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Worth staying at Mckinley Wilderness Lodge?

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Perth, Australia
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Worth staying at Mckinley Wilderness Lodge?

Hi All

We have 7nts between Anchorage and Fairbanks. We have the Toursaver book and I'm wondering if it's worth 2nts at McKinley Wilderness Lodge. We are interested in hiking and wildlife and therefore will the Lodge be a bit sterile and touristic?

We have 2nts booked at the Denali lodge (birthday treat) and are considering 4 nts at the hostel or basic cabins with final nt in Fairbanks.

Any thoughts please, we are trying to do this on a budget, and Mc Lodge in Sept for 2nts will not be much more expensive. Should we just wait for last minute accomm rates (mid Sept). Is Fairbanks area worth an extra nt.

Cheers!

fti
MN
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for Alaska
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1. Re: Worth staying at Mckinley Wilderness Lodge?

Is that the McKinley Princess? The biggest drawback of the hotel coupons in Toursaver is staying somewhere too long just to get a "deal." Do you realize that the McKinley Lodge is a 1 hour drive from the nearest town? (Talkeetna). it is also 15 miles from almost anything - Byers Lake for example.

"Will the lodge be sterile and touristic?" If you consider 90% of the guests being cruisetour passengers, half of those truly having no clue why they are there except "it is part of our itinerary" I would answer a resounding "yes" to that.

If you are interested in wildlife and hiking, you should really spend more time in Denali NP. That is a dream for hiking and wildlife. When in "mid September" are you going? Denali's shuttle bus system shuts down the 2nd Thursday after US Labor Day, i.e.Sep 13th.

The Denali hostel is great but they have a pretty strict cancellation policy. I haven't stayed in one of their cabins yet, but I am doing that in May and staying in their male bunk room end of June.

If you have three full days in the park you get the third day of shuttle bus free if you call to reserve (vs. booking online, which does not give the 3rd day free).

If you have 4 nights at Denali that gives you three full days in the park. With five nights at Denali you can have 4 full days in the park. I would think that is well worth it for avid hikers.

Healy, Alaska
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for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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2. Re: Worth staying at Mckinley Wilderness Lodge?

fti - I am thinking they are meaning the McKinley Village lodge or chalets - both run by ARA . . . one is right in Glitter Gulch (chalets), and the other is further south near the entrance in McKinley Village. Neither is a remote "lodge" like what people visualize - they are hotels right in tourist central. :)

Lake Tahoe...
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3. Re: Worth staying at Mckinley Wilderness Lodge?

Mt McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge is at Mile 133 along the Parks Hwy and as FTI said is about an hour drive northerly from Talkeetna. Most of the guests will be cruise ship passengers. It is out in the middle of nowhere. The property is made up of several clusters of sleeping units and mostly two-story. There are two restaurants on site. We do like it there, although there may be many on this forum that wouldn't care for it.

Unless you don't mind driving to things to do, I wouldn't stay for two nights.

Perth, Australia
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4. Re: Worth staying at Mckinley Wilderness Lodge?

Thanks for the replies, you've confirmed our suspicions re the Princess Lodge. If it was a true wilderness lodge full of hikers in the middle of nowhere it'd be great. We'll be avoiding it. We have from 9-15 Sept, so will get the 3-for-2 pass (thanks) and enter the lottery-maybe jag the 14th. Spending the 15th at Fairbanks in an airport hotel as we are flying to Kaktovik on the 16th, am. We'll have a car from Anchorage to Fairbanks.

Cheers

Lake Tahoe...
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5. Re: Worth staying at Mckinley Wilderness Lodge?

Although it is not a "true" (or whatever that means) it definitely is in the middle of nowhere. It is a short drive off the Parks Highway. It is not a good base unless you are willing to drive back to Talkeetna (or a cruisetour guest).

Good view of Denali when she is out.

6. Re: Worth staying at Mckinley Wilderness Lodge?

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