Mountain & Trail News

Denali Park Road Opens to Savage River (Mile 15) on Friday

Weather conditions permitting, park visitors will be able to drive as far as Savage River (Mile 15) beginning at 12:00 noon on Friday, March 30.   Spring is a great time of year to enjoy the park,  as there is still good snow coverage for mushing, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, coupled with milder temperatures and long days. Mount McKinley, or Denali, is potentially visible from the park road at approximately Mile 10, weather permitting.

Vault toilets at the Mountain Vista Trailhead (rest area) and the Savage River East parking lot are open for use.  Other facilities west of park headquarters, including the Savage River Campground, remain closed until later this spring.

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. Visitors are encouraged to call ahead for updated road and weather information. The National Park Service expects to open the road to the Teklanika River Rest Area (Mile 30) by mid to late April. For those interested in following the progress of the Denali road crew as they plow westward along the 92 mile park road to Kantishna, timely updates and a photo gallery are posted on the park website at http://www.nps.gov/dena/spring-road-opening.htm.

The Riley Creek Campground at Mile 0.2 is open, and camping is free until May 15. 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. Water and sewer services will not be available until mid to late May. The Murie Science and Learning Center (MSLC) at Mile 1.3 is open daily from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm for visitor information and backcountry permits. The weekend ranger-led snowshoe walks will continue into April as long as snow conditions are favorable.

Denali National Park and Preserve collects an entrance fee year-round. The entrance fee of $10 per person (for visitors age 16 and older) is good for seven days. The majority of the money collected remains in the park to be used for projects to improve visitor services and facilities. Interagency Federal Recreation Passes such as the Annual, Senior, and Access Pass, and the Denali Annual Pass are also valid for entry into the park and can be purchased at the MSLC.

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