A job for the summer season, a community for a lifetime

Work Hard, Play Hard

Working at Camp Denali is the ultimate seasonal adventure job. Being a staff member is not the same as being a guest, but it brings you to the same destination without the price tag. As a staff member, you will have the opportunity to settle in and make Denali National Park your summer home for four months of the year. Outside of work, staff cultivate a tight-knit community and fill their free time exploring and adventuring in Alaska’s wilderness.

We say that working at Camp Denali is not a vacation, but there is ample time for fun and play. Providing active learning experiences is central to Camp Denali’s mission, and that extends to staff. Our owners, Simon and Jenna Hamm, encourage and facilitate outdoor recreational opportunities for everyone. As outdoor enthusiasts themselves, they know that having access to exploring Denali National Park enhances the staff experience. Staff are welcome to participate in guest activities–naturalist-led hikes, evening programs presented by our Special Emphasis Series speakers, and joining guests for breakfast or dinner. Staff are also able to use the gear and equipment we maintain for guests, including canoes on Wonder Lake, bikes, fishing gear, trekking poles, and more.

At Camp Denali, the typical weekly schedule includes five full-days of work and two days off. Most staff use their days off as follows:

  • One day for relaxing–stay on campus and rest, do laundry, communicate with friends and family, research jobs or grad school and spend time on applications, etc.
  • One day for adventuring–make plans with other staff who share the same day-off, join a guided hike with guests, or go on a solo outing.

Some staff are highly motivated to maximize their time in the park, and they squeeze as many hikes and backpacking trips as they possibly can into the season. At the other end of the spectrum, some staff are less outdoorsy and choose to fill both their days off with hobbies like writing, knitting, quilting, or making art.

Free Time

We work long hours, it's true. However, there are ways you will get time back by living at Camp Denali. Here are a few examples that add-up over the course of a week:

  • There is no commute to/from work. It takes less than five minutes to walk from any of the staff cabins.
  • You do not have to menu-plan or go grocery shopping.
  • You do not have to cook your own meals or wash your dishes. Dish duty rotates amongst everyone, but when it is your turn, it’s part of your workday.
  • You will have less personal housework. It doesn’t take long to clean a small cabin and the housekeeping team absorbs some cleaning tasks that will help you out, like washing staff linens, cleaning showers, and cleaning and restocking the outhouses.

Consequently, you are able to spend more of your time-off as free time. At the end of a long workday, being able to use your time to go for a swim in Nugget Pond, hike up the Camp Ridge trail, or pick blueberries instead of cooking dinner goes a long way towards maintaining a sense of well-being.

Opportunities abound for creative, adventurous spirits. Our community is enriched by staff who enthusiastically share their talents, skills, and hobbies with one another. We have seen many groups and extracurricular activities over the years–music nights, dance lessons, writing clubs, woodworking, fiber arts, quilting, butterfly clubs, and more. There always seems to be a social activity on offer or staff who are eager to get something off the ground–volleyball or pick-up basketball games, field days, competitive triathlons, early morning coffee dates, porch hangs timed to coincide with alpenglow viewing, movie nights, solstice parties, and board games.

These shared experiences are how our staff form meaningful connections and lifelong friendships. As one staff member aptly pointed out, “I used to think Camp Denali was 70% about the place and 30% about the people, but coming back has shown me it’s actually the reverse.”

We hope you'll embrace Denali National Park as your workplace, playground, and home.

A Sampling of Activities

  • Go birding. Borrow a bird book and binoculars and head to Wonder Lake or Ranger Pond to see what's there.
  • Bike to the McKinley Bar Trail and hike to the McKinley River.
  • Choose your own adventure utilizing company-provided transportation–load a bike into a van and travel into the park with a Naturalist Guide and a group of guests. When you arrive at their intended destination, make your way home by bike. Break up the journey with hiking, swimming, and a picnic lunch.
  • Forage! Harvest spruce tips, arnica, labrador tea, crowberries, fireweed, and more. What you find can be used to make teas, balms, natural dyes, jam/jellies, and tinctures.
  • Spend the day getting to know someone who shares the same day-off as you.
  • Set a summer goal to learn more about a specific subject–the local wildflowers, bumblebees, willows, geology, or birds–and then dive into the library of books available in the Lodge.
  • Grab a life vest and a friend to canoe on Wonder Lake.
  • Write letters of postcards to a friend or loved one. Help keep paper mail alive–it is much more meaningful than an email or text.
  • Head to a body of water for fishing or swimming. We have plenty of great options for anyone interested in cold water therapy and Nugget Pond often warms up to a comfortable temperature.
  • Get a backcountry permit and do an overnight backpacking trip.
  • Obsessively pick blueberries–pick for the kitchen to earn extra money, or pick for yourself to make jam to share with family and friends.
  • Sleep in and spend the remainder of the day tending to your personal to-do list.
  • Explore the Resource Room. Find out what’s in the various drawers and spend time considering the objects on display–pelts, plaster casts, skulls, maps, historical photographs, and art.
  • Shake things up and join the guests for dinner. Be prepared to field questions–guests will be eager to find out more about you and what you do in the off-season.
  • Host an event or gathering for staff–writing club, movie night, dance party, chess tournament, jam session (with music or berries)–the opportunities are endless.
  • Spend the day making or crafting. Create a new decoration for your cabin, make an art installation for your favorite staff outhouse, or work on a handmade gift.
  • Dream up winter travel plans and destinations; draw on the wealth of knowledge from our well-traveled staff to make planning easier.
  • Journal–document your time at Camp Denali using words or art. What have you seen? Where have you gone? How has the season changed you?

Are you ready to make Denali National Park your summer home? APPLY NOW to work at Camp Denali. 

Hiking in Wildflowers - Highway Pass

Megan Meyer, Personnel Manager
PO Box 67, Denali National Park, Alaska 99755
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