Answers to frequently asked questions, by topic.
Weather in the subarctic is extremely unpredictable. It’s not uncommon to experience three or four “seasons” in a week, and on occasion the weather will shift as much in single day. Knowing the average temperatures for the time you will be visiting Alaska is less important than being prepared for all weather conditions. If you are joining us for a program, refer to your program information for weather advice that is relevant to your specific program date.
Generally, program participants seldom encounter thick mosquitoes during their stay on our campus. The population of mosquitoes during your visit will depend largely on the weather during the days and week before you arrive, so long-term predictions are not available. Mosquito-borne illnesses are not a concern for people in Alaska at this point. In Denali, mosquitoes are often absent before June and after mid-August. When mosquitoes are present, loose-fitting long pants and tops provide adequate protection for many travelers and summer weather in Denali is commonly conducive to covering up. Those who wish to avoid receiving even a few mosquito bites, or would prefer not to cover up may wish to travel with a small container of DEET-based bug repellent. If you bring DEET, please choose a small container (a little goes a long way) and avoid using sprays in closed spaces or near others.
The walks we offer travel over trail surfaces ranging from packed gravel to loose rocks and tree roots and are, in places, steep and uneven. Given our remote location, a twisted ankle can be a serious injury. For this reason we suggest sturdy, water-repellent footwear with ankle support and good tread.
Our summer rainstorms are often accompanied by cold wind. Hypothermia can be a concern. At any time during the Alaska summer season it is essential to carry a good rain coat (something more substantial than a poncho.) Rain pants are also highly recommended.
Bring rain gear and clothing for a wide range of temperatures. Summer temperatures in Denali generally range from 40 – 70 degrees F. Heat waves may bring the temperature above 80 F. Weather forecasts are not at all reliable in our region. Please do not use the forecast as an indicator of what to bring on your journey. Bring layers so that you can easily adapt to any temperature. Participants on programs beginning in late August and early September are likely to encounter morning temperatures near or below freezing. See program materials for advice specific to your program date.
Amenities include: linens, soap, heat, electric outlets, and views of wild surroundings. The absence of radio, microwave, fridge, hairdryers, etc. encourages guests to unplug and get outside.
There are three standard electrical outlets in each guest bedroom and one in each bathroom.
Cell Phone Coverage
Cell service on our campus is generally good. Gaps in coverage occasionally affect our campus. When small holes in coverage occur, you can simply walk to another part of campus to send or receive calls or data. There is no cell phone service in the National Park west of Mile 4 on the Park Road.
Complimentary Wi-Fi is available on our campus. Internet service to our region is slow, and our Wi-Fi service is also slow. Coverage is good in the main meeting area.
Guest rooms are not equipped with alarm clocks. Please bring your own alarm if you generally depend on an alarm to wake you in the morning.
Northern lights are only visible when the sky is clear and dark and when solar storms create the right conditions in the atmosphere. Due to Denali’s long summer days, it is highly unlikely that you will see the northern lights before the second half of August. If seeing northern lights is a high priority for you, consider visiting Denali on a program in September or March, when longer nights improve your chances of seeing northern lights. Solar storm activity, which produces northern lights, is cyclical. Solar storms are expected to be frequent through 2015.
Conflicts between people and wild animals are rare in our neighborhood. Guests often encounter moose on our campus. Moose are dangerous and deserve your respect. You can show your respect by staying far, far, away. If a moose shows signs of distress (ears back, hackles raised, snorting, or stomping, etc.) you are too close. It is rare for program participants to have close encounters with bears either on our campus or in the park. Your orientation to campus on the first day of the program will include detailed advice on local wildlife etiquette, so that you can stay on the good side of the bears and moose. There are no snakes in Alaska and no mountain lions or ticks in Denali.
Our kitchen prides itself on preparing healthy and delicious food for all guests. Nearly everything they serve, right down to the salad dressing, is prepared in-house. With notice, we can accommodate most dietary restrictions (i.e. dairy, eggs, soy, gluten, nuts, shellfish, etc.). We suggest that guests with the most restrictive diets bring some of their favorite snack foods to supplement the foods we will have available. We are in a remote location; the nearest grocery store is 120 miles away, so it’s essential that we receive advance notice of dietary restrictions. Please describe your dietary restrictions clearly on your health forms and return the forms to us at least three weeks in advance of your program start date.
Beer & Wine
Our campus does not serve alcohol. However, our campus is within walking distance of a small store that sells beer and wine. A centrally located cooler is available for storing and chilling beer and wine.
Refrigeration for Medicine, Beverages, Etc.
A centrally located cooler is accessible, day and night, for participants who need a place to keep their medicine, beer, and/or wine cool. Participants who arrive with perishable food stuffs may also use this central refrigerator.
Getting to Campus from the Train Depot
Program participants who arrive in Denali by train will be met by a Denali Education Center program coordinator and transported to our campus, which is eight miles from the depot. Please be sure that your luggage is tagged with a “Denali Learning Center” or “Denali Education Center” tag when you check your luggage in before your train trip. This tag allows your luggage to be collected at the train depot by bell staff and delivered directly to your cabin on our campus. Transportation to the depot is also provided for participants who depart Denali by train. Coordinators use the arrival information that you provide on the Supplemental Form to know when to meet you on the first day of the program.
Getting to Campus from Denali Park Village (if arriving by bus)
Program participants who arrive in Denali by bus may walk from Denali Park Village to our campus, approximately 200 yards from the Denali Park Village lobby. Coordinators use the arrival information that you provide on Supplemental Form to know when to expect your arrival on our campus.