Why a Wonder: The central portion of the Alaska Range runs through Denali National Park. The Park Road provides incredible views of snow-capped mountains, and runs some 92 miles through the mountainous terrain, providing many opportunities to view the various peaks, as well as moose, caribou, grizzly bears, black bears, and other Alaskan wildlife.
Where: Denali is located about 4 hours north of Anchorage, and 2 hours south of Fairbanks. The Park Road begins at the entrance and extends 92 miles into the interior. Ordinarily no private vehicles are permitted past mile 15 (mile 30 in Spring and Fall), so travel beyond that point requires taking the park bus. There is an annual lottery for an opportunity to drive the entire Park Road, permitted only for a few days each September.
When: The primary visiting season is summer (May 20 through the second week after Labor Day), but the Park Road is open to some degree from March or early April through time of the road lottery, in mid-September. After that, the road is open for 30 miles until snowfall closes it.
Photography: The elevation of the mountains means that the peaks may be hidden by clouds at any given time, The Park Road changes elevation considerably, so you may travel in and out of clouds as you travel. As is the case with most landscape photography, sunrise, sunset, and blue hour can yield spectacular results, but the weather can be fickle.
The rangers will inform you that you must keep at least 25 yards from wildlife if you are out of a vehicle, with the exception of grizzly bears. You must remain 300 yards from grizzly bears. All of this means you will want the ability to shoot both wide angle and telephoto images.
Learn more: Information on Denali National Park is found here https://www.nps.gov/dena/index.htm. Info about the Denali Road Lottery is at https://www.nps.gov/dena/planyourvisit/road-lottery.htm (note the lottery has been cancelled for 2022 due to landslides.
See more photos from Denali's Park Road at https://scottthomasimages.com.
Copyright notice: Copyright © 2019 Scott Thomas