Denali Highway

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4.7/5 (5 reviews)
Cantwell, Alaska (Denali County)
Last Updated: 10/30/2023
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Trail Information

Highlights

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Overland Category Icon Overland
Scenic Category Icon Scenic
Connecting the outside world to Denali National Park for over a decade, the Denali Highway provides spectacular views of Alaska's interior. Stretching from the Wrangell-St. Elias Mountains to North America's tallest summit, Denali, at 20,310' is surrounded by the Alaska Range. This historic route is guaranteed not to disappoint. Sprawling over three different river drainages to include: Susitna, Tanana/Yukon, and Copper, this dirt road provides spectacular views and river crossings of narrow wooden-decked single-lane bridges. This route really is special with its scenery and guaranteed to carve a special place in your heart that only Alaska can fill. Several different lodges are found along the way and are worth grabbing a warm meal and friendly company along your journey. Wildlife Viewing is a common attraction along the 135-mile stretch, so keep an eager eye, and you may find some of Alaska's wildlife looking back at you!

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

The Denali Highway was the only way into Denali National Park from 1957 to 1971 before the Parks Highway (Wasilla to Fairbanks) was created. Routing through some of Alaska's most beautiful scenery, this road is mostly unpaved gravel and dirt with a few miles of pavement at both ends. The BLM Brochure shows some of the popular attractions that are shown below. The route is 135 miles and may be easily completed in a few hours, although spending a week or more for overlanding, exploring, and hiking is highly recommended, Almost any passenger vehicle is capable of driving the Denali Highway in its entirety from June through late September, but beware, many vehicle rental policies do not allow travel on the Denali Highway - verify if applicable. The highway is closed every winter due to snow, so check Alaska DOT for updated conditions and current road status.

Trail Reviews

4.7/5 (5)
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Official Crew
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6700
Seasonal Closure
Visited: 10/30/2023

Closed for the winter, come again next year, or snow machine in!
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Official Crew
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121350
Seasonal Closure
Visited: 11/24/2022

Closed for the season! See you next year!
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Official Crew
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6700
Open
Rated 4/5
Visited: 09/14/2021

The road was in decent condition with seemingly less potholes than normal. A little too late for berry picking though.
Trail Review: Denali Highway - Kyle Todd
Trail Review: Denali Highway - Kyle Todd
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Official Crew
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6700
Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 09/05/2020

Amazing fall colors and blue berries were plentiful once found. I did spend the night in the area and it did freeze but did not pose any problems. The road was very pot holed in many parts.
Trail Review: Denali Highway - Kyle Todd
Trail Review: Denali Highway - Kyle Todd
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Official Crew
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6700
Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 06/06/2020

My wife and I went for a mini couple weekend retreat with our 4Runner on the Denali Highway and Denali National Park. We had an amazing time on our trip and are planning other trips soon.
Trail Review: Denali Highway - Kyle Todd
Trail Review: Denali Highway - Kyle Todd
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