If you’re looking for a destination with stunning scenery, abundant wildlife, and a place to get away from TV and technology with the family, the Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska offers it all.
Things to Do with Your Kids in Denali
While the setting is magnificent for nature lovers, some families worry their kids will get bored but you can put those fears aside.
There’s plenty to do and see at Denali that the whole family can enjoy. In fact, a dinosaur footprint was discovered there in the summer of 2005. It belonged to a three-toed Cretaceous Theropod.
Denali Visitor Center
Kids enjoy the kid-friendly exhibits at the Denali Visitor Center. Take them in before or after a short hike along one of the scenic trails located there.
Some trails travel alongside the Park Road and connect the visitor center with other facilities like the park sled dog kennels, Riley Creek Campground and the Wilderness Access Center.
Other trails take you deeper into the solace of the park. Most of the trails are considered easy to moderate in difficulty and some are ADA accessible. When you’re done, pick up a boxed lunch or dinner at the Morino Grill.
Free Park Ranger Programs
During the summer months and through mid-September a variety of Park Ranger Programs offer a chance to interact with Rangers to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the Park.
This includes programs like:
These ranger-led hikes are all about discovery. Expect uneven terrain, small stream crossings, dense vegetation and unpredictable weather. It’s an adventure worthy of Indiana Jones wannabes.
- Horseshoe Lake Hike (3 miles) – Moderate
- McKinley Station Walk (2.6 miles) – Easy
- Eielson Stroll (.5 miles) – Easy
- Eielson Alpine Hike (2 miles) – Difficult
Evening Campground Programs
At the end of the day, kids will enjoy informal campground programs where they can learn about everything from grizzlies to glaciers. Topics are listed on bulletin boards through the park, and the talks last about 30-45 minutes.
Junior Ranger Program
Sign the kids up for the Junior Ranger Program. It’s a great way to learn about Denali wildlife, wilderness, and the people of Denali. The program is designed to be a cooperative effort with parents and other adults and makes discovering Denali a treat for the entire family.