Denali, once known as Mount McKinley, is one of the famous mountains in the world. It may not be as tall as the likes of Mount Everest or K2, but it is the tallest mountain peak in all of North America and is almost a thousand feet taller than another iconic peak: Mount Kilimanjaro. Located in the state of Alaska, where many more of North America's tallest peaks can be found, Denali represents a big challenge to any climbers or mountaineers. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.


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The Koyukon people of Alaska who have lived in the area near the mountain for many centuries had always called it Denali. It was in 1896 that a gold prospector came upon the site and decided to call the mountain Mount McKinley, after William McKinley, who was a presidential candidate at the time and later became the 25th President of the United States. From 1917 to 2015, the official name of Mount McKinley remained, but in August of 2015, the mountain was given its much older name of Denali out of respect to the Alaskan natives.

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2.Ascents of Denali

Ascents of Denali
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The first known surveys of Denali occurred around the turn of the 20th century, with the first attempted ascent occurring in 1903 by Judge James Wickersham. Unfortunately for him, Wickersham chose a very dangerous route that would not be successfully climbed for another six decades, so his ascent was not successful. In 1906, Dr. Frederick Cook, an American explorer who is also well-known for allegedly reaching the North Pole, claimed to have made it to the top.

However, Cook’s story of his ascent was later deemed to be false, and the world had to wait until June 7 of 1913, when a party led by Harry Karstens and Hudson Stuck made it to the summit of Denali, with one of the men who made it to the peak, Robert Tatum, claiming that the view was "like looking out of the windows of Heaven". Over the years, many other ascents have successfully made it to the top of Denali, with different parties choosing different routes.

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3.Elevation of Denali

Elevation of Denali
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Denali has the highest elevation of any mountain in North America. It has an elevation of 20,310 feet (6,190 m) above sea level. This means that Denali has an elevation almost double the elevation of the United States’ highest city, which is Leadville. Located in Lake County, Colorado Leadville has an elevation of 10,152 feet (3,094 m). When compared with other major mountains around the world like Mt Everest, which has an elevation of 29,029 feet (8,848 m) or K2, which has an elevation of 28,251 feet (8,611 m), Denali isn’t quite in the same league of elevation, but it does have the distinction of having the world’s largest vertical rise.

Along with having the highest elevation in the United States and North America, Denali is also classed as the third most prominent and isolated mountain peak on Earth. The second highest mountain in North America is Mount Logan, located in the Yukon, which has an elevation of 19,551 feet (5,959 m), while the second highest mountain in the United States is Mount Saint Elias, which is also found in Alaska and has an elevation of 18,009 feet (5,489 m). The state of Alaska plays home to many other very high mountains, with Mount Whitney of California being the highest mountain in the United States outside of Alaska, with an elevation of 14,505 feet (4,421 m).

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4.Elevation of Denali Camps and Landmarks

Elevation of Denali Camps and Landmarks
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Any trip to Denali and ascent of the mountain involves stopping at various camps and landmarks along the way. Experienced climbers and mountaineers are familiar with these camps, each of which is featured at a relatively high elevation too. Denali Base Camp, for example, has an elevation of 7,200 feet (2,195 m) and is located at the Kahiltna Glacier. It’s important to note that all heights above 8,000 feet (2,500 m) can start to induce altitude sickness in certain people, and the air gets thinner and colder as the ascent continues.

Denali Base Camp is naturally where most treks up Denali begin, with lots of climbers gathering at this spot almost every single day. Camp 1 has an elevation of 7,800 feet (2,377 m), Camp 2's elevation is much higher at 11,200 feet (3414 m), and Camp 3 is yet higher with an elevation of 14,200 feet (4328 m). The final major landmark along the ascent of Denali is High Camp, which is located at an elevation of 17,200 feet (5,243 m).

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Denali Elevation

Hotel Spotlight: Waterfall Resort

The Waterfalls Resort in Ketchikan, Alaska is the ultimate dream getaway for guests who enjoy fishing as a guided sport, offering boats, equipment, fishing tournament and a seafood processing team that packs all fish and sends it home with its guests. The sheer multitude of fish that have made their habitat here is what as kept the Waterfall Resort alive and running, allowing generations of families of fishers to enjoy its waters, beauty, and abundant marine life.

