Mt. McKinley, with a glimpse of the unforgiving and beautiful Alaskan wilderness that lies beneath it.

Denali National Park: one of the most stunning, powerful places on earth. Definitely the most famous park in Alaska, probably one of the most famous in the entire United States.  Dangerous, exciting, and all inclusive-it has something for everyone.

Denali is on the top of my list for places to visit in Alaska this summer. I hope to spend a large chunk of the time I am traveling there, and I have no doubt that it will be nowhere near enough time.  People have said that years would not be enough time to truly explore the park.

Denali got its name from the Koyukon Athabaskan name for Mt. McKinley, which means ” The High One”. It is aptly named, because McKinley is the highest peak in the United States, and is the center and focus point of the park. The park was created to protect the Dall sheep, one of the MANY species of wildlife in the region, when they were threatened by human advances into the area. This action created a park that was so much bigger than just that one species of sheep. So many species of wild life make Denali their home. Brown bears, wolves, moose, foxes, wolverines, sheep, salmon, trout, and even one amphibious species, the wood frog, populate the park.  Without this beautiful, 6,075,107 acre mammoth of a park, most people would never be able to experience anything even close to this nature. It truly is one of a kind.

I love wildlife. It is one of my passions in life. I am an avid hunter, and have pursued everything I have had the opportunity to with plans to find more opportunities. I really enjoy being out in the woods, watching the animals. But sometimes, the woods themselves are what truly interests me. This is the case of Denali National Park. I also feel obligated to say that calling Denali “woods” is a huge insult. The only name that really does this park justice is wilderness. There are 3 sections to the park, all massive areas. They are the park, which is over 4,000,000 acres, the preserve, which is over 2,000,000 acres, and the wilderness, which is located in the park and is nearly 2,000,000 acres. All of these areas are more immense, untamed, and beautiful than you can possibly imagine. To give an idea of the remoteness of the area, there are 91 miles of road in the entire park. Even more amazing: only a small fraction of that is paved, and only 15 miles of it is open to private vehicles.

What to do?

Hiker reaches a summit in Denali Park with McKinley beyond

What is there to do in Denali? Think about that question. With millions of acres available for exploration, only a minuscule fraction of which is developed, what can’t you do?  Hiking is a simple concept. Pack up, and  hit the woods. There are no trails, no signs, no real restrictions (permits are needed, but not hard to obtain and amazingly inclusive; with one, you can hike for days.) This is the concept that draws me to Denali. I love the idea of being in true wilderness.

Thank you for reading! Stay tuned for more!

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