Denali National Park, AK

There is only one road in the park. With only the first 15 miles open to cars, the only option to see the rest of the park is through an organized bus tour or shuttle. We chose the Kantishna experience full day tour, which goes to the end of the only road in the park. It was a very, very long day on a bus. The stops are only in designated places for a short period of time and there is not enough time to really enjoy the park. Next time, we’ll just take a shuttle to Eielson Visitor Center and hike around there.

Mt. McKinley, the highest peak in Denali, didn’t show up from behind the clouds, but we were lucky it didn’t pour on day of the tour. The next day, the visibility was a lot worse and the rain did not stop for the next three days.

The only road in the park

The only road in the park

People hiking around Eielson visitor center

People hiking around Eielson visitor center

The bus driver. She did a good job stopping everytime somebody spotted wildlife.

The bus driver. She did a good job stopping everytime somebody spotted wildlife.

Caribou antlers

Caribou antlers

A NPS ranger joined us for a couple hours at the very end of the road. She gave us some history about the gold mining past of the park and about the people who made that harsh environment their home. One of them was Fannie Quigle, who was an amazing woman, hunter and prospector who called Kantishna home.

Learning about the fascinating life of Fannie Quigle who lived in this house.

Learning about the fascinating life of Fannie Quigle who lived in this house.

Oh soo soft! Foxy :)

Oh soo soft! Foxy :)

As far as you can get by bus in Denali NP.

As far as you can get by bus in Denali NP.

Moose roaming the park

Moose roaming the park

Glacial river

Glacial river

Alaskans say that the summer is over by the time the fireweed flowers reach the top of the bloom

Alaskans say that the summer is over by the time the fireweed flowers reach the top of the bloom

After the tour we hopped in the car and drove to the end of the 15 mi road and did a quick hike by the river. On the way back, two caribou with giant antlers blocked our path. We made some noise to let them know we are there. They looked up at us for a sec then continued to graze on the grass. Those antlers looked dangerous, so we had to wait for them to move off the trail before going on.

9 pm. Still light outside. Went for a hike to counterbalance 12 hrs of sitting in a bus

9 pm. Still light outside. Went for a hike to counterbalance 12 hrs of sitting in a bus

Hiking along a river

Hiking along a river

Met Mr. Arctic Squirrel who looked and sounded exactly like a prairie dog we saw in North Dakota. Hmm, very suspicious.

Met Mr. Arctic Squirrel who looked and sounded exactly like a prairie dog we saw in North Dakota. Hmm, very suspicious.

This one was making so much noise.

This one was making so much noise.

It's past 10 pm here. Perfect time for another short walk :)

It’s past 10 pm here. Perfect time for another short walk :)

The clouds were moving in by the time we were done with hike and because it was past 10 pm, although the sun was still up, it was time to go to the hotel.

Uh oh! Rain is coming.

Uh oh! Rain is coming.

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