Last September I drove a 1700-mile loop in Alaska, and this was our first 'real accommodation' on the loop after a gorgeous sunny day on the jaw-dropping Glenn Highway out of Anchorage and Palmer (I should count Days Inn in Anchorage as our first - a quick overnight after a 13-hour plane ride - but that one is not terribly exciting). To get to the Princess Lodge, you turn off the Glenn and head south down the Richardson Hwy for a few minutes until you see the turn that leads you up a hill to the glorious red Lodge (no doubt inspired by the red decor of the nearby Kennicott Mine in Wrangell-St. Elias). We could only stay one night because they were closing the next day for the season. Another night would have been terrific because it's a beautiful location out in the middle of nowhere, but we had to make serious tracks for the next 3 weeks all over Alaska and I just couldn't make it happen. Like the Kenai and Mt McKinley Princess Lodges, the Copper River lodge is hidden up on a hill off the Richardson Hwy, halfway between Valdez and Fairbanks. It's an ideal overnight stop if you're headed in either direction and want to take your time going up or down the splendid Richardson Hwy, arguably the most beautiful highway in Alaska. Checking in was a little worrisome; online I'd booked the $99 room, and the woman at the front desk tried to play games with us and get us to upgrade to a mountain view. Probably would have been worth it if we'd stayed longer, but we were tired, arriving at around sunset, staying overnight, leaving at dawn, and were going to take a long walk around the grounds for an hour until dark. The walk around the grounds was really nice - the view of the Wrangell St. Elias mountains was stunning. The room itself was standard, certainly worth $99. We were so tired we ordered supper from the Whistle Stop bar and grill and took it to our room, but I don't even remember what we had - must have been uneventful. TV reception out in the middle of nowhere is not going to be great and wasn't. The log-shaped furniture was interesting but didn't look terribly high quality. We were on the second floor; a computer center with free use of the computer was right outside our door; that's a nice contrast to paying $5 every 15 minutes to use a computer at a New York hotel. Overall, the lodge was really nice and we would stay again if we go that way. The view outside sold it. We had just gotten to Alaska the day before and were still in a state of shock by the nonstop beauty all around us, so the Princess Lodge probably impressed me more than it would have had we saved it for last. Had we saved it for the end of our trip, it might have been a bit of a downer because the places we stayed afterwards got better and better. But for a first stop on a trip, it was a great start.
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- Also Known As:
- Copper River Princess Wilderness Hotel Copper Center