Road Trip to Denali
Denali National Park Travel Blog› entry 2 of 11 › view all entries
It's about a 4 hour drive north to get to Denali. Luckily there are not too many roads in Alaska so you just need to find the highway and go. Brenda and I got up for breakfast with Janet before meeting the crew and starting the drive. We wanted to stop in Talkeetna on the way up, it's suppose to be a quaint little stop for some souvenir shopping and a view of Alaska as it was 50 years ago with very little changing. But there were not many signs for it, in fact there was only one sign and it was at the road, so we cruised right by it. We stopped at the next town, Trappers Creek to see if we could get back there without backtracking, but that was not an option. But they did give us a good tip to stop at milemarker 134 to try and get a view of Mount McKinley.
The drive to Denali exits Anchorage near the Chugach Mountain range and then flattens out. You are surrounded by tall trees, and fireweed. Fireweed is a tall plant that has beautiful purple blossoms. What we were told is that Alaskans will look to see when the fireweed reaches 6 feet tall, when that happens you know it is about 6 weeks till winter. But this plant and the trees make for a very pleasant drive north. However don't expect to find a whole lot of stops on the way as towns get smaller and further apart.
We reached our cabin we would be staying at right on mile marker 238 around 1:30pm. The cabin sits right on the Nenana River which has many whitewater rafters floating right outside our porch and is less than 1 mile from the entrance of Denali National Park. If you drive away from the park you are less than 1/2 a mile from the Princess lodge and all the souvenir shops and restaurants that you will need for your few days. It turned out to be an excellent location and very reasonable for 7 people when compared to what the cost would have been with Princess Lodge. It was great. We took the afternoon to get settled, visit some local shops and cuisine and sip on a couple of beers before getting ready for our rafting trip the next day. We did explore the trail that runs along the road over the river and it takes you right to the wilderness access center for the National Park. It's about .6 miles and you are right where you need to be if you are going on the bus tour through the park that we would take in two days.