Unit 12: Sunrise and Sunset Glaciers
Tips and Special Features
Going up the Gorge Creek or Sunrise Creek drainages provides access to high alpine terrain with excellent camping opportunities. You can connect to the Toklat (Unit 10) and Stony Creek (Unit 11) drainages by crossing passes made of steep scree and permanent snowfields. All these routes require good map reading skills and a willingness to make long climbs over steep terrain. There are many unexpected hazards in the drainages, such as waterfalls, loose rock, and/or grizzly bears. Be prepared to back-track if the route you choose becomes unsafe.
A less demanding traverse is from the Thorofare River to Glacier Creek (Unit 13) via the Contact Creek drainage. This drainage takes you to a pass of moderately steep scree where you can drop into either Wolverine or Intermittent Creek. Great views of the Alaska Range and Mount McKinley are found from this area and farther up Mt Eielson. Getting to Contact Creek requires crossing the Thorofare River which can be challenging.
Scott Peak is a high, glaciated peak and is only for experienced mountaineers with proper equipment. Ask at the Backcountry Information Center for more details if you wish to climb Scott Peak.
Did You Know?
Denali is home to both black bears and grizzly (brown) bears. Black bears inhabit the forested areas of the park, while grizzly bears mainly live on the open tundra. Almost all bears seen by visitors along the Park Road are grizzlies.