Tips/Special Features: The Denali Fault provides a natural travel corridor through the high peaks and valleys of the unit from Foggy Pass in the eastern side to Easy Pass at the western end. Large and scenic glaciers are accessible at the headwaters of the drainages in the area. This unit is full of remote mountain scenery with little chance of running into other hikers or their traces. Wildflowers can be abundant in the alpine passes of this area in June.
Access: There is no nearby road access to Unit 17 and all approaches take over a day of cross-country travel to reach it. The typical access points for this unit are from Cantwell and Foggy Pass on the east end (Unit 16) or from Anderson Pass and Easy Pass to the west (Unit 23). It is possible to access the midpoint of the unit with some difficulty from the Parks Highway by following Cantwell Creek up to the Denali Wilderness boundary (Unit 70) or from the terminus of the Dunkle Mine Road in the Costello Creek area (Unit 70). Both of these routes involve at least one major river crossing that may be impossible during times of snow melt and heavy rain. Please contact the Backcountry Information Center (BIC) for more information.
Routes/Hiking Corridors: Trips in this area are only recommended for hikers who have extensive experience with multiday cross-country hiking trips in rugged terrain. Large river crossings are required to move into and around this unit.
The major travel route is along the Denali Fault, an east-west system of low passes on the south side of the Alaska Range. A hike along the Denali Fault requires a commitment to a long trip (7-10 days) with heavy loads. There is no “easy out” along the route like in many units along the Park Road corridor. Neither the Bull River nor Cantwell Creek intersects the Parks Highway.
Information on access from Cantwell to Foggy Pass is provided in the Unit 16 description. Similarly, access to the west end of this route is provided in the Unit 23 description. The pass between Cantwell Creek and the Bull River can be snowbound until mid-summer and it is very brushy on the Cantwell Creek side.