At the Waterfalls Resort there are four lodging options available to guests. All resort rooms provide guests with the relaxation and comfort that is much needed after a long, exhausting day of fishing. Carefully and wonderfully renovated, many of the rooms have a forest or water view, along with full, private bathrooms and other in-room amenities, like coffee and tea makers and mini refrigerators. Amenities provided to all guests who lodge at the Waterfalls Resort are daily housekeeping services and ice delivered to the room. Each room is conveniently located a short distance from all resort attractions, including the Dining Room, Lagoon Saloon, and docks, with golf-cart shuttle services also available.

Boardwalk Cabins – Located closest to the docks are the Boardwalk Cabins, originally constructed in 1912 and known for lodging the historic Waterfall Cannery fishing crew. In total, there are 26 newly restored Boardwalk Cabins. Each Cabin accommodates up to two anglers, with one bedroom, one bathroom and 258sf.

Lodge Rooms – Located above the general store, the lodge rooms provide all its guests with an ocean view. In total, there are ten Lodge Rooms available to guests, each one featuring two double-size beds. The Lodge Rooms are the closest to the Waterfalls Resort’s Dining Room as well as the Lagoon Saloon. Each room accommodates up to two people, with one bedroom, one bathroom and approximately 190-222sf.

Egg House Suites – There are four total Egg House Suites available to guests to reserve. These suites provide a truly VIP experience to the guests that choose to lodge here, which was once a storage room for the Waterfall Cannery’s salmon roe. These suites include room living areas, a private, more isolated location, two queen-size beds, large bathrooms with a bathtub and separate shower, wet bars and a featured wrap-around deck that provides a view of the Ulloa Channel. The Egg House Suite accommodates up to two people with one bedroom, one bathroom and 618sf.

Tongass Townhouses – Perfect for families or larger groups, the Tongass Townhouses provide a comfortable lodging experience to guests. Located nearest to the trails and waterfall, the townhouses have two stories and can accommodate up to four guests at one time. On the upper level of the townhouse are the two bedrooms, one with two double-size beds and the other with two twin-size beds. There are also two bathrooms on the upper level. On the lower level, guests can cook their own meals in the full kitchen or feel right at home using the washer and dryer. Additional amenities on the lower level of the townhouse include half-bath and a fireplace that leads out onto a balcony with an ocean view.

In the Dining Room, guests can come to fill their rumbling stomachs with breakfast and dinner. Views in the Dining Room include a sweeping view of the Ulloa Channel. Ingredients and dishes are fresh and prepared daily by the chef and the kitchen crew. The hearty breakfast includes eggs of all styles, bacon, sausages, home-style pastries, hash browns, cereal, yogurt, all accompanied with comforting, warm coffee, tea, or juice. Lunch is pre-ordered for the boat, from a menu that includes fruit, sandwiches, fried chicken, candy, cookies, and a variety of beverages.

After an exhausting day on the water, many of the anglers return once again to the Dining Room in which dinner is the featured event. Appetizers start the meal off right with all the angler’s favorites, including shrimp, Kahli Cove oysters, and Dungeness crab. Guests can then dive into the all-you-can-eat buffet, featuring popular hot dishes prepared with local vegetables and meat.

Lagoon Saloon – For some past anglers at the Waterfalls Resort, nothing compares to trading fishing stories and adventures after a long day on the water over a cocktail at the Lagoon Saloon. Along with cocktails, the Lagoon Saloon also offers a variety of delicious nonalcoholic drinks, beers, and ale direct from the Alaskan Brewing Company. Additional snacks and items available include soda and cigars, along with the much enjoyed, complimentary popcorn, coffee, and tea.

Aside from beverages, the Lagoon Saloon offers its guests an enjoyable atmosphere with some added amenities. Guests can let loose, socializing around the pool and ping-pong tables, playing darts, watching the big-screen televisions, playing poker, or viewing the cannery memorabilia. For a more personalized touch, guests can ask for an early morning wake up call to get moving the next day. The Lagoon Saloon sees that its guests are given a stick-to-the-ribs kind of breakfast, and comforting coffee before heading out to the waters on their cabin cruiser, ready to embark on their next fishing adventure.

