The beauty of Denali National Park cannot be overstated. The snowy peak of the highest point in North America, the rivers and striated river beds, the pines, and the wildflower-covered hills combine to create vistas that will take your breath away. The array of wildlife in the park is also quite stunning.
Start your trip at the visitor’s center, where you can view some fascinating indoor exhibits. If you have children along, get a free Junior Ranger’s guide from the desk. They also offer backpacks that you can borrow by leaving your I.D., filled with items your young one can use to complete the activities in the guide. If this doesn’t excite them, have them “try on” some of the colossal antlers of park residents– if they can lift them, that is.
There are several options for exploring the park. You can drive in by private vehicle only to a certain point. However, you can hike and camp further in. Or, take a bus or small plane tour. We were happy with both. The bus tour stops to allow ample photography and points out the local fauna. We spotted eagles, white mountain goats, caribou, and even a grisly bear! Don’t get too close though– some unlucky photographers have met their demise attempting the perfect wildlife shot. The plane ride was a thrilling, chance of a lifetime experience that allowed our family of four (if you have a bigger family, you would have to take two planes) to land on a glacier. We used Sheldon Air Service out of Talkeetna. This allowed us to go sledding and have a snowball fight on Independence Day!
The mountains are snow-covered and beautiful as you approach the highest one in North America.
Denali peaking out next to a cloud.
Aerial view of some pines and a river as we flew in to the snow-cappped mountains of Denali National Park