Denali's Sled Dogs in Winter

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Open Hours

  • Summer: May 15 to September 17
    9 am to 5 pm, daily
  • Fall: September 18 to October 31
    1 pm to 4 pm daily
  • Winter: November 1 to March 31
    1 pm to 4 pm on weekends
  • Spring: April 1 to May 14
    1 pm to 4 pm, daily
Kennels open hours are indicated by the gate at the Kennels entrance. If the gate is open, come on in! If the gate is closed, please do not enter.

Small children are welcome to visit the Kennels during opening hours. Hold their hand or keep them in your arms at all times. Please do not bring pets for your animal's safety and for the safety of the park dogs.
 
two rangers pulled on a cart by a team of dogs
Fall cart training is a way to get the dogs into shape after a relatively lazy summer. Please note, we do not offer cart rides to the public; this is a training exercise for the dogs.

NPS Photo

What the Dogs Do in Fall and Winter

In fall and early winter (September through November), the Kennels focuses on training and conditioning the dogs so that they are in good shape for winter operations. We are frequently spotted entering and exiting the Kennels by dog team for day runs.

 
numerous dog houses in a snowy forest with no dogs in sight
When the dogs are all out training or on patrol, the Kennels are a quieter place.

NPS Photo

How to Safely Visit the Kennels in Winter

Since the dogs are often coming and going this time of year, keep an eye out to avoid any issues.

  • If you stop by the Kennels in the fall, you may see the dogs returning in the dog truck from a cart-training run, from an ATV/UTV training run on the park road, or even coming into the west side of the dog yard from the Spring Trail.
  • If the dogs are not in the yard, ask a ranger to show you around our interpretive resources and information panels. There’s so much you can learn! While exploring the grounds, keep your eyes and ears open for any signs of dog teams coming in.
  • If you do see a dog team returning to the Kennels, station yourself away from the point of entry and their run path to give them a very wide berth. Some of them are shy around strangers, and we hate to cause them unnecessary stress—especially while they are working.

Once you have positioned yourself far enough away from the team, feel free to snap some action shots with your camera. If you have questions, please ask a ranger; however, if the only rangers present are handling dogs, please wait until all the dogs are taken care of and home at their houses.
 
a team of sled dogs about to start running
A team preparing to take off

NPS Photo

Once winter kicks into high gear (December through March), don’t be surprised if the dogs are not around during your visit. Mushers and dogs are working hard to protect our park and are often out for weeks to a month at a time in the backcountry. Ask a ranger to show you on a map where the dogs last checked in and where they are going.

Try to imagine what it is like to be out there. Are they traveling from Sanctuary Cabin to Igloo Cabin? Maybe they are searching for an ice bridge on the Teklanika River! Are they out at Wonder Lake Ranger Station? They could be hauling large timbers to a construction site for a bridge or trail. They may be conducting vegetation surveys deep in the heart of Wilderness that only dog teams can get to ... whatever the mission, you can follow their location on the map, below.
 

Where Are They Now?


In winter, you can use the map below to follow the progress of the dogs as they mush through the park. On occasion, they may not be using their SPOT device, and the map will be blank. It will also be blank in summer, when the teams are not out in the park.

The map also shows conditions on various trails. Click on a trail segment to see if we have any important additional info to offer for that section.

  • Yellow: Indicates a route our teams have traveled recently (in the past two weeks). Only minor hazards or difficulties should be expected.
  • Orange: Also a route our teams traveled recently, but with more significant hazards or challenges
  • Red: Either a route we have not traveled recently, or a route with extremely difficult hazards or challenges.
  • Download the trail routes: KML trail routes (for use in programs like Google Earth) | GPX trail routes (for use in a GPS device)
    (Note: These files are general routes; there is no current status information associated with them, and the actual trail you find in the park may deviate slightly in course and location).
 

Last updated: August 26, 2019

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 9
Denali Park, AK 99755

Phone:

(907) 683-9532
A ranger is available 9 am—4 pm daily (except on major holidays). If you get to the voicemail, please leave a message and we'll call you back as soon as we finish with the previous caller.

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