The past several years have changed the world as we once knew it, and Denali National Park has not been an exception. In 2020, Covid made tourism in Alaska nearly non-existent for the season. 2021 and 2022 have seen a gradual comeback, but a small portion of the Park Road near Polychrome Pass which became troublesome beginning in 2014, became impassable with the August rains of 2021. The Park Road has been closed beyond the East Fork Bridge (mile 42) to bus traffic since then.
In 2022, Denali National Park administration and staff found a way to keep the Park accessible by installing a staircase down to the gravel bar of the East Fork, on the west side of the bridge. Using this stairway, hikers and bikers can easily access the gravel bar here and follow the braided river bed around the bluff for five miles, eventually re-joining the road at a tributary creek of the East Fork.
In 2022, Bike Denali outfitted many bikepackers to make the trip around the landslide closure, with great success. Those who have made the trip have returned with amazing tales of solitude in a vast wilderness. A solitude without interruption, yet with the convenience of a 50 mile highly improved road running through it.
For adventurous visitors to Denali Park, 2023 will be the opportunity of a lifetime. Members of the staff of Bike Denali, as well as clients, have been around the closure and have deemed the trip to be possible by most anyone who can ride a bike on a gravel trail and is willing to live out of a bike pack outfit for at least 48 hours. An overnight is necessary to make it worth while to go beyond the landslide. Visit our News Page again, as we expand upon this opportunity in more blog posts as the season approaches.