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After the continental glaciers retreated from most of the park 10,000 to 14,000 years ago, hundreds of years were required to begin building new soils and re-vegetation.
The dynamic glaciated landscape provides large rivers, countless lakes and ponds, and unique landforms which form the foundation of the ecosystems that thrive in Denali.
The tremendous 18,000-ft (5,486 m) difference from the mountain's lowlands near Wonder Lake up to its peak is a greater vertical relief than that of Mount Everest.
The park is bisected from east to west by the Alaska Range and the Park Road is the only vehicle access into the park.
An amazing alternate route is the Denali Highway, the original route to the park, now connecting the Glen Highway to the Parks highway.
The park is best known for the 20,320-ft (6,194 m) Denali.Winters can be extremely cold with temperatures ranging from -40°F (-40°C) and below to high 20s (-2°C) on warm days.Specialized cold weather gear is necessary for mountaineering and winter visits.If the mountain is "out" be sure to take advantage, as it may only be fully visible for a few days each month. Denali National Park is accessible by car from the George Parks Highway (Alaska Route 3), which runs between Fairbanks and Anchorage.The highway is open all year, although the main road through the park may close at any time due to weather conditions.
Within a tundra zone the plants are often miniaturized, including tiny flowers, extensive mosses, and various shrubs.