Spring Road Opening Begins at Denali National Park and Preserve
Contact: Kris Fister, 907-683-9583
National Park Service road crews began the annual plowing to open the Denali Park Road west of park headquarters on Sunday, March 18. Reports received from mushers and aircraft overflights indicate that the crews will encounter moderate amounts of snow, but significant amounts of overflow ice on portions of the road this year. Along with removing winter’s accumulation of snow and ice, road opening involves steaming open culverts to keep runoff from damaging the road. Crews will then repair any damage that may have occurred over the winter before opening the road to the public.
Access to park areas west of headquarters for snowshoeing, mushing, cross-country skiing and other winter recreational activities is available on the Spring Trail. The trailhead is located near the entrance to the park’s sled dog kennels. The trail runs alongside the Hines Creek drainage, which is south and parallel to the Park Road. It comes close to the road at the Mile 9 drainage, and eventually intersects the sled dog trail on the Savage River near the ranger patrol cabin at Mile 13. The winter traveler can continue further west on the sled dog trail, which has been broken all the way to Wonder Lake.
Depending on the weather and road conditions, the park road could open for travel to the Savage River (Mile 15) by late March to early April, and to the Teklanika Rest Stop (Mile 31) by mid to late April. Visitors are advised to call ahead for tentative opening dates.
The Murie Science and Learning Center (MSLC) at Mile 1.3 is open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 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, April 1.
The Riley Creek Campground at Mile 0.2 is open year-round, but water and sewer services will not be available until later in the spring. A vault toilet is provided for campers in the loop that is currently open, and water can be obtained at the MSLC.
Additional park information can be obtained by calling (907) 683-2294 from 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. daily or on the web at www.nps.gov/dena.
Did You Know?
Cold temperatures limit trees from growing at high elevation in Denali. Warmer temperatures, however, have led to woody vegetation growing at ever-higher elevations. Treeline changes are a conspicuous sign of climate change.