Denali National Park

We have been inducted into a most exclusive club (hah, we look down on you lesser mortals!), and we didn’t even know that the club existed until we arrived to Denali. I think it is actually a way to sell more tourist stuff with the “30%” tag on it. For those of you that have not earned our secret handshake, only 30% of the visitors to Denali National Park actually get to see Denali, due to either weather, haze, smoke, snow or whatever.

There is a single road in the park, and it has been heavily damaged by a landslide near the halfway point so tourists like us cannot get very close to the north side of the mountain. The photo I took below is from a distance of about 65 miles. OK, there are some clouds obscuring the view, but we still claim to be members of the club! No doubters will be listened to. During our last visit to Alaska in 1989, we could not see Denali, so we’re happy it worked for us this time.

Denali from 65 Miles

The mountain is so immense that it creates its own weather, which also irritates the other 70% of visitors that come to the park and never get a glimpse of the majestic mountain. Our two-day visit was filled with great weather, and the smoke from forest fires in the area was blown to the north the day after our arrival, bringing clear air into the park. When we drive to our next stop in Talkeetna, we will get a little closer to the east side of the mountain so I hope to have some better photos.

This is an interesting video about how Denali formed.

On the 2nd day, we enjoyed visiting the Denali working dogs. Since Denali is a designated wilderness area, no motors are permitted, so even the Park Rangers are restricted on where they can drive their motorized vehicles. The sled dogs are the primary means of transportation for most of the year (November – May). This year is the 100th Anniversary of the sled dog team in the park. The staff handles all of the dog support, breeding, and training. The staff and the dogs are very much in tune with each other, and it would be a great place to work, in my humble opinion.

It was a little warm during our visit (as in the mid-70s), so the wildlife had retreated to the higher attitudes to cool off so we did not see any of the larger wildlife. I hope you enjoy the photos below.

Park Entrance
Main (and only) Road
Fireweed is everywhere in the park. I’m not quite sure why it is called Fireweed since it isn’t red.
Savage River on the left (glacier silt) with a Ptarmigan at the end of the grass area (looks like a chicken). The creek feeding in from the right is not glacial so there is a blending going on.
Savage River looking South
Sled Dogs at Work
We were allowed into the kennel, but most of the dogs were not interested in coming over to visit with us

I have to give a hats-off to the 49th State Brewing Company. We enjoyed an excellent dinner at their brewhouse and after trying eight of their brews, I settled on SMOK as their best. It reminds me of a beer version of Laphroaig, a very ‘peaty’ Scotch. If you can find it, try some!

4 thoughts on “Denali National Park

  1. What a fabulous way to begin my day with awesome mountain and you two! Thank you. I will go back and click on all the connections after Josh leaves this morning. He is coming to work on computers and phone. A great help. Love to you Mom

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  2. What a jam-packed full-of-info & FUN visit! After cking all the links, I learned a ton. Interesting tricuspid-sort of peak to Denali. Secret handshake was earned, Hail!

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  3. Loved this post. I had no idea Denali mountain was so massive! Even in the little photo on my phone it looks amazing. I can’t imagine seeing it in person!

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