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Contact: Kris Fister, 907-683-9583
Snow and ice still blanket most of the park, but a sure sign of spring is that the Denali National Park and Preserve road crew has cleared the park road between park headquarters (Mile 3) to the Savage River (Mile 15). Weather permitting, that portion of the road will open for the season to park visitors at noon on Friday, April 6.
Early spring offers enjoyable conditions for visiting the park, as there is still good snow coverage for mushing, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, coupled with milder temperatures and long days. Recent wildlife sightings by the road crew include caribou, several species of birds, and wolves. Mount McKinley, or Denali, is visible, clouds permitting, from approximately Mile 9 until the road drops down to the Savage River.
Visitors should expect to encounter snow and ice on shaded sections of the park road until overnight temperatures remain above freezing. Motorists are also advised to be alert for National Park Service personnel steaming culverts along the side of the road, and for heavy equipment being used in the road opening operations.
Weather conditions can change rapidly at this time of the year, and the road may open and close several times this month. Call ahead for updated road and weather information. The National Park Service expects to open the road to the Teklanika River Rest Stop (Mile 30) to park visitors by mid to late April.
Vault toilets in the parking areas on the east and west sides of the Savage River will be open for use, but other park facilities west of park headquarters will remain closed until later this spring. The Murie Science and Learning Center at Mile 1.3 is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. for visitor information and backcountry permits. The Riley Creek Campground at Mile 0.2 is open for free camping, but water and sewer services will not be available until May. A vault toilet is provided in the loop that remains open year-round, and campers can obtain water at the Murie Science and Learning Center.
Additional park information is available on the web at www.nps.gov/dena or by calling (907) 683-2294 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily.