Get close to local wildlife at the Denali Visitor Center.
In this 6-million-acre park, you can spot grizzly cubs beside their mothers, Dall sheep climbing across hillsides, and lanky moose plucking willows—all in one day. Area code is 907 except as noted.
To Do and See
Denali Visitor Center At the park entrance, nature exhibits reveal some weird truths: Did you know that wood frogs freeze and thaw during winter and that blood siphoned by biting mosquitoes aids the survival of plants? 683-2294, nps.gov/dena. Shuttle buses Step off the hop-on, hop-off shuttles at scheduled stops to hike on paths such as the Eielson Alpine Trail, which zigzags up to panoramic views of Mount McKinley. Mt. McKinley Glacier Landing On this “flightseeing” tour, you’ll soar in a fixed-wing plane among stonefaced peaks. 683-2359, flydenali.com. Canyon Run Plunge through icy rapids on a two-hour rafting tour along the forested Nenana River. AAA discount. (888) 683-2234, denaliraft.com.
Denali Arts & Glass Studio This funky store in Glitter Gulch—the boardwalk of stores near the park entrance—is packed with sparkling glass assemblages and hand-crocheted scarves. 683-4527. Denali General Store Take home some essence of Alaska: packets of fresh smoked salmon and zesty wild game sausages. 683-2920. Three Bears Gallery Check out spooky Native Alaskan spirit masks and Aaron Barrett’s fantastical carved whalebone totems. 683-3343.
Black Bear Coffee House The Glitter Gulch hangout is the place to pick up a box lunch for the bus ride into the park. 683-1656, blackbeardenali.com. 229 Parks Restaurant and Tavern This hot spot in a wood-timbered house serves dishes made with ultrafresh local produce, such as chilled wild blueberry soup and roasted fruit tart. 683-2567, 229parks.com. Tonglen Lake Lodge The café at this upscale new lodge features scones with bacon and dates or apricots and ginger. 683-2570, tonglenlake.com.
Request the Western Canada & Alaska TourBook and Alaska & NW Canada map at AAA.com or any AAA branch. Find a place to sleep at AAA.com/ hotels. Get more local info from the Denali Chamber of Commerce: 683-4636, denalichamber.com.
Photography by Mark Weidman Photography/Alamy
This article was first published in July 2014. Some facts my have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.