DENALI NATIONAL PARK & VICINITY
Denali... "The Great One"... is the centerpiece of Denali National Park, but the pristine wilderness and wildlife are the show's co-stars. 92 miles long, the Denali Park Road parallels the Alaska Range and travels through low valleys and high mountain passes. It is the only road in the park. Along its route, beautiful landscapes can be seen at every turn, and there are many opportunities to view Mount McKinley, if the normally cloudy skies permit. Wildlife can often be seen, too, though sightings are not guaranteed. During summer, private vehicles may drive the first fifteen miles of this road to Savage River. The road to Savage River is paved, and features numerous pull-outs. Mount McKinley can be seen as early as Mile 9, if the day isn't too overcast, and animals of all sorts can sometimes be seen on this stretch of road, although chances to see wildlife increase greatly with a bus trip farther down the Park Road. Beyond Mile 15, the road turns to gravel, the speed limit drops to 25 MPH and traffic is restricted to buses and shuttles operated by park concessionaires. There is an outstanding visitor center near the park entrance, and the park offers opportunities for hiking, cycling and flight-seeing. The sled dog kennel is open to the public and offers daily demonstrations. This is a working kennel and the dogs ARE USED to patrol the park during the winter months as motorized vehicles such as snowmobiles are prohibited.
During our two-day Denali area visit, we stayed at the peaceful and secluded Denali Park Village, about six miles south of the park entrance. In a forested riverside setting, Denali Park Village includes a central lodge surrounded by several buildings and cabins. Many of the buildings feature enclosed common areas as well as riverside benches and tables. Denali Park Village offers shopping and activities and is the base for several of the national park bus tours. The charming Cabin Nite Theater is performed on site, and provides a hearty all-you-can-eat salmon and ribs dinner as well as terrific Alaskan entertainment. The meals are served community-style, and you’re sure to get to know your neighbors. The entertainers are your servers and vice versa. The Cabin Nite Theater at Denali Park Village is a fun way to end a long day of Denali sightseeing, and is a special part of a Denali Park Village experience.