Springtime in Denali National Park

Posted by lwpetersen | April 19, 2011 | travel alaska

Kate, Jason and I took a little jaunt down to Denali National Park on Sunday, April 17th. It was a gorgeous day, a little hazy and overcast to the south, but we still managed to get some great views. If you’ve never driven on the Parks Highway you should plan to someday. Although be warned, in the spring the frost heaves get a little ridiculous sometimes.

Frost Heaves

Get the doggy bags ready. A few frost Heaves on the Parks Highway. Some Mountains to the south. This is around where we saw the wolf.

We saw a wolf run into the woods on the way down to the Park, but unfortunately it was to fast for my slower camera skills. There was more wildlife to be seen, even though I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get to see more.

Alaska Cars

An enigma of the Parks Highway: There’s not much to see, but, oh man is there a lot to see.

Blue Skies, Mountains, and Railroad Bridges
The Parks parallels the railroad pretty much the whole way to Anchorage. This is just a few miles before the entrance to the park near the Nenana River.

Double Mountain
Finally in the park! Feels like spring, right? That’s Denali hiding in the clouds to the right of Double Mountain (The big one in the frame).

Kate

The Park Road was open to mile 30, at the Taklanika River. This is 15 miles further than it is typically open to the public. They open it for a few weeks once they can plow and before the tourism season starts. You couldn’t really plan a trip for this because there is no guarantee that it would be open upon visiting. Road crews were halted last week when they got more than a foot of new snow.
Snowcut

This is why we can’t drive into the park in the winter. Happy Spring! It must have been tough moving all this snow.

After parking at the gate we walked for a few miles further down the road and just enjoyed the scenery and some Spruce Grouse.
Hole in the Ice
Down on the Teklanika River there was a little bit of water showing.

Teklanika River
Some more breaks in the ice on the Teklanika River. I was a bit hesitant to walk out there at first, until I realized we were mostly over a gravel bar.

A Walk Down The Road
It’s a walk in the park!

When we drove back we got some new nice views of a hazy Denali, the tallest mountain in North America (or in the world if you are measuring vertical relief) and a couple of Moose. We saw some Caribou too, but they were much to far away to photograph.
Denali
Denali

Savage Skate
Never be surprised by what you see in Alaska. Fifteen miles into the park, in the middle of the frozen Savage River. Can you spot the father and daughter ice skating?

Watchfull Ears
A cow and calf on our way out, just to say “thanks for coming”

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