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Denali Highway

Paxson to Cantwell – 134 miles (215.6 km)

The Denali Highway is a very scenic route, with limited services available along the way. Plan four to five hours of driving time for this 134-mile-long road, which includes 110 miles of gravel. Add more time for photographing wildlife and landscapes; maybe plan to overnight along the way. The first 21 miles of the Denali Highway from Paxson and the first 3 miles from Cantwell are paved. The Denali Highway was constructed in 1957 as the only route to Denali National Park and Preserve. When the Parks Highway between Fairbanks and Anchorage opened in 1972, the Denali Highway became a seasonal route that closes in winter. When the highway is open, conditions vary greatly depending on the weather. There are sections of rough washboard and places with sharp rocks. Maclaren Summit, (4,086 feet) is the second highest highway pass in Alaska. Only Atigun Pass (4,800 feet) on the highway is higher. The Tangle Lakes area, 21 miles from Paxson, is popular with fishermen.

Mile 0


Population 40

At the junction with the Richardson Highway

Mile 20 (km 31.2)

Access to the Tangle River Inn and the Tangle Lakes Lodge.

Mile 21.5 (km 34.6)

Access to the Tangle Lakes Campground. The campground offers 45 accessible campsites, as well as 4 walk-in sites. The campground is equipped with water pumps, toilets, and a boat launch.

Mile 41.9 (km 67.4)

Access to the Maclaren River Lodge.

Mile 67.8 (km 109.1)

The Alpine Creek Lodge.

Mile 82.1 (km 132.1)

The Clearwater Mountain Lodge.

Mile 104 (km 167.3)

Bushkana Campground. There are 22 site and amenities such as: Wheelchair accessibility, fires, hiking, and fishing.

Mile 134 (km 215.6)


Services and lodging including: Tesoro Service station, Cantwell RV Park, Backwoods Lodge, Jack River Inn, Cantwell Post Office, Bluesberry Inn, Cantwell Trading Post, and Vitus service station.