Denali National Park, Alaska
Best for wilderness scenery
American school children learned to call it Mount McKinley, but today North America’s tallest mountain goes by its native Athabascan name of Denali (“The High One”). The mountain, like a wise old sentinel, totally dominates the six-million-acre wilderness park that surrounds it. Many park roads are closed to private cars, so book the 90-mile, 12-hour-long Kantishna Wilderness Trails Tour (a bus ride through the park, including a stop at an old mining town), well in advance. Sharp eyes can spot big grizzly bears, moose, caribou, Dall’s sheep and lively little red foxes. Splurge on a flight-seeing tour that lets you get up-close looks at glaciers and a different perspective on wildlife moving across the landscape below. Whitewater rafting, in a wet suit for warmth, is another option, as is hiking the handsome Savage River Trail. In summer, it’s possible to see as many as 167 different species of birds flutter in front of your binoculars. It's pleasant to camp in the park, but a good alternative might be to book rooms at Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge (outside the park), or Kantishna Roadhouse in the park.