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.