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Denali Highway
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Private Multi-Day Denali National Park Camping and Hiking Trip
Ranked #221 of 861 things to do in Alaska
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: Located midway between Anchorage and Fairbanks, this highway leads to some interesting tundra hikes.
Reviewed 28 July 2014

Please never pave this road we want it left the treasure it is!!
We did not have to drive down this road; we made a grateful chose to. Remember this is a dirt road and there are other ways to get to the other side but this is one of most spectacular drives we have been on. You can pull off at you leisure, the hurried commuter is left back on the pavement and the road is a treat if you have ever driven the Alcan!
We saw lots of wild life because we weren’t in a hurry and the natural history interpretive roadside signs were informative as we looked forward to the next. If you get a chance stop at a local gas station nearby they have maps that explain the drive and the next viewpoint. There are 10,000 views that are left unexplained; left to your own oohs and ahhs.

2  Thank timfromkeene
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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53 - 57 of 90 reviews

Reviewed 28 July 2014

We drove the Denali Highway on a wet, rainy July day en route from Denali to Valdez. This drive has been on my bucket list for a long time, and while I was disappointed that the rain and clouds kept the full views from being out there, the experience was tremendous.

The short version: 135 miles from Cantwell to Paxson. Maybe 23 miles are paved. There are (I think) two places to fix tires and get a bite to eat -- one looked sketchy, the other (Maclaren Lodge) was great. We were in a 4-door sedan, front wheel drive, and had no problems at all. As dirt roads go, it wasn't bad at all -- a few rougher spots, but we did 35 most of the time.

Due to our long drive and the nasty weather, we didn't get to stop much, but even the few pull-outs we took were breathtaking. Early on we came down a hill and about 35 yards from the highway a moose was belly-deep in a pond having brunch. It looked at us once, but mainly just sat there and ate its grass for the fifteen minutes we were there. No other cars came by. The only sound was the wind and the moose.

The road is travelled, mostly (that day, at least) by motor homes and campers (aka Tundra Whales). The Tundra Whales mostly were polite, but we had one or two very large ones that kicked up rocks and felt entitled to the center of the road. Drive aware, pull over and stop if needed, and you should be fine.

In some ways, beyond the moose, the most transcendent spots for me were the Maclaren River Valley and the Tangle Lakes Archaeological Area. I wish we'd had more time in each. The folks at the Maclaren Lodge serve a decent lunch (the only lunch in the area), offer lodging, boat rides, copious advice, wifi (for a fee), and a view of the Maclaren Glacier, about 15 miles away, pouring out of the Alaska Range. Tangle Lakes has several maintained trails across habitats that humans have been living and working in for over 10,000 years...as well as areas more dedicated to contemporary sportsmen and ORV folks. For most of the drive, it felt like we were alone with earth and tundra and rock and the ancestors.

This isn't for everyone. No cell service, long stretches where you see no other drivers, very, very few services...and a sense of the scope of the universe that I've never felt in more crowded climes.

6  Thank davenpeggy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 July 2014

We took this highway as it was our only chance to do so to go to Denali. We had to pack a lot into little time. We rented a Toyota Yaris which handled all roads very well. We recommend purchasing fix a flat tire spray before you head on this road along with bear spray and using your human voices for all stops. This is a wilderness route and wildlife are the residents even though you may not see them. Have your camera ready for pictures as there is so much beauty no matter the weather. If someone is photography or stretching or...., use your voices, sing a song, wear bear spray at all times, and ring your bear bells.......as you must always remember wildlife can be very close and not seen. My husband loved the drive but it was bumpy and my lower back really felt it. Once you end the highway, head to the closest lodge, you'll need a good stretch. We passed only a few rvs, bicycles.

3  Thank Tim J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 March 2014

We drove Denali Highway from Denali NP to Wrangell NP.We left around 7:30am in the morning and got to Wrangell around 9:30pm. So it is about 14 hours drive. We kept stopping during the drive coz it is just so amazing. It is a wild and lonely drive. The weather was not very good that day, but the view was still extremely stunning to me. I rated this as one of my 3 top experiences in Alaska along with McKingley Summit Tour and Katmai NP. We drove a standard SUV and we made it. Everybody should try it.

6  Thank chachaSH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 March 2014

If you have a lot of time and at least a driver to change it is a nice drive. But if the weather is bad you will have some hard time with this dirt road full of pod holes filled with water. I believe driving into the Denali park is more sceenic to see. So only recommended for good drivers with patience. Careful there is no road service on the whole 130 Miles and the insurance of most rental care companies does not cover the denali highway.

1  Thank Dolorenz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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