We traversed the Denali Highway and then headed south to Valdez. We had to make a double back due to some tire trouble but that’s life, not a big deal. Heads up though when you come here, it IS remote anywhere outside of Anchorage. Cell outages.. for entire sections of trips, maintenance support is going to be a long tow if that is necessary. Be prepared by servicing your vehicle. One thing though, you will get help from passerby’s. Everybody knows they wouldn’t want to be stranded out there either.
Valdez was amazing and a total change of scenery. Again we were hitting peak colors on the way down. The rain and fog added to the drama and made for some excellent photography. The scenery was so good that it took us 5.5 hours to go 105 miles. We obviously don’t “make good time” on the road….
Hello everyone, just got back from a whirlwind fall colors tour up here in the Great Land. Yes, we start early up here, for all you southerners, but we get it good too. We definitely hit the peak on our trip as we headed back across the Denali Highway, down the Richardson, south to Valdez, and back across the Glenn Highway to home. Wow. It was incredible. Tons and tons of images to sort through, tons of film to develop (MF and LF) and I finally “saw” what I need to do on Sheep Mountain. That has been working on me for some time. I still have a lot of work to do before closing out this season but it should be fun…
McLaren Summit at 4086 feet is not the highest mountain pass I have ever driven up (short by almost 10 thousand feet) but the view, well it speaks for itself. Only Atigan Pass in Alaska is higher. The valley below McLaren is absolutely beautiful, the lazy Susitna River in the evening light makes a slivery highway running towards the distant Alaska Range peaks. The rain was out on this late evening, but really, it it only served up the drama instead of damping the mood.
We were cruising down the Denali Highway and came around a corner and this guy was in a fire ring rooting around for leftovers. They are quite endearing actually and you really want to get out and pet them. That would be disastrous of course. They don’t move very fast and they tend to have great facial expressions so they are fun. They pretty much know that they can hurt you far more than you can hurt them (unless you have a gun. See last years Alaska Experiment.) We gave the old boy some room and he waddled on past in no particular hurry. I think no particular hurry is a good way to waddle.
Paxson (on the Denali Hwy) is not a big place but it has food (heard it’s very good) and you can buy firewood here. You might want to consider it as dead wood is scarce and it’s nice to have a campfire, of course it must be in an approved fire ring. Five bucks a bundle, but on the plus side…it looks good and it burns well…
I love Alaska, it’s so colorful.
The Denali Highway is about 135 miles long and can be accessed from either the Parks Highway in Cantwell or via the Richardson Highway at Paxson. It turns out that either way is within 50 miles of being the same distance from Anchorage, it all depends on where you want to start. We started at the Tangle Lakes end and worked our way over to the Cantwell side. The road is mostly good and can be driven by a car; the recommended maximum speed is 30 mph without another vehicle in your view.
That’s to keep you from running off the road while gawking.
Wow! The Denali Highway is amazing. Between going up the Richardson Highway and traveling the length of the Denali Highway about 3 times we had so much mind boggling scenery it was eye candy overload. Absolutely stunning. I had high expectations due to the rumblings I had heard and I can honestly say all were exceeded. Put it on your list.