Denali Hwy.

Jun 22nd, 2004, 06:48 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 54
Denali Hwy.

Has anyone crossed the Denali Hwy. in '03 or '04? I would love to hear about your experiences!
Kentucky is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2004, 03:55 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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Topping....I'd like to know too. We'll be there ourselves in 3 weeks. How are the road conditions this summer?
Julie304 is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2004, 04:05 AM
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We will be there the last of August. Please let me hear about your trip!
Kentucky is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2004, 04:24 AM
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Vague reports but the road is in terrible shape. There was NO maintance at all last year and it will require significant grading this year. Be advised - none of the major rentals allow driving on this road. I would be very cautious taking any vehicle that does allow the travel. Be prepared- your own auto insurance may be void as this is considered off road. Verify this. Any "credit card" coverage is void. Take out ALL extra waviers available and offered by the rental company, photograph the car before leaving the lot. There is no cell service, be prepared for long waits if service is needed.
BudgetQueen is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2004, 05:07 AM
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We tried it in 02 after only a few months of no maintenance and it was terrible. You can't miss one hole for hitting another two or three holes.

It's not like a gravel country road. It's even worse than any off road I've been on.

I wanted to try it worse than anything we did in Alaska. The scenery was awesome and finally we weren't in a crowd of people. But it took an hour to get 15 miles and we gave up and turned around.

You can always drive down it a ways just to see and then turn back. I was glad we saw just a bit of it.
Connie is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2004, 08:50 AM
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I've been over the Denali a few times and, frankly, while the scenery is quite nice, it's not worth POing the car rental companies or trashing your suspension over. It can be valuable as a time-saver but of course if the road is too lumpy that benefit goes away.

I suspect the political powers that be, especially those from Fairbanks, don't want the Denali improved as it would suck traffic away from their little slice of paradise (not.) BTW, the current Governor is very tight with Fairbanks, owing to his having run a now-defunct bank there for years. (Cause and effect? You decide.)

There are plenty - plenty - of roads that offer scenic beauty equal to the Denali without making you leave various pieces of automotive debris along the roadside. Get a copy of The Milepost and go through it if you haven't yet.
Gardyloo is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2004, 04:36 PM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 21
We had lunch at the Paxon Inn a couple weeks ago, and when we asked, we were told the road had just been graded, and the pot-holes filled. Maybe you could call them and verify.
KellyP is offline  
Jul 26th, 2004, 02:26 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 97

Are you talking about the highway from Anchorage to Denali, or is this a highway to Fairbanks.
I do have a Milepost to help plan our trip for 2005, but I had the impression for the book and also from the board that we can drive to Denali, we just can't drive into Denali.
If this post is referring to the highway from Anchorage to Denali, what other options are there to get to Denali---just the train?

Thanks for any replies, it is very helpful to read all of these posts about Alaksa.
sandy49 is offline  
Jul 26th, 2004, 03:54 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 312
The Denali Hwy is an east-west route that runs from Cantwell to Paxon. It runs perpendicular to Denali National Park but is not part of the park itself. The north-south road connecting Anchorage to Fairbanks (and used to reach the Denali National Park entrance along the way) is known as the Parks Hwy and is paved. The Denali Hwy is gravel.

Many people like to travel on the Denali Hwy because it is almost like an extension of the park in terms of its scenery and wildlife viewing opportunities. Traffic tends to be sparse, but the road is often in poor condition.

The gravel road that actually runs through Denali National Park is closed to the public (except the very beginning part). You will have to schedule a private tour or buy a ticket on the shuttle bus if you wish to travel into the park.
Julie304 is offline  
Jul 26th, 2004, 05:00 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 97
Thanks for clearing that up.
sandy49 is offline  
Jul 27th, 2004, 08:32 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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I drove the Denali Highway and the McCarthy Road last month. I don't know what the current conditions are, but the DH had been freshly graded when I was on it and I had no problems. Do a search on "Denali Highway" (omitting the quotation marks) on this forum and you'll see my comments--as well as those of others who have drive the route this summer.
TimS is offline  
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