50 Interesting Facts About Denali National Park

Last updated on July 7th, 2021

36. Denali National Park and Preserve is one of the best places in the US to view the Aurora Borealis. You’ll need a bit of luck to see the phenomenon, though. While auroras occur year-round, the night sky is only dark enough in autumn, winter, and early spring to be able to see these displays of light which occur after a solar storm sends particles into the earth’s magnetic sphere.

37. Visitors trekking through Denali National Park, will be following in the footsteps of individuals who made the journey during the last Ice Age which occurred more than 12,000 years ago.

Toklat Aurora Borealis
Toklat Aurora Borealis. Image credit – Denali National Park and Preserve

38. There are very few trails in Denali National Park that are maintained by rangers notably the Taiga Loop Trail and Horseshoe Lake Trail. While this seems low for a national park, there are unlimited opportunities to set out over the soft tundra landscapes without having to follow a marked path.

39. There are over 12,000 lakes and ponds in the park and preserve which also contain 18,679 miles of streams. The largest of which include Chilchukabena Lake (2.6 miles long, 2 miles wide covering 2,056 acres) and Wonder Lake (2.7 miles long half a mile wide covering 649 acres).

40. Paleontologists found dinosaur bones in Denali National Park and Preserve for the first time during an expedition in 2016. Thousands of trace fossils (tracks of feet and body prints) have also been found since their first discovery in 2005.

41. Evidence of dinosaurs in the park dates from about 65 to 72 million years ago and includes Theropods, Hadrosaurs, Ceratopsians, and Pterosaurs. Evidence of a marine brachiopod, Myirospirifer breasei, has only ever been found in Denali, and is named after Phil Brease who was a park geologist from 1986 until 2010.

42. Denali mountain is so tall that it makes its own weather. On a clear day, you can see the mountain from the Anchorage International Airport as well as other distant locations. Polychrome Pass in the park (named for the colors of the nearby rocks) offers breathtaking views of the entire Alaska Range when weather permits.

43. Denali National Park is not a good choice if you do not like insects. During the warmer summer months, hordes of mosquitoes and black flies do their best to consume visitors alive. Insect repellent is a must but will not drive them away completely; visitors are advised to wear some sort of netted headgear and not to leave any skin exposed.

Chris McCandless
Chris McCandless. Image credit – Wikipedia.org

44. In 1992, Christopher McCandless ventured into the Alaskan wilderness and settled in an abandoned bus in the park. He carried almost no food or equipment and wanted to live in solitude in the landscape.

45. Four months later, his remains were found which showed that he only weighed 67 pounds when he died. His story has been widely publicized and the bus where his remains were found has become a shrine attracting people from around the world.

Magic Bus 142.
Magic Bus 142. Facts about Denali National Park. Image credit – https://in.pinterest.com/pin/342977327848936674/

46. The bus has since been removed from the park and on September 24, 2020, it was relocated to the Museum of The North at the University of Alaska where McCandless’ ‘Magic Bus 142’ (as it was called) will be restored and housed in an outdoor exhibit.

47. In 2012, the United States Mint released the 15th in its series of ‘America the Beautiful’ quarters that feature Denali National Park. The coin’s reverse side shows a Dall sheep with Denali mountain in the background.

48. You can opt to see Denali park from the air with several flight-seeing tour operators offering flying excursions through Denali Park including flights around the peaks, glaciers, and pristine lakes offering a bird’s-eye view.

49. There are plenty of options for visitors that are not enamored of survival camping and hiking just outside the park. The towns of Healy and Cantwell provide more comfortable accommodation options including the Grande Denali, Alpine Creek Lodge, and Denali Lakeview Inn.

Alaska Cabin Nite Dinner Theatre. fact file Denali National Park.
Alaska Cabin Nite Dinner Theatre. Image credit – https://www.denaliparkvillage.com/things-to-do/alaska-cabin-nite-dinner-theatre/

50. For those looking for something entirely different to the wilderness, the Alaska Cabin Nite Dinner Theater at Denali Park Village puts on a show featuring gold-rush era comedy, storytelling, and music.