Denali National Park is a natural gem hidden in the wilderness of Alaska. The park stretches out over 9,492 square miles and a huge part of the park is effectively wilderness as well. Only 1 road, the park road, swings through a part of the park.
Denali is well worth a visit because of the beautiful scenery. On top of that with a visit you have the chance of seeing some of the wildlife like bears, moose and reindeer. Off course there’s also Mt Denali which often hides in the clouds but offers an impressive view in any case.
1 easy way to visit the park is by driving the shuttle bus. It takes you all along the park road, you might think it’s not that spectacular but we did exactly that and you will be amazed by the amount of wildlife you will see just along the park road. We saw bears, reindeer and moose all just next to the park road. The shuttle bus is the better option over the tour bus as in case of big groups, like cruises, there will be groups of 10 or more tour buses right after each other. All the animals will be scared away by the time the latest buses in the group have arrived. If you’re in one of the buses at the end of the group your chances of seeing wildlife are practically reduced to zero…
Shuttle buses drive according to a fixed time schedule. You can find this on the national park’s website. An extra advantage of the shuttle buses is that you can hop-on/off as much as you want. A good place to stretch your legs and do some hiking is near Eielson visitor center where we met this cute squirrel on our hike.
Make sure however that you don’t miss the last bus and know that in peak season the buses might be full and you could have to wait for the next one.
As a tip I would also suggest to discover the first part of the park route with your own vehicle at your own pace. You have a big chance of spotting moose around sunset.
The excursion with the shuttle bus will already keep you busy for one day but there are many other things to do in Denali. Beautiful hikes, ATV-rides or even a flight around Mt. Denali. I would suggest to reserve at least 2 days and maybe add a 3 day depending on what you would plan to do.
If you can I would plan your visit around end of August – beginning of September as fall colors will make the scenery even more beautiful around this time of year.
Make sure to pay the sled dogs a visit. In winter time they may be out as they’re used by the park rangers for their maintenance projects. However in summer time you can attend daily presentations and learn interesting facts about these canine rangers.
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