"Sono parecchi chilometri alla stazione."
Yes they both work, and in fact I like better the version with "ci". Source: Italian native speaker.
elsewhere duolingo has insisted that "sono" means "I/they are" - not "there are." I know because I've often got it wrong.
I don't hink Italians will bash you for it, but it does sound a bit off. If you need the "Ci": What about "Ci vogliono parecchi chilometri alla stazione"? And a comment on "parecchi" -several- is right but with the sentence stress on "parecchi" it means -a lot of kilometres-, coming from -quite some-
It does now accept 'many', which seems only fair to me. It was previously offered as one of the dictionary hints for 'parecchie'. :)
But it rejects (12/3/13)
There are a lot of kilometers to the station so it's behavour is inconsistent. Perhaps should reject "many" because, as @siebolt says there is a word for that.