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#18 of 41 Specialty lodging in Denali National Park and Preserve


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mile 85 of Denali National Park road, Denali National Park and Preserve, AK 99501
Getting there
Lake Minchumina Airport54 mi
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I had a long long flifgt from Bangkok to Anchorage. After spent a night in Anchorage downtown and left some of my stuff at the hostel, at 6:00 am I caught a public bus to Denali national park (online booking in advance needed). It took about 6 hours. Then I took a park bus (advance booking needed) to wonder lake campground. On the way, bus driver acted as tour guide, let us see local animal such as grizzly bear or moose. Wonder lake campground is the last stop of park bus. I arrived the campground about 7:00 pm. At that time lot of campsite was occupied. Food are not allowed to keep in tent to prevent bear attack. 2 nights at such campsite was great. Many attractive trails sould be tried. The way back to Anchorage, I try Alaska rail way. It quite expensive but worth to try.
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This might be the best campsite in America for a number of reasons. The McKinley river trail out of here is arguably the best in the park because it leads up to the river view that I believe is the closest you can get to the mountain without actually crossing rivers. Campgrounds are nice and well maintained. Rangers patrol. Bugs are a bit bad so bring a head net. I walked around wonder lake to north (reflection pond is up there). Took 5 hours round trip. Campers are all respectful. Can see northern lights here! Just an amazing spot with amazing workers in an amazing park. Amazing !!!!!all pictures walking distance from campground or on campsite.
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The 6 hour bus ride in seemed relatively quick, since we stopped so many times to see wildlife! I think the ride can be done quicker, but we got lucky with all of the animals. :) We were lucky enough to come on one of the clearest days of the year, in which the park ranger told us we were of the 5-10% of visitors that get to see Denali with no cloud cover. Even when there were some clouds, it's still magnificent. The good: The best view of Denali in the park. Sure, Eielson gets you a pretty good view. Wonder Lake gets you way closer and head-on in front of the mountain. All of the campsites have a view of the mountain, so you can't go wrong. Reserve ahead of time! It does get booked all out in advance, so be proactive. I was also impressed with the bathrooms! Who knew the best campground bathrooms I would ever experience would be 85 miles in the middle of a national park?! The toilet paper was better than that of the public school I work at! :D The ranger does a nightly presentation at the little amphitheater, where we learned a lot about the animals of the park! The Bad: From what I could tell, no matter which campsite you're at, there is not much privacy. You can see other tents from your tent. But honestly, you're not spending much time at your site anyway with all of the hiking around! The Ugly: Are the mosquitos as bad as everyone says? YES, WORSE! My husband was bitten 4 times upon arrival BEFORE EVEN GETTING OFF THE BUS. We immediately put on our 100 Ben's Deet, and this seriously saved us. The only places we got bit after that were through out clothes where we didn't think to apply Deet.. :/ We brought head nets but didn't use them (lots of other people did though)..We just reapplied our 100 Deet every few hours or so. Please don't underestimate the mosquitos. If you're prepared, you will have an amazing time; if you're not, your trip may be ruined by their miserable existence. Definitely make the trek out to this campground and stay a night or two!
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We originally thought that a six hour bus ride in, and a five hour bus ride out would be a little tough. We were wrong. Both went by very fast. All the scenery is beautiful. The wildlife is fascinating. And the vast, wide-open size of the park is unfathomable. The campground is perfectly situated to give a glorious view of Denali, if it comes out. A two-night stay increases the odds you'll see the mountain. And, as we were told, when you see it, you'll know. Unbelievably big. The bathrooms are clean, and have running (cold) water, and flushing toilets. The cooking areas are clean, open and easily accessed. The host is very friendly and helpful. I don't think there's a bad site in the camp.
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Pictures cannot do this place justice. I have been fortunate to travel to many beautiful places around the world, but I think I would rank the wonderlake campground area as number 1. We travelled there over labor day weekend (1st week of september) when the fall colors were in full (would recommend this time to visit). The area and views (and park in general) were absolutely stunning. To top it off, the mountain was clear both evenings and mornings we were there, but cloudy during the day (unfortunate for the day visitors). The sight really does take your breath away. Watching the sky change colors over the Alaska range, the mountains catch alpenglow as the sun is setting with the amazing fall color vistas of the park is something I will never forget. I would also recommend doing the mckinley bar trail if you're staying there and have time. With the fall colors in full, it was beautiful.
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wonder lake campground hotel denali national park and preserve
United StatesAlaskaDenali National Park and Preserve
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