SUBSCRIBE | NEWSLETTERS | MAPS | VIDEOS | BLOGS | MARKETPLACE | CONTESTS
TRY BACKPACKER FREE!
SUBSCRIBE NOW and get
2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Backpacker Magazine – August 2008

Denali National Park

Hike with grizzlies in this remote northern corner of Alaska's greatest park.

by: By Willie Karidis

Photo courtesy National Park Service
Photo courtesy National Park Service

Exit Strategy

>> Clean up Located just inside the park entrance, the Riley Creek Mercantile has women's and men's showers for $4 each.

>> Pig out 229 Parks Restaurant and Tavern dishes up tangerine duck salad and pistachio-crusted Alaskan silver salmon. Bonus: The salads come straight from a local organic garden, where potatoes grow to softball size and the lettuce leaves are as big as fans. (907) 683-2567; 229parks.com

>> Best Dayhike: Healy Overlook On a clear day, Healy Overlook is the only place dayhikers can score a view of McKinley–and what a view it is. From the trailhead, hump 2,000 feet and two miles to the popular view spot. Then break free of the (usually sparse) crowds by continuing two miles over well-worn but undeveloped trail to the 5,715-foot summit of Mount Healy, where marmot and Dall sheep pose in front of lesser-known Alaska Range peaks Mts. Deborah, Hess, and Hayes.

>> Try something new The Nenana River Canyon's Class III and IV wave trains are possibly the wildest–and certainly the coldest–water you'll ever paddle. If the water's low enough, guides will let you dive into the 36°F water–wearing a dry suit. Denali Outdoor Center, (888) 303-1925; denalioutdoorcenter.com

Master McKinley
Denali is a wonderland of megafauna, but it can also be hell to hike in. Here's how to get the most out of the park.

>> Survive your river crossings Trailless also means bridgeless, at least in the backcountry. Cross rivers safely by scouting shallow spots (throw a rock and listen for the telltale "ker-plop" indicating deep water), facing upstream, and linking up with your strongest teammate out front. Watch BACKPACKER's How to Cross a River video.

>>Spot a bear The best way to see a grizzly? Get out your binoculars and focus them on one hillside. Watch for fur balls ranging in color from dark brown to tawny gold. You'll notice the movement first; then the shape.

>> Attack the schwack Bushwhacking through willow sucks the life out of anything larger than a lynx. Detour if there's an option. If there isn't, go with–not against–the branch growth. If you find yourself floundering, follow a game path–but alert bears by making noise.

>> Forage Supplies Don't buy stove fuel until you've scoured the food lockers at the Riley Creek Campground next to the train depot. On past visits, we've seen enough leftover gas and food on the shelves to provision an entire weeklong trip.

You're a Tourist, Now Act Like One
Ride the park bus all the way to Wonder Lake. Yes, you'll jostle for window space with the camera crowd, but you'll also see roadside bears and Alaska Range views on the 12-hour roundtrip drive–and you'll get a dozen different views of Mt. McKinley on the way.

The Stats
Acres 6,075,030
Miles of trail 36
Website nps.gov/dena
Phone (907) 683-2294
2007 visitation 458,308 (total), 30,919 (backcountry)




Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip:
Email (req):

Reader Rating: -

ADD A COMMENT

Your rating:
Your Name:

Comment:

My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

The Political Arena
The anti-LGBT movement in a nutshell
Posted On: Apr 18, 2014
Submitted By: Three
The Political Arena
Am I missing something here?
Posted On: Apr 18, 2014
Submitted By: hbfa
Go
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site MyRockyMountainPark.com.

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
City:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
State:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions