From its glacier carved valleys to the top of North America's tallest peak, Denali National Park and Preserve is filled with precious treasure. It's a place that, but for a very few exceptions, has largely been left to its own. Life in Denali unfolds today much as it did hundreds of years ago.
There are towering mountains in the distance; the Alaska range bisects the park. The stark white peaks are crowned by the tallest of all in North America - majestic Mount Mckinley.
Denali's "base camp" each summer. Their sites are set on scaling the 20,320 foot high mountain. To reach its summit, climbers must meet the challenge of the McKinely's daunting height, its ferocious winds and bone-chilling cold temperatures.
However, visitors don't have to climb the mountain to experience the great outdoors of Denali, and most will tell you virtually everything visible inside the park's boundaries seems larger than life. It's the desire to experience vast wilderness that brings hundreds of thousand of people to Denali National Park each year. The mosaic of braided rivers, wildflowers and wildlife provide a landscape that, for some visitors, is even described as a religious experience.
For the vast majority of park visitors, their contact with Denali comes aboard the dozens of park-operated tour buses which travel the 90-mile long road each day during the summer months. While on the bus, visitors often experience encounters with many of Alaska's iconic animals.
For others, hiking provides an a unique opportunity see the park from a closer perspective.
No matter what method visitors choose, park officials say it's the experience that counts. A rustic experience and one that brings comfort to a many, they say, comfort in just knowing that such a place still exists. A treasured piece of wilderness that Alaskans are proud to call their own.