Alaskas Best-Known Attraction: Denali National Park and Preserve | Reader's Digest

Alaska’s Best-Known Attraction: Denali National Park and Preserve

from Off the Beaten Path | 318

George Parks Hwy. (Hwy. 3), Milepost 237, Alaska

Alaska’s best-known attraction, this park was created as Mount McKinley National Park in 1917, primarily to protect the Dall sheep and other wild animals. Mount McKinley, the highest peak in North America (20,320 feet), is usually wreathed in clouds, but this remains one of the nation’s most magnificent parks. Wildlife can be seen almost anywhere along the road, but there are no guarantees.

To avoid undue disturbance of the animals, private vehicle access is limited. The best way to see the park is via an inexpensive shuttle bus from the park entrance. Visitors are encouraged to stop first at the visitors center. Along the 90-mile park road, which traverses a glorious natural tapestry of stunningly colorful tundra wildflowers and offers marvelous scenery, visitors may spot Dall sheep on Igloo Mountain, grizzlies (brown bears) at Sable Pass and many other sites, moose along the eastern section of the road, and caribou. A visitor may also spy Alaska’s state bird, the willow ptarmigan, or a golden eagle. It is a rare privilege to see wolves, but other canines—the park’s sled dogs, used for winter patrols—demonstrate their work three times daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

–Open year-round. Park road passable only mid-May – mid-Sept.

www.nps.gov/dena

(907) 683-2294