** Edited 5/9 **
Conditions should be fairly good this weekend as the park has opened the Park Road to Teklanika for vehicle access. The ranger station is reporting very good road conditions but a lot of snow off the road. They also confirm that pit toilets are available at the campground. There is very limited firewood so please bring plenty, as well as water and food. There is a chance for rain - below is the latest forecast.
Description: Denali National Park is six million acres of wild land, bisected by one ribbon of road. Travelers along it see the relatively low-elevation taiga forest give way to high alpine tundra and snowy mountains, culminating in North America's tallest peak, 20,320' Mount McKinley. Wild animals large and small roam unfenced lands, living as they have for ages. Solitude, tranquility and wilderness await.
The spring shoulder season is well under way and will end May 15. I want to take advantage of this time as we are able to drive ourselves down the park road and wander around before all of the tourists come in. My plan is to drive down Friday night and establish camp at the Riley Campground (car camping), explore Saturday and Sunday morning, and then drive back Sunday afternoon. Responses to Saturday activity included biking, skiing, hiking and just meandering around camp.
I am looking to do a strenuous hike/snowshoe, but the location will depend on weather conditions, access points, etc. I am hoping that the park road will be open to Igloo Creek so that we can do Cathedral or Igloo Mtn. If not, we can climb up Primrose Ridge and walk along the ridge line there. I'll defer to the park rangers for their suggestions when we check in Saturday morning.
When/Where: I will update once I get responses back to my email this weekend.
Cost: There is an entrance fee of $10. You can buy an annual pass that is good for 4 adults for $40. http://www.nps.gov/dena/planyourvisit/feesandreservations.htm
- All camping gear needed for car camping. Bear resistant food containers, tent, sleeping bag, pad, cookware, light, toiletries etc.
- Hiking equipment - Kahtoolas or other traction footwear, snowshoes, trekking poles, etc. are optional. Bear spray, GPS, map, first aid kit...please be equipped to be in the backcountry.
- Skis? Bikes? Biking on the road past any closures is an option as roads will be plowed but not open to vehicular traffic. Ski trails are sure to be open.
- Dress in non-cotton layers so you can shed or add clothes as temps change. For that weekend, average high/low is 51/27 and record high/low is 78/8.
- Water, food and fuel (firewood). None of these will be available yet so please bring plenty.
DOGS: Yes but they are restricted to the park road and campground. http://www.nps.gov/dena/planyourvisit/pets.htm
Contact: Abe - [masked] (preferred) or[masked]-1279. I will be updating this post as details develop.