A Grizzly Day in Denali National Park

Yesterday we took an 11-hour bus trip to Wonder Lake in the heart of Denali Park. While the scenery is always spectacular and I love seeing any animals up close, it’s the grizzly bears that make or break a trip for me. From that narrow perspective, yesterday was a winner, as we saw 12 individuals.

We left the Wilderness Access Center at 9:15 with 36 people on the bus, and found our first grizzlies at 11:10 as we started up the climb to Sable Pass (see a map of Denali). One of the cubs was quite funny, as he chased a magpie several times.

Grizzly bears in Denali National Park
Looking back at the road along Polychrome Mountain.

Polychrome Overlook, Denali National Park
The view from Polychrome Overlook.

Polychrome Overlook, Denali National Park
Just before the Toklat River crossing, we met this youngster, who had apparently been trying his hand at sheep hunting on the cliffs.

Grizzly bear in Denali National Park
The photo-panel at the lower part of this photo shows the view from the Eielson Visitor Center on a clear day – we weren’t so lucky.

Denali National Park
Another couple more views from the Eielson Visitor Center.

Denali National Park

Denali National Park
A tiny corner of Wonder Lake, which we reached at 3:00pm. The light was very poor for broad photos of it.

Wonder Lake, Denali National Park
The blueberries were ripe, plentiful and delicious 🙂

Denali National Park
Just north of the Muldrow Glacier.

Denali National Park
The McKinley River is the largest of many braided rivers in the park.

Denali National Park
The Toklat River, one of the rest stops that are made on the trip.

Denali National Park
At 6:35pm we finally got a view of Denali (Mt. McKinley), though by that time she was far away. It cleared completely about 15 minutes later. Sometimes you get lucky, sometimes not so much…

Denali National Park
A close look at the Teklanika River from the final rest stop.

Denali National Park
Our final grizzly was in an area where bears are not usually seen.

Denali National Park
This young fellow was apparently not used to buses, as he stayed on the road for a long time. We named him “The Jogger”.

Denali National Park

Today, we’re off to Fairbanks for a one-night stay.

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