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Explore the glaciers and thick forests of Denali National Park and Preserve, where caribou and grizzlies thrive. View miles of ice fields and gaze in awe at North America’s highest mountain.
The park covers a staggering 6 million acres (2.4 million hectares). Follow the 92-mile-long (148-kilometer) park road. Drive your car the first 15-mile (24-kilometer) paved section to Savage River. Beyond that, take a shuttle or tour bus on rugged gravel roads. You’ll soon reach fields of thick forest. Breathe the fragrant air while you spot moose nibbling on branches of spruce and willow trees.
After about 9 miles (14 kilometers) you’ll see Mount McKinley standing majestically to the west. Known to local people as “the great one,” the snow-covered peak reaches 20,320 feet (6,190 meters) above sea level. Marvel at the impressive site and watch for the very top to emerge infrequently from cloud cover.
More than 650 species of flowers grow here. Notice as you climb that the birch forests of the lowlands begin to thin, replaced by vast open subalpine grassland. Spot caribou with extravagant antlers and watch for brown bears searching the icy water for fish.
Hop aboard tour buses departing regularly from scattered stations. Sable Pass, with tundra terrain, is a reliable place to see brown bears. One highlight of the magnificent scenery is Polychrome Overlook at the halfway point of the park road. From here, view glaciers and peer south toward the winding Toklat River.
Bike along the park road as it crosses five rivers and climbs 2,400 feet (730 meters) in elevation from the entrance. Whitewater raft on the Nenana River. Get a permit to backpack within the park.
Denali National Park and Preserve is open year-round although snow can cause winter roadblocks. Check conditions before you set off. The park is 240 miles (386 kilometers) north of Anchorage and 120 miles (193 kilometers) south of Fairbanks. Pay the park admission fee or purchase an interagency pass to visit any national park across the country. Find affordable adventure for all types of travelers at Denali and other U.S. national parks.
There are loads of ways to get the most out of this place. We've put together a list of things to do at Denali National Park:
If you're chasing more options, examine our Denali things to do page.