The main attraction of the park is Mt. McKinley, which stands at 20,320 feet tall and is the highest peak in North America. Mt. Foraker, 17,400 feet high, is also a popular attraction for many climbers. Mountaineers from around the world travel to Denali National Park to challenge these mountains. If you are planning an attempt to climb either mountain you must register 60 days in advance with the Denali National Park rangers and pay a required fee per climber. Park rangers will offer advice on accessible climbing routes and recent mountain conditions.
Denali National Park is divided into 87 backcountry regions that do not have any established trails. To travel overnight in the backcountry you must obtain a free permit from the Backcountry Information Center. It is an hour long process during which you will undergo safety training and inform the rangers of the course you plan to take. Out of the 87 regions, 41 of them have a restricted number of camping permits for each night, so it is important to know where you will be camping each night of your adventure. Different regions have different types of terrain such as steep slopes and rivers; be sure to plan your course knowing what you are comfortable traversing across.
Running through the park is the 92-mile Park Road that provides access to six campgrounds. The campgrounds provide accommodations for both tent and RV campers; however, there are no electrical or water hook-ups. Each visitor may only camp in the park for a maximum of 14 days per year. Reservations may be made online, over the phone or by mailing or faxing a reservation form.
Many visitors wish only to spend a day at a time hiking, and Denali offers two ways to do this. The first method of day hiking is to spend the day on established trails. Trails provide guidance to hikers who don't know where to start or where to go. The second way to spend a day hiking in Denali is to create your own path through the terrain of your choice. A shuttle travels along Park Road every half hour; hikers who want to get off the beaten path can ride the shuttle until they reach where they want to stop and then head out into the wilderness.
Article Written By Jacob Hendriks
Jacob Hendriks' work has appeared in "The Western Front," "The Planet Magazine" and Trails.com. He graduated from Western Washington University with a major in international business management and a minor in Community Health. Hendriks' passion for sports nutrition and fitness, combined with experience as a personal trainer, has led him to pursue health-oriented journalism.