Cantwell got its start as a flag stop for the Alaska Railroad and was named for the nearby Cantwell River. It is located roughly 200 miles from Anchorage and sits just 20 miles outside of Denali National Park and Preserve. This makes it a popular base camp for people wanting to visit Denali and the surrounding areas.
The summer months bring many visitors to this small community of just over 200 residents, with activities such as mountaineering, wildlife viewing and bird watching, hiking, camping and fishing. There are bus tours into Denali Park, as well as a visitor's center at the park entrance that provides excellent information on the natural history of the area and gives out permits for camping and shuttle bus tickets. Other things to do in the area include rafting, flightseeing, berry picking, dog sled tours, and boat rides on the Nenana River. Winter fun involves snowmaching, skiing and snowboarding.
Cantwell has accommodations available in the form of lodges and several bed and breakfasts, as well as RV parks and camping. Cantwell Lodge has dining services available, in addition to shower and camping amenities.
Cantwell can be reached via car or air from both Anchorage and Fairbanks.
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