Denali and Mount McKinley

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Denali National Park

Mount McKinley (now Denali) is widely regarded as the most impressive site in Alaska. Its perennially snow-capped and foggy summit is ethereally beautiful in contrast to the intense green of its slopes and the explosion of colour when the wildflowers bloom.

It is surrounded by five giant glaciers and innumerable waterfalls, all of which make it a major visitor attraction. It is the highest peak in North America and, at 6,200m, can be seen on the horizon from over 300km away.

Denali is the mountain’s native name, and in the Athabaskan language means “the big one”. It’s located in the heart of Interior Alaska and is the main focal point of what is today known as the Denali Reserve and National Park. With a total area as large as Catalonia, it’s a must-see for anyone aiming to get to know the last frontier.

Fauna and flora

The proximity of the area to the Arctic influences its landscape, fauna, and flora. Taiga (snow forest) and tundra cover most of the park. It has been designated an International Biosphere Reserve, given its importance for the study of Arctic ecosystems.

Cars are not allowed for pollution reasons, so walking for days inside the park is the only true way to appreciate the nature and enjoy the surroundings. There is, however, one bus line that runs from the visitors’ centre to the centre of the park all day long and will drop you off wherever you want and then pick you up later at any point along the road.

Looking for adventures

For adventuring types, I think you should prepare a backpack with everything you’ll need for one day, or two, or more, catch the bus, get off when your eyes cannot quite comprehend the beauty around you, and spend a while in the company of some of the purest and most beautiful nature you’ll ever see.

If you need to spend the night in the park, there are several camping areas where you can sleep safe from bears and other animals that might come in search of food.

 

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