The Highest Place in Alaska

The highest point in Alaska (and the United States) is Denali, formerly known as Mount McKinley, which reaches 20,320 feet above sea level.
Written by Cameron Thiessen
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Updated on Sep 27, 2022
The place with the highest elevation in
is the peak of Denali—formerly known as Mount McKinley—measuring 20,320 feet (6,193 m) above sea level. Not only is this the highest point in the entire United States, but it’s also thethird-most prominent and third-most isolated peak on the entire planet after Mount Everest and Aconcagua!
On the northern tip of the Alaska Range, Denali is North America’s highest peak. It was named by the Koyukon people, whose ancestors inhabited the area thousands of years before it was eventually named Mount McKinley by a gold prospector in 1896. The name McKinley was selected in support of William McKinley, who was running for—and would eventually win—the U.S. presidency.
Now known once again by its millennia-old name, Denali can be ascended by well-trained explorers, but the ascent is no walk in the park. The simplest route up the mountain is, at the very least, a feat of genuine mountaineering. Fortunately, there are other services available that allow visitors to experience Denali’s unparalleled views.
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What is the highest elevation in Alaska?

The highest place in Alaska is the peak of Denali, reaching 20,320 feet above sea level. The surrounding Denali National Park and Preserve is 6,045,153 acres (or 9,446 square miles), making it larger than the entire state of New Hampshire. The park contains ample trails for all sorts of mountain activities. 

How do I get to Denali?

Denali is about 240 miles north of Anchorage, but if you’re already in Alaska, it’s undoubtedly worth the drive. You’ll be treated to stunning views unlike anywhere else on the continent. Because of its sheer size, you can take tours lasting full days, covering the entire 92 miles of Denali Park Road.
Here are the directions for getting to Denali:
  • If you need to drive north to get to Denali, do it via Talkeetna
  • If you’re driving south, take the route through Fairbanks
  • Denali’s entrance is located at Mile 237 of Highway 3 (George Parks Highway)
  • Instead of driving, you can take the Alaska Railroad from Anchorage or Fairbanks; planes and air taxis are also available.

Things to do around Denali

Denali is one of the most impressive tourist sites in the entire hemisphere, so there are plenty of adventuring services set up for novice explorers to enjoy it—even if they aren’t quite prepared for the taxing experience of mountaineering.
In addition to driving, you can charter flight tours, some of which will take you right to the summit! If that’s not your jam, you can try a guided hiking or ATV tour around the mountain. Dog sledding is available, too!
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What settlement has the highest elevation in Alaska?

Far below the height of Denali’s peak, just to the southeast, is the small townof Paxson, boasting a total population of a whopping 26 people as of 2020. Located at the junction of the Richardson Highway and Denali Highway, Paxson’s gift shops and tourism is a fun pit stop before hitting the mountain.

Where to find affordable car insurance

Whether you’re an experienced mountaineer preparing to summit the formidable Denali or just a tourist hoping to catch a glimpse of one of the most impressive mountains on earth, an Alaska road trip could go horribly wrong if you’re not equipped with the right car insurance.
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