April 8, 2016
Contact: Kathleen Kelly
, (907) 683-9504
Mild weather and Alaska’s second warmest winter on record have aided the park’s spring road crew in their efforts to open the Denali Park Road. Park staff officially opened the road to private vehicle traffic as far as mile 30, the Teklanika Rest Area, yesterday morning.
This year’s opening is the earliest since 2010, when the road opened to Teklanika on April 3.
The road will remain open, weather permitting, until May 20 when shuttles buses start running for the season.
Park visitors continue to enjoy winter recreation activities like mushing, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, but warm weather and longer days are changing conditions rapidly from winter to spring.
The spring road opening crew has reported sightings of moose, caribou, Dall sheep, ptarmigans, hawks and golden eagles. There have been no bear sightings yet this spring.
Vault toilets are available for visitor use at the Teklanika Rest Area, the parking area on the east side of the Savage River and the Mountain Vista Trailhead (rest area) east of the Savage River Campground. Other park facilities west of headquarters, including the campgrounds, remain closed until later in May.
Visitors should expect to encounter snow, ice and mud on some portions of the road, particularly in shaded sections. Motorists are also advised to be alert for National Park Service personnel along the sides of the road and for heavy equipment being used to continue road opening operations.
Weather conditions can change rapidly at this time of the year, and the road may open and close several times. Visitors are encouraged to contact the park for updated road and weather information.
For those interested, you can follow the progress of the Denali road crew as they plow westward along the 92 mile park road to Kantishna.