If you're thinking of going to Denali National Park to see wildlife, consider this a heads up: it's no African safari. You won't see hundreds of moose running alongside your car or bears around every corner.
The wildlife of Denali is much more subtle, and elusive. The park and preserve are spread out over six million acres, an area larger than the state of Massachusetts. So even though it is home to hundreds of bears and thousands of caribou, they have plenty of places to hide. Even on an 8-hour drive through the preserve, there is a good chance you may not see a single bear.
Which makes spotting them all the more rewarding! Of the Denali Big Five (grizzly, moose, caribou, wolf, Dall sheep), the only one we did NOT see was a wolf.
The most common animals in the park were caribou. Their little white rumps made them easy to identify.
A few lone moose (mooses?) wandered by.
White dots of Dall sheep stood out against the dark colors of the landscape.
A mama bear scrounged for food while her two cubs tumbled around on the rocky slope.
I was thrilled to FINALLY catch a glimpse of the state bird of Alaska, the ptarmigan. Or parmesan, as I call it, because I seem to have trouble remembering how to pronounce their name.
Cars are allowed only on the first 15 miles of the park. To see the rest of the 90-mile road, you must take one of the organized tour buses. It's just as well, because I for one would not want to be driving on the narrow switch-back road, tires an inch or two from the edge of the cliff.
View from the bus, of the cliff edge.