Posts Tagged ‘Toklat River’

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Day 31 – Denali National Park – Day 1

August 10, 2017

I spent three days in Denali, and got into just the right amount of trouble.

In terms of facilities, Denali comes somewhere between the thoroughly developed national parks like Yosemite and the more austere parks like Gates of the Arctic. A major highway runs adjacent to the park, and near the park entrance you’ll find all the facilities you’d expect: campgrounds, visitor centers, book stores, general stores, etc.

Things drop off pretty quickly after that. Where Yosemite has over 800 miles of hiking trails, Denali has less than 40, mostly short trails clustered near the park entrance. When it comes to hiking, the idea in Denali isn’t to follow provided trails, it’s to strike out on your own, whether for a few hours or a few weeks.

Other than backcountry hiking, the only way into Denali other than single engine aircraft is Park Road, which runs 92 miles from the park entrance to Kantishna, a former mining town and current home to a gravel airstrip and several private lodges. The first 15 miles is paved and open to all traffic. The remaining 77 miles are gravel and open only to transit buses, tour buses, and cyclists. The transit buses are hop on, hop off, so you can take a bus into the park, get off 60 miles in, scale a mountain or two, get back to the road, and flag down a returning bus to get back to your car. The transit buses have bike racks as well, so you can ride Park Road however far you legs will take you and then take a bus back. Just make sure you don’t miss the last bus back to the park entrance. If you do, you’re going to be in a for a long night in the wilderness. (That there was foreshadowing)

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