Frequently Asked Questions

Questions About Work and Our Application Process

Q:  Do you hire J1 or H2B Visa Workers?

No. We require applicants to hold necessary proof of identity and employment authorization to legally work with us prior to applying. Unfortunately, our small staff prohibits us from being able to undergo the sponsorship process required to support international work visas.

Q:  Can I apply to work with my significant other?

Yes! Each of you must submit a complete application, and you will be considered on your own merits. Please include in your cover letter the name of your partner, and be sure to let us know if you would also like to be considered independent from your partner. 

Q:  I'm a college student and cannot work the full summer season. Will you hire me?

We strongly prefer for our first-year staff to work the entire summer season (mid-May to mid-September). Because we have the same staff needs from day one of the season all the way through the final day, if we hire a staff member who needs to leave early, we also need to hire a replacement to fill-in for them when they're not present. Better continuity is achieved when we're able to hire individuals who can be present for the full season. That being said, we do occasionally make an exception when an individual is a good fit for the position, and you may still submit an application to be considered. Please specify in your cover letter your anticipated dates of availability.

Q:  What do you look for in a Naturalist Guide?

A solid academic background in the natural sciences is required (BS required, MS preferred) and experience in arctic/sub-arctic or alpine regions is desired. Necessary skills include current Wilderness First Responder (WFR) and CPR certifications, and the abilities to route-find in Denali's trail-less terrain, lead people confidently and safely in the backcountry, and use the natural world as a classroom to enhance guests' understanding of ecology. Successful applicants must also have a strong mastery of verbal communication skills and come with previous professional guiding experience. 

Q:  Can I be on the Operations Crew?

We prefer our Operations Crew members to have some specialized background or experience in plumbing, mechanical maintenance, construction, painting, or landscaping. You don't need to be an expert in all these things to apply, but successful applicants typically bring experience in the trades.  

Q:  How many hours will I work each week?

Mid-season most of our staff average 45-60 work hours across five days each week. A 9.5- to 10-hour day is most common, but not a guarantee. Dinner and Assistant Cooks, Naturalist Guides, and Hosts may average 11-12 hours/day for certain shifts. Your work hours are rounded to the closest 15-minute interval, and you earn overtime wages for any work over 8 hours per day or 40 hours per week. The amount of work you have will vary based on your department or the needs of the company. In early season and late season, you may work 7 days/week as there are always surges to open the lodge and then shut things down. Staff get two consecutive days off in a row each week for a majority of the summer season.

Q:  What do your staff do in the off-season?

Most of our staff work a minimum of two seasons with us. What they do in their off-season differs greatly. Some staff choose to save through the summer months and live frugally/travel through the off-season. Others find work at lodges or locales with a complementary off-season, such as ski lodges or in Antarctica. Still others work in flexible jobs such as substitute teaching, or work with employers through the busy holiday season for just a few months. If you're creative there's no end to the possibilities, and our staff are great at sharing tips, tricks, ideas, and contacts with one another.

Questions About Living at Camp Denali

Q:  Will I have a roommate?

Yes, all of our first-year staff and most returning staff share a room with one or two roommates. Living assignments are made based on seniority and company needs, with preference given to year-round, supervisory, and senior staff. We have several "single" cabins which are often in high-demand among returning staff. It takes a lot to balance the needs of the community; flexibility in living space is one of the most important elements necessary for success.

Q:  Can I bring my dog or cat?

No, seasonal staff are not allowed to bring pets. Our year-round staff may petition the President for permission to bring a well-behaved dog whose presence will not negatively impact the guest experience or wildlife, but the determination of whether the pet will be a good fit is left entirely to the discretion of the President. Dogs who are on-site are required to be kept in your living space or on-leash at all times. In no cases are exceptions made for a cat to live on-site, or in company living spaces.

Q:  Do I need to be worried about bears?

Camp Denali is surrounded by Denali National Park, and the wildlife there knows no boundaries. We do not often have bears on our property, but do on occasion have one amble through or nearby, particularly when the wild blueberries are abundant. Denali National Park has a strong track record of managing bear/human interactions. As a result, we generally find that bears don't want to have any more to do with us than we do with them. A ranger comes to our lodges to provide a primer on bear safety during Orientation Week, and we encourage staff and guests to always be aware of their surroundings. We have bear horns and bear spray that staff may borrow to take on hikes in the backcountry, if they choose to do so. You can read more about safety in the backcountry on the Denali National Park website.

