Trying to decide what to do when on an extended trip in a big place can be really difficult. Alaska is huge, and we knew we were visiting during a change of seasons – summer would be ending, fall would be starting and even winter may show its face during our visit. In the end we decided to start in Fairbanks and work our way south as it got colder, but we wanted to stay in Denali National Park long enough to catch some of the seasonal colour change. And boy was it worth it!
If you search for photos of Denali National Park some of the best will be taken during fall, when the tundra is undergoing a short colourful eruption before it all turns brown and then gets covered with snow.
Our First Views of Denali National Park
When we first arrived and took the camper bus into the heart of the park we could see the colours starting, but overall most of the vegetation we saw was green.
We stayed for three nights at Wonder Lake campground where we had a mixture of wonderful sunshine on one day, and sporadic rain on others. We photographed Mount McKinley when we could.
And when it was hidden behind rain and cloud we walked the tundra, picked blueberries and I busied myself with some macro photographs of all the berries, flowers and water drops I could find on the landscape.
A Few Days Later the Colours Change
Merely three days later when we were taking the bus back in the direction of the entrance to stay at the Igloo Creek Campsite we were blown away with how much the colours had changed. What was green a few days ago was now in places a deep maroon red.
Snow in August?
We had rain, lots of rain, so much rain in fact that we spent one whole day huddled up in the tent only dashing out occasionally for bathroom breaks or to cook food. We woke up one morning with the top of the tent frozen solid, but not wanting to spend another day huddled up for warmth in the tent we decided to catch the bus again back into the depths of the park to see if we could spot some wildlife from the comfort of the bus. On the way it started snowing and we got to see a different Denali, a white foggy Denali National Park.
Later it did clear up and we got some photos of colourful mountainsides with snow dusted peaks.
In ten days of camping in Denali National Park we felt like we saw almost all the colours this amazing park had to offer. Although it is colder when you visit at the end of August / beginning of September, if you catch the colour change it really is quite magical.
When and where have you been where you’ve found yourself amazed by the natural colours?