photo courtesy jessica toubman
Things to Know While Cycling
Bicycling is a great way to enjoy the Denali Park Road. Help us make it a pleasant and safe experience.
Cycling is a great way to see Denali National Park and get some exercise at the same time. Visitors are allowed to bike all 92 miles of the Park Road.
The road is paved to mile 15 (Savage River) and is graded gravel beyond. Much of the roadway beyond mile 31 is narrow and there are no shoulders. Travel restrictions for motor vehicles begin at mile 15, so traffic volume will ease up after this point.
Starting Your Trip
For a day-trip, you are welcome to either start at the park entrance, or drive to Savage River and begin cycling farther into the park from there. Alternatively, you can buy tickets for a shuttle bus, ride the bus into the park, and get off at whatever point you choose to start cycling. This allows you to tailor just what parts of the Park Road you ride, although it involves the expense of the bus tickets. Buses are limited to two bikes per bus, and not every shuttle is able to carry bikes. If you choose to reserve a bus in advance, you should call 1-800-622-7275 and specify that you wish to bring bikes on your shuttle.
If you wish to camp overnight in the park during your cycling trip, you need a backcountry permit and will need to follow some slightly different rules - please refer to our backcountry camping and cycling page for more information.
On the unpaved portion of the Park Road, motorists generally show courtesy to cyclists and do their best to avoid "dusting" them by driving very slowly. You can return the favor by slowing down or stopping when you meet a bus on a narrow section of road. This makes it much easier for buses and other vehicles to pass you on the sometimes quite narrow road.
Increasingly popular is a visit in spring to cycle the Park Road.
Road crews begin plowing the Park Road in late March, ultimately opening it to mile 30, Teklanika River. However, spring snow and wintry conditions can hamper their progress, and it is difficult to predict each year just when the road will open. We encourage you to call or email before visiting in the spring.
Once the road has opened, however, the public is welcome to drive into the park and bike farther in than vehicles may drive. Day trips into the park require nothing more than the usual park entrance fee. Overnight cycling trips are possible, too, with a backcountry permit.
The Kantishna Area
Some former mining routes originate in the Kantishna area, at the western end of the park road. Most routes cross private lands. Because of the need to get permission from the landowner before using these routes, you may be able to use only a portion of them. You are responsible for not trespassing on private property.
Cyclists need to keep in mind a few other special considerations. First, there are no repair stations along the way - so please plan to fix your own flats and other common problems. Also, Eielson Visitor Center at mile 66 is the only place to refill your water - so make sure you carry sufficient water or have a filter / potable aqua tablets for water from streams and rivers. Obey all area closures and treat wildlife the same as if you were on foot - you cannot run faster than a bear, and you cannot cycle faster than a bear. Plan for many types of weather at any time in the park. Sun, rain, hail, wind and even snow are all possible in the summer.