Denali National Park - Zone 31 And 32 - Member Hike

Hike Name: Denali National Park - Zone 31 And 32
Country: United States
State: Alaska
Nearby Town: Healy
Rating: 3 stars
Directions: (Denali National Park – Visitor’s Center) - The Visitor’s Center where we planned our hike is about 240 miles north of Anchorage, Alaska. We drove and followed the George Parks Highway (US 3) northbound to the entrance to the park. Turn left onto the Denali Park Road and follow signs to the visitor center at mile 0.7 on the Denali Park Road. The Alaska Railroad, 800-544-0552, also offers train transportation to this area from Anchorage.

The National Park Service does not allow private vehicles to drive the entire length of the Denali Park Road, so you will need to stop at the Visitor’s Center to schedule a ride on the park bus. (You can also get your backcountry permit here.)

We hopped on the bus at the Riley Creek Parking Area which is located just inside Denali National Park. You can leave your car here overnight in a designated lot for backcountry hikers. It’s about a three hour ride to the Toklat River area since the bus moves slowly and makes frequent stops to pick up and drop off other backpackers.
Total Hike Distance: 25.00 miles
Hike Difficulty: Extremely Difficult
Permit Required: Yes
Hike Type: One-Way, Shuttle Hike
Hike Starts: Polychrome Rest Area
Hike Ends: Toklat River
Trails Used: Bushwacking, There are no trails in Denali National Park.
Backcountry Campsites: Yes
Backcountry Water Sources: Streams
Management: National Park Service
Contact Information: Denali National Park
P.O. Box 9
Denali National Park, AK 99755
(907) 683-2294
Best Season: Summer
Users: Hikers
Road Conditions: Primary Paved Roads, Secondary Paved Roads, Maintained Gravel or Dirt Roads
Hike Summary: The National Park Service limits the number of backcountry permits, so you are nearly assured of a true wilderness experience. There is a large variety of wildlife in Denali, and you are likely to see moose, caribou, dall sheep, and even grizzly bear from both the Park bus and the open tundra if you are hiking the backcountry. The route we chose through Zones 31 and 32 was a brutal one. We crossed one canyon, two mountain ranges and forded the Toklat Rivers frequently on the last day of the hike. The scenery however, was spectacular, and we saw more wildlife on this trip than I have ever seen in over twenty years of backpacking. If you are up to the challenge, and in great physical shape, consider this hike.



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2 replies on “Denali National Park - Zone 31 And 32 - Member Hike”

They can be. It’s definitely best to be prepared – bug jacket, head net, repellant, etc. You’ll likely need it at some point, but certainly not all the time.

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