Winter wildlife viewing
Often sought, rarely seen
It can be difficult to see wildlife in winter, though the beautiful and isolated land makes the effort rewarding.
Some animals spend their Denali winter completely out of sight - bears in their dens, ground squirrels in their burrows. Others migrate to more hospitable climates - most of Denali's birdlife being an obvious example.
The resident animals that do stay active through winter, meanwhile, often limit their movements to conserve energy through periods of intense cold, and take shelter in dense forests to protect themselves from biting mountain winds.
If you come in winter seeking wildlife, therefore, it is best to practice patience. You may end up with many more landscape photos than ones of animals, unless you have a considerable number of days to spend in your search. Sightings of smaller animals, like snowshoe hares, ravens and red squirrels may be more common than larger animals, like lynx, wolves or caribou. For all wildlife, you are more likely to see sign of their passing, than the animals themselves.
Luck and perseverance can yield success, and you can always fall back on the photogenic sled dogs of Denali if other animals elude your camera.
Did You Know?
Nearly 500 vegetation plots have been installed in Denali, to monitor climate change. Warmer temperatures allow woody plants to grow at higher elevations, invading the fragile and unique plants already in high alpine tundra - and threatening the animals that depend on those specialized plants.