In 2017 we went on a 9 day backpacking trip in Denali National Park with two of our friends.
Denali, at least at the time of our trip, allows you to day hike anywhere in the park. You can get off the bus and hike.
But camping is more restrictive – the park is split into sections that each have a limit of how many people can camp per night. These are quite small numbers – in the range of 2-6 people depending on the area. You must also camp in a place that is not visit by the road. You sometimes have to hike through one section to get to the one you have permits for. Getting permits is a challenge. We had to line up in the morning and get what we could. This limits how much prep you can so in advance.
We managed to get a few permits that worked together and split our trip up in a couple different areas.
This trip, for me, was about:
- Wandering a bit and getting as far as we can away from the road to see what you can’t see on the tour bus
- Experiencing different areas of the park
- Getting some experience hiking through difficult terrain
- Getting some experience navigating and route finding
- Obviously, experiencing Denali
During our time hiking there we saw one grizzly while hiking and camping, two moose (who we bumped into on the top of a mountain as we were trying to get up over the pass!), one fox, some caribou and a lot of ptarmigan.