Two Days in Denali National Park | Debbi Marquette Photography

December 21, 2021

Denali National Park 

Denali National Park in Alaska is a must see United States National Parks.  Besides wildlife, it has meandering rivers, beautiful mountain peaks, and stunning scenic views.  Denali is home to Mount Denali, which, until 2015 was called Mount McKinley.  It is the highest mountain peak in North America.   The park surrounding the mountain makes up Denali National Park.   If you like travel photography, this is a great place to visit. 

How long to visit Denali National Park is a question many will ask.  We spent two nights there.  Two days is enough to get a good overview of the park.  But if you want to hike I would add an extra day.  Taking the longer bus tour occupies one entire day.  

You can’t mistake Denali for another mountain.  It clearly looms over the entire area.  In the picture below, Denali peaks out over the clouds.   Denali actually has two peaks and we were lucky enough to see both of them.

Mount Denali showing both peaks of the mountain in Alaska.  Picture shows views of Denali National Park.

An interesting fact:  only about 33% of the people going to this National Park actually see Mount Denali.  It is over 20,000 feet tall, but the cloud cover usually blocks view of the mountain.  We were lucky to see it and it is a sight I won’t forget.   

Bus tour

The Denali Park Road is 92 miles long.  The first 15 miles can be driven by cars in the summer months.  To see any more, you need to take a bus tour.  I’m not a fan of tours, but this one is worth it.  First, there is so much more to see after the first 15 miles.  Second, the guides are experts at helping you spot wildlife.   Third, the narration and details of the area would not be known without the tour.  

The trip is not for someone that does not like a little adventure.  The single lane dusty dirt road is not luxury travel.  However, it is stunning scenery and Alaska at its best.  

Views of mountains and valley in Denali National Park.  This was taken in June and you can see snow on the mountain tops.
Denali National Park

Wildlife

Grizzly Bears

The elusive grizzly bear was what I wanted to see.   Thank goodness for our tour guide or we would never have seen one.   There is so much land that the distance is deceiving.  You are looking for a tiny speck of brown among the green grass.  

We did finally see the speck of brown.  Then out followed two cubs!!  Since I’m a travel photographer, I do have a very long lens for wildlife so fortunately I could capture these photographs.  

Grizley bears - mother and two cubs - in Denali National Park, Alaska.
Grizley in Denali National Park

Dall Sheep

The sheep are prevalent throughout the mountains.  

Dall sheep in Denali National Park, Alaska.

Caribou

Caribou also frequent the park.  We saw several herds of them while we were there.   

Denali is one of those places you have to see and experience to realize how great it is.  The scenery is spectacular and if you do get to see Mount Denali, it will be a sight you will never forget.

View of Mount Denali in Alaska.
Mount Denali

Debbi Marquette Photography is located in Upstate New York at the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains.  Debbi is  an award winning and published  travel, landscape and bald eagle photographer specializing in artistic, authentic, and memorable landscape and wildlife photography.   She travels frequently, lives near the mountains and constantly has a camera in her hand to capture photographs so others can see the beauty of our world.

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