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Denali & the Alaska Range
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Denali & the Alaska Range


George Parks Highway (AK3) -- Wasilla to Fairbanks


Denali State Park

Denali National Park and Preserve

McKinley Park (the town)


Denali Highway (AK8)

National Wild and Scenic Rivers: Delta and Gulkana

Central Richardson Highway (AK4) -- Glenallen to Delta Junction


Location/Climate: On Nenana River, 11 miles north of Denali National Park and Preserve entrance on George Parks Highway. 12"/yr. precip., -22°F–72°F.

Population: 605 (1.4 percent native).

Travel Attractions: Alaska Range and Denali National Park and Preserve access, rafting, flightseeing.

Getting There: Vehicle access via George Parks Highway and bus and van shuttles; charter air.

Information: Inquire with local businesses, 683-INFO (4636), postmaster@denalichamber.com, www.denalichamber.com.

You’d never know it by looking at it, but Healy is Alaska’s wealthiest town and one of the richest in the country—the median household income is close to $60,000. This is due to the Usebelli Coal Mine, currently the only commercial coal mine in Alaska—though that could change since Alaska has huge coal reserves. Healy has gotten yet another boost with the construction of the $267 million state-of-the-art Healy Clean Coal Plant, completed in 1998. The Denali North Star Inn, located west of the road at Mile 248.8 of the Parks Highway, was moved in pieces to Healy from Prudhoe Bay, then rebuilt to house the construction crews.

Take the Otto Lake Road 1 mile west from Mile 247 of the Parks Highway to reach this small lake with camping, fishing, and swimming. There are also B&Bs, a youth hostel, foothills access, and a driving range. At Mile 248.8 of the Parks, Healy Road leads east past the store and community center, and down to the rail tracks, airstrip, and Nenana River. Across the bridge is restricted access to the coal mine, but also the 8-mile Sultrana Road, which leads to mining ruins along Healy Creek, good free camping sites, and access to the forgotten Alaska Range east of Denali.

Healy offers all highway services, including car and tire repair, and is the main support town in the Denali region.

Where to Stay and Eat in Healy

Denali Dome Home Bed-and-Breakfast, Healy Spur Road, 683-1239. Rooms are $90 and have private baths. Interesting geodesic structure, nicely kept and run.

McKinley RV and Campground, Mile 248.5 Parks Highway (AK 2), 683-2379. Sites are $18 (tents) and $29 (hookups). One of the nicer RV options around, with tentsites available.

Stampede Lodge, Mile 248.8 Parks Highway (AK 2), (800) 478-2370, 683-2242. Historic lodge and restaurant. Rooms $65–$90.

Totem Inn, Mile 248.7 George Parks Highway (AK 2), 683-2384. $60–$115 summer, $45–$90 winter, simpler rooms $40. Bar, restaurant, northern lights viewing dome (winter). The chief place in Healy for eating and meeting. RH