Denali, known as Mount McKinley until 2015, is the highest mountain peak in North America at an elevation of 20,310 feet above sea level. It lies in the Alaska Range within Denali National Park and Preserve in South Central Alaska. As tall as it is, on most days Denali is hidden behind clouds and thus cannot be seen even from the nearest towns or by visitors in the park itself.
My daughter lives in Anchorage, a little over 130 miles south-southeast of Denali. She says she can see Denali from Anchorage roughly a dozen times a year when the weather in the north is exceptionally clear. From 2012 through 2016, we visited our daughter and her family for a total of more than ten weeks, but I never had a clear view in Denali’s direction. This past summer I broke my losing streak.
Early one morning I went to Point Woronzof on the west (seacoast) side of Anchorage to take landscape and seascape photos. Looking across Cook Inlet, I finally got my first clear view of Denali. The photo below shows Denali on the right and Mount Foraker on the left. Mount Foraker is a few thousand feet shorter than Denali and a few miles closer to Anchorage, so it dominates the horizon almost as much as Denali.
Olympus E-M1 (40mm, f/4, 1/640 sec, ISO200)
Seeing this literally snow white mountain over 130 miles away was an impressive sight for me, to say the least. Readers from Southern Louisiana can think of this as standing in Lafayette and seeing something on the other side of New Orleans.
Before this year, Donnette and I had visited Denali National Park twice for a total of nine days. I never saw Denali from the park during those visits. However, I also broke that losing streak a week after the above photo was taken.
One morning we were hiking with my daughter and grandchildren up a mountain on the Savage River Loop Trail in Denali National Park. Lagging behind them as usual, I paused for a breather at one point. In that situation, I often turn around to view the ground I’ve covered for encouragement. When I did so this time, I saw Denali 70 miles away, partially covered by a shawl of clouds.
Panasonic DMC-FZ300 (50.2mm, f/4.5, 1/640 sec, ISO100)
Denali has two summits, North Peak and South Peak, the latter being only 840 feet higher. Because the above photo is a southwest view, the rounded peak above the clouds on the left can be identified as South Peak. The sharper peak on the right showing a ridgeline is North Peak. In the valley between the peaks is Harper Glacier, partially hidden by clouds.
Hover your mouse cursor over any marker in the map below to see which photos were taken at that location.