One of the amazing things about Denali National Park is its expansiveness, which becomes even more apparent when you hike up any of the mountains within the park. If you reach a peak, all you see in every direction are mountains, mountains, and more mountains, with valleys and rivers down below. And unless you’re near the entrance, the visitor’s center within the park, or near the park road, it’s likely that there isn’t another person in sight. It is an inspiring yet peaceful experience to be surrounded by so much untouched nature with such incredible views, yet to have the quiet solitude that visits to most popular national parks don’t offer.
Denali National Park has relatively few developed trails. That isn’t to say that there is a lack of hiking opportunities in the park, but that most of the hiking involves forging your own path through undeveloped wilderness. This photo was taken from near the top of the Mount Healy Overlook Trail, a relatively steep trail with rewards those who put in the effort to reach the top with panoramic views in every direction, if the weather cooperates. The trail begins near the Visitor’s Center, making it a perfect hike for a part day in the park. In late August color was starting to appear at higher elevations, giving this photo a wonderful mix of reds, oranges, yellows, and greens.
As I mentioned in a previous post, only 30% of visitors to Denali National Park get to see the mountain for which the park is named. We were lucky to see the mountain all 3 days we were there. Knowing how unpredictable the weather can be in Alaska and how uncommon it is for Denali to be visible, I took every opportunity to capture moments when Denali was in sight, not knowing if the clouds would roll in at any moment. This started in the morning from the deck of the B&B in Talkeetna where we had stayed the night before to break up the drive from Seward to Denali National Park. And continued when we arrived at the scenic overlook along the highway where this photo was taken from. And continued some more when we arrived at the park. My wife thought I was crazy, not believing Denali that being visible was that uncommon. It wasn’t until we were in one of the souvenir shops and she saw one of the “I was among the 30%” t-shirts that she actually believed me.