Camp Denali was such a great experience- I don't know where to start!
I was traveling alone with my 11 year old son. It was a heck of a trip to get there- that's for sure. A seven hour train ride to Denali from Anchorage and then another 7 hour bus ride into the park. But it was worth it.
Camp Denali is expensive- but it's also the only place to really experience this incredible piece of Alaska. The cabins are rustic- but in a nice way. There is no electricity or running water. But they make it really easy because there is running water just outside the door and there are propane lights and a wood stove for heat.
You use your own outhouse for the bathroom- or there are nice bathrooms located up the hill a bit in the shower house. The outhouse is not bad- it's really dug deep and doesn't smell much.
We were fortunate to see Mt. McKinley on our first night and to say the view from the cabins is spectacular would be a huge understatement. We stayed up until 1 in the morning just because we couldn't take our eyes off of it . And it's a good thing we did- because it disappeared behind clouds and we never saw it again.
It was quite cold for summer during out stay- upper 40's to low 50s and really rainy. There were a few times I felt the cabin was chilly- to say the least. But when I got the stove going for a while- it warmed up and the lights made it warm, too. And I loved the rustic feel that the lack of electricity gave us- we thought it was so cozy.
The beds are incredible. I mean- I don't think I've ever slept that well! My little trick was to set up the fire in the stove before bed and then jump out and light it super fast in the morning and jump back under the covers until it warmed up.
I read a review that expressed concern over their treatment of children. That seems really odd to me- there about 15 children of all ages in the group and they were all treated really well. Of course, they were all really well behaved- but I never heard a harsh word from the staff. In fact, there was one group that had an infant with them and the staff went out of the way to put that whole family together on it's own hike so that the baby and Mom could go along.
My son and I skipped the guided hike the first day and canoed on Wonder Lake. This involved walking a few miles with paddles and life vests. They offered us rides from the lodge- located about a mile down the hill- but we didn't take them up on it- preferring to walk. It was fabulous. Despite the rain and the cold- we bundled up and really enjoyed ourselves out in the canoe.
The second day we hiked with a guide. They offer three levels of hikes ranging from easy, to moderate, to strenuous. The guides are great - especially Ann- she is awesome and so nice to the kids.
We had a blast the whole time and did NOT want to leave. It's a great experience I would definitely recommend for anyone. Just make sure to bring some warm clothes, hiking boots, and rain gear!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Camp Denali, with sweeping views of Mt. McKinley, is located deep inside Denali National Park. Offering active learning vacations since 1952. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Camp Denali Hotel Denali National Park And Preserve
- Camp Denali Alaska/Denali National Park And Preserve