Denali National Park is “a last frontier” in our own backyards ~a special place for all times. Here is a pictorial overview of an awesome mountain and an unparalleled changing wilderness … which is Denali. It is one of North America’s most popular tourist destinations with about 500,000 visitors each year. Visitors have access to only one-third of the six million acre park.
Denali or Mt McKinley – a subalpine ecosystem
We flew north to Anchorage, Alaska and then headed further north by car to Denali National Park for an unbelievable week of spectacular mountains, taiga forests, endless subarctic tundra, giant grizzlies, Dall sheep and other wildlife but for me the highlight was to see the elusive wolverine.
Vehicle and tourist traffic is regulated through the reserve so we were required to leave our car to travel by bus.
Wildlife at Denali
We were privileged to see grizzlies at close quarters, as well as caribou, eagles, grouse in their natural habitat and all from the safety and quietness of the bus. Having seen many bears (no grizzlies) at close quarters over the years this was a safe and rewarding way to view them.
Denali used to be named Mt. McKinley and is the highest mountain in the park.
We were most fortunate to have sunny Fall days during our visit which enabled us to see the mountain every day and be overwhelmed by its presence.
Talkeetna – meaning “River of Plenty”
Close by the park we visited “census designated” Talkeetna which is the centre for those who wish to climb this and other mountains in the area as well as flight seeing, hiking and rafting. People have been climbing Mt McKinley since the very early 1900’s.
Climate change is affecting this fragile ecosystem. Glaciers are receding and vegetation is changing as the climate warms changing the habitat for wildlife.
We all have places which have a special place in our memories – Denali – for a multitude of reasons is one of ours. There really is no way to do justice with mere words to this majestic mountain ~ a one of a kind national park with a unique ecosystem of wildlife and vegetation ~ hopefully the photos tell their own story.
Links & References
- Perhaps in the future, due to the park’s pristine ecosystem and to prevent environmental damage, visitors may be restricted similar to Machu Picchu, a World Heritage Site, in Peru.
- What does Denali mean – “the great one” a naming dispute
- Denali National Reserve
- Denali history
- Native plant revegetation report
- Kahiltna Glacier affected by climate change
- The mammals of Denali
- Talkeetna, Alaska