Journey to Alaska Episode 15
Join us in this episode where we visit Denali National Park, learn all about sled dogs and take on a day trip for a sweet surprise.
Journey to Alaska Episode 15 | Denali National Park | Sled Dogs
Denali National Park
Denali National Park and Preserve encompasses 6 million acres of Alaska’s interior wilderness. Its centerpiece is 20,310-ft.-high Denali (formerly Mount McKinley), North America’s tallest peak. With the terrain of tundra, spruce forest and glaciers, the park is home to wildlife including grizzly bears, wolves, moose, caribou, and Dall sheep.
Denali National Park was high on our list to visit when we decided to visit Alaska. This park makes our 31st National Park visited out of 61 National Parks in the United States. There are a total of 8 national parks in Alaska but few you can visit by car.
While you can only drive to mile 15 inside the park we still enjoyed our visit. We were able to see part of Denali since she is covered in clouds most the time, Denali makes her own weather being as tall as she is! Only 30% of visitors actually are able to view the mountain when they visit.
There are tour buses that you can take further into the park to really see more, but since we didn’t really want to sit on a bus for 8-12 hours we decided mile 15 was good enough THIS time around.
We decided to take a drive to Denali South View to see if we could really see her. It was a clear day so we packed up and drove 80 miles south! She still had some clouds but was there in the far distance.
Denali South View
Denali Visitors Center
On our way back we decided to stop at the visitor’s center so we could learn more about Alaska and Denali. We love to visit the visitor’s centers and just take our time, taking in all the information we can about the area. There is a bookstore for us book nerds, restaurant/cafe, a 20-minute film about Denali and other exhibits.
5 facts about Denali
- Denali has only one road and only one road entrance. 92 miles long and runs from east to west. It is a scenic road made mostly of dirt and gravel.
- Denali is so tall that with clear weather you can see the mountain from all over Anchorage, can be seen up to 200 miles away.
- On the eve of the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary, the name of the highest peak in North America changed from “Mount McKinley” to “Denali.”
- Denali is home to wildlands and many wild animals. Congress created this park in 1917; at the time, the purpose was to protect Dall sheep from over-hunting.
- The longest glacier is the Kahiltna Glacier
- Source: NPS.org
Denali Sled Dogs
Alaskan Huskies are the most commonly used breed of sled dog in the Great North today, not Siberian Huskies as many assume. Today’s modern Alaskan Husky has an indigenous genetic base that is a mix of two main types of native dogs.
In the majestic, snow-covered backcountry of Denali National Park in Alaska, not all of the animal residents are wild. About 30 to 35 of them are part of the park’s staff.
There are over 2 million acres of designated Wilderness in Denali. This is the highest level of federal protection for public lands and the sled dogs of Denali play a huge role in protecting and preserving the unique wilderness character of this park.
We loved the sled dog demonstration, make sure you check out the video of these working dogs, they are proud of their work and happy to pull a sled every day! They get so excited when they are called to work.
We recommend that you check out the sled dogs when you visit Denali National Park. These working dogs are one of Denali’s most popular attractions and every spring a new litter arrives and will grow up to follow their ancestor’s footsteps helping protect this beautiful national park.
Stay tuned for Episode 16 where we finally get to see and feel Denali on her turf!
Check out our photo gallery below for Denali National Park.
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