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Find Your Adventure: Happy Birthday Denali!

Originally Published in MotorHome Magazine

Just as our ‘Find Your Adventure’ series has been celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, we thought we’d take a few minutes to give a nod to one specific park that crosses the century mark in 2017.

We’re talking here about Denali National Park and Preserve, home to the tallest mountain peak in America, the 20,310-foot massif simply known as Denali, a name that translates to “the high one.” If you plan to go help the park celebrate its 100th birthday in person, here are a few things you’ll need to know:

  • Unlike most national parks, Denali has just one road, and it’s one private vehicles can only go so far on (about 15 out of 94 total miles). That means for the full experience you should expect to be doing your sightseeing by bus (a park concessionaire runs both narrated and non-narrated bus tours).
  • Bus tours run from 4.5 to 12 hours so be sure to plan accordingly. At the very least, be sure to pack lunch and snacks, water, extra clothing layers (including a warm hat) and a waterproof coat with a hood as summer is the rainy season in Denali. And if you have binoculars, be sure and bring them as nothing’s worse than squinting to try and make out what kind of critters those dots on the hillside really are.
  • Speaking of critters, you can expect to see everything from grizzly bears and wolves to moose and caribou. Remember, though, that the longer you’re on the bus, the greater chance you have at having memorable wildlife encounters. And for Pete’s sake, don’t forget your camera!
  • Don’t be disappointed if you don’t get a look at the mountain itself. By some estimates the view of Denali and the Alaskan Range is obscured by clouds as much as 80 percent of the time. Which means that if you do see it, by gosh, take lots of pictures because you may not be so lucky the next day!
  • At 6 million acres, give or take, the park is larger than Massachusetts, so don’t plan on seeing it all in a single day! Two days is a minimum; three days is even better. For some ideas on how to see the park and how much time to allot, go here.


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