Private cars are permitted to access the interior of Denali for only the first 15 miles; after that one must use a shuttle or tour bus. The one exception to that is if you have reservations to stay at Teklanika Campground (Tek). Residents of Tek are permitted to drive to the 29-mile mark and park their vehicles at their campsite, but are not to move them again during their stay.
We are staying at Tek for six nights. Most people stay for just three – the minimum allowed, but we thought it would be interesting to see what it was like to stay longer. One of the things we have found on this trip is that the longer we have stayed in one town or area, the more we have enjoyed it. This also increases the chance that we will get a day or two of nice weather.
Our drive to Tek was like so many on this trip. Rain! Fog! Low lying clouds. At one point we saw bits of Mount McKinley through the clouds, but nothing more. Frankly we only saw it because we knew it was there and were looking for it. The views of the taiga and tundra were pretty once we got out of the fog at about mile 8. The ride in is paved for the first 15 miles and gravel for the rest. The gravel road is in quite bad shape – lots of potholes – though they were grading in places so they are working on it. And lots of mud splashed up on Vanessa.
We found a great campsite at Tek. We look out onto the mountains and river. We feel as if we are alone in the wilderness as we have no views of other campers. Since it was still raining hard, we spent the day reading and napping with brief walks in the dry times.
Teklanika Campground Review: 50ish campsites along the Teklanika River. Loop 1 sites are fairly close together with only minimal green-space between. Loop 2 sites seem to be spaced a bit further apart. All are level gravel with fire ring and picnic table. Clean, modern pit toilets. Fresh water spigots near the toilets. No RV dump or RV water for filling tanks. Stringent rules about dumping of grey water – must be carried to the back of the toilet area and dumped in the sink there using a sieve with the food particles collected deposited in a bear proof trash can. A bear-proof food storage room is provided for tenters who came without a vehicle. Once at Tek, your vehicle may not be moved until you are ready to leave. Access to the rest of the park is via shuttle bus with a Tek Pass that you purchased before you drove out. A three-day stay is required if you arrived by private vehicle.