If you’ve ever wondered what over 6 million acres of wilderness looks like- take a trip to Denali National Park & Preserve in Alaska. You can camp inside the park, hike the different nature trails, and capture many breathtaking photographs.
Denali National Park & Preserve
Initially named Mount McKinley National Park, Denali National Park received its current name in 1980. Since then, it has grown in size.
Denali has different perks during different seasons. For instance, Summertime is perfect for biking and backpacking. But, it is typically more cloudy around that time. So, if you are more interested in photographing the wildlife and scenery, you might consider visiting during the winter months instead when the skies are more transparent. Look for Reflection Pond on your map. It is one of the top photographed spots inside the park. When photographing the wildlife, be sure to keep a safe distance, for your safety, as well as theirs.
The park only has one road, called the Denali Park Road. There a small window throughout the year when personal vehicles are allowed. Majority of the year, it’s only accessible with a tour bus. However, during the summertime, there is an annual lottery held that gives one lucky winner access to private roads.
If you’re visiting in winter, camping overnight is free and there are six different campsites: Riley Creek, Savage River, Sanctuary River, Teklanika River, Igloo Creek or Wonder Lake. The campsite you want will depend on whether you wish to camp in a tent or an RV. You are urged to make your reservations ahead of time. You can stay a total of 14 nights.
Some other activities to enjoy during your visit are birding, flightseeing, and exploring Savage River.
If you plan to travel with kids, there is a section on the website for how to plan your trip as a family. Also, if you have a fourth-grade student in your group, find out how they can receive a free pass thanks to the “Every Kid Outdoors” program.
Wildlife sightings aren’t guaranteed since it’s nature and the animals come and go as they please. If you’re lucky, you could end up spotting some sheep, moose, caribou, wolves, owls, squirrels, porcupine, grizzly bears and much more. Keep your eye peeled.
Another type of animal you might encounter are the sled dogs. Denali is the only National Park that has a working team of dogs. During the wintertime, they are working. However, during the summertime, you can find them giving demonstrations with their handlers. After each show, you’re able to meet the dogs and love on them a bit.