Place

Stony Hill Overlook

a dirt road leading across a tree-less landscape toward a huge snowy mountain
A late spring view of Denali

NPS Photo / Emily Mesner

Quick Facts

Scenic View/Photo Spot

Stony Hill Overlook is a scenic stop on most Denali transit buses (except for Toklat-bound buses, which turn around before Stony) and on some Denali tour buses.

It is the first base-to-summit view of North America's tallest peak, and is an iconic view for visitors to Denali. 

Geology

From Stony Hill Overlook, if the weather is fair, there is a stunning view of Denali unobscured by other peaks 37 miles (60 km) to the southwest. From this perspective it looks like the north peak at an elevation of 19,470 feet (5,934 m) is approximately the same height as the taller south peak at 20,310 feet (6,190 m). This is because of your visual perspective; the north peak is 1.5 miles (2.4 km) closer than the south peak, so it appears taller.

Though Denali and its surrounding mountains are largely composed of granitic rocks, Denali’s north peak is capped with a sedimentary rock called Kahiltna Flysch. The flysch formed in a deep oceanic basin approximately 100 million years ago during the Cretaceous Period. Since then it has uplifted not only above sea level, but to almost the top of the highest peak on the continent. Mountaineers thus have the potential to gaze at fossilized sea creatures while standing at the top of North America!

Denali is still growing by about one millimeter per year. That may not seem like much, but at that rate it will rise one kilometer (3,300 feet) in the next million years—a brief period in geologic time.

Denali National Park & Preserve

Last updated: March 24, 2022