We took an extended weekend for the 4th of July and visited Maclaren River Lodge located at Milepost 42 on the Denali Highway in Alaska for a working vacation involving a photo shoot. This highway also know as Highway 8 used to be the only way to Denali National Park traversing from Paxson on the east end and meandering through some of the most spacious and gorgeous scenery you will ever see, ending up in Cantwell approximately 120 miles later. The Maclaren River Lodge is an an awesome place to vist with something for everyone. There is history to relive, relaxing, a very nice restaurant, accommodations, great conversation, a beer and wine bar to wet your whistle, internet access, tire repair or replacement, minor auto repairs, emergency fuel, jet boat rides, world class Grayling Fishing, the Maclaren Glacier and the Maclaren River.
This is a must on your "Bucket List"! If you travel by RV or Camper, they have places for you to park for the day or you are welcome to stay overnight. If you are a tent camper, they have places for your tent and you can enjoy all of the amenities of the lodge, including the showers. If you prefer to lodge in one of there very clean cabins that is also available. There are different types of cabins to meet everyone's needs. They have a couple of very spacious cabins with their own private bath, tub and shower. They also have dry cabins where you share a central bath house. Now this central bath house is very private, it is actually 3 separate rooms each with a private shower, sink and toilet. So no gang toities here. There is electricity provided in all of the cabins.
The lodge offers a variety of menu items for breakfast, lunch and supper. They also have a special of the day that is not usually one of the menu items. For instance, for a couple days while we were there, the specials were Baby Back Ribs or Manicottis. The coffee is always on and they have a variety of teas and of course soft drinks and juice. Home made bread is made daily and fills the lodge with that amazing aroma. There is also a Gazebo with a huge grill and many tables and chairs. If you are a group traveling through, this might be a wonderful option for your group to enjoy.
For activities there is a Jet Boat Ride approximately 10 miles up the very winding and scenic Maclaren River towards the Maclaren Glacier. About 4 miles from the glacier there is a permeant campsite with a tent, fire ring and outhouse that you may use also. This area of the river offers spectacular views of the Maclaren Glacier. There is abundant wildlife in the area including bears, moose, caribou, bald eagles and many other birds. Also this area is home to some World Class Grayling Fishing in the tributaries that flow into Maclaren River. There are abundant hiking areas and also ATV Trails in the area surrounding the lodge. The lodge also offers tire repair and/or replacement if you need these services and also some minor auto repairs can be accomplished right on site or even down the road a few miles.
I highly recommend traveling the 120 mile Denali Highway from end to end with an overnight stop at Maclaren River Lodge. If you are looking to get out into some pristine wilderness without a lot of people and noise this is your place. You can look them up on the internet at www.maclarenlodge.com which even includes a live weather cam.