Trip to Alaska Reasons: #10: Denali: The Big One.
Denali, or Mount McKinley, dominates Alaska’s skyline, even when you’re hundreds of miles away from it. The native population gave it the name “Denali”, meaning “The Big One”, and it’s hard to argue with that description. Topping out at 20,310 feet, Denali is the tallest mountain in North America. It’s big enough to be seen from Anchorage on a clear day.
Unfortunately, many visitors to Denali National Park don’t get to see the mountain. It’s only visible about 30 percent of the time, due to the weather. This is a good reason to plan a couple of days in Denali National Park, rather than just one, to increase your odds of seeing Denali: the Big One.
I’ve seen Denali from Anchorage, and I was lucky enough to see it, just briefly, during my visit to Denali National Park. In fact, I was so surprised to see the mountain peeking through the clouds, that I asked the driver of the park’s shuttle bus to stop and back-up, and confirm that it’s what I was really seeing.
The mountain stood out in a way that’s hard to describe. It’s as if it didn’t fit in — which makes sense, because despite being distant, it’s so big that it looked surreal.