Denali National Park

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Denali National Park and Preserve is the third largest National Park in the United States and one of the least explored parks. The park is considered a "Trail-less park" since it contains only a handful of trails, but visitors are encouraged to leave the trail and explore nature in its most pristine condition. The park is home to North America's highest peak, Mt. McKinley, though the park was originally created to protect the Dali Sheep, which were overhunted to feed the visiting gold-miners, not the mountain. Although cars are not allowed into the park's interior, a shuttle and tour-bus system provides access to the inner reaches of the park. Be sure to pack food and drink, because you won't find any as you explore the park.

#1 - Denali Viewpoint South
If you want a great view of Mt. McKinley without a 8-10hr bus ride, be sure to stop at this scenic overlook on your way to Denali. Although it is not actually in Denali National Park, at this viewpoint you can see Mt. Foraker, Mt. Hunter, Mt. McKinley, and several other peaks. Complimentary scopes will help you get a better view of Denali's face, and a thorough diagram is there to help you identify each of the peaks.
Coordinants: 62.592536, -150.239260
#2 - Denali Visitor Center
The park visitor center is full of informative and interactive displays and staffed by helpful and knowledgeable rangers. Here, you can learn about Denali's history and the animals that inhabit the park. Beautiful displays also recount the history of mountain climbing at the park and how the area has been influenced by gold. Once you have finished exploring the visitor`s center, you can hike one of the trails leading away from the visitor center.
Coordinants: 63.730948, -148.917215
#3 - Denali Kennel
If you love puppies or are curious about dog sledding, the kennel is a must-see. Rangers give a history of Denali's kennel along with sledding demonstrations at scheduled shows throughout the day, but visitors are welcome all day. You will get a chance to meet the current dog team as well as the puppies that will make-up the future team. These dogs are not raced in Alaska's yearly Iditarod, but instead allow rangers to patrol Denali in the winter (Denali is the only park patrolled primarily by sled dog throughout the winter months).
Coordinants: 63.719547, -148.968875
#4 - Mt. McKinley Scenic Viewpoint
This scenic overlook (~Mile 9) is one of the few locations in the park that is car-accessible. On a clear day, several mountains are visible, including Mt. McKinley. A helpful sign will help you identify both the North and South Peaks of Mt. McKinley, Double Mountain, and each of the other peaks. Keep an eye out for wildlife as you drive to this viewpoint, especially if you are traveling at dusk, because it is a great place to spot moose, porcupines, and even bears.
Coordinants: 63.710905, -149.187834
#5 - Teklanika River Stop
After passing the checkpoint restricting private vehicles, Teklanika will be the first stop for visitors traveling by shuttle bus. Several informational signs recount information about Teklanika, and a large deck provides a view of the Teklanika River and surrounding mountains. Restrooms are available for visitors though drinking water is not.
Coordinants: 63.654450, -149.567893
#6 - Polychrome Mountain
As you approach Polychrome Mountain, you will be greeted by rocks of all colors. Rocks above the road loom ominously over you as you traverse the narrow pass, coining the term "Poison Rocks," because one drop will kill you. The view is beautiful, but the sheer cliffs might leave you white-knuckled.
Coordinants: 63.526905, -149.975395
#7 - Toklat River Stop
As with Teklanika, you will find restrooms and a scenic view, but no drinking water at this location. An assortment of antlers (moose, caribou, and sheep) is available for visitors to hold and photograph. Visitors are also invited to browse the on-site gift shop which contains souvenirs of the park. As your bus departs, look for a "Drunken Forest" containing pine trees protruding from the ground at various angles. Uneven thawing and freezing of the permafrost beneath the ground gives these trees their drunken appearance.
Coordinants: 63.520093, -150.044060
#8 - Eielson Visitor Center
This visitor center sits high up in a tundra habitat and serves as the main hub for visitors exploring the park by bus. Aside from being one of the only places you'll find drinking water inside the park, the visitor's center will give you one of the best views of Mt. McKinley on a clear day. Cloud cover, however, hides the mountain more often than not, which is why the park has a higher success rate for people climbing the mountain (about 40%) than just viewing the mountain (about 30%). Even on a cloudy day, you will find the center's displays and model mountain ranges interesting.
Coordinants: 63.431321, -150.310135
#9 - Muldrow Glacier
Aside from serving as the trail for some hikers ascending Mt. McKinley, the Muldrow Glacier provides a unique habitat for wildlife and a great view for visitors. Parts of the glacier are pristine white as many visitors imagine, but the leading edge is composed of mounds of ice covered silt dug up by the glacier. The glacier moves slow enough that grass and shrubs have begun to grow on the silt and the silt insulates well enough to preserve the icy core below year round. You may notice house-sized boulders scattered throughout the park which seem out of place. Rocks like these were deposited by glaciers long ago.
Coordinants: 63.384447, -150.444717
#10 - Wonder Lake
Wonder Lake is a popular final destination for many visitors bussing into the park. On a clear day, the area provides a view of Mt. McKinley and the surrounding range. On a cloudy day, you may be better off ending your tip at Eielson. The lake is known for its patches of wild blueberries and relentless mosquitoes (bug spray is advised). Short trails lead from Wonder Lake to Reflection Pond and to the McKinley River bar.
Coordinants: 63.458929, -150.867305
#11 - Reflection Pond
Reflection pond is within hiking distance of Wonder Lake, just past mile 85. On a clear, calm day, the view of Mt. McKinley over Reflection Pond is well worth the short hike from Wonder Lake. On a perfectly calm day, Mt. McKinley's reflection in Reflection Pond makes for a beautiful picture, but even small amounts of wind can disturb the pond's mirror-like surface.
Coordinants: 63.475761, -150.849881
#12 - Kantishna
Kantishna is the end-point for Denali's most adventurous visitors. The remains of historic gold (and other metal) mining operations greet you as the wait to be explored. As a visitor, you can visit buildings from the mining years and explore the gold mines themselves.
Coordinants: 63.541383, -150.995364

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