Snowmobiling in Denali
Download a free site bulletin that outlines important Snowmobile Regulations and safety information for park and preserve areas that surround the boundaries of the former Mount McKinley National Park. A map that lists eight GPS boundary coordinates and five GPS reference points will help snowmobile operators steer clear of designated wilderness areas. NOTE: These coordinates have been updated to reflect the findings of a re-survey of the southern wilderness boundary conducted in 2011.
Where and When You Can Ride
Area of the Former Mount McKinley National Park
All lands within the former Mount McKinley National Park on both the north and the south sides of the crest of the Alaska Range are closed to all snowmachine use by federal regulation.
Other Areas of Denali National Park and Preserve
Snowmachine use is prohibited until the park superintendent has made a determination that there is adequate snow cover. Adequate snow cover is determined by evaluating the ability of the snow pack to support snowmachine use in a manner that does not damage resource values such as vegetation and soils. A combination of factors such as snow depth, snow structure, and the characteristics of the vegetation in the area are considered in this evaluation.
Follow the links shown below to find both current information on the areas of Denali National Park and Preserve that are currently closed or open for snowmachine use as well as maps and GPS coordinates of the park boundaries.
Snowmobile operators must be at least 16 years of age unless accompanied and supervised by a responsible person 21 years of age or older. The supervising rider must keep the other rider in sight and may not supervise more than one person at a time. Alaska State Statutes also require that snowmobiles be registered and numbered. Riders must report accidents resulting in injury to or death of a person, or property damage by the quickest means to park rangers.
Even when areas of the park and preserve are open for use, it is the rider's responsibility to avoid locations where wind or topographic conditions may have reduced snow depth and created situations where damage to vegetation or soils could occur, or where vegetation is taller than the protective snow cover.
Winter weather in the Alaska Range can change very quickly and become severe, with high winds and temperatures well below zero. Park rangers stress the importance of bringing survival gear on all trips into the backcountry and informing friends or relatives of your travel plans. Remember to assess local conditions before venturing into the backcountry.
Riding conditions can also be potentially dangerous due to high winds and warmer than normal temperatures. The avalanche hazard is elevated by wind crusts or ice layers in the snow pack. It is important to avoid steep slopes, narrow valleys, and ravines. Also, the warm winter temperatures this year mean that many waterways could still be dangerous for travel and extreme caution is advised.
For additional information, including current weather and backcountry conditions, contact us. The Murie Science and Learning Center serves as the park's Winter Visitor Center, with daily hours from 9 am to 4 pm. Park rangers are available to provide visitor information and backcountry permits.
Did You Know?
Recent climate warming has affected Denali in ways that are readily apparent, such as reduced spring snowfall, earlier snowmelt, earlier green-up and thawing of permanent snowfields. Subarctic ecosystems, like Denali, are extremely sensitive to climate variability and change.