Denali also goes by the name Mount McKinley, as this used to be its official name. This is North America’s highest mountain peak.

Why Is It Famous?

The main reason that Denali is famous is its summit elevation of 20,310 feet (6,190 meters), which makes it the highest peak in North America. Denali is also the third-most isolated and third-most prominent peak on Earth.

What Is Nearby?

Denali is part of the Alaska Range and is the main attraction in the Denali National Park and Preserve. This places Denali in Alaska’s interior. Healy is the closest town to the Denali National Park and Preserve, just 12 miles to the north of the park’s entrance.

Geological Description

Denali is a type of granitic pluton that the Pacific Plate’s subduction under the North American Plate created. Simultaneously, erosion stripped away sedimentary material in and around the mountain.

Denali is one of the biggest mountains above sea level, going 5,500 meters (18,000 feet) between base and peak. It goes from a sloping plain to a base-to-peak height between 17,000 and 19,000 feet.

There are two main summits on Denali. The North Summit is the smaller, with an elevation of 5,934 meters (19,470 feet). Some call the North Summit a separate peak, but others do not. Five glaciers are flowing off the mountain’s sides. The Kahiltna Glacier is one of these, measuring 44 miles, making it the longest glacier within the Alaska Range.

Events in Time

The mountain has been called Denali for centuries by the locals in the area. A gold prospector called it Mount McKinley in 1896 to support future President William McKinley, who was a candidate at the time. The federal government recognized that name from 1917 to 2015. Alaska officially changed the name to Denali in 1975, and the federal government followed suit in 2015.


Denali is the tallest mountain in North America and this Alaskan mountain is part of a national park and preserve. The mountain also has high topographic prominence and isolation.