By Steven Merritt With its vast wilderness and the chance to get an up close and personal look at wildlife, visitors to Denali National Park and Preserve often are pulled away from the core area of the park entrance, but there’s plenty to do in and around the Visitor Center—especially for day hikers. While many of the shorter trails in the area stick to the lowlands near the visitor center campus, the Mount Healy Overlook Trail—one of the steepest in the park and often lightly trafficked—offers a perfect outing with a hikers’ trifecta of views, exercise, and elevation gain. Located off the Taiga Trail, not far from the Visitor Center, it rises steadily through spruce forest before reaching benches at an overlook near the halfway point. From there, switchbacks introduce a steeper climb as you rise above tree line on your way to an elevation gain of 1,700 feet in…
Experience Denali Park in autumn
[By Julie Stricker]
A crisp breeze ruffles the fur of a tawny grizzly as it grazes in a patch of blueberries only yards from a busload of people. They whisper excitedly as camera shutters whir, but the bear is intent on its meal and pays no attention.
You never know what you’ll find hiking a wilderness trail
Under an azure sky stretching unblemished to Denali’s icy dome, the morning air crisp and fresh after autumn’s first frost, our tundra hike captivates the senses.
Visitors can see everything from bears and murres to sand dunes and salmon.
[by David Shaw]
It’s Denali National Park’s fault I live in Alaska. Fourteen years ago, I accepted a position as a field biologist, banding birds at the far end of the park’s only road. For two months I awoke every clear morning to a view of Denali itself, the Great One rising 20,320 feet into thin air. I was hooked, and have been here ever since.
Riding the rails in search of fresh hops.
[by Hudson Lindenberger]
Still within sight
[by Bill Sherwonit]
The mountain doesn’t care about us. Huge, frozen and reaching into air too thin for human existence, Denali remains a hostile, immutable presence, with an allure climbers and other visitors find difficult to resist.
[by Seth Adams]