In the Heart of the Alaska Range
907-987-0977

FAQ & IFAQ

Have a question?  There is probably an answer in our frequently and infrequently asked questions below.

  • Where are you located? How close are you to Denali National Park?

    The minuscule settlement of Paxson is located at the junction of the Richardson and Denali Highways (AK Rtes 4 & 8). We have driveways on both roads; each approximately 250 yards from the junction. From the north along the Richardson, Paxson is approximately 185 miles from Fairbanks and 80 miles from Delta Junction. From the south (Glenn and Richardson Highways), Paxson is approximately 300 miles from Anchorage, 80 miles from Glennallen, and 185 miles from Valdez. From the west, we are 165 miles from the Denali Park entrance via the Parks and Denali Highways. We suggest you allot between 5-6 hours from the Park whether you choose to drive the Denali Highway or the longer route through Fairbanks.

    Some online map search engines place us 20 miles in on the Denali: do not trust these maps!

    We are located at mile 185.6 on the Richardson Highway and at mile 0.2 on the Denali Highway, very close to the junction of these roads.

  • Can we drive the Denali Highway? What shape is it in?

    The Denali Highway, closed during the winter, re-opens for vehicular traffic around the beginning or middle of May, and closes sometime in mid-October. Please contact us or visit the Alaska Department of Transportation's website to determine current status. The highway is paved for the first 21 miles, starting in Paxson. For those who choose to heed the wishes of certain rental agencies about not driving any of Alaska's unpaved roads, this means that from our location it is still possible to stay on the asphalt and enjoy some of the most magnificent vistas Alaska has to offer. Beyond mile 21 the Denali Highway is gravel surfaced. This does not mean a dirt road so in most years navigating it in any automobile presents no problem whatsoever, as long as you drive conscientiously and maintain the posted speed limits. Traffic is light; you will encounter no trucks and there are services at regular intervals.

  • Your name is "Highway Cabins". Are we going to be hearing traffic?

    Denali "Highway" is a misnomer. This wilderness access is legendary for its lack of traffic - a few dozen vehicles at its summer peak. Furthermore, the cabins are located well away from the road - the wonderful sound of the Gulkana River is all you will be hearing. We also have a driveway on the Richardson Highway, but even for it "Highway" is an inappropriate name for such a sleepy route: more apt would be Richardson Country Road Number Four.

  • Do the cabins have electricity?

    The cabins are fully electrified, but we do ask guests to be conscientious about electrical usage on an off-grid, solar-powered property.  Our cabins do not have microwaves, refrigerators, hair-dryers, electrical towel warming racks and so on, as an off-grid property cannot support so many of these heavy electrical users.  

    Please see our Sustainability page for more information.

  • Do the cabins have bathrooms and indoor plumbing?

    At Denali Highway Cabins, ALL of our cabins have fully plumbed, fully functional bathrooms - the kind you're used to.

    The reason we mention this is that life is different in the interior of Alaska. With our tough weather and equally tough soils, many features that are taken for granted elsewhere are either luxuries here or non-existent. For example, in this part of Alaska most permanent homes and many guest accommodations do not have flush toilets or any indoor plumbing and most residents prefer it this way. Plumbing and minus 50 degree temperatures are not a good marriage. In fact, if a lodging does not prominently state that it has such facilities, we guarantee you they do not. It's a fact of Alaskan life.

  • Are there cooking facilities in the cabins? Refrigerators?

    We provide access to propane grills, which are available to our guests free of charge. Isabel's Cottage is the only accommodation with a full kitchen. For the majority of guests' food items, refrigerators are not necessary. Our nighttime temps are always quite cool, even in mid-summer, so leaving food in your car is more than sufficient. We have styrofoam coolers available for any who desire. A small communal guest frig and microwave also are available in our Great Room.

  • What's the weather going to be like?

    Weather is a great variable here in Alaska. We could get six inches of snow on June 23 (as we did in 2006), or it could be sunny and inching towards 80 degrees. Rain is always a possibility. 

    Paxson sits at 2750’ elevation which for many guests will be the highest elevation lodging they experience on their Alaska trip. (Most Denali Park lodging is at 2500’.) From late May through the end of August, sunny weather can bring high temps into the 70s and 80s, whereas on rainy, overcast days the high may not leave the lower 40s. Highs in the 60s are the norm. Once mid-September arrives snow can be expected any time. And the winter? Generally, daytime highs are from -30 to 0, with lows frequently dropping to the -50s, and occasionally even colder.

