Exploring Independently from Camp Denali and North Face Lodge
If the day’s excursions don’t necessarily speak to a traveler, Camp Denali and North Face Lodge offer multiple options for independent exploration. Similar to their exclusive rights to guide hikes in the Wilderness Zone, Camp Denali and North Face Lodge are the only property with rights to canoe on Wonder Lake. While it was pouring down rain, my wife and I opted to give this a try, a clear day on this lake might just provide the absolute best view of Denali itself. A series of trails lead from the property into the encroaching spruce forest, and up to the op of nearby ridges, for views that extend out to the furthest reaches of the park.
Camp Denali and North Face Lodge maintain a fleet of mountain bikes that can be ridden on the main road – east towards the Eielson Visitor Center or west into the rest of Kantishna. But most interestingly, these bikes can be loaded onto the lodge buses – allowing travelers to be dropped off 5, 15 or 25 miles from the lodge, so they can ride back along the park road at their own pace.
Flight-seeing tours can be arranged from the nearby Kantishna airfield, as well. These flights would be weather-dependent and would incur an additional charge, of course. (This is about the only thing “additional” at Camp Denali – they don’t have credit card payment options, cause there’s just so little that would ever be added to your bill!)
For those who want to sit back, relax and do absolutely nothing, that is always an option as well – particularly at Camp Denali. Grab a seat by the big window in the main lodge, the only-slightly smaller window of the original log cabin lounge, or the tiny crescent-moon window of your own private outhouse, and enjoy the view of that amazing namesake mountain.