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George Parks Highway

(Alaska Route 3)

Denali & North!
Anchorage, Alaska to Fairbanks, Alaska
576 km, 358 miles


Northern Highways - Alaska, the Yukon & northern British Columbia

Parks Highway Links


    This major highway is a study in contrasts. It connects Alaska's two largest cities, Anchorage and Fairbanks, and halfway between those centers, skirts just to the east of North America's highest mountain, and provides access to the state's most famous wilderness park.

A photo of a float plane moored at Lake Lucile, Alaska     Anchorage and Fairbanks both offer a multitude of opportunities, from visiting museums, art galleries, fur dealers and craft shops to city sightseeing or flying out to other areas. Both cities have hotels and restaurants in all price ranges, to meet any group's needs.

    Many people feel that if you haven't seen Denali National Park, you haven't seen Alaska. It is definitely true that the park offers the best easily-accessible wildlife viewing in Alaska, and probably in North America. Taking advantage of that does require taking a shuttle bus into the park, however - options range from a couple of hours to all day. Several hotels are situated right at the gates to the park and more nearby, so overnighting to allow for the all-day tours is convenient.

    If neither city nor wilderness provides everything you want in a vacation, there are many options in between, from luxury lodges in spots such as Lake Lucile, seen in the photo above, to sled dog kennel tours. Other sites of interest and possible stops include:

  • Denali, the mountain that was officially called Mount McKinley until 2015, can be seen for many miles along the highway. At 20,237 feet (6,168 meters) high, Denali is the tallest mountain in North America.

  • the Museum of Alaska Transportation & Industry has lots of old farming, mining and other equipment, as well as steam train rides.

  • the headquarters of the 1000-mile Iditarod Sled Dog Race has sled dog rides (even in the summer), historical displays and a gift shop.

  • the little community of Willow almost became the capital city of Alaska a few years ago!

  • Talkeetna, 14 miles off the main highway, is a small village full of arts and crafts shops, and is also the base for most Denali flightseeing trips and climbing expeditions.

  • the Alaska Veterans Memorial, a magnificent monument set in the forest overlooking the Alaska Range.

  • Nenana, on the banks of the Tanana River, has some unique shops and historic buildings.

  • historic Ester Gold Camp offers food and entertainment in buildings that are on the National Register of Historic Places.

  • wildlife viewing, while world-famous in Denali National Park itself, is also good along the highway. The moose cow and calf in the photo below were seen from the road near the Nenana River.

Photo of a moose cow and calf along the Parks Highway near Denali Park, Alaska.     The Alaska Railroad runs roughly parallel to the Parks Highway, and if you're tired of driving, offers a good way to get from Anchorage to Denali Park, or Denali to Fairbanks.

    If you have questions about the George Parks Highway or any other routes, check the links below, or post your question on the Alaska Forum at TripAdvisor.




Parks Highway Links

(listed from south to north)

Anchorage
A comprehensive guide to Alaska's largest city, from accommodations to history, tours and weather.

Chugiak - Eagle River
The Chamber of Commerce offers a guide to the history, attractions and services of this area on the outskirts of Anchorage.

Palmer
The Chamber of Commerce offers a good look at the history, attractions and service in the Mat-Su Valley.

Wasilla
The Chamber of Commerce provides community statistics and lists of services.

Talkeetna
A guide to all the best resources for exploring the community and its services.

The Alaska Veterans Memorial
An illustrated guide to the monument, located at Mile 147.

A Guide to Denali National Park and area
From history to services and photo albums.

Healy
A guide to the closest community to Denali National Park.

Skinny Dick's Halfway Inn
Open year-round, this old roadhouse at Mile 328 between Nenana and Fairbanks offers cold beer, burgers and lots more.

Fairbanks
Links to a wide range of local information, from history to accommodations, transportation and outdoor recreation.