Q:  Can you accommodate a special diet for a staff member?

Our cooks are used to regularly accommodating dairy-free, gluten-free, vegetarian or vegan diets. If you adhere to any of these, we will likely be able to meet your needs. Our kitchens are also experienced with accommodating serious dietary allergies. We are less able to cook to personal preferences or special diets that fall outside those listed above. You will not have kitchen access, nor the time and energy to cook for yourself on a daily basis as a staff member. If you have questions about food allergies or dietary preferences, feel free to email the Personnel Manager (jobs@campdenali.com) to discuss further.

Q:  Can I use marijuana on your property?

While marijuana use is now legal in the state of Alaska, it is illegal to transport it through or across Federal lands, such as Denali National Park. Because all means of staff travel to our lodges involves crossing that land, there is no legal means of transporting it to our lodges. Additionally, certain positions (e.g. CDL Drivers) are subject to and required to successfully pass random drug testing at any point in the season.

Q:  Will I have cell phone or internet access at Camp Denali?

There is no cell phone service on our property or in the local area. We have three pay phones available for staff and guest use that are located in public spaces where your conversation can be overheard. Use of these phones requires calling cards for our staff, which you can purchase on-site or prior to arrival. We have limited staff-only internet access in the staff room (not in staff cabins). This internet connection is slow and less reliable than what you may be used to elsewhere, but is sufficient for sending emails, searching for a fall job, and keeping in touch with friends and family. We do not offer internet access to our guests, so use of the internet must be done out of sight and sound of guest spaces. 

Q:  Can I bring my car?

The Denali Park Road has restricted access. Our lodges are provided a limited number of passes and "trips" across the Park Road each year. Because of the limitation on trips allowed, the impact of those trips on wildlife, and the lack of parking space, most of our staff do not have a car on-site at our lodges in the summer. We can provide a space for you to park your car for the summer months near the park entrance, if you choose to join us. If staff have a special need to travel frequently to the entrance of the park (as with some of our year-round staff who maintain homes at the park entrance), you may request permission to bring your car on-site for the summer. Permission is granted annually and is dependent on availability of parking space.

Q:  Where do I get supplies?

It's easiest to think ahead, strategize, and arrive with everything you'll need to be happy from mid-May through mid-September. Plan for extra tubes of toothpaste, those snacks and drinks you cannot live without, and all the prescription medications you'll need for the season. Our company transportation will make a quick stop at Fred Meyer on the way to Camp Denali, so that you won't need to pack it all in your luggage before the flight up, and you might choose to stay one or two nights at Parkside Guest House in Anchorage so you can run additional errands (via taxi or foot) before leaving civilization. For those unforeseeable or forgotten items, we collect incoming mail at the Post Office (USPS only) three times each week. Deliveries may take up to two or three weeks to arrive.

Questions About Recreating as Staff

Q:  How often can I go to town?

Our lodge is very remote. There are no convenience stores, movie theaters, restaurants, coffee shops, or dance clubs accessible during your workweek. The nearest restaurants or traditional night life activities are a 6-hour bus ride out of the park. Most of our staff choose not to leave the property of Camp Denali for the duration of the summer season, apart from taking advantage of hiking, biking, and canoeing adventures within the park. It is a long, tiring trip that consumes much of a short weekend to travel anywhere outside of the park.

Q:  What is the weather like?

Weather in Alaska is unpredictable and varied. We can experience a wide variety of temperatures and weather conditions over the course of the summer, or over the course of a single day. We have been able to sunbathe in every month of the summer and have seen snow in every month of the year. In an average summer, snow is gone by the time we arrive in late-May and is just beginning to dust the hilltops and higher elevation areas of the park when we leave in mid-September. We'll experience temperatures below freezing (hard frosts) in the fall and will have afternoons that are warm enough to warrant a quick dip into Nugget Pond, Moose Creek, or Wonder Lake in June and July. The trick to preparing is to be ready for anything, and to bring lots of layers so that you can adjust quickly to whatever the day brings.

