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Transport from Fairbanks to Denali National Park

Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
28 posts
Transport from Fairbanks to Denali National Park

Hi All,

I am visiting Fairbanks next year February to see the Northern Lights and also intend to go Denali Wildlife National Park on a day trip from Fairbanks. Is there any public transport from Fairbanks to Denali or should I rent a car and drive. How far is the journey from Fairbanks to Denali? A little help is much appreciated. Thank you.

17 replies to this topic
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
6,748 posts
17 reviews
1. Re: Transport from Fairbanks to Denali National Park

There is no pubic transportation between those two locations. In the winter time you will need to rent a car and drive yourself. You can use Google Maps to estimate distances - it's over 120 miles (and 2+ hours drive) to get to Denali from Fairbanks - https://goo.gl/maps/o2DTqrWmNmp

Note that in the winter time you can only drive into the park as far as the Murie Science and Learning Center, which is about 1.5 miles into the park. To go any further you would need to hike or do a dog sled tour.

-JimG

Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
28 posts
2. Re: Transport from Fairbanks to Denali National Park

Thank you JimG for your prompt reply. Or is there any tour company that organise a day trip tour to Denali National Park from Fairbanks as my timing is limited as I need to take a train from Fairbanks to Anchorage and boarded a plane for my next destination. I really love to see the wildlife animal and capture some photo there.

Winnipeg, Canada
Level Contributor
6,627 posts
3. Re: Transport from Fairbanks to Denali National Park

There is a day trip from Fairbanks: www.northernalaska.com/denali-winter-drive/

You are not likely to see much, if any, wildlife since you can't go very far into the park. Notice that the tour description doesn't even mention wildlife. If that is your sole reason for going to Denali, skip it this time and return another year between June 1 thru mid-September.

Massachusetts
Level Contributor
4,984 posts
265 reviews
4. Re: Transport from Fairbanks to Denali National Park

Flying to Anchorage instead of the train would make more sense at that time of the year.

Anchorage, Alaska
Level Contributor
328 posts
5. Re: Transport from Fairbanks to Denali National Park

Denali/most of Alaska away from the coast is VERY quiet with respect to wildlife in February. One might see a moose alongside or in the middle of the road while driving, but’s that’s about it beyond the random snowshoe hare, flocks of ravens commuting to/from urban areas to forage, and owls perched on treetops at dusk preparing for an evening of hunting.

Aurora viewing will be as good/better away from the lights of Fairbanks as down by Denali, depending upon solar activity, clear skies, and the phase of the moon.

At least by late February, the temperatures are moderating and the daylight is coming back at the rate of eight minutes a day, so it IS a very pretty time of year to get out and about on ski, walking, or snowmachine trails. White Mountain National Recreation Area north of Fairbanks offers some trails above tree line that are scenic. In town, Esrwr Dome, Rosie Creek, Creamers Field, and the University West Ridge provide options.

Edited: 13 September 2018, 22:37
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
28 posts
6. Re: Transport from Fairbanks to Denali National Park

Thank you Marple_Mashmallows for your useful information sharing. I will try to book this day trip tour if there is as any.

Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
28 posts
7. Re: Transport from Fairbanks to Denali National Park

The reason my visiting to Fairbanks is to glimp the northern lights before I ride the Alaska rail road to Anchorage and board a plane back as I noticed that there was a lot of wildlife at Denali so I just wanted to try my luck see if I can go for a day trip and visit the Denali Wildlife Park.

Anchorage, Alaska
Level Contributor
328 posts
8. Re: Transport from Fairbanks to Denali National Park

Yes, there is a lot of wildlife in Denali National Park which is seen from the park road when the park road is open between mid- to late-May and mid-September. Otherwise, your chances of seeing wildlife along the first part of the road (<5 km) that is plowed during the winter are no better than driving any of the other roads in Interior Alaska. In other words, you can't really visit Denali National Park in the winter unless you are prepared for winter backcountry exploration on foot, skis, or by dogsled (no motorized vehicles are allowed).

The train from Fairbanks to Anchorage goes right past the entrance to Denali National Park, so to see more of the area, instead of driving to/from Denali and then taking the train back past Denali, a trip to Chena Hot Springs east of Fairbanks or up the Steese Highway to Chatanika, or the Elliot Highway to Wickersham Dome would provide opportunities to see moose and aurora.

Edited: 14 September 2018, 00:13
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
6,748 posts
17 reviews
9. Re: Transport from Fairbanks to Denali National Park

As Maple_Marshmallows notes, it's pretty much a waste of time to visit Denali in the winter if your primary interest is to see wildlife. The animals are just not that active at that time of year and even if they were you couldn't drive far enough into the park to see them. Your only real options for activities in the winter are touring the MSLC (which is very small) or visiting the dog kennels. You can also rent snowshoes for free at the MSLC and try your hand at that.

We visited Denali in December some years ago, and mainly went to try the snowshoeing. That was actually a lot of fun (and quite a workout!) but you do need to be prepared for the conditions. It was -15F when we were there, so this is not an activity to embark on if you do not have appropriate cold weather gear.

i think I would look for something a little closer to Fairbanks where you have more options. Chena Hot Springs is a great suggestion, and I believe they offer a shuttle.

-JimG

Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
28 posts
10. Re: Transport from Fairbanks to Denali National Park

Hi Michael M,

Yes, I will be viewing the Aurora to during the visit. Thank you for the sharing and useful information.

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