Are you ready to plan a visit to see the highest mountain in North America? Denali National Park encompasses more than six MILLION acres of pristine and breathtaking wilderness (including the awe-inspiring Mount McKinley), providing you with some of the best scenery and wildlife anywhere in the world.
I was lucky enough to spend a summer working in this incredible place, and it has been calling my name ever since. Experiencing an area of wilderness that is so raw and wild taught me a lot about myself and about life. Denali is a place where you can choose your own adventure and create your own outcome….no two people will ever have the same trip. It is something that will be completely and utterly yours to look back on with appreciation.
What You Need to Know
Get ready for an amazing outdoor adventure and be sure to plan for anything. The weather can change at any second. You never know when you will walk or drive around a bend and come upon a moose or a bear. You many encounter bushwhacking, stream crosses, or lush blueberry patches along your self-made trail. Preparation is key!
The highest peak in North America, Mount McKinley, stands firm at 20,320 feet above sea level. This mountain is so tall it creates its own weather, so it is not uncommon for the mountain to be entirely invisible behind a blanket of clouds. Denali is the Athabascan (Native) name for Mount McKinley, and if you want to sound like a local, be sure to pronounce the “a” in Denali as you would the “a” in the word “cat”.
If you are visiting Denali in the summer (as most of you probably are), don’t forget that Alaska experiences longer daylight hours than many other places in the world. The sun only goes down for a few hours at night, so you can actually hike in the light of the sun late into the evening hours or get a very early start in the morning. This will especially affect you if you plan on camping during your visit!
Also during the summer you can expect large amounts of mosquitoes in several areas of the park. Bug spray will be your very best friend! Even thought they look ridiculous, you may even want to consider buying a head net to keep the mosquitoes away from your face….I’m glad I did.
Denali National Park is located approximately 240 miles north of Anchorage via the George Parks Highway. Most people access Denali from this direction, but you can also travel 120 miles south of Fairbanks to reach the Park Entrance.
Denali is most easily accessible by car, train, or shuttle bus after you have reached Anchorage or Fairbanks.
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