Tag Archives: Denali NP

The Nenana River


Nenana River

The 140 mile long Nenana River forms the eastern boundary of Denali National Park. This tributary of the Tanana River, is a popular white water rafting destination. The Nenana begins as a Class I, but turns into a Class IV in the Nenana Gorge.


Thunder Mountain Crash

A de Havilland Beaver (DHC-2), flying out of Talkeetna on a flight seeing tour of Denali National Park, tragically crashed near the summit of Thunder Mountain on August 4. The crash site is roughly 14 miles from Denali’s peak.

There were four tourists from Poland on board, as well as the pilot. Initially, word spread that several people on board survived the crash, but that is not the case. All five in the de Havilland perished.

Heavy cloud cover hampered efforts to reach the site in the days right after the crash. The National Park Service eventually was able to send out two crews in helicopters. The first was to check for survivors, and the second was to evaluate the scene for possible recovery. Park rangers were dropped by cable to the broken Beaver, which lay precariously on the mountain side.

After accessing the risk, The National Park Service came to the conclusion Friday, that any attempt to recover the five bodies in the plane would put the rescue crews in too much danger. One look at the photos show why. The Beaver is broken behind the wing, and the tail section is pulling the entire plane down. It’s a 3500 foot drop to the glacier below. Since the crash, 30 inches of snow has fallen, driving up the risk of avalanche.

On Friday, I spent some time downtown, and overheard several tourists complain about the NPS decision. I get why they thought that way, but I respectfully disagree. The risk to a recovery crew would be too great, and as tough as it is to hear it, NPS made the right call.

Photos credit: Denali National Park & Preserve


Spot the Sheep


Dall sheep in Denali NP via Super Cub


Spring in Alaska


Photo credit: Denali National Park

Spring has arrived in Alaska, but that won’t keep the snow at bay, especially in Denali National Park. The Park saw an inch of snow coat the spruce and tundra overnight.

Officially, I have seen snow fall in every month over the course of my time in the Last Frontier.


First snow

Denali Snow
Photo credit: Denali National Park

Denali Park had snowfall last week during the Road Lottery. Tuesday morning saw the first snowfall of the season in Fairbanks. Luckily, the snow was gone in Fairbanks by noon. Still, it caused a lot of foul language around here.

Fairbanks First Snow
September 27: First snow of 2016


Tourist Warning

Mosquito Crossing
A warning sign down by Denali National Park.


We’ve had a bit of rain

Denali Road overflow
Mudslide over the Denali Park Road

After all of this rain, things are starting to give. A large mudslide has closed the Denali Park Road in The Park. The slide, at Mile 67 of the park road, is 100 feet wide and 10 feet deep. The six inches of rain in the past week, on top of what already fell in June and July, was too much for the ancient volcanic ash in the soil.

Park employees remind folks that there is no cell coverage out at Wonder Lake and Kantishna, and only a few of the lodges have a land line, so people stranded on the west side of the slide will have a much needed, if not appreciated, break from smart phones and internet.

Photo credit: James Long/DNP&P