10 Free Things to do in Denali National Park!

Rain or shine… great experiences without the expense.

Whether you live in Alaska or are visiting on your vacation, everyone loves awesome, free things to do! Denali National Park offers a ton of great things to do without any fees involved. He’s a quick-list of our favorite free activities to do in and around the Park during the summer months.

  1. Sled Dog Demonstrations  – Hop on the free bus from the Denali Visitor Center to ride over to the sled dog kennels. There, you’ll see a full demonstration of the Rangers and Alaskan husky sled dog team working together plus have time to tour the kennels and meet the pups!
  2. Stop in to see the Denali Visitor Center – view the film, “Heartbeats of Denali” and learn more about the Park! Or, join in on a hike or walk that leaves from the visitor center.
  3. Visit the Murie Science & Learning Center – set aside some time and explore their exhibits or bring your personal GPS device and download one of their self-guided GPS adventures!
  4. Visit the Wilderness Access Center, the hub for all things camping and backcountry in Denali Park. Get more information about the park, watch the video, “Across Time and Tundra,” which describes the creation of the Denali Park Road and the early days of the Park.
  5. Tour the Usibelli Coal Mine in Healy – the only producing coal mine in Alaska, Usibelli has been in operation since 1943 and produces 1.5 million tons of coal per year. They offer free tours of their facility twice a day (at 10am and 2pm) through August 9th. Call ahead and reserve a spot! 907-683-2226
  6. Watch rafters go through the world famous Cable Car Rapid at Dragon Fly Creek at Milepost 242 of the George Parks Highway.  Easy parking and easy walk that will take you past two waterfalls, letting you out on the beach of the Nenana River. Wave to terrified rafters as they shoot through one of Alaska’s most famous rapids! Thanks to our friends at The Denali Outdoor Center for this great tip!
  7. Take the free Savage River Shuttle into the park and explore the Savage River day-use area! Sign up in advance, and you can participate in a Ranger-led Discovery Hike or, simply do some wildlife viewing on your own.
  8. Stop at the new Mountain Vista Trailhead at Milepost 13. You’ll be able to see Mt. McKinley from this spot on a clear day.
  9. Head over to the Denali Salmon Bake where they have a nightly calendar of entertainment including music, open-mic, and trivia night. Most entertainment is free of cover charge but be sure to double-check their event calendar to see what’s happening. PLUS, they will always give you a free safe ride home if you can’t drive.
  10. Become a Junior Ranger! This is a great program for kids and adults to work on together to learn about the Park, the wilderness, the wildlife, and the history. Complete your assignments and get an official Junior Ranger Badge to take home with you!

What are your favorite things to do in the park? Share with us in the comments below!

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