    Be mentally prepared for whatever the weather may bring.  Sometimes the temperatures in the summer will be hotter than in your home state,  but it is not wise to travel with the notion that “summer” means “warm”, for here in Alaska temperatures generally are cooler than you are accustomed to. A good rule of thumb for North Americans and Europeans is to consider our July as similar to your October (for Arizonans: think “December”!). We suggest you pack a warm sweater and coat, a rain jacket (rain pants too, if you plan on lots of hiking), but also bring shorts and a sun hat. Alaska is always beautiful: whether the sun is warming the wildflowers and berries, or the mountains are shrouded in a cool, cloudy mist.

  • Is there a restaurant or grocery store nearby?

    There are a couple of eating places in the Paxson area, as well as a number of other restaurants on the roadways depending on what direction you will be driving to reach us. We are happy to offer specific suggestions when you are making your reservation. There are supermarkets in the Anchorage area and Fairbanks; there are grocery stores in Glennallen and Delta Junction. We have a small food emporium with sundry food items, like our homemade chocolate treats and baked goods, organic sodas, milk, juices, fresh eggs from our chickens, and other delectables.


  • What about internet, TV and cell service?

    Cell service for most major carriers is excellent in the immediate Paxson area. Coverage on the Denali Highway is mostly non-existent; service on the Richardson Highway is generally good.

    We have no television service in our cabins.

    We currently have a slow satellite internet connection here with limited availability for guests with their own wireless devices. We are hoping to upgrade to a faster service the summer of 2016, which may disrupt the availability of internet access during your stay with us. If internet access is of prime importance to you, please ask us what the current status is.  Things get done slowly in Paxson and we are not in the vanguard of the technologically competent.

  • What is your cancellation policy?

    Cancellations must be made before three weeks prior to scheduled arrival date. For individuals (two cabins or fewer), we will refund your deposit minus a $25 per cabin per night charge. For groups (three cabins or more),  one cabin's fare will be deducted from the refund. We strongly recommend travelers consider trip insurance when making travel plans.

  • Is there a gas station nearby?

    Because of the remoteness of the Paxson area, the availability of gas is not always guaranteed, despite what you may read in guidebooks. We highly recommend that visitors fill their tanks in Glennallen, Delta Junction or Cantwell before traveling to Paxson.

  • What are the check-in and check-out times?

    Check-in is from 4 to 8 pm. If you will be arriving late, please call and let us know. Cell phone service is widely available in Alaska.  Check-out is before 10 am, please.

  • Will we see the northern lights?

    Solar out-gassing, which throw off the particles that cause the ionization of the upper atmosphere bringing upon the aurora, can occur at any time of the year. In order for us to see this display, however, our skies must be reasonably dark. We have seen northern lights displays as early as the second week of August and as late as the last week of April. In the intervening months you should plan to enjoy our wonderful long days - interminable in the weeks surrounding summer solstice, June 20-21.

  • Do you have RV sites?

    We do not have RV dump sites or electrical hook-ups, but cabin guests may have accompanying RVs camp for a $10 fee. There is a dump station 11 miles to our south.

  • How bad are the mosquitoes?

    We try not to badmouth the mosquitoes too much. Without the abundant mosquito population, we wouldn't have our fantastic migratory birds visiting us in the summer months. The tundra and boreal forest would be a much quieter place without all the birdsong. Migratory birds nest here in Alaska primarily because of this insect smorgasbord. Also, we have very few bees in Alaska; virtually all our wildflowers are pollinated by mosquitoes. They are a fact of life here, and you must be prepared for them. Bring some DEET repellant. Some mosquito repellant clothing (such as Buzz-Off), and a head net, can be useful if you rank as Extra-Tasty to them and plan to spend a lot of time outdoors. The mosquito hatch times vary, and it is impossible to time your visit to not coincide with it. You may see not a single mosquito on your trip, or you may see many. Just be prepared.

  • Where are public restrooms located?

    It is considered ill-mannered to ask to use a gas station's or roadhouse's restroom here in Alaska if you are not a paying customer. There are a number of public facilities located along the Richardson and Denali Highways. The one closest to this junction is four miles north on the Richardson; please see The Milepost for exact locations of others.

What Guests Are Saying

"Loved the beauty of the river in a tent that had the most comfortable bed & ambiance. Don't miss this experience and wonderful hosts."

- TA member ConnecticutTwin, Connecticut, July 22, 2012

Get In Touch

Denali Highway Cabins & Tours
HC02 Box 7292
Paxson (Gakona), Alaska 99586-9205

907-987-0977
Office hours: 7 am to 7 pm Alaska time

Please note: Telephone service in Paxson is notoriously unreliable. If you are unable to properly reach us by phone, please send us an email or fill out our reservation form online, and we will be in touch with you shortly. We apologize for any inconvenience.

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