Husky House

2014 Teklanika to Polychrome Bike Ride (Denali)

We had sun, clouds and wind, but it was beautiful and I wouldn't have waned to be anywhere else.



On Friday (May 16, 2014) Bill and I pedaled our way from the Teklanika rest area to Polychrome Pass in Denali National Park.  We had procrastinated our way down to the last four days that the Park Service allows private vehicles to drive into the Park past the Savage River Checkpoint.  Tour buses begin running on May 20, and as of that date until mid-September, private vehicles are restricted to the first 15 miles of the Park Road.  Teklanika is 30 miles into the Park, so we drove to the rest area and then biked from there over Sable Pass to Polychrome Pass.




Sign on Sable Pass confirming that you are not alone.


The ride is only 30 miles round trip.  It is the trek up and over Sable and Polychrome Passes that makes it a workout.  According to my Garmin, we had 2,862 feet elevation gain and 2,844 feet elevation loss.  Our minimum elevation was 2,655 feet at the start in Teklanika; the maximum was 3,900 feet at the top of Sable Pass, followed by a nice downhill to the East Fork Toklat River at 3,066 feet and up to Polychrome Pass at 3,695 feet.  Then turn around and head back to Teklanika.  Going west up Sable Pass into the Park is the brutal part; the road keeps going up and getting steeper and steeper for 8.5 miles.  But eastbound down Sable Pass makes it all worthwhile!



Dall sheep on Polychrome Pass


It was a fun trek.  The weather was about perfect, a combination of sunshine and clouds, almost hot in the sun, refreshing in the clouds.  It was quite windy on Sable Pass.  We had a picnic on top of Polychrome Pass before beginning our ride back to Teklanika.

Along with the natural beauty of the endless majestic landscape, saw moose, caribou, Dall sheep, ground varmints, Ptarmigan, a porcupine and an eagle.  Two years ago when we rode this route, we had a close encounter with a grizzly bear that wanted to share the road with us.  Fortunately, we encountered no grizzly bears on this year’s ride.  A bear encounter is off my bucket list.



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