Mount McKinley: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Mount McKinley.

  • Mount McKinley is the highest mountain in North America, at 20,320 feet. It is located in the Alaska Range in Alaska.
  • The mountain is also known as Denali, and is the centerpiece of the Denali National Park and Preserve. The park covers over 6,000,000 acres, making it larger than the state of New Hampshire.

  • Denali National Park contains about 12,000 lakes and about 16 percent of the park is covered by glaciers. There is only one 90 mile road through the entire park.
  • The mountain was named in 1896 for the Presidential nominee, William McKinley. In 1975, the State of Alaska officially changed its name to Denali, which means the High One.
  • Mount McKinley has a weather station on its slopes, at a height of almost 19,000 feet, which measures temperature, pressure and wind speed. Wind chill temperatures here can be a s low as minus 118 degrees F.
  • The mountain was first climbed in 1913. In 1910, 2 Alaskan prospectors almost reached the top, armed with hot drinks, donuts and home made snowshoes.
  • In a typical year, about 1,275 people try to climb Mount McKinley; about half of them succeed. Every year about 14 people need to be rescued from the mountain.
  • Because of its location so far north, Mount McKinley has a lower barometric pressure than other mountains, which affects climbers. There is less oxygen at the summit, than on other mountains.
  • The slopes and surrounding area are home to bears, foxes and caribou as well as about 450 species of flowering plants. Many fish species found in the region are smaller than normal because of the cold waters.
  • In November, 2012 a 25 cent piece depicting the mountain and the park was released by the US Mint.

What next? Find out more facts about mountains by visiting our mountains resources page.