Alaska’s Denali Highway

Experience the American Outback through Denali Highway

Located at Alaska, USA, the Denali Highway is one of the country’s hidden treasures worth uncovering. This hiking destination boasts a prehistoric beauty that’ll take travelers back to a time when wilderness ruled the land. Because this highway is no longer used as the main route to Denali National Park, it’s now a favorite destination for adventure-seekers and nature lovers. Covering a distance of 133-135 miles from Cantwell to Paxson, this road can be best appreciated through a hike.

Hiking Trails within the Denali Highway

This paradise offers plenty of opportunities for trekkers and hikers. One such opportunity is the Amphitheater Mountains that stand out from the Alaska Range. Another highlight of this hiker’s paradise is the Landmark Gap. This gap is actually a big hole carved by a glacier through the majestic mountains. The bottom of this gap is now filled with water, creating the Landmark Gap lake. This pristine lake is a perfect destination for a day hike or an overnight trek into the mountains. The hiking route has a total distance of 5 miles (round trip) encompassing a dirt track to the southern part of the shore. Hiking routes extend along the Landmark Gap lake and hikers can actually proceed through the hole to the northern slopes of the Amphitheater Mountains.

Another part of this highway worth visiting is the Mclaren Summit, just 37 miles away from Paxson. Rambling across Alaska’s open tundra is an exciting hiking challenge. This can be achieved by starting at the Mclaren Summit, the highest mountain within Denali Highway. Aside from exciting hiking adventures, Mclaren Summit also offers a picturesque view of the magnificent Alaska Range.

Nature lovers will surely enjoy this place especially on summer months. During these months, vibrant wildflowers fill the open tundra with color and life. This area is usually open from mid-May to October 1. Since this area is where Mt. Wrangell (an active volcano) is found, it’s quite common to see steam pouring out from its crater.

A Glimpse of Alaska’s Rich History

Aside from hiking trips, this place is also perfect for a trip back in time. According to GORP, there are actually more than 400 archaeological sites within the area. The Tangle Lakes found in Denali Highway contain some of the oldest archaeological evidences of early human traditions and communities. This highway contains archaeological evidences that can be traced back to over 10,000 years ago. Evidences of the existence of the Denali Complex, the Northern Archaic Tradition, the late Prehistoric Period, and the prevalent Athapaskan Tradition. So when planning a hiking adventure along Denali Highway, expect plenty of historical sites, amazing wildlife, and breath-taking sceneries.

Accommodation within Denali Highway

The highway offers plenty of camping areas. Since camping sites within this area are on a first-come first-serve basis, it’s best to come in early especially during peak season. Facilities may be limited and not all facilities are found in every camping site. However, do expect these basic facilities – picnic tables, vault toilets, litter barrels, and fire pits. For more information regarding accommodation and lodging options, visit the official website of BLM (Bureau of Land Management).

Accommodation example: Tangle Lakes Lodge, 22 Denali Highway, Glennallen, Alaska, USA

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How to get to Denali Highway

Denali Highway is accessible as it serves as a link between Paxson Lodge which is situated at the Richardson Highway and Cantwell Junction which is located at the Parks Highway. Nearest airports include the Golden North Airfield. Other airports are found in Cantwell, Summit, Denali, Healy River, and Lignite. For more information on how to get to Denali Highway, visit official travel sites.

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Bureau of Land Management

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