Q:  Is it really light 24 hours of the day?

Yes, on the summer solstice, June 21st, the sun only just dips to the horizon before popping up again, meaning there is plenty of light to go for a hike at midnight. Leading up to the solstice, we are gaining more and more sunlight each day, and following the solstice we begin losing a little bit of daylight with each day. By the time we leave in the middle of September, we're back to a more typical lower-48 summer sun schedule, which gifts us the opportunity to potentially see Northern Lights in the dark of night before parting ways for the season.

Q: Can I go hiking and camping on my days off?

Yes. There is an amazing park outside our back door, and we encourage staff to get out and explore it. We offer a limited number of free bus passes to each staff member for accessing different areas of the park, and more may be purchased if needed. We encourage staff to apprise themselves of backcountry safety practices before venturing out and a Park Service Ranger will travel to our properties in the spring to give a basic safety talk. You can read more about safety in the backcountry on the Denali National Park website.

Q:  Can I use the guest bikes and the canoes on Wonder Lake?

Yes. Guests have priority for use of equipment, but when not in use by guests, staff are welcome to bikes, canoes and fishing equipment. There is usually ample opportunity.

Questions about COVID-19

Ensuring the health & safety of our staff and guests is of paramount importance to us. The following questions and answers reflect how we operated in 2021. We will continue to keep an eye on evolving guidelines and recommendations from the CDC and Alaska's Department of Health and Social Services and modify our mitigation strategy, as needed. If you have questions that are not addressed below, please feel free to send an email to jobs@campdenali.com

Q: Are staff required to be vaccinated against COVID-19? 

We have a small staff, and in 2021 we worked closely with incoming staff to help facilitate their ability to access the newly available vaccines for anyone who had not been able to get one prior to the start of the season. We knew that 100% of our staff were vaccinated, which meant that we did not need to implement a formal policy. However, we did implement a formal vaccination requirement for our guests. Having our staff and guests vaccinated was a meaningful layer of protection, and one we deeply appreciated when the Delta variant started to surge mid-season. For the 2022 season, we have added a staff vaccination requirement to maintain that level or protection for our community. We will consider requests for religious or medical exemptions, but please be aware that our backcountry location paired with our communal living environment are two major factors that we have to weigh against any individual request. 

Q: Will I have to wear a face mask? 

In 2021, we required that guests and staff wear face masks when inside vehicles or common spaces. Aside from jobs that took place outdoors, all our staff wore face masks for the duration of their shifts. Not knowing exactly what the pandemic will look like in 2022, anyone interested in working with us should be prepared to wear face masks. 

Q: Will I have to undergo daily health screenings? 

In 2021, we asked staff to complete a quick self-screening questionaire before they started work each day. The questions were designed to ensure that staff didn't unintentionally enter a common space while experiencing any of the common symptoms of COVID-19. 

Q: Will I have access to testing? 

Prior to the vaccine becoming widely available, we completed the necessary steps to secure rapid PCR tests on-site thinking that weekly testing for staff would be an essential part of our mitigation plan. However, given that our staff were able to access vaccinations, the recommendation for ongoing testing no longer applied. We still had ample tests and they were available to anyone at any point in time, even if it was simply for peace of mind. We asked that any staff who had symptoms of illness test, and there was a time last season when we learned that COVID-19 had shown up at two neighboring lodges, which prompted us to test staff. We anticipate having continued access to rapid PCR test kits on-site in 2022. 

Q: Will I have a single cabin, in light of the pandemic? 

There is a finite amount of staff housing, so unfortunately, we will not be able to provide singles to most of our staff. In 2021, we prioritized single cabins for any staff who were at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 due to age or medical considerations. Otherwise, cabinmates were regarded as a bubble and were free from constraints of mask wearing and social distancing.  

Q: Can I have friends and/or family visit me? 

We typically strive to allow each staff to have at least one guest per season. However, given the importance of social distancing, that was not something we were able to offer in the 2021 season.  


Megan Meyer, Personnel Manager
PO Box 67, Denali National Park, Alaska 99755
907-683-2290   jobs@campdenali.com
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