Parks Highway and Denali Park Road Side Trip

Cantwell, Alaska

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Paved highway from Wasilla to Fairbanks; 323 miles (520 kilometers). This paved artery connects Anchorage and Fairbanks, passing through some of the most breathtaking scenery in central Alaska. One of the newest roadways in the state, the Parks Highway was completed in 1971. It was not named for the outstanding nature preserves along the route, but for George Parks, a former territorial governor. The prime attraction along the way is Denali, the continent’s tallest peak, which can be seen clearly from several locations along the highway. Bear in mind that Denali is a weathermaker, and during the turbulent summer months, its summit may only be visible one day in seven. Denali National Park also lies along the highway, encompassing the peak and the wildlife-rich tundra that surrounds it. This national park offers world-class backpacking across the trail-free tundra, while its neighbor Denali State Park has several good routes for hikers who prefer trails. Fishermen will be drawn to the southern reaches of the highway, where the streams of the Susitna River drainage bear abundant runs of spawning salmon. This eTrail is a complete description of a scenic drive with a route map and information on the best travel seasons, interesting sites, recreation opportunities, camping locations, and much more.

Parks Highway and Denali Park Road Side Trip Professional Review and Guide

"Paved highway from Wasilla to Fairbanks; 323 miles (520 kilometers). This paved artery connects Anchorage and Fairbanks, passing through some of the most breathtaking scenery in central Alaska. One of the newest roadways in the state, the Parks Highway was completed in 1971. It was not named for the outstanding nature preserves along the route, but for George Parks, a former territorial governor. The prime attraction along the way is Denali, the continent’s tallest peak, which can be seen clearly from several locations along the highway. Bear in mind that Denali is a weathermaker, and during the turbulent summer months, its summit may only be visible one day in seven.

Denali National Park also lies along the highway, encompassing the peak and the wildlife-rich tundra that surrounds it. This national park offers world-class backpacking across the trail-free tundra, while its neighbor Denali State Park has several good routes for hikers who prefer trails. Fishermen will be drawn to the southern reaches of the highway, where the streams of the Susitna River drainage bear abundant runs of spawning salmon. This eTrail is a complete description of a scenic drive with a route map and information on the best travel seasons, interesting sites, recreation opportunities, camping locations, and much more."

Activity Type: Scenic Drives
Nearby City: Cantwell
Distance: 323
Season: Best late spring through fall
Local Contacts: Denali National Park; Denali State Park
Driving Directions: Directions to Parks Highway and Denali Park Road Side Trip

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May 2018