Soaring high at 20,310 feet is Denali (formerly named Mt. McKinley after an Ohio Senator who never visited Alaska). The mountain was renamed Denali in 2015. Equally impressive are its nearby cousins: Mt. Foraker (17,400), and Mt. Hunter (14,573). These three dominate the skyline for hundreds of miles.
You can get up close and personal with the “Roof of North America” on a flightseeing tour. Up here, you are surrounded by ridges and peaks, all higher than any mountains in the Lower 48. They form 600 miles of massive mountains called the Alaska Range. The top of this arc of peaks lies within Denali park and extends to the Pacific Coastal Range, which stretches to Central America.
The scenery is mind-boggling. Cornices perch precariously atop these ridges. Hanging glaciers the size of shopping malls fall off their flanks. And fluted ridges thousands of feet high rise up nearly vertical slopes. Look at the rock. Most of it is gray granite. But some of it is sedimentary. Over the past 65 million years, an ancient ocean has subsided. Fish fossils have been found nearly four miles above sea level.