(Photo: Denali National Park & Preserve/National Park Service)
Mountaineering, Denali National Park & Preserve, Alaska
Home to the continent's highest mountain and set in the country's largest state (and one of the world's last great frontiers), Denali National Park & Preserve is a whopping 6 million acres of unforgiving wilderness.
Attempting to scale the 20,320-foot Mt. McKinley (or Denali, as it's also known) is a serious matter. If you choose to ascend with a guide, Denali National Park & Preserve has authorized only a handful of mountaineering outfitters to lead climbs. To reach the summit, 21-day hikes with Alaska Mountaineering School start at $6,800 and include guides, climbing gear, in-mountain flights, some fees, and meals.
For the more conservative bunch, ranger-led summer hikes are also available throughout the park, including the two-hour Eielson Alpine Hike which offers views of Mt. McKinley and possible grizzly bear and caribou sightings. Denali also offers robust maps of self-guided hiking trails.