Location / Coordinates: Cantwell is located about 200 miles north of Anchorage and about 20 miles south of the Denali National Park & Preserve at the junction of Parks Highway (Alaska 3) and the Denali Highway (Alaska 8).
Coordinates: Latitude 63.39 & Longitude 48.95.
Population / Elevation: At 2200 feet in elevation, Cantwell has just under 200 people living there, more during the summer season with seasonal workers.
Description: Most of Cantwell businesses are centered around the intersection of the Parks Highway and the Denali Highway. The Cantwell Lodge, a favorite place for lunch and dinner, is west of the intersection a few miles on the Denali Highway. Most of Cantwell’s economy depends on tourism and transportation. There are signs depicting subsistence hunting areas. These areas are for residents in the Cantwell area that depend on subsistence hunting, fishing, and trapping for their livelihood.
What to do there: Cantwell on a clear day has an excellent view of Mount McKinley. In the summer season, many people stay here while they do day trips to Denali National Park & Preserve. During the winter season Cantwell is often a logistical hub for food and lodging in the area.
History: The Alaska Railroad used Cantwell as a flag stop, the little community became known as Cantwell, named for the Cantwell River. The Cantwell River was originally known as the Nenana River until1885 when Lieutenant Allen renamed it for Lieutenant John. C. Cantwell of the Revenue-Cutter Service—an explorer of the Kobuk River Region.
How to get there: Cantwell is accessible by road, rail, or air. The Parks Highway (Alaska 8) connects Anchorage and Fairbanks with Denali National Park & Preserve about half way between the two cities. The Alaska Railroad operates daily during the summer season and occasionally during the winter season providing transportation service to Anchorage, Fairbanks and all stops in-between.
Facilities: Cantwell has a post office, gas, food, lodging, and an airport with a 2,100 foot runway, and a flying and guide service to Denali National Park & Preserve and the surrounding area.
RV info: The Cantwell RV Park has dump and water fill stations, showers, laundry facilities, modem hook-ups, water and electric sites. It is open only during the summer season.