Denali Road Lottery

How To Get A Denali Road Lottery Permit

Denali Road Lottery

How To Get A Denali Road Lottery Permit

In September every year Denali National Park, one of Alaska’s best known landmarks, allows visitors to drive in their own vehicles to the end of the park road to Kantishna (weather and road conditions permitting). If you would like to drive your own vehicle past Savage River in Denali National Park you will need to get your hands on a Denali Road Lottery Permit.

Road Lottery permit winners are allowed to fit as many people can legally fit in their car, truck or van and drive in on their specified date. The dates for 2017 are September 15th through the 19th, with 400 cars per day allowed in. The campgrounds at Riley Creek, Savage River and Teklanika River are al open as well during the road lottery, they do have to be reserved in advance, which you can do at or by calling 800-622-7275 or 907-272-7275. Some hotels in Healy and Cantwell will still be open this weekend for those not looking to camp.

During the summer you may go by tour bus, shuttle, bicycle or foot the entire length of the road but not generally with your own vehicle.  You can even take a flightseeing tour of the park.

Step 1: Apply For The Lottery

You must apply between May 1 and May 31 prior to the lottery.  You can apply over at or over the phone.  There is a $15 fee per entrance that is non-refundable. The lottery winners will be announced Sunday, June 18, 2017.

If your name is selected you will be notified by e-mail.  You will charged an additional $25 if your name is drawn for the lottery.  The permits are transferable, so you could have someone else apply for you and transfer the permit to you.

Step 2: Pick up permit for your day at park headquarters

This is assuming that you were selected or that you had a permit transferred to you.

You can begin driving into the park at 6am.  I’d advise to arrive the day before and pick up your permit so that you do not have to do it in the morning.  When you pick up your permit you also will need to pay the $10 fee per person for entry into Denali National Park. The $10 fee gives you entrance to the park for a 7 consecutive day period.

Step 3: Drive into the park!

At 6am the date of your permit you can drive into the park.  You have until midnight that night to be back past the Savage River bridge on your way out of the park.   Weather permitting, you have the opportunity to drive the entire length of the road to Kantishna.  There are years that the road is closed as soon as Savage River at mile 12.  It is not uncommon for some or all of the road to be closed several hours.  Just remember that all fees are not refundable in the event that the road is closed due to weather or conditions of the road.

Important Information:

(These are directly from the road lottery application page)

-There are some rules for the lottery listed here: Rules and Regulations for Denali National Park’s Road Lottery

-Watch the video before you go:  Rules of Driving the Denali Park Road.

-Each person may submit only one application. A non-refundable $15 application applies.

-The applications selected for the Road Lottery permit will be charged the $25 fee automatically. The park entrance fee of $10 per person is payable at the Denali Visitor Center when you pick up the permit.

-Interagency Federal Land passes will cover the park entrance fee. Please bring your pass with you along with photo identification.

-The person who picks up the permit must be the person who was selected or have the selected winner’s written approval (in the case of transferring the permit to another person).

-Permits may not be re-sold. However, you may give your permit to someone else. To do so, first print the reservation confirmation email. The reservation-holder should write a note on it indicating the name of the person you wish to give the reservation and then sign the note.

-Only vehicles with Road Lottery permits will be allowed to drive beyond the Savage River Check Station at mile 15 of the park road.

-For those with a Road Lottery permit, the park road beyond mile 15 is open from 6:00am to 12:00am. Areas further west on the park road will close prior to midnight.

-Riley Creek, Savage River and Teklanika River Campgrounds are open during Road Lottery. Reservations are available at or by calling 800-622-7275 or 907-272-7275.

-Don’t Move Firewood: Help protect our forests! Prevent the spread of tree-killing pests by obtaining firewood at or near your destination and burning it on-site. Moving firewood is illegal in some states. Visit to learn more.

Now who’s ready to start applying for their Denali Road Lottery Permit?

2 replies
    • Nicole
      Nicole says:

      Hey Sam!
      Yes, we got a permit this year and went in September, it was amazing. This is about how to get the road lottery permit and drive in (they only do this one weekend each year in September). However throughout the summer you can take a tour of the entire park. But they will not allow people to drive personal vehicles in outside of the one weekend in September. I mean they will but only to Savage River, which is only a few miles into the park.

      I wrote a little about the drive with many photos in the post The Road to Kantishna!


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