It isn’t until you actually drive past the headquarters area that you will begin to enter the wilderness for which you have really come. During the winter months, the road is closed at this point. Only non-motorized travelers, such as mushers and skiers can go further.
This is taiga forest, filled with white spruce and black spruce, interspersed here and there with quaking aspen, paper birch, balsam poplar and tamarack. This is moose habitat and there are some huge bull moose in the park. Watch for a flash of sun glinting off antlers, especially in the fall during rutting season. Look quickly and carefully in the riverbeds as you pass. Early in the season, cow moose and tiny calves on spindly legs may be in sight. Fox also are commonly spotted on this section of road, trotting along with a jaw filled with dead ground squirrel. We once spotted a fox with two rabbits in its mouth!
Moose like to nibble on the fresh willow leaves along the road early in the season. As the leaves emerge at higher elevations during the season, the moose follow those tasty treats up the hill. Later in the fall, they are more likely to return to the park road again. Moose may be seen anywhere between the entrance and Toklat. Watch for caribou anywhere above treeline.
But don’t be surprised if your visual hunt for wildlife is for naught. It is not unusual to see no animals on this section of road, depending on the time of day and season.