View Map

Overview

This beautiful 136-mile road connects the town of Cantwell (30 miles south of Denali National Park on the Parks Highway) with tiny Paxson (halfway between Fairbanks and Valdez on the Richardson Highway). Most of the Denali Highway is gravel, and road conditions vary with maintenance and weather. Be prepared for rutted sections and lots of dust if it hasn't rained recently. The Denali Highway parallels the south side of the Alaska Range, and much of the country is wide open tundra, providing mountain views and good opportunities to see caribou and other wildlife. The finest vistas are 39 miles east of Cantwell, where mountains form an amazing ...

This beautiful 136-mile road connects the town of Cantwell (30 miles south of Denali National Park on the Parks Highway) with tiny Paxson (halfway between Fairbanks and Valdez on the Richardson Highway). Most of the Denali Highway is gravel, and road conditions vary with maintenance and weather. Be prepared for rutted sections and lots of dust if it hasn't rained recently. The Denali Highway parallels the south side of the Alaska Range, and much of the country is wide open tundra, providing mountain views and good opportunities to see caribou and other wildlife. The finest vistas are 39 miles east of Cantwell, where mountains form an amazing panorama. Turn the other direction and you can see the Wrangell Mountains crowning the southeastern horizon. The road tops out at 4,086-foot Maclaren Summit, second highest pass in Alaska. Hiking is generally easy due to the open terrain, and several hiking-biking-ORV trails access lakes off the Denali Highway. Public campsites are scattered along the route, or you can also camp at pullouts anywhere along the road. Three remote lodges have food, gas, and accommodations. Note that most car rental companies prohibit driving on the Denali Highway; one exception is Denali Car Rental. Snows close the highway October to mid-May.

Don Pitcher
About the Expert

Don Pitcher has written or photographed 10 travel guidebooks to Alaska, Wyoming, Yellowstone-Grand Teton, and the San Juan Islands for Avalon Travel Publishing, Random House, and Sasquatch Books.

view full overview

Don Pitcher for Triporati

Must See, Do

Save It for Next Time

info

If time is short, save these attractions for a second visit.

Compare Flight, Car Rental, and Hotel Rates

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Facts at a Glance

  • Location: The 135 mile Denali Highway leads from Paxson on the Richardson Highway to Cantwell on the Parks Highway. Opened in 1957, it was the first road access to Denali National Park.
  • Research: Talkeetna | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    July through September; fall colors in September