What Is It?
Towering above the tundra and offering hiking, wildlife and elevated views, Denali is the high point of North America.
The Tall One
The name of Denali National Park and Preserve comes from the native Athabaskan languages. Denali means “tall one” or “high one”—fitting for the 20,310-foot-tall mountain that can be seen from 200 miles away. The park and preserve covers more than 9,400 square miles, making it larger than New Hampshire.
One road leads into the national park. For most of the road, only bus travel is permitted. An 85-mile bus tour to Wonder Lake is a great way to see grizzly bears, caribou, wolves and other park wildlife. Once at Wonder Lake, the lake’s water reflects the mountain, offering pristine views.
Denali is known for the grizzlies, but one of its most interesting inhabitants is the wood frog. The only amphibian in Denali, wood frogs freeze during the winter. Their hearts and breathing stop, but they do not croak. They thaw in the spring, and you might see them continue about their business.
When to Go
Most people visit in the warmer summer months, between June and September. However, if you are willing to go in the colder months, Denali is far enough north you will have a chance to see the northern lights.
Plan Your Visit
An entrance pass for the national park is $15 a person, and the pass lasts for seven days. While the park is still undergoing a phased reopening from the pandemic, many outdoor activities are allowed. For more information, visit nps.gov/dena or call 907-683-9532.