Alaska Day 7 - Driving North to Denali National Park

Healy Travel Blog

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Along the Parks Highway

A new day, and a lot of driving ahead of us. 366 kilometers (277 miles) to the little village of Healy, just north of Denali National Park our next destination. We could cut off about 33 kilometers (20 miles) by using the Hatcher pass. But the road condition and the fact that the rental company specifically forbade using this road made us decide to take the more southern, but paved, road via the town of Wasilla, the residence of Sarah Palin. Earlier that week we had seen that this Tea Partying lady was on tour in the lower 48 states, so we did not run the risk of bumping into this former governor and VP candidate.

Wasilla provided us with supermarkets and gas stations, and after a quick pause for these necessities we continued our journey along route 3, better known as the Parks Highway.

Our faithful Chevrolet malibu
The Parks highway was named after George Alexander Parks, another former governor and has nothing to do with the fact that the highway conveniently provides access to the Great Denali National Park, and several State Parks. It is 520 km (323 miles) long and connects Anchorage with Alaska's second largest city: Fairbanks. The road has only been in service for 40 years now and is such an important way that its start and end are built following the freeway concept. For the remainder it is just a two track road, like the Seward Highway.

After 61 km (38 mile) we passed the little village of Houston, such a small town that the time between entry and departure was even shorter than my short stay in the real Houston six days ago.

Along the Parks Highway
At 82 km (51 mile) we passed the village of Willow, that had almost become the Capital of Alaska in 1976.

The weather turned from bad into horrible. Rain poured and poured out of the sky and the clouds were so low and dense that we could not see the stunning mountain views that the Parks Highway tends to offer. Very pity since we drove very close to North America's highest mountain, the 6194-meter (20,320 ft) high Mount McKinley. We had seen it from Anchorage but today, a no show!

When we got closer to Denali National Park the rain became less intense. We could even make a stop along the way and walk outside on the parking lot. A worried Alaskan stopped his car and warned us that there had been a lot of bear activity near this spot. So, after taking some pictures, we continued. Even with the clouds the autumn colors were smashing!

We arrived late in the evening. Just in time to eat some salmon (for the real Alaska visitor) and steak (for the fake Alaska visitor) and head to our hotel. By that time the rain was pouring again....

More pictures below!

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Along the Parks Highway
Along the Parks Highway
Our faithful Chevrolet malibu
Our faithful Chevrolet malibu
Along the Parks Highway
Along the Parks Highway
Along the Parks Highway
Along the Parks Highway
Along the Parks Highway
Along the Parks Highway
Along the Parks Highway
Along the Parks Highway
Along the Parks Highway
Along the Parks Highway
Along the Parks Highway
Along the Parks Highway
Healy
photo by: danielrice20