Facts About Denali National Park

Facts About Denali National Park
Alaska's Denali National Park and Preserve is one of the largest national parks in the United States and home to North America's highest peak, Mt. McKinley also known as Denali. The 6 million acre park has only one road through it and attracts thousands of tourists each year who travel mostly by bus and hope to see the Denali's big five--moose, caribou, dall sheep, wolf and grizzly bear. The park was originally created to protect wildlife in the area.

The name Denali is native Athabascan for "high one." The stunning peak reaches to 20,320 feet above sea level and draws many mountaineers to climb it. From its base at 2,000 feet above sea level,to its summit, climbers must make a journey of over 18,000 vertical feet, which is a greater elevation gain than that of Mount Everest.

There are six campgrounds within the park and preserve, three of which you can drive your own vehicle to and three of which you must take a Camper Bus to. Fourteen days is the limit for staying at a campground in Denali National Park.

For backcountry camping, permits must be purchased at the Backcountry Information Center at the Riley Creek entrance. All entrance fees are $10 per person or $20 per vehicle for a seven-day permit.

According to the National Park Service, there are more than 650 species of flowering plants as well as hundreds more of moss, lichen, fungi and algae. There are also 39 known species of mammals, 167 species of birds, 10 species of fish and one amphibian. In essence, Denali is teeming with wildlife in abundance.

The park is open all season, though most people who don't mountaineer or winter camp, prefer to visit between May and September. During these months there are both black and grizzly bears roaming about and it is advisable to visit one of the parks many information centers to learn about bear safety before heading out on the trails or camping.

Article Written By Naomi Judd

Naomi M. Judd is a naturalist, artist and writer. Her work has been published in various literary journals, newspapers and websites. Judd holds a self-designed Bachelor of Arts in adventure writing from Plymouth State University and is earning a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine.

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