Denali Highway Opens Cantwell to Paxson

May 21, 2020

Denali Highway near Tangle Lakes
Credit Robyne / KUAC

A popular recreational access route has opened just in time for the long Memorial Day weekend. The state Department of Transportation says the 135-mile-long Denali Highway, between Cantwell on the Parks Highway, and Paxson on the Richardson,


is now open to travel. The Denali Highway is not maintained in winter and DOT northern region spokesperson Caitlin Frye says maintenance crews faced a big challenge following this year’s long snowy season.

"It was all that snow on the Richardson Highway side, just a ton of stuff to move. It just took longer than usual to push everything out of the way and get through all the ice.”

Frye says the Denali Highway, which has a mix of gravel and paved stretches, is typically open by May 15th. The DOT urges drivers to be prepared for remote travel, and rough road conditions, including along a narrow section of highway between miles 42 and 60. Drivers are also advised to check the state’s 511 website, or to call its 511 line for the latest road conditions.  Seasonal weight restrictions are in effect.