Crowned by North America's highest mountain, Denali National Park and Preserve is a destination suited to wildlife watchers and adventure seekers. The 20,320-foot Denali, formerly known as Mount McKinley, hides among Alaskan clouds while grizzlies, Dall sheep, and elk roam the glacier-carved landscape.
The National Park Service protected portions of this landscape as a game refuge in 1917 named Mount McKinley National Park. The area acquired its current acreage and title in 1980.
Glaciers created the topography of the Alaska Range, which runs for 600 miles. Denali National Park and Preserve contains glaciers, and hundreds of ponds and lakes created by their melting.
Denali contains 650 species of flowering plants, as well as mosses, lichens, fungi, and algae suited to its sub-alpine environment. Wildlife includes 39 species of mammals and 167 bird species.
Denali National Park restricts private cars. Take shuttle buses for the freedom to hop off and hike. Tour buses stick to a planned agenda, but offer more interpretation.
Denali is a strenuous, technical 32-mile round-trip climb with an elevation gain between 14,000 and 20,000 feet. Climbs take between 14 and 28 days. The park requires a permit and fee.