Denali National Park, Alaska, view of Park Road and Mt. McKinley looking west toward Fish Creek, Thorofare Pass and Eielson Visitor Center

Formerly known as Mount McKinley, Denali is the single highest peak in North America, standing at an impressive and intimidating 20,310 feet above sea level. Denali's base-to-peak rise is actually the largest of any mountain in the world situated entirely above sea level.

Historically, Denali was the mountain's original name, given by the local Koyukon people meaning "the tall one" or "big mountain." It wasn't until the late 19th century when a gold prospector decided to rename the mountain after the then president, William McKinley. This was a very controversial issue through the mountain kept the name from 1917-2015 when, after a series of discussions, the name was officially changed back to Denali. Alaskans almost unanimously called it Denali anyway.

The first recorded, verified attempt at scaling Denali's massive peak dates back to 1913 when a small group of experienced climbers scaled the South Summit. The West Buttress climb, today considered to be the easiest and therefore the most popular, was cleared by Bradford Washburn in 1951.

The mountain is extremely dangerous during inclement weather and is thus impassable. Only experienced climbers with training are advised to undertake this behemoth though there are Denali training camps and guided climbs lead by highly experienced mountain guides who can help you realize your dream of scaling North America's tallest peak. If you're in the area just for sight-seeing, then Denali and its stunning National Park arguably afford no better scenery in all Alaska.