National Park & Preserve
P.O. Box 9
Denali Park, Alaska 99755
WELCOME to Denali!
Denali's dynamic glaciated landscape supports
a diversity of wildlife with grizzly bears, caribou, wolves, Dall
sheep and moose. Summer slopes are graced with birds and wildflowers.
Visitors enjoy sightseeing, backpacking, mountaineering, and research
opportunities. Whether climbing or admiring, the crowning jewel of
North America�s highest peak is the awe inspiring 20,320 foot Mount
Six million acres of wildland - one ribbon of
To access the wonders that the park offers, most
visitors travel by bus. Our shuttle system offers independence and
many options while our tours provide narration and interpretation.
Either choice will get you up close to the many splendors of flora,
fauna and spectacular scenery of Denali.
The "Big Five"
A goal for many visitors to the park is to see
the "big five." On a ride along the park road visitors can
see a moose browsing in a stand of willow, caribou resting on a snow
patch to avoid insects, Dall sheep high on the hillsides, a wolf
trotting across the tundra, or a grizzly bear feeding on ripening
Things to Do
Denali National Park & Preserve is full of
activities that can keep you busy for hours or weeks. While summer is
the most popular time to visit Denali, winter offers many recreation
and sightseeing opportunities. Here at Denali, we encourage you to
take a moment to learn more about this area -- then start exploring.
Examples of just a few of the many opportunities
available to you include touring the Denali Park Road by bus,
attending ranger-naturalist programs, mountaineering (advanced
registration required), day hiking, backcountry camping (permit
required), skiing and dog mushing (winter only).
Five groups of northern Athapaskan people once
occupied, at least seasonally, the region now within Denali National
Park and Preserve. The formidable Alaska Range separated the
territories of the Dena�ina and Ahtna to the south and east from the
Lower Tanana, Koyukon, and Upper Kuskokwim to the north.
The rugged terrain did not pose a barrier to
these mobile people, who carried out trade via mountain passes and
sometimes over glaciers. The remains of villages, fish camps, and
trails attest to the presence of Athapaskans during historic times,
when 20th century explorers, trappers and miners were first coming
into the Denali area.
Their place names provide a rich context for
understanding traditional patterns of subsistence and settlement
across the landscape.
Archeologists have found evidence for more
ancient occupation at small camp sites where hunters produced and
sometimes discarded their stone tools. The age of these archeological
sites is often difficult to determine exactly, unless remains of
charcoal or bone from old fire hearths are discovered.
One of the earliest sites in Interior Alaska,
the Dry Creek site, is located just outside the park boundaries. The
bones of large Pleistocene mammals, such as elk and bison, were found
at Dry Creek, proving beyond a doubt that ancient hunters killed
species of animals which eventually became extinct in Alaska. The
oldest cultural level at Dry Creek was dated to about 12,000 years
Perhaps the greatest influx of people, until
recent park visitation, occurred during the early 1900s gold rush to
the Kantishna Hills. By the early summer of 1905, prospectors Joe
Quigley and Jack Horn had found gold in paying quantities in Glacier
During the next few months the rush to Kantishna
was on. Several thousand prospectors flocked to the area during the
summer and fall, staking claims on every creek that heads in the
Kantishna Hills, but the shallow, easily accessible gold deposits were
quickly mined and the region's mining population dwindled to about 50
people by the fall.
Fannie Quigley, whose accomplishments ranged
from hunting and mining to cooking and gardening, was one of the more
colorful characters to live in Kantishna.
Mountaineering is another important theme in
Denali's history, as is the establishment of the original park, Mt.
McKinley National Park, in 1917. Many of the historic buildings in
Denali are located in the front county along with road corridor, and
date to the first few decades after the park was established.
Several cabins built as hubs for construction
camps during the building of the park road (1923- 1938) were later put
to use as ranger patrol cabins. The research and fieldwork of National
Park Service archeologists, historians, and landscape architects
continue to bring to light the details of Denali's vibrant past.
Did You Know?
Did you know that Denali National Park and Preserve is home to both
black bears and grizzly (brown) bears? Black bears inhabit the
forested areas of the park, while grizzly bears mainly live on the
open tundra. Almost all bears seen by visitors along the Park Road are