Park Service Campgrounds: "To really experience Denali..." Top 5 Page for this destination Denali National Park and Preserve Hotel Tip by worldtrekker

  Savage River Group Site
by worldtrekker

There are six campgrounds located within the park. All are basic but most have running water and flush toilets during the summer months, although none have showers available. The only showers available to campers in the park are at the Mercantile Store across from the train station. The cost: $3 per shower.

UPDATE: As of 2002 the new Riley Creek Mercantile Store and Showers has opened adjacent to Riley Creek Campground. This replaces the previous mercantile store.

The campgrounds are Igloo Creek, Riley Creek, Sanctuary River, Savage River, Teklanika River and Wonder Lake. You can make advance reservations for 4 of them: Riley Creek, Savage River, Teklanika, and Wonder Lake. Of these 4, I've stayed at all but Teklanika. Teklanika is an RV campground only. Check the website below for more info.
There has been a lot of wildlife activity at Igloo Creek (wolves) and Teklanika (bears) in the past couple of years and they were shut down to tent campers as a result. Check with the park if they will reopen these sites in 2003. The former Morino Backpacker campground is closed for other land use as of 2003.

Unique Qualities: As I was always traveling here with a tour group, it wasn't as easy for me to get a space at one of these campgrounds. They are very popular, especially those further inside the park. I mostly stayed at the Savage River Groupsite, from where this photo was taken. I loved this spot and it's the first campground where you have the opportunity to see Mt McKinley if it is a clear day. Wildlife does pass through here quite often (check out the moose/bear story in my Must See Activities)... Also of note: You can catch the bus shuttle into the park from here! You don't need to return to the visitor center to pick up the bus. Just be sure to get your ticket in hand the day before.

Riley Creek Campground is the largest and gets the most visitors. It is located in the forest between the park entrance and the Visitor Center. It's not a far walk to the visitor center and this campground is closest to the showers (if that is important). From Savage River, it's a 45 minute drive to take a shower for example...

I camped at Wonder Lake once only because the opportunity arose. I spent one night there with 4 others from a group I was traveling with. This is a fantastic place to get a view of Mt Mckinley if it's showing itself... We didn't see it from there: too many clouds and rain. :-( Also it was June and the mosquitos were horrendous! Really! Still, I'd give this campground another visit! To get to any campground past Savage River (with the exception of Teklanika), you must book yourself on a camper bus.

The absolute best way to camp here is to go into the backcountry. If I ever get the opportunity to come back here on my own, that's what I would do.

Price Comparison: least expensive
Directions: Six locations within the park
Phone: 1-800-622-7275 OR 907-272-7275
Price: less than US$20
Theme: Campground

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Mar 2, 2005
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