There are lots of cabins around Healy and also the other direction going towards Anchorage. The Grizzly Bear cabins looked nice to us--of course, the Princess in Healy is great--as far as bus tours--don't waste your money on a tour company--take the bus trips through the National Park Service--the drivers know at least as much and maybe more than the tour company drivers--you can book them on line--we have done that three times and never been disappointed. Last summer we saw grizzly bears, sheep, caribou and moose. The year before we saw those animals and even followed a pair of wolves from the East Fork Pack for miles. It is also much less expensive than the private companies. If you have the entire day, go all the way to Wonder Lake--it's well worth the extra few hours--Hope the mountain comes out for you. Take a lunch and the most expensive binocs you can afford.
Have fun--it is like visiting heaven.
I would try to stay in the Healy area. Accommodations near the Park entrance are expensive and whole area tends to get very congested, esp. in July. Not bad if you like that - I like a bit more space. I have heard that Sourdough Cabins are nice - they are right at the entrance, along with all the major hotels, such as the Princess. There are several B&B's and cabins in the Healy area that are much more affordable. You might try them - book soon, as things do fill up quickly. Healy has one very nice hotel - Motel Nordhaven. The B&B's I would recommend: Valley Vista, Denali Suites, Aspen Haus B & B, Touch of Wilderness, and Denali Dome Home.
Take the Park Shuttle bus into the Park - they are cheaper and actually go farther into the Park.
Enjoy your trip! :)
See the related post on here re shuttle vs tour co. I vote for shuttle also. Have done 3 times.
As for staying, we stayed our first trip a couple of yrs ago on the last of May and early June at Denali Sourdough Cabins. They are owned by HAL, and we got a good price on line for early in season. I think they were $99 for very small log cabin with front porch, nothing to look at, and no counter space in small bath. But they were cute, bed was ok, and we stayed two nights.
We also stayed at The Perch, just south of the park where we had a cabin or cottage near the river for $99 a nite with breakfast. This was bigger room, less character than Sourdough, nine miles further to drive but clean. I have seen numerous recomm for Touch of Wilderness BnB in Healy. They book up early I believe.
We stayed 3 nights @ Denali Lakeview Inn, about a mile before Healy. Clean as a pin, roomy and nice breakfast in room @ day. Took less than 20 min. to park entrance. On the way to Park great pizza @ Lynx next to Princess lodge.
Something I have not seen adressed in forum : we drove from Anchorage and when you get to Park entrance- there it is- nothing but mile after mile of mountain views until then. Going past the entrance about 1-2 miles is for better words- the strip. About 3 blocks in length hotel/lodges on one side of highway and shops/food on the other, then not much of anything until Healy and really not much there. Gas @ Denali about $2.60 gal. about $2.30 last week in Wasilla (sic). We took tundra bus tour 6:45a one day, it was great, also visited the sled dog compound, worth seeing. Hope you enjoy as much as these 2 retirees did.
What time did your 6:45am Tundra Tour return to the hotel. We need to catch the 3:00pm train to Fairbanks.
We just returned from our trip to Alaska. If you're looking for a spotless, good value, huge room close to Denali National Park, stay at Motel Nordhaven in Healy. It is only a ten minute drive or so from Denali Park's main entrance and you'll pay much less than you will if you stay on the "Glitter Gulch Strip" which is closer to the park and, despite the expensive hotels, is an ugly blight on the beautiful local environment.
We weren't expecting much from such a small town as Healy but this place far exceeded our expectations. Very friendly, always-smiling staff. Free coffee, tea, hot chocolate 24-7 and complimentary breakfasts in the summer. We can't recommend it enough. many thanks to the management (if they're reading this!) for a great, comfortable stay.
LughaidhN: What wonderful complements - I know the owners and manager of Nordhaven and will make sure they get a copy of your comments. That's why I love to recommend Nordhaven - it's just a great place! Hope you liked the rest of your stay and trip to Denali. :)
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