dispersed hiking in Alaska

If you’ve been to Alaska, you know hiking there is challenging.

Distances are HUGE. And there are not all that many established trails.

Turns out, that’s partly by design.

GearJunkie in Denali:

The park’s 2006 Backcountry Management Plan … “Except as otherwise specified… backcountry access and travel in Denali will continue without designated routes or constructed trails to allow for freedom to explore and to minimize signs of human presence.”

Similar trail-less wilderness areas exist within Alaska, which contains more than half of all the country’s wildernesses, but Denali is by far the most popular, totaling more than 38,000 backcountry campers last year. According to Burrows, the relative ease at which visitors can access Denali’s backcountry (it’s split in two by the park road) has spurred increased exploration and cause for increased measures to keep the wilderness as Murie intended.

Very quickly after starting hiking from the park road, we ran across our faint trails, and like many of Denali’s visitors we opted to take the path less traveled, spread out to disperse our impact and take advantage of a wilderness experience unlike anyplace else.

Bushwhacking Encouraged: Denali Strives To Eliminate Ad Hoc Trails

Matt Zimmerman - Grizzly bear in Denali National Park
Matt Zimmerman – Grizzly bear in Denali National Park

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