In postcards, the mountain is always covered in snow under clear, blue skies. In reality, it can only be clearly seen a few days a year. The rest of the time, you'll see something closer to this, as the mountain is covered by clouds much of the time. Click on any photo to enlarge it
Most people rent a car in Anchorage and enjoy the 4.5 hour ride up north to the gate of the park. Some people take the Alaska Railroad train all the way to the park entrance. There, you can stay at one of a number of hotels overlooking the park from the main highway, or brave up and camp at one of several campgrounds within the park, being close to nature. Bring your tent or RV!
The only way to tour Denali is on board a bus operated by the park service, or on private tour buses. The park service tours are much less expensive and usually the drivers are very knowledgeable and talkative, so you get a free guide this way. They will also stop for many photo ops of scenery and wildlife. The drive itself, on the only road in the park (as seen in the photo above) is beautiful. Every day, you take the bus to a different location. You can get off the bus anywhere you want, hike for a bit, get back to the road and catch the next bus. These bus rides, along with the hikes you should not hesitate to take, will help you experience this sub-Arctic location, and see its wonders with no need for a zoom lens...
There are, of course, the wild animals that show up only when you ride the bus and not when you hike!
(Yes, it's a gray wolf)
And look at this bear - it has finally lost its hair and has to grow it real fast before the short summer is over and it's (-40) out there!
On a second thought, I wouldn't want to spoil your positive image of bears! So here is a picture I really like - I took it in Denali, in late season, when the sun was low on the horizon. I like the combination of loneliness and strength I find in it. Do you?
Finally, after several rewarding days in Denali, when you miss the pulse of downtown city life and the intensity it brings with it, you can always head down to Portage, Alaska!
To prepare for your next vacation, read my post about books to read before a trip Up North