The community of Cantwell is the southernmost town in the Denali Borough. It is located at the north end of Broad Pass, well known for its spectacular scenery, and among Cantwell Creek and the Jack River, tributaries of the Nenana River. Tanana Indians and Athabascan Natives were the original inhabitants of the Cantwell area. They hunted and fished these lands as part of their broad range in Interior Alaska. Today, much of the land is owned by Ahtna, Inc. which is a regional Native Corporation. Permits are available online, for a variety of activities. You can learn more about the Ahtna people & culture by visiting their website.
Cantwell received its name from military explorer Lieutenant J.C. Cantwell and was originally a flag stop of the Alaska Railroad. Today Cantwell is a community of around 200 people, and is known as a dog mushers heaven.
Many dog mushers recreate on the Denali Highway, of which Cantwell is the western terminus. This mostly gravel highway connects the George Parks Hwy and the Richardson Hwy in an east to west direction. See our Denali Highway page for more information.
The most recent claim to fame for this community, was the filming of the movie “Into the Wild” (2007).