Denali State Park vs National Park: Which One to Choose?

Park is a heavenly place for any nature lover. 

However, choosing the right park is not that easy. 

The situation becomes confusing when the choice is between the state park and the national park.

So, Denali state park vs national park, which is worth the visit?

In Denali state park vs national park, the national park provides more activities than the state park. The natural scenic beauty and rich wildlife can make any nature lover faint! On the other hand, the state park is focused on more sightseeing. Mostly hitchhikers and travelers go to the state parks to give a wood walk.

To actually find the specific distinction between these parks, it is important to have more precise Info.

And here I am, your friendly park guide. In the article, I’ve tried to cover all the perks of both parks.

So, let’s get into the wild!

State vs National: Head-to-Head

Let’s start with a quick review of the Denali national park and state park. Here’s a quick check on what our fellow parks got for us:

Features to compareDenali state parkDenali national park
Area325,240 acres6,00,0000 acres
Most of the visitorsTo hitchhikersTo tourists
Wildlife130 species209 species
Shuttle bus serviceUnavailableAvailable
Cost to visitAround $15.00 USD (per person)Around $15.00 USD (per person)

Well, there goes the head-to-head comparison between Denali state and national park!

In-Depth Comparison

It’s time to go more deeply into the jungle. 

Let’s see the deep comparison between the state park and the national park. After all, the comparison can go as serious as a comparison between Utah and Colorado.

Accommodation Facilities

Sometimes, you may want to stay in the park. 

Especially if you are at the parks of Denali. These parks are way too big to cover in a day’s tour. Thus arises the question about the accommodation facility of a park.

Denali national park has a wide variety of accommodation facilities. There are several cabins out there. Plus, lodging facilities are also available. 

You can camp, if you are looking for a full wildland adventure trip. This can be both reasonable and fun!

Source: themilepost

The national park has cabins and lodging located at scenic spots. So, you don’t need to look for places to stay outside the park. Instead, you can stay on the premises.

Now let’s come to the State Park. State parks provide almost the same accommodation service as the national ones. 

The difference is that there are no lodging facilities. 

Source: travelalaska

At the state park, you have the option to stay in the cabins or camp on the site. 

There is a  reason for no lodging. The state park is good for hiking and giving walks in the woods. In fact, most people do that. So, camping is the best choice for them. 

Whereas, in the national park, there are scenic spots, wildlife, and a lot of things to ‘see’. 

To cover it all and to enjoy the scenic spots, staying is a great choice. That is why they have more infrastructure than the state park.

Guide Review

Parks can be quite big, with multiple locations and information. And to know all those Info, a guide is necessary.

Guides are available at both the state park and national park. 

The guides at the state park are quite remarkable. Or at least that’s what the review says. Almost every traveler who went to a state park gave a 5-on-5 review! 

The guides are very nice and helpful. They set up trip courses for you. And make sure the trips are done in the shortest time that is necessary. 

They are well-experienced and have a vast knowledge of the park. Besides, the cost is reasonable.  Last but not least, they are friendly as well.

The guides of the national park are also well known for their service. 

They have a very neat trip schedule for you. You can easily cover up the iconic spots of the park within 6 hours. 

Plus, not only for hiking or roaming, but the guides are also available at the shuttle bus service as well. They will provide you with the necessary Info throughout the bus tour.

Still, the rating of guides at the national level is kinda less, almost four and a half out of five.


Technically, it’s because of the limited shuttle bus service and maintenance of the park. 

The bus provides a ride only for a few miles. After that, you have to pay for the shuttle bus service. 

Besides, the bus has limited seats. Thus many tourists have to wait. If they get late to join the bus service.


Now if you are comparing two parks, then you must think of the wildlife.

Denali National park’s wildlife is very enriched. A total of 209 species are out there in the park. This includes the bird, which alone is 169 species. 

They even have one Amphibian species that is endangered.

On the other hand, the state park has 130 species of wildlife.

Most of the animals stay in the park for all seasons.

Well, comparing the numbers, the National park has a huge collection of animals.

The national park has a huge land area, almost 15 times that of the state park. Thus the huge area contains a lot of biomes. 

Because of such diversity, a lot of animals are out there.

Another fact is that the national park of Denali works as an animal preservation center. 

So, a lot of animals are kept to make sure they don’t get extinct.

The animals especially you can see at either state park or national park are listed below:

Denali state parkDenali national park
Grizzly and Black bearGrizzly bear
WolfSnow-shoe hare
PorcupinePeregrine falcon
Majestic trumpeter swanRed fox
Boreal chickadeesBlack-capped chickadee
Golden-crowned sparrowFly-fish
Ruby-crowned kingletWood-frog

Things to Do

Now comes the most important part. Typically, the park is not just forests and animals. There have to be some facilities that parks can offer.

There are a lot of things to do at the Denali national park. This is in addition to enjoying the scenic beauties of mountains.

Not only you can see a huge collection of animals. Also, you can get some scenic views of the Alaska mountains. 

You can give ATV tours around the parks. Plus, you can enjoy kayaking as well.

During the night, you can enjoy the night sky, with flares of Northern lights.

Because of such versatile activities, Denali National park is well known to tourists. The park stays more crowded than the state park. Here’s a short list of things to do.

Wilderness WaveA white water rafting tour to enjoy scenic beauties Begin Your Travel!
Denali National Park Walking TourA 3-hour hike guided by professionalBegin Your Travel!
Denali ATV Trailblazer You can take tour of the boreal forest of AlaskaBegin Your Travel!
Denali Self-Guided Jeep AdventureOffers to explore Denali on your ownBegin Your Travel!

The state park offers a limited experience. You can kayak at the lakes.

You camp in the wild to enjoy the wildland. 

However, the best thing to do at the state park is hitch-hiking. It is the sole thing for which state parks get most of their visitors. 

Literally, people start their hiking just from the Denali state park entrance.

Why not? The Denali state park map has some perfect trails to walk for.

Moreover, if you are lucky enough, you can even get a view of Mount McKinley! That’s why the Denali state park hiking is very famous.

Final Verdict

Alright, adventurer! It is time to select one park.

Denali National Park is very big. It has a large collection of animals. Although it’s crowded.

So, if you want multiple activities along with scenic beauty, Denali national park is out there.

Or, you can go to Denali state park. You can get a perfect hitchhiking experience.

Perhaps now you can focus on whether you want to go to Atlantic City or Ocean City!


Can I Visit Denali National Park in One Day?

No. You can not. Denali national park consists of an area of 6 million acres. There are around 200 wildlife species in this park. There are various scenic spots as well. Besides that, there are many other activities to take part in. Eventually, it will take more than a day to enjoy the nation to the fullest.

Are Northern Lights Visible from Denali?

Yes. You can get a spectacular view of the northern lights. In fact, it is the best place to see this beauty. The geographical position of Denali has made it easier. Besides, the pollution of light is less. Either national or state park, from both parks you can enjoy the Aurora Borealis. 

Is Hunting Approved at Denali National Park?

Yes. Hunting is approved at Denali National Park. You can only hunt for entertainment. It is true that the national park is wildlife preservation. However, you can hunt at some specific parts of the park. There are some local areas around the park.

Parting Words

That’s it, nature lover. Hope you know the winner of Denali state park vs national park

However, if your confusions are still not clear, you can always ask the experts. They can give you some pretty neat ideas.

I shall take leave then.

Happy park visiting!

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