"Undeniable Beauty" Denali National Park and Preserve by HasTowelWillTravel


The natural splendor of Denali is hard to quantify. It gives the air of an isolated ruggedness, a northern expanse of unique ecosystems. It is a rich wilderness, with a variety of life that one would not initially expect in such a place. Denali has an area of dense forest, taiga, comprised mostly of evergreen spruce trees mixed in with some deciduous birch and aspens. Further out from the entrance, it devolves into tundra, a wide expanse of deep pockets of lichen and other vegetation.

Towering Mountains

The one constant feature of the landscape that I observed on this trip is mountains. Everywhere you turn you are greeted by looming peaks, a visual reminder of the area's glorious but violent past, geologically speaking. Some are rounded, showing their eventual acceptance of the wear and tear of snow and rain, and are now covered in vegetation. Others stand tall, granite spires holding glaciers that seem to pierce the sky.

This includes Denali itself, a behemoth to behold. Denali's base is wide, littered with glaciers and ravines. It looks like a huge, glorious peak, and at 20,320' it fits the bill for a grand North American peak.

Animals and more

Denali's biodiversity is not quite as great as other areas of the world, the tropics for instance. But it holds those animals which are held in much esteem and shrouded in mystery for people in the United States. The 'big 5' of Denali are the grizzly bear, wolf, moose, caribou, and Dall's sheep. Since the park administrators have endeavored to keep the park as wild as possible, there is still a good chance of seeing these animals in their native habitat. I came across a sow grizzly and her cub while hiking in the backcountry; that was quite an experience.

you can see my full set of pictures from Alaska on my flickr page

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Wide open spaces, fabulous hiking, great adventure
  • Cons:Few amenities available. Everything is expensive
  • In a nutshell:Denali: the last frontier?
  • Last visit to Denali National Park and Preserve: Jul 2008
  • Intro Updated Aug 16, 2009
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Reviews (13)

Comments (1)

  • KiKitC's Profile Photo
    Sep 16, 2009 at 3:07 AM

    I SO want to be there. Your pictures are incredible. I would feel a lot more comfortable about grizzlies, though, if I could explore in my vehicle...


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