Canadian Rockies
  • Scenery
  • Wildlife
  • Inside Passage
    Fishing Trip
    Glacier Trek
    Scenes from Denali National Park
    (click on thumbnail for full-size image)

    Denali National Park is an incredibly huge expanse of wilderness in the heart of Alaska, mostly consisting of sub-arctic tundra. A single 90-mile road winds through just a small fraction of the park, leaving the rest largely untouched by humans. Travelling in the park, I was struck by the wide expanses, the harsh conditions for plants and animals, and a feeling of truly being in the wild.

    Mid-May is still a bit cold, and it even snowed a bit during our three day visit. But, the days are already quite long (16+ hours of daylight) and the nights never get quite dark (a bit disconcerting going to bed in broad daylight). Travelling during this "shoulder season" had a number of benefits, including few crowds and a rare opportunity to drive through the park with our own rental car. Normally, road access is restricted to park busses, though the downside was that the road had not yet opened beyond the 30-mile mark.

    Wide-open tundra and snowy mountains typical of Denali

    Melting snow and ice flow into streams and rivers

    Big snowflakes in this springtime snowstorm

    Shifting topsoil above the permafrost results in these "drunken forests"

    Female moose snacking on willows by the roadside near the park entrance

    The Caribou population was severely hit by some harsh winters several years ago

    Grizzly bear cub standing up by its mother. We missed seeing them cross the road by 2 minutes...

    Grizzly bear cub digging for food in the tundra

    Male Ptarmigan, Alaska's state bird, were frequently standing visibly by the roadside for mating season

    Dall Sheep were more often distant "dot sheep" in the hillsides - click to locate

    A closer look (after scrambling up a rocky slope) of a male Dall Sheep

    Two female Dall Sheep butting heads

    Copyright 2001 - Ann Mei Chang