Photos From Denali National Park

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

We spent three days in Denali, including one taking the park bus down the one road that cuts through the park. A few interesting things about the park:

  • Only park buses and a few private buses are allowed all the way into the park. The buses are basically school buses. Makes for a bumpy ride. Also makes for a scary one at times, as the rickety claptraps round narrow mountain roads.
  • The rangers essentially leave the wildlife alone, save for outfitting some animals with radio collars. Injured animals are left to die. In one of the photos below, you see the skulls of two bull moose whomanaged to entangle their horns during rutting season. They got stuck. The park let them die that way, presumably of thirst. Our bus driver told us tourists had witnessed bloody fights between boar bears, and saw wolves take baby moose and caribou.
  • There are few trails in the park. With the exception of one stretch that’s particularly bear-heavy, you can hike pretty much the entire park, making your own way around.
  • The park is a bit bigger than the state of Massachusetts.
  • We were lucky enough to see the park’s “big five” mammals on our trip: bears (brown and black), wolves, dahl sheep, moose, and caribou. There are also porcupines, red foxes, wolverines, arctic squirrels, and about 30 other types of mammal.
  • If you go, don’t stay at the “Denali Crow’s Nest.” One of the very few bad experiences we had the whole trip.
  • Otherwise, the place is amazing. Really beautiful, pristine, and wonderfully quiet. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard so much nothing.

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9 Responses to “Photos From Denali National Park”

  1. #1 |  Eric | 

    You are a great photographer, sir. Beautiful pictures.

  2. #2 |  Ben Mercadante | 

    Very beautiful shots…that would be the wide open spaces. worked the coast years back, never made it to the interior…the pics were an inspiration in going back to see that region.

  3. #3 |  Jonathan Hohensee | 

    Balko is a shill for big Alaska.

  4. #4 |  md 20/400 | 

    Fantastic pictures. What a great vacation!

  5. #5 |  ice9 | 

    nice–it’s cool to see the wildlife. But if you saw a mongoose, you’re lucky. They’re rare in Alaska.


  6. #6 |  Radley Balko | 

    #5 — You’re right. I weirdly mistyped mongoose when I meant wolverines. Fixed in the post.

  7. #7 |  Thomas Paine's Goiter | 

    Those are amazing. The picture of the Wolf is beautiful and the pictures of Denali itself is fantastic. I think I want to buy a print of the picture of Denali with the moon rising…

  8. #8 |  Sky | 


  9. #9 |  Stephen Hicks, Ph.D. » Worth Reading for September 2008 | 

    […] 9/4 Our wonderful world: great photographs of London at night and the Denali, Alaska area. […]