The Denali Highway (Highway 8) is one of the most breathtaking drives in all of Alaska. The 135-mile road connects Cantwell to Paxson and gives visitors an alternate Denali experience than the Denali Park Road.
The Denali Highway was the only road into Denali National Park & Preserve before the Parks Highway (Highway 3) was completed in the early 1970s. Today, the gravel road offers visitors spectacular views of the Alaska Range and glaciers, as well as outdoor recreation opportunities like hiking, fishing, ATVing, photography and dog mushing.
Conditions on the road vary, and caution is advised. Travel speeds of between 35-55 mph are possible, but the rugged route is best enjoyed at a slower pace. Roadhouses, lodges and inns can be found along the road - it's advised to plan for a multi-day experience if you are experiencing it on your own.
In 2022, the Denali Backcountry Adventure is a guided tour offered by Alaska Collection by Pursuit. It leaves Denali Cabins along the Parks Highway and travels 65 miles on the Denali Highway to Alpine Creek Lodge, where a hearty lunch is served and afternoon activities are offered. the fully narrated tour is being offered June 4 through Sept. 16 as an alternative since the Denali Park Road closure restricts travel beyond Mile 43.