Denali National Park

Warm-Weather Activities
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Wildlife watching in Denali National Park.
Wildlife watching in Denali National Park. (Digital Vision/Getty)

Biking

Denali ranks as one of the most bike-friendly national parks. The park road is 90 miles long and bikes are allowed on the entire length. You can even take your bicycle with you on a camper shuttle bus. During the spring and fall, when road closures are in effect, bicyclists are permitted to ride beyond closed gates.

Bicycles are, however, restricted to designated roadways. They may not be used on trails, the roadside path, or in the backcountry. Wildlife walk and roam the roads, too, so take care when rounding blind corners and brushy areas. Just like hiking along the road or in the backcountry, make noise when you are in areas of low visibility. Don't approach animals too closely. If you see a bear, don't approach within 1/4 mile. Stop and wait.

Bicycle Camping: Register for campsites in advance or at the Visitor Center. If you prefer to backpack from a campground, leave your bike locked there. And make sure you have a backcountry permit.

Fishing

Denali is no centerpiece for an Alaskan fishing vacation. Most park rivers contain a milky suspension of silt, or rock flour, that fish can't tolerate. However, Arctic grayling are caught in a few clear mountain streams and lakes. Alaska (mackinaw) trout are caught in Wonder Lake. If you want to plan a backcountry trip, the confluence of the Stony and Little Stony rivers is said to be worthy. The folks at the visitors center can probably steer you to some other likely spots. No license is required to fish in the Denali Wilderness unit. Just a quixotic sense of luck.

If you don't mind venturing outside the park, Butte Lake, reached from a trailhead at milepost 93.3 of the Denali Highway, has good stocks of lake trout, grayling, and whitefish, and is said to be the best fishing in the area.

Paddling

The rivers at Denali are shallow, heavily braided glacial streams—not the stuff of good river running. Folks do run the Nenana, which flows mostly outside the park and forms part of the park's eastern border.


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