Mt. Denali is the highest mountain located in North America and it is also known as Mt. McKinley in the earlier days. It has the most popular and attractive park called ‘Denali National Park’. It has about six million acres of land which is divided by one road. Visitors will be able to see the low-elevations, taiga forest with tundra at middle elevations, glaciers, snow, and bare rocks at high elevations along their way.
The park is very big and can accommodate a wide variety of visitors. Many animals roam in this park. The special thing about this park is mountaineering, wildlife viewing, cycling, and dog sledding.
Denali Visitor Center
Denali Visitor Center was built in 2005 and it to worth stopping to see it is surrounding either when you start your trip or when you end your trip. This visitor center is the main National Park Service and information center. And there are a lot of facilities in its surrounding like gift shops, restaurants, bus stops, railroad depot, and bag check.
Denali Visitor Center is opened only during summer and it is near the park entrance. The Murie Science and Learning Center acts as the main visitor center during fall, winter, and spring. You can check out the exhibits which are about the natural and cultural history of the area of Denali, watch the park film, and can also join the variety of ranger talks or walks.
The visitor center provides a chance for the visitors to know more about the park by watching the park film, speaking with park rangers, and exploring the exhibit area. The film is for about 20 minutes that shares different seasons, wildlife, and landscapes of the Denali National Park. There are lots of ranger-led activities conducted in the park or when you begin from the visitor center. And most of the trails are accessible from the visitor center. There is enough parking space for the day-use along with a small car lot and an RV lot located on the northwest side of the visitor center.
Explore Savage River and Mountain Vista
Savage River and Mountain Vista are opened 24 hours a day. Camping in this area is permitted but only in the Savage River campground or the backcountry along with a backpacking permit. These places are accessed only by the bus when it is operating but if you have a car and if you wish to take a drive in late at night, it is allowed to do so.
Savage River is near the end of the paved portion of Denali Park Road which can be accessed by the public. You can either use the free bus called ‘Savage River Shuttle’ or you can take a drive to the two day-use areas.
You can go for a hike, biking, skiing in this park but it depends on the weather conditions. If you are traveling in winter, it will take around 12 miles one way, so you will have to be prepared according to it. During the fall season, the road closes when the wintry weather starts. Savage Bus Shuttle the highly recommended because the parking might be full in the Savage River.
Things to do in Savage River
- Savage River Loop Trail
- Wildlife Viewing
Camping in Denali
The perfect way to explore this spectacular park is by camping. You can put a tent-camp, or camp with an RV or other vehicle in one of the campgrounds where you wish to. But the vehicles can only camp in the open campgrounds in the park and not on the side of the road or along pullouts.
You will have to make reservations online via a third-party reservation system. Campground in this park might fill up sometimes but not all the days in summer. If you wish to camp in Denali, the best way is to reserve in advance. Or else you can wait till you are here or reserve it shortly before you arrive but there might be limited availability. And there are also campgrounds outside of the park which is about 1 to 30 miles away. The fees for the campground might vary but it is winter in winter. Those who have a senior pass and access pass receive 50% off in the fees.
Campgrounds in the Denali National Park
- Riley Creek Campground
- Savage River Campground
- Sanctuary River Campground
- Igloo Creek Campground
- Wonder Lake Campground
- Teklanika River Campground
Wildlife in Denali National park is not trained or kept in a cage and it will not be as you visit the animals in the zoo. As you spend more time exploring Denali, you will get a chance to see wildlife over there.
Animals live in Denali National Park
- 1 species of amphibian
- 39 species of mammals
- 169 species of birds
- 14 species of fish
- 0 species of reptiles
There are also large mammals like grizzly bears, black bears, moose, wolves, caribou, and Dall’s sheep. These can be seen rarely by lucky visitors. Most often seen animals are red squirrels, ground squirrels, marmots, and foxes. The birdlife in Denali National Park is very impressive. Bald eagles and golden eagles are rarely seen. The commonly seen birds are gray jays, ravens, mew gulls, and ptarmigan. Fishes are also found in the rivers very rarely.
Backpack in Denali
Backpacking in Denali National Park is unlike other national parks. Denali is not a very big national park and has only a handful of trails. And most of the trails are near the entrance of the park where you can go for a day-hiking rather than backpacking. The permits for backpacking are given only in person and no more than a day before you start your adventure. So get the information before you start your adventure.
Check out this link to know about the Denali National Park location and how to reach the park.