience the beauty of Denali National Park and Preserve will find a recreational vehicle (RV) provides comfort, safety and opportunity for adventure. Visitors who do not own an RV can reserve one ahead of time and pick it up in Anchorage. Three beautiful campgrounds in Denali offer sites for recreational vehicles with advance reservations.
Making Advance Reservations
Riley Creek, Savage River and Teklanika accept advance reservations for recreational vehicles. To get one, go to NPS.org and click on “Fees and Reservations.” Select a campground, check the available dates and secure a reservation.
After securing a flight into Anchorage, search the Internet for an RV rental agency, such as Great Alaskan Holidays. Click on “Rates, Availability and Reservations” and follow directions. Take the virtual tour to select a suitable vehicle. Once reserved, print up the receipt and relevant information about the vehicle.
Getting from Anchorage to Denali Park
From the airport in Anchorage, take a taxi to the rental company. An agent will provide specific instructions about driving, operating and returning the vehicle. Listen carefully. Ask questions. Get familiar with the vehicle, jot down tips from the agent, review the paperwork, and take note of items not provided.
Before heading out, purchase essential supplies in Anchorage. A list of items to bring along would be: specialty foods, toiletries, cameras, video equipment, journals and a selection of music provide comforts that may not be available at the park’s general store.
Fully stocked, travel north on George Parks Highway (Route 3) in the direction of Denali National Park and Preserve. The drive is 237 miles and takes four to five hours. The entrance to the park is right off the highway. Check in with the ranger to receive directions to the reserved campsite.
Riley Creek Campground
Riley Creek is a wooded site right inside the park entrance and close to many of the park’s trail heads. While moose and bear are not a frequent site, they make occasional appearances. Red squirrels and snowshoe hare also inhabit Riley. They dart along trails and visit campsites.
Sites are reserved by size and cost $22.00 to $28.00 per night. The campground offers several conveniences for families, including a general store, shower and laundry facilities. A dump and fill station for RV use is close.
Savage River Campground
Savage River Campground is located in a thicket of spruce trees. An old gravel road winds down to the river, which criss-crosses the park. Caribou visit the river to drink while red squirrels and snowshoe hare flit about the trail.
Great horned owls, merlins and ravens nest in the area. From time to time bears pass through the campground during the summer. Towering in the background, Denali provides a white-capped backdrop for photo buffs.
The camp site allows eight people per RV site. Spots cost $22.00 to $28.00 a night. Three large-party sites accommodate up to 20 people and run $40.00 a night.
Teklanika River Campground
Teklanika River campground is forested with an easy, gravel surface for hiking. Tek is the only campground in Denali where red and ground squirrels live side-by-side. Snowshoe hares and gray jays frolic on the paths leading to the river.
Tek river is also a favorite water source for caribou and grizzly bears. They wander along the rocky banks of the river. A safe viewing area and a bridge that crosses the river are about a mile from the campground.
Located nearly 30 miles into the park, the campground is refreshingly remote for campers who really want to get away. Sites cost $16.00 per night plus a one-time $5.00 reservation fee.
Multiple Site Camping
Campers who would like to spend a few nights at each campground are encouraged to do so with advance booking. Each site offers a unique view of the mountain, meadows and wildlife that make Denali a truly magnificent national park.
Just remember, Alaskan camp seasons are short, and rangers must accommodate many visitors. Arrive at sites and depart according to schedule. Alert the campground with itinerary changes.
Leaving the Campground
Campers should leave their site clean and tidy. Smolder fires, dump trash and check the site for food debris that may attract critters. Check out with the park ranger. Consideration for rangers and fellow campers is always appreciated.
The same rules apply to the RV. Return the vehicle neat, clean and on time. Find missing items, replace the gas, and report mechanical problems. Finally, don’t forget to take a photo to remember RV camping in Alaska’s beautiful Denali National Park.