I am a traveler who is willing to rough it out. In fact, I despise luxury when I am traveling/backpacking as it spoils the experience for me.
I say this because if you expect 5 star accommodation, Chandalar Ranch is NOt for you. It provides basic accommodation. Rooms are on a share basis and the bathroom is very basic. But I was perfectly ok with all that since the whole point of staying here is to see the lights, for which you will be up and awake anyway! The bathroom curtains are actually very funny since they only cover one half and unfortunately its the wrong half that is hidden from view!!
The folks who own this place are very warm. The old lady there pretty much runs the place and she is very nice. Her son, George is very interesting company (if he is around) and is a very knowledgeable guy. I had some nice conversations with him.
Over to the most important aspect of the place: it is a great place to view the lights but study your vantage point carefully. You will not see this during the day, but one side of lodge faces an area where a set of street lights (or something) are on all night and will completely destroy your picture (it does not light up the night scene, but it is very irritating to see the northern lights with another set of artificial lights in the corner of the picture).
But if you choose your spot carefully, these street lights will remain hidden from view. If George is around, ask him since he has got some great shots and he obviously knows the place very well.
The family also offer other activities like dog-sledding etc.......I believe they also arrange airport pickups.
All in all, for the price, it just cannot be beaten. An added benefit is that Chena Hot Springs (which I feel is over the top expensive) is only an hour away. So you can enjoy the springs during the day and see the lights as well, without parting with a fortune.
- Also Known As:
- Chandalar Ranch Fairbanks, Alaska