Beginner's guide to Alaska

You don’t have to see the same places everyone else does. Here’s our guide to the coolest glaciers, biggest bears, and best small town

See the tallest mountain
Photo by Brown Cannon III / Intersection

See the tallest mountain

In a state of superlatives, Mt. McKinley, in Denali National Park & Preserve, is the most super of all: 20,320 feet of continent-topping grandeur. The average visitor sees it in a big group on a guided bus tour. You can do better. 

To grasp McKinley’s vastness, rise above it on a plane. Talkeetna-based outfitters offer many flight-seeing options: Go for the longest (and most expensive) flights that circle the entire peak. K2 Aviation ($385; flyk2.com) is one reliable outfitter.

Spend the night: Kantishna Roadhouse gives you easy access to the park’s backcountry, and the kind of hearty Alaskan meals you need for exploring. From $440/person, including meals; 2-night minimum; Jun 4–Sep 12; kantishnaroadhouse.com

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