National Parks

Discover Denali in June: Wildlife, Adventures, and Unique Stays Await!

Nestled in the heart of Alaska, Denali National Park offers a plethora of experiences for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. As June rolls in, the park awakens with vibrant greenery and an abundance of wildlife. Whether you’re looking to explore the great outdoors through hiking and biking, or prefer the comfort of a narrated bus tour, Denali has something for everyone. Let’s delve into what makes Denali National Park a must-visit destination in June.

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Wildlife and Nature in Denali National Park

Wild Grizzly Bear in Alaska
Wild Grizzly Bear in Alaska

June is a magical time in Denali National Park. As the snow melts and the landscape transforms into lush greenery, wildlife begins to emerge from their winter slumber. Visitors can expect clear air, stunning views of the Alaska Range, and vibrant foliage. The park is teeming with life, from the majestic grizzly bears and elusive wolves to the graceful caribou and towering moose. Birdwatchers will also be delighted by the variety of species that can be spotted, including golden eagles and ptarmigans.

Fun Fact: Did you know that Denali is home to North America’s highest peak, Mount McKinley, standing tall at 20,310 feet?

Activities and Experiences

Mount Denali as seen on a clear day Alaska.
Mount Denali as seen on a clear day in Alaska.

Denali National Park offers a range of activities that cater to different interests and fitness levels. Here are some of the top activities you can enjoy in the park:

Hiking and Biking: With the road closed to private vehicles beyond Mile 15, hiking and biking are excellent ways to explore deeper into the park. The trails provide solitude and stunning scenery, making it a perfect way to immerse yourself in nature. Popular trails include the Savage River Loop, Mount Healy Overlook, and Horseshoe Lake.

Bus Tours: For those who prefer a guided experience, various bus tours are available. The Natural History Tour and Tundra Wilderness Tour are popular options that offer narrated insights into the park’s history, geology, and wildlife. Although some routes are limited this year due to road closures, these tours still provide a comprehensive overview of Denali’s natural beauty.

Unique Lodging Experiences: Staying at remote lodges like the Denali Backcountry Lodge offers an immersive wilderness experience. Early season visits in June are particularly magical, with fewer crowds and pristine conditions. These lodges provide an opportunity to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of daily life and reconnect with nature.

Exploring Denali on Foot and Bike

Cycling on rural road, Mount McKinley, Denali National Park, Alaska, USA
Couple cycling on rural road, Mount McKinley, Denali National Park, Alaska, USA

Denali National Park is a hiker’s paradise, with trails ranging from easy strolls to challenging backcountry routes. Here are some tips for making the most of your hiking and biking adventures in Denali:

  • Plan Ahead: Check the park’s website for trail conditions and closures before heading out. Some trails may be snow-covered or muddy in early June.
  • Pack Essentials: Bring plenty of water, snacks, a map, and bear spray. Weather in Denali can be unpredictable, so dress in layers and be prepared for changing conditions.
  • Respect Wildlife: Keep a safe distance from animals and never approach or feed them. Remember that you’re a guest in their home.

Pro Tip: The Savage River Loop is a great option for a scenic hike that offers beautiful views of the river and surrounding mountains. It’s a relatively easy trail that’s suitable for all ages.

Guided Bus Tours: A Scenic Journey Through Denali

For those who prefer a more relaxed way to see the park, guided bus tours are an excellent choice. These tours provide a wealth of information about Denali’s natural and cultural history, and offer the chance to see wildlife and scenic vistas without the physical exertion of hiking or biking. Here are some of the most popular tours:

Natural History Tour: This tour focuses on the rich cultural history of the park, including the traditions of the indigenous people who have called the area home for thousands of years. It’s a shorter tour, making it ideal for families with young children.

Tundra Wilderness Tour: This tour takes you deeper into the park, offering the best chance to see wildlife in their natural habitat. The knowledgeable guides provide fascinating insights into the park’s ecology and geology.

Lodging in Denali: A Unique Wilderness Experience

Staying in Denali National Park is an experience in itself. The park offers a range of lodging options, from campgrounds to luxury lodges. Here are some top picks for a unique stay in Denali:

Denali Backcountry Lodge: Located at the end of the park road, this remote lodge offers an all-inclusive experience with comfortable accommodations, gourmet meals, and guided activities. It’s the perfect place to unwind and soak in the beauty of the Alaskan wilderness.

Campgrounds: For a more rustic experience, consider staying at one of the park’s campgrounds. Riley Creek Campground is the most accessible, while Teklanika River Campground offers a more remote and tranquil setting.

Fun Fact: June in Denali is known for its long daylight hours, with nearly 21 hours of sunlight each day. This phenomenon, known as the Midnight Sun, allows for extended exploration and activities.


Additional great options for Denali National Park

Denali Grizzly Bear Resort – Denali Grizzly Bear Resort offers cozy accommodations with stunning views, convenient amenities, and easy access to Denali National Park, making it an ideal choice for nature lovers and adventure seekers.

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