Denali Field Camp

5 people wade in a river holding their shoes and posing.

NPS Photo

What is Denali Field Camp?

Denali Field Camp (DFC) is an immersive program for Alaskan teens and young adults excited to explore and challenge themselves in Denali National Park and Preserve. The program primarily serves diverse populations that have been historically disconnected from national parks.

During DFC, students engage in hands-on science activities, practice outdoor safety skills, and discuss land-management challenges with park educators. Each program is 3-4 days long and individualized to meet group goals and student needs. No prior hiking or camping experience is necessary. Students who are ready to learn, eager for an adventure, and have a positive attitude will find the program rewarding.

The primary goals of Denali Field Camp are:

  • Invite students to experience and enjoy Denali National Park and Preserve in a physically, mentally, and emotionally safe atmosphere
  • Cultivate a sense of place and land stewardship while encouraging personal connections to home, culture, and relevant interests
  • Strengthen decision-making skills, team collaboration, and individual growth, leadership, and self-advocacy
  • Promote understanding and appreciation of subarctic ecosystems, public lands, and indigenous heritage with an emphasis on current park science and management
  • Practice outdoor skills including Leave No Trace principles, wildlife safety, camping etiquette, and navigation

What kinds of groups participate in Denali Field Camp?

Youth groups at the high school and university level with curriculum-based learning goals may apply to participate in DFC. Priority is given to groups that meet the MSLC goals of serving Alaskan youth with a focus on underserved audiences. Examples of groups that we serve include university social services programs and Alaska Native tribal groups. Groups are generally sponsored by a state, federal, or tribal organization and charge minimal or no fees to participating students.

When and where is Denali Field Camp offered?

Denali Field Camp begins at the Murie Science and Learning Center at mile 1.3 of the Denali Park Road. Some sessions base out of Riley Creek Campground at mile 0.3 of the park road, while others base out of Teklanika Field Camp at mile 29. We work with each group to develop an appropriate and rewarding itinerary.

In 2024, programs of 3- or 4-day duration may be requested within the following date windows:

  • Monday May 27 – Thursday May 30, Teklanika Field Camp
  • Sunday June 2 – Wednesday June 5, Teklanika Field Camp
  • Monday June 3 – Thursday June 6, Riley Creek Campground
  • Monday July 8 – Thursday July 11, Teklanika Field Camp
  • Monday July 8 – Thursday July 11, Riley Creek Campground
  • Sunday July 14 – Wednesday July 17, Teklanika Field Camp
  • Monday July 15 – Thursday July 18, Riley Creek Campground
  • Sunday July 21 – Wednesday July 24, Teklanika Field Camp
  • Monday July 22 – Thursday July 25, Riley Creek Campground

How do I register for Denali Field Camp?

The group leader may submit a registration request by emailing the Denali Education team. Requests may be submitted anytime and will be processed starting October 1st of the prior year. Please include the following information in your email:

  • Group leader name, e-mail, telephone number
  • Group name and sponsoring organization
  • Group program description (a link to your homepage often works), reason for wishing to participate in a DFC, and alignment with DFC programmatic mission
  • Group size (minimum of 9 and maximum of 10 students plus one adult leader unless otherwise arranged)
  • Student age range and typical background
  • Logistics information for all groups:
    • Transportation: What means of transportation do you plan to use to get to Denali, locomote within Denali, and get home?
    • Food: Broadly speaking, how do you plan to procure and cook for the group during the program?
    • Permission slips: What waivers, health forms, etc. will your sponsoring organization use to ensure liability coverage for participants?
    • Sleeping bags: How do you plan to supply this equipment for all participants?
  • Additional logistics for groups camping at Riley Creek Campground:
    • Tents, sleeping pads, and cooking equipment: How do you plan to supply this equipment?
  • First, second, and third choice date range and associated learning base (Riley Creek Campground or Teklanika Field Camp)

What will we do during Denali Field Camp?

DFC activities take place outdoors and may include hiking on and off-trail, learning with park experts, and guided discussions and reflection activities. Below is an overview of the schedule; please see Program Details for additional information.

Day 1: Get oriented to Denali and your campground and learn how to be safe and have fun during your program, participate in team-building activities.

Days 2-3: Explore Denali with NPS and partner educators. Itineraries are shaped by group leaders and NPS staff to meet the needs and educational goals of the individual group. Options may include:

  • Go hiking on a trail or in the backcountry
  • Participate in field work with NPS researchers
  • Learn about and discuss the power of place names
  • Meet and help care for Denali's sled dogs
  • Explore the Denali Visitor Center

Day 4: Participate in reflective activities, pack up camp, and depart with new friends and memories.

two students set up two metal wire live traps in a shrubbed area

NPS Photo


How many students and adults can attend?

DFC groups are comprised of 9–10 students plus one leader from the sponsoring organization, plus one NPS instructor. Confirmed enrollment of at least 9 students a month before the program is set to begin is required for the program to proceed.

We can sometimes accommodate larger groups – please inquire when you register.

What does Denali National Park and Preserve provide?

  • Instruction and learning supplies and equipment: The NPS instructor works closely with the adult leader from the participating group and takes the lead on providing content, leadership, and logistical support.
  • Lodging and cooking equipment for groups basing at Teklanika Field Camp: Participants sleep in tent cabins and use established outdoor cooking facilities. See Teklanika Field Camp page for details.

What are visiting groups responsible for providing?

Please consider how your group will secure and pay for the following before you register.

  • A responsible adult chaperone: This individual works closely with the NPS instructor to enhance the learning experience and takes the lead on behavior management.
  • Transportation: Groups are responsible for providing transportation to, from, and within the park. Groups staying at Teklanika Field Camp must have a 12–15 passenger van that fits the entire group plus equipment.
  • Tents and cooking equipment for groups based at Riley Creek Campground: Groups staying at Riley Creek Campground must supply their own tents and campground cooking equipment. Suggestions for appropriate gear are provided on the Program Details page.
  • Food: Groups are responsible for providing sufficient and dietary-conscious meals for the duration of the program. On-site food storage and potable water are provided. Menu suggestions are provided on the Program Details page.
  • Permission slips: The sponsoring organization must ensure liability coverage.
  • Personal equipment for all participants: Please see Program Details for a packing list.

Groups that lack these resources are encouraged to work with one of Denali's park partners, Denali Education Center or Alaska Geographic, in order to participate. These partners have the expertise, equipment, funding, and authority to offer Denali Field Camp programs to qualifying groups either independently or in partnership with the National Park Service.

How much does Field Camp Cost?

Denali Field Camp is offered for free by the National Park Service in partnership with Doyon-Aramark Joint Venture and non-profit partners.

Denali Field Camp isn’t the right fit for my group – what other programs are available?

Our partner, Alaska Geographic, offers custom field courses at Teklanika Field Camp. Learn more about Alaska Geographic Custom Programs here.

More Information

The Program Details page provides in-depth information for registered participants. If you have any additional questions, you can email the Denali Education Team anytime.


Last updated: December 19, 2023

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

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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