Things to See & Do -
The main attraction is of course Denali National
Park. The park is about the same size as the state of Massachusetts,
so seeing the whole park is very difficult to do. People come to the
part for a number of reasons. Some come to see the
grizzly bears, caribou, moose, wolves, dall sheep and golden eagles.
Others come to see the spectacular scenery, including thousands of
square miles of tundra, glaciers, powerful rivers, and the tallest
mountain in North America. Others come to explore the wilderness on
foot, by hiking and backpacking through the crown jewel of the
national park system. Access to the park is limited to the
transportation services provided by a number of concessionaires; no
private vehicles are allowed past the first few miles of the park
road. In addition to visiting the park itself, there are a number of
other attractions and activities available. Whitewater rafting and
whitewater kayaking are popular with visitors.
Flight seeing tours of
the park, by both fixed-wing and rotary wing aircraft are available.
And for the horse-lovers, there are trail rides available. Winter
visitors can partake in dog mushing trips into the park, and the
Places To Eat –
One of the most important things to
remember about Denali National Park is that it is a wilderness, and
there are no visitor services inside the park itself. So if you’re
planning a visit of more than an hour or two, you need to consider
what food you’ll bring along with you. Some of the tours in the park
provide food as a part of the tour, but visitors should inquire about
what is available before heading on a day-long trek into the park. If
you’re looking for something to carry into the park with you, there
are a number of choices. Two of the standouts are the Café at Earth
Song Lodge, and Bub’s Subs. You don’t need to be a guest at Earth Song
to partake in their great bag lunches, or their dine-in fare. Bub’s
Subs is located right in the commercial area in Denali Park, near
Denali Outdoor Center. If you’re looking for a great dinner, try the
Perch, located south of the park on the Parks Highway at Carlo Creek.
Alaskan seafood, steaks and other delicious entrees are served every
evening. Also, all of the major hotels have wonderful restaurants that
are open from early morning to late at night.
Places to Stay –
Lodging choices in the Denali Park
area fall into two main categories: Medium-sized hotels, and small
inns, cabins and bed and breakfasts. We generally prefer to send our
clients to the smaller inns, because we want our clients to experience
the real Alaska, and meet real Alaskans! All of these inns and bed and
breakfasts are exceptionally comfortable, with spectacular scenery and
amenities. There are several fine hotels in Denali Park, including
several that are owned and operated by some of the major cruise lines.
These are fantastic places to stay, but their availability is
The town of Denali Park is located on
the Nenana River, in the heart of the Alaska Range. The scenery is
dominated by craggy, steep mountains surrounding a glacially-fed
river. The town is located on the George Parks Highway, about 120
miles south of Fairbanks, and 250 miles north of
National Park stretches west from the Nenana River, along and north of
the main ridges of the Alaska Range. The most notable feature is Mt.
McKinley, North America’s tallest mountain, at 20,320 feet. In
addition, Mt. Foraker and Mt. Hunter make up the impressive southern
skyline of the park. About 20 miles south of the town, the Denali
Fault crosses the highway. This fault marks the boundary between the
North American Plate to the north, and the Pacific Plate to the south.
These two plates are moving past each other, with the North American
plate moving east with respect to the Pacific Plate. In November,
2002, a magnitude 7.9 earthquake occurred about 40 miles east of the
park along this fault.
The climate of the Alaska Range area
is can be quite extreme. Summer temperatures can get as high as the
mid 80’s, but typically summer highs are in the 60’s to low 70’s.
Because of the altitude of the park, snow can fall on any given day;
in fact, three different snow storms hit the park during the summer of
2003. The weather on Mt. McKinley is extreme and changeable. Because
of its height and prevailing winds, the peak of the mountain is often
shrouded in clouds. Winter temperatures in the Denali Park area can be
as cold as -65F, but are generally in the -10 to -20 range during the
coldest part of the season. Strong winds are common in the canyons
especially around the town of Denali Park, and at these times,
temperatures can rise into the 30’s and 40’s above.
Fjords National Park |
Wrangell St. Elias NP
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