Denali (an Athabaskan word for “the high one”) or formally known as Mount McKinley is the highest peak in North America. If you’ve ever seen it, you will never forget it! Most people, including me, before I went thought, “well if it’s the highest peak then surely it can be seen by everyone! Right?” Wrong!
Only 30% of people that come to visit Denali actually get to see her fully.
This is one of the reasons that it is so special when you do! One of the main reasons that 70% of people don’t get to see the full mountain is cloud cover. The Alaska Range acts as a barrier for cold, moist air going north from the Gulf of Alaska. As a result, the mountain is covered in clouds 70% of the time, even in the summer.
You can be in Talkeetna (0ne of the best places to see Denali) and it be a beautiful day but looking across at Denali, she’s completely covered. Yes, Denali is a she. But, when the clouds around her decide to clear and if you are lucky enough to get that first look at her, it is one that is cemented in your mind!
My first time seeing her was May 2018 when my family took a trip to Denali. On the way back to Anchorage we stopped at the Talkeetna Lodge and it was a completely clear day, not a cloud in the sky! It was absolutely stunning! I was absolutely mesmerized! My family and I joined the 30% Club!
I recently returned from another trip to Alaska’s interior doing some land training for my clients. On this trip, I got the opportunity to stay at the Talkeetna lodge. They offer an amazing option. If you let the front desk know, they will add you to the “mountain wakeup call list”.
If Denali decides to make an appearance, no matter what time it is, they will call and let guest know. By the way, in case you didn’t know, during the main travel months for Alaska, (May, June, July, August and September) it does not get dark but for a very short time and some nights never get dark. So you have lots of opportunity, even at 3 am to see Denali!
Well, at 5am the phone rang and what did we do? With Pajamas, bedhead and sleepy eyes we RAN to the deck outside of the lobby to take her in! The sun was rising over the right side of the range and the colors were amazing!
Pinks, light blues, and white against the green forefront of trees were one of the most amazing paintings that God painted!
Having the moment of running to see her and watching for the next 45 minutes as the colors changed and the bright blue ski emerged will always be cherished!
If you ever have the opportunity to go see Denali don’t hesitate! If you are interested, I would love to help you see this amazing mountain that has captivated me and so many others! Click here to Begin Your Adventure