Blogs from Denali National Park, Alaska, United States, North America


After fishing our fingers off, we headed north again through Anchorage and up the Parks Highway toward Denali National Park and the mountain that was called “Mount McKinley” for over a hundred years. In 2015, the US government changed the formal name back to the original name, Denali, meaning “the great one”. And it is great – the summit of Denali is not only the highest point in North America, over 20,000 feet, but the mountain itself is taller than Mt. Everest, which sits on a base of other mountains. We stopped overnight in the town of Talkeetna, a kitschy little place overrun by tourists. Cruise ship passengers arrive by the busload to ride the Alaska Railroad and try to catch a glimpse of Denali. It’s a tourist train in the summer, but throughout the year, ... read more
One of hundreds of glaciers

As I was planning the Alaska trip, I wanted to get out of Anchorage AK on Sunday evening so I didn’t have to deal with the Anchorage rush hour on Monday, August 13, 2018 so I made a reservation at Best Western Lake Lucille Inn in Wasilla AK, less than 50 miles away. Initially, I had discovered a couple of attractions of interest in Wasilla but then happened upon a really cool attraction that originates in Talkeetna AK, right on our glide path. After breakfast at the Lake Lucille Inn, we completed some housekeeping errands in Wasilla under threatening skies that produced some sprinkles from time to time and began our 1 ½-hour drive to Talkeetna, home of the Hurricane Turn Train. What I had read about the attraction, part of the Alaska Railroad, led me ... read more
I Thought the Wind Might Help Clear the Observation Deck Windows of Raindrops, But We Apparently Weren’t Going Fast Enough
The Scenery Might Have Been Quite Nice on a Sunny Day
Here’s One of Those Sidings – This Time in the Rain, I Didn’t Disembark

From the same couple who did Norway in January, now rafting on the Tanana river, Denali, Alaska. Water temp, just above freezing. Grey water due to glacial silt. Steph is row 2 Bob is far side. About 3’ curls, everyone gets wet. Scenery to die for.... read more

RV parks are scarce in the Denali National Park area so we ended up staying about 27 miles outside the entrance area in a tiny, and I mean a dot, of a town called Cantwell at the Cantwell RV Park. There really wasn't much to it except that it had 30amp and water. It mostly housed Federal workers from the railroad. The owners were extremely nice and accommodating and it was quiet. We ventured out the following day to find Mt. Denali formerly known as Mt. McKinley. The owners of the park told us to go up the road about 50 miles to the South View Point area where, if we were lucky, we would be able to get a good view. Only 30% of the time are you able to view "the mountain" because of ... read more
Mt. Denali
Just a pretty picture inside the Park.

Weren't we so lucky to have the 3 best days for sunny weather when we drove to Denali National Park. The mountain Denali ( its Native Alaskan name "The High One " ) or as previously named Mount McKinley is rarely seen by visitors as it is usually wreathed in cloud. About 1 in 3 get to see it but there is was looming ahead of us like a huge iceberg on the road as we drove up North. In fact we were so surprised that we missed the turn outs so never go a photo so you have to take my word for it ! Denali is the tallest mountain in the USA at 20,310 ft , and since it starts from a lower base level,it is said to be taller than Everest. Back in ... read more
Last day in Eagle River
At the Eileson Visitors Centre
Grizzly bear sighting

Day 2 – Alaska Today, we left for Denali. The luggage was sent on ahead on a truck since the train did not have a space for everyone’s luggage. We all boarded the McKinley Explorer, not the McKinley Express. The name gives it away. We were going to have a nice slow ride to Denali, so that we could see some wildlife perhaps, and scenery for sure. It took a while to get the scenery to show up. The tracks go through the forest, and most of what you saw were trees on both sides. Sometimes, lakes, and a break in the tree wall, which allowed us to see Moose, Osprey nests, Trumpet swans and a Bald Eagle. He flew around while we were stopped on a side track, and then landed in a tree. We ... read more
McKinely Explorer
Switch the side tracks
Trumpet Swans.

When we awoke this morning we weren’t sure what the day held in store for us. We took our time rising, and we thought that we would have an easy day catching up on the blog, now a few days delinquent. We never imagined that before the day was over, we would have the opportunity of a lifetime to stand atop Denali AND have our picture taken at the 20-thousand plus foot summit. And we wouldn’t be making the mistake that that first climber made, reaching the wrong summit some 400 feet below the true peak. We had breakfast at Karsten’s in Denali Square just a short walk from our lodge room in Building “N”. There are a couple of dozen 2-story buildings where people have a view of the river. Karsten’s opened last season and ... read more

We rose early despite our tour not leaving until 8:30AM. We had to make our way up to the main entrance up the hill and we weren’t sure about catching the local shuttle to get us there. It showed up promptly and took us around the property, and eventually up the hill. We anxiously waited for Bus 10 (for tour group 10) to arrive and then we see Bus 11. Nine other tours had already departed to see the wonders of Denali! Our bus did arrive finally, some fifteen minutes late, and departed after Bus 11; but, our tour guide and driver seemed quite knowledgeable. He started by asking “Is everyone ready for a Great Day seeing the wonders of Denali!” He’d been doing this for over twenty years and said he got to go to ... read more
Dall Sheep
Wolf with the Caribou Carcass

Our bags were removed from the hallway of our hotel, just like they are getting off of a cruise ship. It’s nice not to need to worry about porting them around or getting them from one place to another. Our driver was a young student from Utah. He advised us that when we boarded the Riverboat that the best seats would be on the left side of the boat. He reminded us that when finished with lunch after the Riverboat, we should rejoin him, and he would be easy to find because he is the tallest and handsomest of the bus drivers. When we reached the river where our river tour would begin, he apologized, explaining that in Alaska it is a law covering all motor coaches such as this, that the driver must let people ... read more
Float plane Demonstration seen from Discovery River Boat
Susan Butcher's Husband's Dog Sled Training
Susan Butcher's Husband's Dog Sled Training

Friday After a quick to-go breakfast, blue berry pancakes, we hoped on our coach to Denali. We saw a moose on the way so there as much hollering from our fellow passengers!! The Denali complex is like an upmarket Butlins, but with the bonus that Denali National park is a short shuttle ride away. After a pretty good huckleberry ice cream, we got ourselves to the national park and took in a 2 hours trek, described as moderate but which was pretty steep and strenuous on my hike scale!! Apart from the stunning scenery, which we're getting blasé about, we saw a beaver and its dammed lodge and some Alaskan ground squirrels!! We ate at the lively Salmon Bake in the evening, lovely lively atmosphere, although we didn't wait for the live band who were starting ... read more

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