Denali National Park And Preserve

Denali National Park Alaska

Denali National Park Alaska

Denali National Park And Preserve

Massive and beauty beyond belief is the only way to describe Denali.

Denali National Park and Preserve is the home of Mount McKinley, now known as Denali, which stands at 20,320 feet and is North America’s tallest mountain. The Alaska Range also includes countless other spectacular mountains and many large glaciers. When you consider on a clear day that you can see Denali from Anchorage, which is over 100 miles away, you begin to appreciate the sheer size of it.

The park covers more than six million acres in Interior Alaska and it is the largest protected ecosystem in the world, with 750 species of flowering plants, 39 mammal species, 165 bird species and 10 species of fish. Creatures commonly seen are grizzly bears, caribou, moose, Dall sheep and fox.

The activities in this expansive park are nearly endless. Denali draws mountaineers from around the world. Visitors take bus tours, bicycle rides or long walks down the 90-mile Denali Park Road, which is closed to private vehicles after Mile 15. (For information on the park buses, visit the park website linked at the bottom of the page.) Hiking, camping, rafting, backcountry travel, fishing, wildlife viewing and flightseeing are also popular activities. Winter options include dog mushing, cross-country skiing, snow machining and Northern Lights viewing. Our favorite campground is at the Teklanika River.

Denali is accessible by car on the George Parks Highway at Mile 237.4 or via the Alaska Railroad from either Anchorage or Fairbanks. Gateway communities to the park are Healy, Cantwell and Talkeetna. In summer a variety of private bus and van services and the railroad operate daily from Anchorage and Fairbanks.

As a minimum, you do not want to miss taking the bus to the Eilson Visitors Center crossing Polychrome Pass. The views along this route are spectacular. If you have the time, I would highly recommend going all the way to Wonder Lake. We have always found that earlier in the morning, you can leave will increase your chances of seeing wildlife along the route. Buses make frequent stops and will always stop for photo opportunities of wildlife.

Entrance fee: $10 per individual; $20 per family. Camping, bus transportation and mountaineering permits are additional. About 400,000 people visit the park each year.

Expect sun, wind, rain and clouds, and expect them all on the same day. Average summer temperatures range from 33°F to 80°F. Rain gear, a light coat, sturdy walking shoes or boots and insect repellent are a essential. Winters can be extremely cold with temperatures ranging from -40°F to the high 20s on warm days.

Denali National Park Visitor Center, Denali – 907-683-2294 – Located at Mile 1 of Denali Park Road (Open May 15-27, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; May 28-September 15, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. daily)Talkeetna Ranger Station, Talkeetna – 907-733-2231 – Located at corner of Main & B Street, Talkeetna (Open year-round, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.)

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