Denali National Park is a Must-See

Topping out at 20,310 feet, Denali's peak is the tallest on the continent.

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Photo By: Steve Larese

Photo By: Clint Shannon

Photo By: Clint Shannon

Photo By: Clint Shannon

Photo By: Steve Larese

Photo By: By Nils Öberg (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo By: dagsjo;iStock

The High One

Denali, meaning “The High One” in the language of the Koyukon Athabascans, is the highest peak in North America at 20,310 feet. Completely obscured by clouds two-thirds of the time, Denali was first summited in 1913 and continues to be a destination for expert mountaineers worldwide. Named Mt. McKinley by a gold prospector in 1896, it was restored to its indigenous name in 2015.

Fireweed in Bloom

Beautiful pink fireweed grows wild during the summer.

See the Lights

Want to see the northern lights? The aurora borealis becomes visible in the night sky as early as late August when the long summer days of the far-northern latitudes end. Getting to Denali this early in the season ensures you avoid the harsh winter weather but still see the show.

Snowy Spectacle

The snow-capped Denali beckons as the centerpiece of Denali National Park. For the hale and hearty, a trip to the mountaintop — all 20,320 feet of it — just might be in order. June is usually the busiest month to attempt a climb, so get out that survival-gear checklist. Or, for those seeking something more relaxed, enjoy a scenic bus ride along Park Road with a gorgeous view of the towering mountain along the way.

Denali National Park

There's no shortage of beautiful views in Denali National Park.

Highest Peak in North America

Denali is so tall that it actually “makes its own weather.” On a clear day you can see the mountain all the way from the Anchorage International Airport, 135 miles away.

Denali National Park

Surprisingly, there are only a handful of park service-maintained trails in DNP.

Bear Right at the Sign

Grizzly and black bears, moose, wolves, caribou, Dall sheep and many other animals are seen within Denali National Park and Preserve’s six million acres. The Alaska Railroad has a historic depot within the park near the visitor's center, and is a popular way to arrive. The 92-mile Park Road connects the park entrance to Kantishna, where remote lodges such as Denali Backcountry Lodge are located. Buses are the only public transportation permitted into Denali's backcountry other than planes.

Denali Star Train, Alaska

Take a 7 1/2-hour trip from Anchorage to Denali National Park on this refurbished blue-and-yellow train.

SEE MORE: Explore Alaska By Train

Mount McKinley (now known as “Denali”)

Alaska’s six-million-acre Denali National Park and Reserve is so vast, the entire state of Massachusetts could fit inside its borders. In the southeastern corner of the park is one of our country’s most awe-inspiring natural monuments. Rising 20,320 feet out of the Alaska Mountain Range, Mount McKinley (now known as “Denali”) is the highest mountain on the continent.

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