K’esugi Ken Campground is a 42-site RV and tent campground in one of Alaska’s top state parks, Denali State Park.
This modern campsite offers incredible views of Denali Mountain, as long as the skies are clear, and access to amazing hiking trails within Denali State Park’s 325,240 acres of wilderness.
In this post, I’m going to review the K’esugi Ken Campground in Denali State Park.
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Kesugi Ken Campground Review
K’esugi Ken is an Dena’ina Athabascan place name that translates to “base of the ancient one”. This refers to the southern lobe of K’esugi Ridge that lies between the Susitna and Chulitna Rivers.
K’esugi Ken Campground opened in 2017 and is operated by the Alaska Department of Natural Resources.
K’esugi Ken Campground is a modern campground with 42 sites, including 31 RV campsites and eight tent campsites, and three public-use cabins: Denali Cabin, Hunter Cabin, and Tokosha Cabin.
Campsites are reservable from late May through early September and after this time they are first come, first served until the campground closes for the season, which is weather dependent.
- 31 RV Sites
- 8 Tent Sites
- 3 Public Use Cabins
- Group Camping Area
- Paved Roads
- Interperative Center
- Campground Pavillion
- Accessible Vault Toilets
- Ranger Station
- Picnic Table
- Bear Resistant Trash Bins
- Drinking Water
- Food Storage Cache
- Fire Rings
- Hiking Trails
K’esugi Ken Campground is similar to most campgrounds, but it has some modern facilities and unique amenities due to its location.
The campground’s RV sites can accommodate large RVs with electric hookups and non-potable water pumps.
You can find the tent sites on a separate loop next to the public-use cabins. Walk-in tent sites have a gravel area and a grassy area. A camping pavilion is located near the tent sites, which offers great shelter when it’s raining.
Each site has a fire pit, picnic table, and a bear-proof storage locker for food or odorous items. You can purchase firewood on-site if needed. You will also find a drinking water station and trash bins within the campground.
A day-use parking area is available for those who don’t plan to stay overnight and an interpretive pavilion area is available to rent for group events.
So, what’s missing?
K’esugi Ken Campground is actually well-designed. However, there is no dump station. It would also be nice to have a sink to wash up in.
K’esugi Ken Campground Location
K’esugi Ken Campground is located at MP 135.4 on the George Parks Highway. After turning off the main highway, you will follow a curvy road uphill for two miles until you reach the campground entrance. All-wheel drive vehicles are recommended during winter months.
K’esugi Ken Campground Map
K’esugi Ken Campground Reservations
K’esugi Ken Campground reservations can be made online ReserveAmerica.com or call 1-877-351-9733. Reservations can be made seven months in advance.
Costs (June 1 to Sep 3):
- Public Use Cabin: $90-100/night
- Electric Campsite: $28/night
- Non-Electric Group Campsite: $100/night
A reservation fee of $5 will be added to the campsite fee. Reservation fees are non-refundable, and non-transferable.
Save 50% if you have an America the Beautiful Access or Senior Pass.
- Check-in time: 1:00 p.m.
- Check-out time: 12:00 p.m.
What if you don’t have a reservation?
Reservations during peak season are extremely competitive but some sites are available on a first come, first served basis. There is an automatic kiosk at the campground entrance for credit card payment. Campers are limited to 7 nights in July and 14 nights per calendar year.
Things to do Near K’esugi Ken Campground
Denali State Park is a great alternative to Denali National Park as it is less crowded but offers many of the same experiences.
Kesugi Ken Campground has many trails throughout that offer some of the best views of Denali and the Alaska Range in the entire state. One of my favorite views is from the Moose Flats Interpretive Trail, which is ADA-compliant.
Here are some ideas of things to do near K’esugi Ken Campground:
- View Denali Mountain
- Hike Curry Ridge
- Backpack K’esugi Ridge
- Kayak at Byers Lake
- Enjoy a campfire
- Wildlife viewing
- Visit the Alaska Veteran’s Memorial
Conclusion: Here’s What I Really Think…
The campground has some incredible views of Denali Mountain that can be enjoyed simply by walking around! But, not all campsites have views and the best views are definitely from Denali Cabin, Hunter Cabin, or Tokosha Cabin.
The price per night is a bit expensive, especially without a dumping station or washing basins. Even with the space between sites, the entire campground is very open so you won’t get much privacy. There’s also not much when it comes to shade cover.
Even with a full site, I really enjoyed how quiet the area is. Quiet hours are from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.
If you’re looking to stay at a campground between Talkeetna and Fairbanks then I recommend camping at K’esugi Ken Campground.
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Do you have any questions about camping at Kesugi Ken Campground? Leave them in the comments.