The Denali Highway – Mountains and Landscape

Denali-Highway-mountain-landscapeThe Alaska Range follows a broad arc for 650 miles, from Cook Inlet on Alaska’s west coast through the Denali massif and onward to the Canadian border. The Denali Highway passes through alpine tundra, paralleling this band of mountains to the south. Peaks like Mt. Hayes at 13,832′, Hess at 11,940′, and Mt. Deborah at 12,339′ dominate the skyline.

To the southeast, the Wrangell Mountains rise even higher. Although almost 80 miles away, Mt. Sanford at 16,237′ rises prominently, flanked by Mt Drum and Mt. Wrangell. As the northernmost active volcano on the Pacific Rim, Wrangell may at any time be venting steam into the Arctic air.


The Denali Highway – Hiking

Denali-Highway-hikingThose wanting to take a break from the bike or car will find plenty of opportunities for strolling into the wilderness. Just beyond the Tangle Lakes, the Amphitheater Mountains jut out from the Alaska Range. A glacier carved a large hole through the mountains, Landmark Gap. A long finger of water has filled the bottom of the gap and the snowy caps of Mount Moffit and McGinnis Peak rise beyond it. Landmark Gap Lake is a great destination for an easy dayhike or overnighter. The route is a five-mile round trip along an old dirt track to the south shore. Trails extend along the lake and hikers can proceed through the gap to the north slope of the Amphitheaters.