A moose trots across the snow-covered ground of a tundra (or flat, frigid expanse of land), where winter temperatures can dip to minus 40ºF. The only sound the moose can hear in this cold, quiet area is the wind whipping and ice crunching underfoot. The spot is part of Alaska’s six-million-acre Denali National Park and Preserve, established in 1917.
Visitors can find spruce forests, glaciers, and mountains inside this park. In the south-central part looms Denali: At 20,310 feet tall, it’s the highest peak in North America. Its name means “the great one” in Koyukon, a local Native American language. Five Native American groups call the area in and around the park home, and they’ve lived here for thousands of years.
The park can be extremely cold and snowy from October to March. And the mountains are frosted with ice year-round. During the summer, low-lying areas may reach around 75ºF. In these spots the snow melts to make way for lush green fields, some brimming with colorful wildflowers.
Out and About
Tourists visit Denali National Park and Preserve throughout the year. Just a single road runs through the park, so visitors often hike, snowshoe, or ride snowmobiles to get around.
In addition to the stellar view, guests might catch sight of the park’s animal inhabitants including moose, grizzly bears, Dall sheep, and wolves. The park is even home to the wood frog, an amphibian that can tolerate freezing temperatures. Clearly Denali National Park and Preserve is a great place to chill!