Boats and Equipment – At the Waterfalls Resort, there are 27 individually designed North River cabin cruisers, crafted with the safety of its passengers in mind. Upon arrival at the Resort, each guest is assigned a cabin cruiser for the duration of the stay in Waterfalls Resort. A trained, professional U.S. Coast Guard guide will train guests on the features of the cruiser, as well as the rules and regulations of its use. North River cabin cruiser amenities include fuel-injected outboards, air-suspension seats, heated cabins and Furuno electronics.

The Waterfalls Resort works hard to personally accommodate every guest. Staff and guides go beyond preparing their anglers for their fishing experience. All-weather gear, bait and tackle is provided to guests, including rods, reels, fishing line, hooks, bib overalls, hooded jackets, and waterproof boots. Anglers of all skills and levels are welcome to take part.

Fish Chart and Limits – At the Waterfalls Resort, there is an abundant number of halibuts, lingcod, rockfish, and wild salmon that have found their home in these waters. Due to their multitude, the Waterfalls Resort has slowly earned its place in Alaskan fishery as the most popular Resort for fishing in all of Alaska. The variety of salmon fish species that can be found in and around the Waterfall Resort waters are described in more detail below.

King Salmon (Chinook) – Known for its long, tiring fights, the King salmon challenges the angles with all of its strength and might. Typically ranging in weight from 14-17 pounds, the largest King salmon caught at the Waterfall Resort on record was 79.2 pounds. In order to preserve and be mindful of the King salmon populations, fishers are limited to just three King salmon caught in June and one salmon caught in July-August.

Silver Salmon (Coho) – Silver Salmon typically range from 8-12 pounds and are on average about 2 ½ ft. long. These salmons are recognized for their incredible jumping ability. The largest Silver Salmon caught on record was 22.75 pounds.

Pink Salmon (Humpback) – Most recognizable for their humpback-like feature, also called “humpies”, this species of salmon weighs on average 3.5-5 pounds and is typically 15-20 inches long. The Pink salmon is the most plentiful of all Pacific species, and normally return to their spawning grounds in mid-August.

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The fishing season at the Waterfalls Resort typically runs from May-September. It’s important that guests, both residents and nonresidents alike, bring a valid fishing license, as the Alaska Department of Fish and Game require them to have it prior to fishing at the Waterfalls Resort.

King of Kings Salmon Tournament – This tournament has repeatedly proven to be the highlight of the fishing season at the Waterfalls Resort. A “King of the Day” tournament is also a possibility, given to the angles that grabs the biggest king catch that day, week, month or for the entire season. Prizes for winning the infamous tournament have included tournament baseball caps, Cabela’s fishing gear, trips, cash, and a Ford F-150. Guests can reserve their spot in the tournament when they make their reservation to stay at the Waterfalls Resort.

Seafood Processing and Fish Boxes – One of the most unique features and amenities offered at the Waterfalls Resort is the opportunity for fishers to take their catch home with them, savoring the rich, Alaskan cuisine long after their fishing adventure has ended. At the Waterfalls Resort, guests only have to catch their lingcod, rockfish, halibut, or salmon. The Waterfalls Resort crew and processing experts do the rest of the cleaning and packing. Fishing guides can inform guests on the best fish cuts to choose for the tastiest culinary experience.

The fish prepping and processing crew flash-freezes the catch, then uses vacuum-packs to preserve the fish meat. As guests then prepare for their departure home, an Alaska Airlines representative checks the fish wet-block boxes at check-in, just as if it were any another suitcase.

320 Dock Street, Ste. 222, Ketchikan, Alaska 99901, Phone: 800-544-5125

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Hotel Spotlight: Salmon Catcher Lodge

Located on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, Salmon Catcher Lodge features breathtaking sights, freshwater fishing, and cozy log cabins. With its proximity to the water and beautiful surroundings, Salmon Catcher Lodge is ideal for family vacations, getaways with friends, or romantic trips.

Offering 7 unique, standalone buildings, Salmon Catcher Lodge boasts homey décor, up-to-date amenities, and comfortable bedding. Each cabin includes a gas grill, wireless Internet, a fully stocked kitchen, and carpeted floors. Guests can choose to stay in:

Caribou Crossing - Able to accommodate 16 guests, Caribou Crossing contains three bedrooms with twin-sized beds or bunk beds, as well as a master suite with a King-sized bed. Guests of Caribou Crossing can enjoy a full-sized kitchen and living room, tub, and washer and dryer. Caribou Crossing also offers a large wrap-around deck.

