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Apr 28, 2021| Top Activities & Things To Do

What To Do In Denali National Park And Preserve

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Denali Jeep Excursions
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American Naturalist John Muir once praised the idea of hiking, saying: "Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.” 

But you could easily modify that quote to say, "of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are in Denali National Park and Preserve.”

Denali National Park and Preserve is the most popular national park in Alaska. It offers all kinds of scenery on paths where you’ll encounter uniquely Alaskan experiences that will leave you breathless and immensely happy you took Muir’s advice.

The history of Denali National Park and Preserve goes back two million years when extreme movements of ice sheets, which created a rugged and diverse landscape with glacial floodplains, taiga forests, meandering waterways, subalpine woodlands, and, of course, Mt. Denali and its mountain neighbors.

The centerpiece of Denali National Park, Mt. Denali, is the highest peak in North America. At 20,310, Mt. Denali is literally at the top of the world, stretching nearly four miles into the azure blue Alaska sky. (OK, the sky isn’t always blue; Mt. Denali is so high that sometimes the mountain peak is obscured by clouds.)

Denali National Park and Preserve is 6.1 million acres of wonder.

The national park is located 237 miles from Anchorage, a four to five-hour drive. You can also take the train from Anchorage to Denali. The train trip takes about eight hours, but the views along the way are unbelievable.

If you’re traveling to this awesome (in the true sense of the word) national park, you might enjoy a few of these fun facts about Denali and the former Mt. McKinley:

Denali National Park and Preserve Fast Facts 

• Roughly over 500,000 travelers visit Denali every year.

• Mt. Denali was previously known as Mt. McKinley (named for the late President William McKinley, who was assassinated in 1901.) Its name was changed to Denali, or "the tall one” in the native language, in 2015 to celebrate the park’s 100th anniversary.

• The best time to visit Denali is from late May until mid-September. is the best period for more moderate temperatures.

• Summer temperatures can reach 90 degrees (F), but they can vary wildly and may sink into the 30s. During the winter, temperatures can sink to the -40s (F).

• Denali’s landscape consists of tundra, spruce forests, glaciers, pristine lakes, and some of the highest peaks in North America.

• Mt. Denali is the third most isolated place on Earth, behind Mt. Everest and Aconcagua in Argentina on the Chilean border. Aconcagua stands at 22,837 ft., just a bit higher than Mt. Denali.

• For mountaineers, Mt. Denali is not as tall as Mt. Everest, which reaches 29,032 ft. into the sky, but it can be more difficult to ascend because of a greater lack of support.

Meanwhile, there are a couple of other things to remember about Denali National Park and Preserve: Denali has just one road and only one road entrance. The east-west thoroughfare running through Denali is only 92 miles long, and not all of it is open, as parts of the road are restricted areas for private cars. You’ll have to take a bus tour if you want a more complete experience watching grizzlies, Dall sheep, wolves, caribou, and, of course, that Alaska fixture, the moose. Check this article to take a look at the Top 5 Wildlife in Denali National Park & Preserve. 

You can also flight-see around the park for aerial views of the spectacular landscape. 

Here’s how you get to Denali

Enter the park where Denali Park Road meets Alaska Highway 3, also known as "The George Parks Highway,” on the eastern end of the park. You can get information about Denali ahead of time online by going to www.recreation.gov  and type Mt. Denali into the search box. 

Once you’ve reached Denali, you should execute the plans you made ahead of time. (You did make plans, didn’t you? After all, there’s a lot to explore on six million acres.) As the National Park Service recommends, "Plan Your Adventure.”

Because of the size of Denali National Park, it would take you days, even weeks to see it all. That’s why you’ve got to plan where you want to go and carefully choose what you want to do. It’s a huge park, after all, and you travel it the same way you eat an elephant: one bite at a time. 

Activities at Denali National Park and Preserve

Here are the top five ways to enjoy your visit to Denali National Park and Preserve. 

• If you love photography, great photo tours are available at Denali Photo Guides.

• So, you love to hike? Alaska is the perfect place. Check out Traverse Alaska for great hiking tours.

• For the adventuresome, Denali Raft Adventures on the Nenana river will satisfy your urge for fast fun.  

• Flightseeing is a spectacular way to take in Alaska in all its magnificence. 

• Don’t forget to look into Denali Park Zipline, Denali ATV Adventures, and Denali Jeep Adventures for, well, adventure.

Check out the Denali page on Voyij to take a deeper dig at things to do in Denali.

Some activities are located outside the park, but this is Alaska. Everywhere you look there’s amazing beauty, so you can’t go wrong with fun activities no matter whether you’re in. the park or just nearby.

In any event, Denali National Park and Preserve and its environs have everything you need to get close to Alaska. Although May to September is the best time to visit weather-wise, the park is also open during winter for skiing, winter biking, snowshoeing, and other memorable activities.

Maybe you want to take a casual hike, or maybe you want to bike around the park or backpack through the terrain. Maybe you’re a mountaineer. Whatever your plans are for a visit to Denali National Park and Preserve, consider the words of Dr. Seuss: "You’re off to great places, today is your day. Your mountain is waiting so get on your way.”

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