Denali Ranger Kris Fister, a 30-year veteran of the National Park Service, and a Camp Denali Lodge naturalist share some fascinating stories and things to look for along the Denali Park Road.

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Points of Interest

Although most view­points along the Park Road can only be accessed by pri­vate tour bus­es or park shut­tle bus­es, you can dri­ve to this view­point (the first 15 miles are open to pri­vate vehi­cles). The dense spruce for­est opens up here, giv­ing you the first view of Denali, as it is called in the native Athabaskan lan­guage (for­mer­ly Mt. McKin­ley). The moun­tain is rough­ly 72 miles away and you’re only see­ing the top 8,000 feet or so. Still, it’s a  ...more

The Sav­age Riv­er was carved out by glac­i­ers, and as a con­se­quence it is a per­fect exam­ple of a braid­ed riv­er. The flat grav­el bars of the riv­er offer a great oppor­tu­ni­ty for an easy hike, and min­i­mize the chance of sur­pris­ing a bear or oth­er wildlife.

Difficulty: Moderate

This infor­mal hik­ing area begins at the Prim­rose rest area and heads up a gen­tle ridge until you reach the bench, which pro­vides panoram­ic views of the park. Wild­flow­ers are abun­dant in this area and usu­al­ly peak between July 20 and August 10.

Igloo Creek is one of three tent-only camp­grounds in the park. Sit­u­at­ed right next to the creek, it is a great place to relax and enjoy the wilder­ness and the area around the camp­ground offers great hik­ing opportunities.

A great place to catch a glimpse of Dall Sheep, Igloo Moun­tain is also where the first dinosaur tracks in the park were dis­cov­ered. You can see them your­self, if you go on one of the many easy day hikes that start here.

Sable Pass on the Denali Park Road is a wildlife hotspot. The area is des­ig­nat­ed as crit­i­cal griz­zly bear coun­try in Denali Nation­al Park, so it is per­ma­nent­ly closed in order to pro­tect wildlife. 

Poly­chrome Pass gets it’s name from the col­or­ful vol­canic rocks that you can see from the over­look, but the name could also be applied to the col­or­ful veg­e­ta­tion, streams, moun­tains and glac­i­ers that make this spot unique. This high over­look is a great spot to watch bears, moose and cari­bou from far enough away that you won’t risk dis­turb­ing them.

Denali Nation­al Park is full of rivers, with many of them orig­i­nat­ing from glac­i­ers. What makes these rivers spe­cial? Why are they braid­ed and what keeps them from just straight­en­ing out?

Veg­e­ta­tion cov­er in Denali is always chang­ing. Find out why the forests around the Tok­lat Riv­er are chang­ing, and how the Park Ser­vice uses his­toric pho­tos to doc­u­ment these changes. Audio tour by Camp Denali Wilder­ness Lodge.

Cari­bou trails weave back and forth across the alpine slopes above Stony Hill. These trails are evi­dence of the sea­son­al migra­tion pat­terns of Denali’s cari­bou. Find out why cari­bou under­take this migra­tion, and where you can expect to find them depend­ing on the sea­son. Audio tour by Camp Denali Wilder­ness Lodge.

This is the most pho­tographed view of Denali (Mt. McKin­ley) from the road. You’re up high, at the edge of a moun­tain pass, and there’s alpine tun­dra all around, with the road snaking towards the moun­tain in the fore­ground. And this is the first spot where you can see the whole moun­tain from base to sum­mit. On clear days, Tun­dra Wilder­ness Tours will extend their trip sev­er­al miles just to reach this spot. Stony Hill is also a great place to…  ...more

The griz­zly bears of Denali can be found feed­ing in almost every cor­ner of Denali Nation­al Park. Ear­ly to mid sum­mer, these bears can be often observed from Tho­ro­fare Pass. What draws these adapt­able and per­sis­tent omni­vores to this high alpine envi­ron­ment? Audio tour by Camp Denali Wilder­ness Lodge.

The fall moose rut is an unfor­get­table part of the inte­ri­or Alas­ka fall. In Denali, the Eiel­son vis­i­tor cen­ter gives vis­i­tors a year round win­dow into this dra­mat­ic event through the dis­play of two sets of inter­locked moose antlers. How did these antlers become locked, and what like­ly hap­pened to the two unlucky bull moose? Audio tour by Camp Denali Wilder­ness Lodge.  ...more

On a clear day, this stretch of the park road offers unpar­al­leled views of Denali and the oth­er high granitic peaks of the cen­tral Alas­ka Range. What role do glac­i­ers play in carv­ing out the ever grow­ing shape of this moun­tain range? Audio tour by Camp Denali Wilder­ness Lodge.

The 20 miles before Kan­tish­na offers views of hun­dreds of small ket­tle lakes. These lakes pro­vide crit­i­cal habi­tat for moose, birds, and beavers. What are these ani­mals after and how do the lakes pro­vide? Audio tour by Camp Denali Wilder­ness Lodge.

Won­der Lake is a some­what unlike­ly lake. Learn how the lake was formed, and what makes it so unique.

There is gold in the hills above the his­toric set­tle­ment of Kan­tish­na. A com­par­a­tive­ly small gold rush in this part of Alas­ka indi­rect­ly fore­tells the estab­lish­ment of the orig­i­nal Mt. McKin­ley Nation­al Park. How did min­ing activ­i­ty near­ly push wildlife pop­u­la­tions to the brink? Audio tour by Camp Denali Wilder­ness Lodge.