Stretching over 160 miles of the Alaska Range, you can find the snowy summits at the Denali National Park and Preserve. The mountains there are so tall that they’re often lost amidst the clouds. The skyline of this area, however, is dominated by the highest peak in North America –Denali. Ascending to a whopping 20,310 feet, the Denali Mountain offers the most magnificent sight in the whole of Alaska. Hundreds of thousands of curious thrill-seeking travelers set off on their journey to witnessbreathtaking views at the Denali National Park and Preserve. The estimated number of visitors at Denali every year is about 400,000, mainly between the months of May and September.
Two great men, Charles Sheldon, a conservationist,and Harry Karsten, an outdoorsman, came up with the idea of establishing the world’s first national park to preserve the amazing landscape of the area. Sheldon presented a proposal to the congress, which was approved in 1917 and the Mount McKinley National Park was initially established. In 1976, the Mount McKinley National Park was deemed as a biosphere reserve. According to the National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980, over 6 million acres of land were entitled to the park, and it was renamed as the Denali National Park and Preserve. US President Barack Obama renamed Mount McKinley in 2015, changing its name to Denali, meaning “the Tall One.”
The main visitor centerof the Denali National Park is located near the entrance of the park. It remains open in summers from 8am to 6pm every day. The Denali Visitor Centre, built in 2005, is the first place to visit when you initiate your journey. There are various activities you can do here including watching the park film andviewing the different exhibits representing the natural and cultural history of the area. You can also join different ranger walks and talks. The visitor center is also where backpackers get their mandatory and free backpacking permit.
The main Denali visitor center remains closed during spring, fall and winter. The Murie Science and Learning Center (MSLC) that is situated right across the Denali Visitor Center assumes the role of the visitor center. The Denali Visitor Centre is a short walk away from both the airport and train station.
Another important building located near the entrance of the park is the Wilderness Access Center, commonly known as the WAC. Visitors come here to reserve campsites, get a shuttle, and get backcountry permits or to buy tickets for the most famous bus tours.