We were really lucky in Denali NP, we had planned to just come into the park during the day to do some hiking and take a bus trip. When we went to book the bus trip we asked on the off chance if there were any campsites available and luckily for us there was a last minute cancellation for four nights in Teklanika so we jumped on it. When you stay in Teklanika you can purchase an unlimited bus pass for a discounted price so we took full advantage and spent the next three days on the buses. The scenery in Denali is spectacular and we we even saw Mount McKinley on two days and on one of those days we saw all of the mountain and WOW she is impressive. Denali has more vertical relief than Mount Everest!
The wildlife viewing in Denali is great but requires a lot of time spent on a bus and most of the wildlife will be at a distance. We saw lots of Caribou, Dall Sheep, several Moose including three large Bulls and some Grizzlies. We had one mother Grizzly with her two cubs walk right by the back of the bus and Joe was able to get some great photos. Watching the cubs was an absolute delight, I was blown away by their coloring. Browns and Grizzlies are the same species, Grizzlies live away from the coast and are smaller due to their diets (no fish). Unlike the brown bears we had seen, the Denali grizzlies are very blond, almost white except for a dark stripe along their backs and their whole underside and legs were dark-absolutely beautiful.
We actually had pretty decent weather for our time in Denali, we did two beautiful hikes; the Savage Alpine Trail from Savage River and the Alpine trail from the Eielson Visitor Center. We chose to spend all of our time on the buses so we did not get to do any off trail hiking, which is encouraged in the park. I tend to prefer hiking on trails but Denali’s landscape beckons you to explore and you can see wildlife from a long way away so it is almost impossible to accidentally surprise a bear.
Click here to view our August Flickr album.