Grizzly Den - The Grizzly Den can accommodate 6. This cabin includes 1 king-sized bed, 2 twin beds, and 1 queen-sized pullout sofa. While staying in the Grizzly Den, guests can use the included washer and dryer, the full-sized kitchen and living room, and balcony.

Eagles Nest - Able to sleep 5-6 guests, the Eagles Nest includes 1 king-sized bed, 2 twin-sized pullout couches, 1 twin-sized bunk bed, and 1 twin bed. Guests can enjoy a balcony, full kitchen and living room, and outdoor porch swings.

Captain’s Quarters - The highly-request Captain’s Quarters can sleep 8-9 guests. It includes 4 bunk beds and two sofa beds of varying sizes. Guests can make use of the tub, washer and dryer, and full living room and kitchen. This property also includes a balcony and outdoor barbeque deck.

Conference 1, 2, or 3 - The Conference Building contains three separate lodgings that accommodate 6 guests each. Each contains a full bathroom, 2 bunk beds with full-size bottom bunks, and a kitchenette.

Mt. McKinley - The Mt. McKinley Building is a triplex that includes three floors with three separate lodgings. Each floor accommodates 5-6 guests. Each offers a full living room and kitchen, a balcony, and onsite laundry. Lodgings come with an assortment of king-sized, twin-sized, and full-sized beds.

Johnson’s Landing - Johnson’s Landing can accommodate 2 guests. It includes a king-sized bed, full living room and kitchen, balcony, and on-site laundry.

Additional amenities include:

-Daily housekeeping services

-Fish processing equipment

-Fish freezers

-Community fire pit


Each lodge at Salmon Catcher Lodge includes a full-sized kitchen or kitchenette. Full kitchens are outfitted with an oven and stovetop, microwave, and refrigerator. Kitchenettes include a full-sized refrigerator, coffee maker, and toaster. Guests are encouraged to bring in and prepare their own food.

Guests can purchase groceries at one of several stores in the nearby communities in Kenai. Kenai also offers several eat-in and take-out options for guests that are not in the mood to cook.


Salmon Catcher Lodge is the perfect place for a fishing trip. Accessible by boat, each of the lodge’s fishing areas boasts clean waters and large amounts of salmon, halibut, and rainbow trout.

While on drift boats or fishing charters, fishing guides assist guests as they fish the waters of the Kenai River. The lodge supplies anglers with all equipment, bait, and tackle. Although fly-fishing is available, the lodge requests that fly fishermen bring their own rods and hip boots.

Guests can process and freeze their catches in the fish processing and freezing stations provided at the lodge.

Family Services & Kids’ Club

Salmon Catcher Lodge is a great destination for families. Guided fishing trips can help fishers of all levels get the most out of their stay at the lodge. Each log cabin is large enough for larger groups, and bunk beds are available in most cabins.

Weddings, Reunions & Conference Facilities

Salmon Catcher Lodge’s picturesque location and facilities make it ideal for a variety of gatherings.

Each facility is outfitted with a variety of technological and audio-visual equipment, and catering from the chefs at Salmon Catcher Lodge is available for any event. Packages include these services, as well as the services of live bands or DJs.

Salmon Catcher’s Lodge is typically used for weddings, church retreats, family reunions, bachelor/bachelorette parties, or baby showers.

Things to Do Nearby

The Kenai area offers a variety of attractions for visitors of Salmon Catcher Lodge.

Popular activities in the area include white water rafting, kayaking, whale watching, flightseeing, fly-out fishing, and clam digging.

Wildlife viewing is very popular in this area. Visitors can expect to spot mountain goats, sea otters, and whales throughout the year. For more sightseeing opportunities, guided trips by plane to Katmai National Park are available.

Visitors of the lodge can also head into town to enjoy food fresh seafood, meats, and drinks at one of Kenai’s restaurants, bars, and cafes.

37911 Ralph Lane, Kenai, AK 99611, Phone: 907-335-2001

Back to: Best Alaska resorts

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