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That Lonesome Road

The Denali Highway was the road to Denali National Park before the Parks Highway was built.

Travelers drove west to the park across the highway from Paxson to Cantwell.

The Denali Highway follows an ancient migration route. The mountains had quarries of flint, which ancient people used to make arrowheads and tools.

(Photo, BLM Glennallen Field Office, Dennis R. Greene)

Where’s The Denali Highway?

The Denali Highway starts in Cantwell, at Mile 210 of the Parks Highway and runs 135 miles east to the Richardson Highway at Paxson. It crosses wilderness and high tundra. For Alaskans, the Denali Highway is a favorite.

It’s mostly a gravel road, and the recommended speed is 30 mph. Local Alaskans have fought to keep it unpaved.

This area has 400 known Native American archaeological sites, dating back 10,000 years.

(Photo, BLM Glennallen Field Office, Dennis R. Greene)

Denali Fault Quake of 2002

Scientists rushed to the region north of the Denali Highway in November, 2002, after a 7.9 magnitude earthquake split the snowy earth for 209 miles.

The quake rattled Cantwell, Paxson and Mentasta, tearing open the highways. Scientists say it was very similar to the San Francisco Quake of 1906 -- so they wanted to study it.

Although massive landslides were triggered, and whole mountaintops slid into the valleys below, damage was limited because most of the quake was in wilderness.

25 Miles Are Paved

The rest is not. The Denali Highway is paved for 5 miles near Cantwell, and 20 miles near Paxson.

(Photo, right, Dennis Greene)

+ Activities + Things to Get

+ Where to Stay + Where to Eat

Clearwater Mountain Lodge

denali highway blueberries

+ Map of Denali Hwy
+ Map of Gulkana-Delta River System

+ Fishing Map of Copper River Country
+ Map of Copper River Country
+ Map of Richardson Highway
+ Map of Denali Parks System
+ Map of Bearfoot Campgrounds

On the Denali Highway, Don't Miss...
• Berry picking
Wildlife viewing
• Camping out
• Miniature flowers
• Grayling fishing
• Hiking
• Canoeing
• Two wild and scenic rivers to raft & canoe

Keep your eyes open for gorgeous vistas and wild animals.


135 miles long

A Rough gravel road linking the Parks and Richardson Highways. Berries, wildlife, wide open spaces. Scenic views. Many ancient Native American archaeological sites. Some of the earliest known humans in North America traveled here. Occasional lodges
offer services.

Denali Highway According to the BLM
The Bureau of Land Management's excellent brochure on the Denali Highway includes historical information, travel tips, and a list of points of interest.

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