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How to Visit the Kennels – Denali National Park & Preserve (U.S – National Park Service

Located about 3 miles inside the park, the kennels are open year-round to visitors. Visiting hours vary by season and in winter, the dogs are frequently out in the park rather than home at the kennels, so you may want to inquire at the visitor center first before visiting.
By bus: In summer (May 15 to mid-September), you can use a free shuttle to travel here. The bus will drop you off at the Headquarters parking lot, a short walk from the kennels.
By car: If you have a vehicle, there is a parking lot at Mile 3 on the Denali Park Road, however, there is no RV parking available. Look for the Park Headquarters sign, park anywhere near sign and the flagpole, and take a short walk (< 200 yards) to the kennels. If you are visiting in fall, winter, or spring, limited parking is available here. In summer, you should use the shuttle described above.
On foot: From the Denali Visitor Center, you can hike either the Roadside Hiking Trail or Rock Creek Trail to reach the kennels. The hike is approximately 2 miles, mainly uphill from the visitor center to the kennels. You could also ride a bus here in summer, visit the kennels, and then walk (downhill!) back to the visitor center.
Kennels open hours are indicated by the gate at the Kennels entrance. If the gate is open, come on in! If the gate is closed, please do not enter.
From May 15 to September 15, 2024, the kennels are open to visitors from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm daily. Visitors have the opportunity to walk through the dog yard, meet the park’s canine rangers, talk with rangers about the work sled dogs do to protect park wilderness, and learn about mushing through exhibits.
The dogs primarily live at home in the kennels during the summer, but you may also see dogs out on walks and runs along the park road.
Sled dog demonstrations are offered during the summer season. These popular programs are a great way to learn more about mushing and the role of sled dogs in Denali. To attend a dog demo, you’ll use a dedicated shuttle from the visitor center to travel to and from the kennels.
In winter (mid-September through mid-May), the kennels are open on Saturdays and Sundays only, from 1 pm to 4 pm.
In fall and early winter (September through November), we focus on training and conditioning the dogs so that they are in good shape for winter operations. Dog teams are frequently spotted entering and exiting the kennels this time of year. You may see the dogs returning in the dog truck from a cart-training run, taking an ATV/UTV training run on the park road, or using a forested trail that begins at the west end of the dog yard. Winter is an exciting time of year to visit the kennels as you’ll get to see the dogs thriving in their natural habitat. The dogs’ enthusiasm to go for a run, even on the snowiest and coldest days, is contagious!
NPS Photo / David Tomeo
Move out of the way and away from their path of travel to give the dog team a very wide berth. As exciting as it is to see the dogs in action, please watch from a distance and do not interrupt the dogs while they are working.
Once you have positioned yourself far enough away from the team, feel free to snap some action shots with your camera. If you have questions, ask a ranger, but if all the rangers are busy handling dogs, please wait until all the dogs are taken care of and home at their houses.
Once winter kicks into high gear (December through March), don’t be surprised if the dogs are not around during your visit. Mushers and dogs are working hard to protect our park and are often out for weeks to a month at a time in the backcountry.
Talk with a ranger about where the dogs are currently out working, read informational exhibits, and see the historic kennels building. There’s much to learn! While exploring the grounds, remain alert for any signs of dog teams coming in.
Try to imagine what it would be like to be out there. Are the dog teams traveling from Sanctuary Cabin to Igloo Cabin? Maybe they are searching for an ice bridge on the Teklanika River! Are they out at Wonder Lake Ranger Station? They could be hauling large timbers to a construction site for a bridge or trail. They may be conducting vegetation surveys deep in the heart of the Wilderness that only dog teams can get to … whatever the mission, you can be sure that they are having an adventure many of us can only dream of.
Remember that when you are visiting the kennels, you are visiting the dogs’ home. Please respect their space and help us keep all dogs and people safe by following these rules. When you arrive at the kennels, a ranger will greet you and provide additional information to help you safely meet the dogs.
Do not climb over ropes or open pen doors to visit the dogs.
Do not stick your fingers through the fence as dogs may mistake them for treats.
Do not feed the dogs.
No eating, drinking, or smoking in the dog yard.
Children are welcome with the following precautions:
Hold infants and toddlers in your arms and closely supervise young children by holding their hands while visiting the dogs.
Do not let children run in the dog yard.
To keep the Denali sled dogs, your pets, and all of our visitors happy and healthy, pets are prohibited from the kennels at all times. During ranger demonstrations in the summer, an unknown pet in the area will trigger a pack response in our kennel that causes all the dogs to lunge, bark and jump in an attempt to scare the unknown animal from their home. This creates a very dangerous environment for the hundreds of people hoping to pet and visit with the Denali NPS sled dogs before and after the program. It would also make it impossible for attendees to hear the ranger and we cannot safely hook up and run a demonstration team for the crowd if outside pets are in the area. Unfortunately, there is nowhere to leave a pet unattended in the Headquarters area, either. During the winter months it is just as dangerous for an outside pet to be brought into the kennels area. Kennels staff may be harnessing dogs or driving teams in and out of the kennels at any time and an unknown pet in the area could cause serious safety hazards for everyone.
If you wish to visit the kennels with a qualified service animal, we ask that you notify the kennels staff in advance, by calling 907-683-9586. Ideally, we can assist you during your visit in a way that lets you leave your service animal in capable hands outside the kennels area while you meet our NPS sled dogs and/or attend the ranger program. We know your service animal is exceptionally well trained, but our dogs do not differentiate their response from any other outside pet, so the same safety concerns apply.
Learn more about visiting Denali with a pet.
Last updated: May 13, 2024
PO Box 9
Denali Park, AK 99755
907 683-9532
A ranger is available 9 am to 4 pm daily (except on major holidays). If you reach the voicemail, please leave a message and we’ll call you back as soon as we finish with the previous caller.
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