Places to Visit After Denali National Park

Denali National Park is a vast, rugged park situated in southern Alaska. Dramatic mountains, lakes, streams, and wildlife make this national park one of the country’s most spectacular destinations. If you’re looking to continue your journey after Denali National Park, check out the following locations. 

Fairbanks

Fairbanks is situated just 120 miles north of Denali National Park, making it the natural next stop on your trip. The largest city in Alaska’s interior region, Fairbanks offers museums, restaurants, bars, shops, and more.

Anchorage

Just 240 miles south of Denali National Park lies Anchorage, Alaska, the largest city in the state. With a variety of cultural sites and activities, breathtaking wilderness areas, and plenty of bars, restaurants, shops, and lodging, Anchorage is an excellent next stop after visiting Denali National Park.

Kenai Fjords National Park

A stunningly beautiful Alaskan national park, Kenai Fjords National Park offers visitors a plethora of outdoor activities. From wildlife viewing to exploring the park’s glaciers, you could spend days traversing this gorgeous national park.

Katmai National Park

Katmai National Park is renowned for its native bear population, making this the perfect place to enjoy wildlife viewing. The wild landscape here consists of towering mountains, freshwater lakes, streams, and ancient lava flows.

Points of Interest in Denali National Park

Denali National Park is defined by spectacular mountains, freshwater lakes, native wildlife, and magnificent Alaskan wilderness. Situated in southern Alaska, there is much to see and explore in Denali National Park. If it’s your first visit to the park, you’ll want to make sure you check out the area’s main points of interest.

Denali 

The highest mountain peak in North America, Denali is the park’s namesake and truly a sight to behold. Formerly known as Mount McKinley, Denali has an elevation of 20,310 feet. The true centerpiece of Denali National Park, this is one point of interest you can’t miss.

Wonder Lake

A gorgeous lake surrounded by breathtaking mountains, Wonder Lake is one of Denali National Park’s finest gems. A remote destination within the park, the lake offers plenty of nearby hiking trails and camping opportunities. 

Ruth Glacier

An enormous glacier in the heart of Denali, Ruth Glacier’s iconic “Great Gorge” is a mile wide. This scenic glacier is surrounded by mountains and stunning natural landscapes, making it a must-visit site in the park.

Mount Healy Overlook Trail

One of the most popular hikes in Denali National Park, Mount Healy Overlook Trail guides visitors part of the way up Mount Healy. Though the trek is a bit challenging, the views when you reach the end of the trail are certainly worth it!

Triple Lakes Trail

This popular trail leads through magnificent scenery and offers plenty of wonderful wildlife viewing opportunities. The longest trail in Denali National Park at 9.5 miles long one way, Triple Lakes Trail leads to three beautiful lakes which are definitely worth exploring. 

Reflection Pond

As the name suggests, Reflection Pond offers incredible views of Denali and Foraker reflecting off its smooth surface. A completely peaceful destination in Denali National Park great for hiking, photography, and relaxing, there’s no question why Reflection Pond is one of the park’s top sights.

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Staying Safe at Denali National Park

Characterized by Denali, North America’s tallest mountain, Denali National Park is situated in southern Alaska. With a plethora of wildlife, rivers, lakes, and mountains, this national park has so much to offer. Be sure to take the necessary safety precautions when visiting Denali National Park to ensure a safe visit!

Weather 

Cold, rainy, and snowy days are not uncommon in Denali National Park, even in summer. To avoid hypothermia, make sure you wear warm, dry socks, waterproof clothing, rain gear, plenty of layers, and sturdy hiking boots.

Weather in the park can be extreme, sudden, and change rapidly, so it’s important to be prepared for anything regardless of the season. Winter in Denali National Park is especially cold, so be prepared with special snow gear if you intend on braving the winter season.

Wildlife 

Denali National Park is home to a large community of bears. Make sure never to approach a bear, store your food securely out of their reach, and make plenty of noise while you’re hiking on the trails to alert bears to your presence and avoid surprising them. Moose, caribou, wolves, and other wild animals also call Denali National Park home, so remember to always keep a safe distance from any wildlife you encounter.

Other Concerns 

Hypothermia can pose a serious threat, especially if you plan to swim or wade through a river. Make sure to remove all wet clothes and replace them with dry ones right away. 

Denali National Park does not have many marked trails, making it very easy to get lost and lose your bearings. Be sure to have a physical map and compass with you and familiarize yourself with the area before you head out. A satellite phone would also be useful to have with you in case of emergency, as the park is quite remote. 

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Safety- Denali National Park

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Watching Wildlife in Denali National Park

Designated by Congress in 1917 specifically to protect the wildlife living along the slopes and valleys within the Alaska Range, Denali National Park has been an animal haven for some time. As the northernmost park in the U.S. National Park system, you’ll enjoy sights and terrain you can’t find anywhere else in the contiguous U.S. You will note 39 species of mammals, 169 species of birds, 14 species of fish, but 0 species of reptiles.

Some of the most iconic large mammals in the park include black bears, wolves, caribou, moose, Dall sheep, foxes, and marmots.

Denali National Park is perhaps most known for its bird life. Golden eagles are there but rare to see, and you may often view a transitory bald eagle. It’s more common to see ravens, mew gulls, gray jays, and ptarmigan. Don’t forget to peer down into the rivers for the abundant fish that will swim upstream in the spring season.

The Denali National Park’s Top Animals

  • Bears
  • Caribou
    • Also known as the American reindeer, caribou is a species of deer with circumpolar distribution, native to the Arctic. They can be spotted in herds throughout the park.
  • Moose
  • Dall Sheep
    • As a northern breed of bighorn sheep, dall sheep are found high up in the mountains around Denali National Park. They can be spotted on Mount Margaret, Mount Wright, and Polychrome.
  • Foxes
  • Marmots
  • Wolves

Viewing Locations

Denali Park Road
Serpentine Park Road: Dall sheep
Savage River: Moose
Rile Creek Campground: Moose
Mount Wright: Dall sheep
Igloo Forest: Bears, wolves
Teklanika River: Bears, wolves
Sable Pass: Grizzly bears

When Should You Go?

Considering the northern location of Denali National Park, the best time of year to both visit the park and see the animals is during the summer. The core visiting season runs from June to September, when all facilities are open. However, if you are willing to brave the winter season, you are more likely to catch the migratory animals coming off of the mountains into the valleys to find warmth. You will most likely need a guide to access the animals safely in the colder months.

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