Denali National Park & Preserve
Denali National Park & Preserve is one of my favorite national parks. Located 4 hours north of Anchorage, Alaska, the park is a great place to visit after an Alaskan cruise or combined with a visit to the Kenai Peninsula (a couple hours south of Anchorage) on a land-based vacation. At over 6 million-acres the park is huge, though only a small percentage of the park is easily accessible. The single road which goes into the park is the 91-mile Denali Park Road. Private vehicles are only allowed on the first 15 miles of this mostly dirt road. To go further into the park, one must take one of the park shuttle buses. While some may consider this an inconvenience, once you’re in the park it is just you, the others on the bus, and and endless nature in every direction. This is a nice contrast to some of the national parks on the mainland United States that feature traffic jams resembling rush hour traffic, making it hard to enjoy the beautiful scenery. In addition to awe-inspiring vistas, the park provides a great opportunity to see animals like moose, caribou, and bears in their natural environment.
The High One
The word Denali means “the high one” in native Athabaskan, an appropriate name for a mountain with a height of 20,156 feet. Often hidden behind the clouds, only 30% of visitors to the park get to see the mountain for which the park is named. We were very lucky and had views of Denali all three days we visited. This photo was taken from one of the stops the shuttle buses make during their journey down Denali Park Road. The winding dirt road serves as a perfect leading line to guide the eyes towards the mountain and the smaller mountains on either side frame Denali nicely. With scenery like this, it’s hard to take a bad photo in Denali National Park.