March 6, 2013
Contact: Kris Fister
, (907) 683-9583
The National Park Service road crew will begin preparations for the annual spring road opening on Sunday, March 10. Beginning that week they will be removing ice overflow buildup on sections of the road between park headquarters (Mile 3) and Mile 7. The road will still be available for winter recreational activities such as cross-country skiing, mushing, or skijoring during that week, but the snow cover could be minimal to non-existent on sections of the road due to the ice removal operation.
On Sunday, March 17 the annual operations to clear and prepare the Denali Park Road for vehicle access by park visitors will begin in earnest as the spring road opening crew heads west. Road crew supervisors flew the park road in late February, and observed what appears to be average or normal amounts of snow and overflow ice on the road. The remote weather station at Kantishna is currently reporting 24 inches of snow.
In addition to removing the winter accumulation of snow and ice, the road crew personnel must steam open ice-clogged culverts to prevent road damage caused by runoff from melting snow and ice. They will also repair any damage that occurred over the winter before opening the road for use by the public. Visitors walking or bicycling on the road beyond park headquarters should expect to encounter snow removal equipment on any portion of the road during working hours. Please stay 50 feet or more from any heavy equipment on the road and make certain the equipment operator is aware of your presence before attempting to pass.
Updates and pictures of the spring road opening operation will be posted regularly.
Access to park areas west of headquarters for snowshoeing, mushing, cross-country skiing, and other seasonal recreational activities is available on the Spring Trail, which runs south of, and parallel to, the park road. The trailhead and parking are located at the lower end of the Headquarters parking lot at the summer bus turnaround site.
Depending on weather and road conditions, the park road could open for travel as far as the Mountain Vista Rest Area (Mile 12) by early April and to the Teklanika River Rest Area (Mile 30) by mid to late April. Visitors are advised to contact the park before their trip for updates on the tentative opening dates.
The Murie Science and Learning Center (MSLC) at Mile 1.3 is open from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm daily as the winter visitor center, providing information and backcountry permits. Ranger-led snowshoe hikes are taking place on Saturday and Sunday at 1:00 p.m. through Sunday, March 10.
The Riley Creek Campground at Mile 0.2 is open, but water and sewer services will not be available until later in the spring. A vault toilet is provided for campers, and water can be obtained at the MSLC.
Denali National Park and Preserve collects an entrance fee year-round. The entrance fee of $10 per person (for visitors age 16 and older) is good for seven days. The majority of the money collected remains in the park to be used for projects to improve visitor services and facilities. Interagency Federal Recreation Passes such as the Annual, Senior, and Access Pass, and the Denali Annual Pass are also valid for entry into the park.
Additional park information can be obtained by calling 907-683-9532 from 9:00 am - 4:00 pm daily.