Over twelve years and $150 million went into the completion of the Parks Highway in Alaska in 1971. The highway travels through 358 miles/576 km of Alaska’s most rugged terrain from Anchorage to Fairbanks. Yet the George Parks Highway need not be feared, because it is the state’s widest and best year-round road. The Parks Highway connects visitors to Denali National Park, where you will find, Mount Denali, North America’s tallest mountain. The name Denali translates to “The Great One” and seems very appropriate for this 20,310-foot mountain.
There are excellent views of Denali from mile 70 at Willow and the rest areas at mile 134.8 and mile 163. Both offer spectacular views of Denali on a clear day. At mile 104 there is a good view of the three tallest peaks in the Alaska Range: Foraker, Hunter and Denali, left to right. At mile 132.5 you you enter Denali State Park when heading north and leave the State Park at mile 168.5. The entrance to Denali National Park is at mile 237. To view our Parks Highway Map PDF click here.
Talkeetna, accessed via a 14 mile spur road at mile 99 is an adventure filled town with Jetboats, ziplining and flightseeing tours. Talkeetna is famous as the basecamp for most Denali climbing expeditions and a great place to take a flightseeing tour of Denali and the Alaska Range. (See pg 85)
The entrance to Denali National Park is at mile 237.3. Visitors can drive the Park Road for the first 15 miles into Denali National Park. To go further into the park you will need to take public shuttle busses,
or join a private tour. However, In 2022 There will be no access past Mile 43 of the Park Road due to a Landslide in August 2021. This landslide area remains unstable and will remain closed for all of the 2022 season and likely 2023.
The Parks Highway has over 40 bridges to cross with the longest being a 1050-foot span of the Susitna River at mile 104. The most spectacular has got to be Hurricane Gulch Bridge, as it is a breathtaking 254 feet above the white water of Hurricane Creek.
The Parks Highway mile markers in the following highway description correspond to the numbers appearing on the mileposts on the side of the highway. The Parks Highway mileposts are placed every mile for the entire length of the road (with some exceptions where the gap between mileposts is longer). This description of the highway begins in Anchorage and follows the route’s 358 miles to Fairbanks. The first 36 miles of this road log are on the Glenn Highway. When you reach Wasilla, you will join the Parks Highway.
For a complete list of Things to do in Alaska, visit our Things To Do section. For information on places to camp, visit our section on camping in Alaska. To determine when you should plan your trip to Alaska, visit our page on the best time to visit Alaska. Finally, many visitors to the north want to experience the Northern Lights, so we’ve put together a page of detailed information on how and when to see the Northern Lights in Alaska.
Updates on Road Conditions and Construction on the Parks Highway: http://511.alaska.gov
Frequently Asked Questions about the Parks Highway
How many hours drive from Anchorage to Fairbanks?
The drive from Anchorage to Fairbanks is 358 miles and takes between 6 and 8 hours. The Parks highway is a smooth fast road with speed limits up to 65 mph.
Is Fairbanks or Anchorage closer to Denali?
Fairbanks is closer to Denali National Park. It is 120 miles from Denali to Fairbanks and 240 miles from Denali to Anchorage.
Can I drive from Anchorage to Denali?
Yes you can drive From Anchorage to Denali on the Parks Highway. it is 240 miles of good highway and takes between 4 to 5 hours.
What is the best time of year to visit Denali National Park?
Summer is the best time to visit Denali National Park. Specifically, June – August. During the summer, the temperatures will be warmer and there will be very long daylight hours to explore (over 20 hours of daylight). It is also the best time to see wildlife roaming through the National Park.