There’s no question that the shuttle system is highly beneficial to Denali National Park  experience: The road is tricky and dangerous, crowds are much more easily controlled, there’s much less impact on the wildlife (which take the buses for granted), and it’s much easier to see wildlife when 40 passengers have eyeballs, binoculars, spotting scopes, and telephotos trained on the tundra. The excellent Denali Road Guide, available in park bookstores, has detailed information on sights along the road.
Green buses depart from the Wilderness Access Center daily mid-May–mid-September, with some continuing all the way to the Kantishna, an exhausting 89-mile 13-hour round-trip ride. Most visitors don’t go that far (or certainly not in one day), turning around instead at Polychrome Pass , Eielson , Wonder Lake, or other places along the way. Buses for Eielson begin departing from the Wilderness Access Center at 5 a.m. and continue roughly every 30 minutes through 3:30 p.m. Other buses depart during the day for Polychrome/Toklat and Wonder Lake.
You can reserve tickets in advance (907/272-7275 or 800/622-7275, www.reservedenali.com ), starting in mid-February over the phone or on December 1 via the Web, and up to the day before you travel.
Sixty-five percent of the available tickets go on sale December 1; the other 35 percent are made available just two days ahead of the travel date. Adults pay $25 to Polychrome/Toklat (6 hours round-trip), $32 to Eielson (8 hours round-trip), $43 to Wonder Lake (11 hours round-trip), and $47 to Kantishna (12 hours round-trip).
Kids under 15 ride free, and fares are half the adult price for children ages 15–17. Fares do not include park entrance fees ($10). Wheelchair-accessible shuttle buses are available. Backpackers pay $31 round-trip to anywhere in the park on the special camper bus.
It’s recommended that you try to get on an early-morning bus into Denali National Park : There is a better chance to see wildlife and the mountain in the cool of the morning, and more time to get off the bus and fool around in the backcountry.
Schedules are readily available at the visitors centers  and hotels . Take everything you need, as nothing (except books and postcards) is for sale once you get into the park. You can get off the bus and flag it down to get back on (if there’s room; the buses leave with a few seats empty to pick up day-hikers in the park) anywhere along the road. Many riders never get off the bus at all and just stay on it for the entire exhausting round-trip.