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The best national parks for extreme sports

By: Starre Vartan on July 8, 2012, 5:51 p.m.
Denali National Park

Photo: National Park Service

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Denali National Park

Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska tops many a bucket list. Not just because it’s in Alaska, which is a real trek for most of us, or because everything’s more extreme and beautiful up North, but because you can explore it via dogsled, which is definitely not a common mode of transport. (If you do have your own team, you can mush away in the park as long as you have a permit). The U.S. National Park Service keeps and maintains its own sled dogs for ranger patrols (yes, you can visit the animals) which are the only sled dogs in the U.S. that help protect a national park. You can get in on the action at NPS-suggested Earth Song Lodge, which offers single- and multiday trips via dogsled. You can enjoy the scenery (there’s even an “Into the Wild” tour for fans of Jon Krakauer’s book) or get hardcore with seven- and 10-day trips that go deep into the Denali wilderness.