We camped at Wonder Lake on our first trip to Denali in late July. Denali gets a bad rap from people who spend all day taking the bus in and out for a day trip and never get to see the mountain. The genious of Wonder Lake is in the ability to really spend some time there. You need two nights minimum to really give yourself a shot at seeing the mountian (and even then there's no guarantee). Plus your best chances to see the mountain happen at sunset (around 12am in July) and sunrise (around 4am). Our bus ride in was overcast and rainy, as was our first night in the campground but the next morning we were fortunate to see the clouds part and got a great view of Denali's peak and the Alaska Range! Camping at Wonder Lake also splits the round trip bus ride into two manageable half-days, increasing your chances of significant wildlife spottings. Between our ride in and our ride out we saw at least 6 grizzlies, 5 caribou and dall sheep. The campground is actually really nice! All sites have spectacular views of the mountain (if its out). We would set an alarm overnight and periodically peek out our tent window to see if the mountain was making an appearance. There is running water, flush toilets, a food locker and food prep area for bear safety. Wonder Lake is not a tremendously active section of the park for grizzlies compared with the Toklat river area but there were bear sightings reported in the area while we were there so travel in groups and make plenty of noise when hiking. We found hiking in the low tundra around Wonder Lake a little triesome without gaiters or some heavy duty boots but there is a well-maintiained trailt to the McKinley River bar and the road around Wonder Lake toward Kantishna is actually quite scenic and easy to walk. Others have posted about the mosquitos. You should pepared for mosquitos pretty much everywhere you go in Alaska. By late July when we traveled the weather was already getting too cool for significant amounts of mosquitos so we really didn't have a problem but you should definitely bring a head net and some high percentage DEET bugspray in case your experience is different. Wonder Lake really is a special place that is not visited by many because of its distance from the park entrance but if you can spend a few days, the experience is really worth it.
- Also Known As:
- Wonder Lake Campground Hotel Denali National Park And Preserve
- Wonder Lake Campground Alaska/Denali National Park And Preserve