UNDER 24-HOUR DAYLIGHT, we rode through the night and covered the entire 90-mile route in 12 straight hours. Along the way, we saw moose, caribou, ptarmigans, and a porcupine. Glaciers, mile-wide river bars, rolling tundra, boreal forests, and Mt. McKinley. We watched the sun set at midnight. And since there’s no shuttle bus traffic over “night”, we had had the entire park to ourselves.
The folks at the Wilderness Access Center and the Backcountry Office can help you plan your trip, but here are 7 things to consider:
- The 90-mile park road is mostly hard-packed gravel and suitable for most bikes. But depending on weather conditions, you might experience dust, ruts, washboards, and mud.
- Expect pretty much every type of Alaskan mountain weather — be prepared for rain, snow, wind, and freezing temperatures.
- With a number of long hill climbs up numerous passes, you’ll want to be in good biking shape.
- There is nothing to eat or drink inside the park — you’ll have to bring all of your own food.
- If you want to camp anywhere or at one of the established campgrounds, you’ll need to make reservations with the backcountry office. They’ll help you plan your overnight stops and provide you with a bear-proof food container (nice).
- If you plan to take your bike into the park on a shuttle bus, you’ll need to reserve a spot at the Wilderness Access Center.
- You’ll of course want to bring your camera, but consider a pair of binoculars for spotting wildlife.