Day 2-3 Skyline Lodge
- 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Most who come to stay at the Skyline Lodge are self-sufficient hikers and adventurers. All hikes in Kantishna are safe for self-guided hiking. You will be provided with maps, directions, wildlife orientation, etc. Many hikes can be accessed from the door or a short walk to the trailhead. Hikes range from casual and easy to full day ridge excursions. All ridge hikes offer spectacular views of Wonder Lake, the Alaska Range, and Denali if weather permits. Mountain bikes are available for guest use at no cost. Many guests like to ride to Wonder Lake and explore the mining roads of the area. Other guests enjoy relaxing in quiet areas of the lodge.
Fannie Quigley’s Cabin (2 miles roundtrip) - No trip to Kantishna is complete without a short walk to Fannie Quigley’s cabin. Located just ¾ of a mile from the lodge, guests can explore the historical cabin that dates back to the mining era. Beyond the cabin, guests can check out the “End of the Road” sign at the terminus of the Denali Park Road , active beaver ponds, as well as the airstrip.
Skyline Drive (4 miles roundtrip) - Skyline drive is an old mining road that begins right from the lodge. While Skyline Drive serves as the trailhead for other ridge hikes and tundra loops, it is also a great walk by itself. For guests looking for a gentler ascent this is the hike is the best option. The road, which lacks any vehicle traffic, meanders uphill for two miles before reaching a hitching post. If you follow the road a little beyond the hitching post you will be rewarded with great views of the Alaskan Range.
Quigley Ridge Loop (4 miles roundtrip) - Quigley Ridge is a favorite amongst staff and guests. The trail begins at Skyline Drive and provides access to a beautiful ridgeline that overlooks not only the entire Kantishna Valley but on clear days provides impressive views of Wonder Lake and the Alaskan Range as well. While you can access the ridge via the hitching post, if you are looking to do the full loop, an approach that involves a steeper climb initially is always recommended. This is to avoid having to descend along the stepper portion, which is generally harder on joints and more difficult.
Wickersham Dome (6-7 miles roundtrip) - Wickersham Dome offers some of the best views of the surrounding area as it is one of the taller points. Those who make it to the top are rewarded with stunning 360 degree views. While Denali and the Alaskan Range can be seen to the south, it is sometimes the endless views in the opposite direction that leave people breathless. It’s from this vantage point that the vastness of Denali National Park can be comprehended. This hike is accessible via Skyline Drive (or Quigley Ridge).
Camp Ridge (5-10 miles roundtrip) - Camp Ridge is great option for guests with multiple days and have already explored some of the hikes right from the front door (Quigley Ridge, Wickersham Dome). The trailhead is approximately 1 mile from the lodge along the Denali Park Road. Look for a rock cairn on the left side of the road. This is the beginning of Camp Ridge.
Blueberry Hill & Wonder Lake - After traveling so long and so far to get to Kantishna, spending some time at the iconic Wonder Lake is usually top of the list for guests. Located 4.5 miles away, guests can access the lake either by foot, bike or bus. While there is no hike that circumnavigates the lake, spending time at the picturesque north end of the lake is a wonderful way to spend a morning or afternoon.
McKinley Bar Trail (5 miles roundtrip) - The McKinley Bar Trail is a 5 mile roundtrip hike that is located ¼ mile before the Wonder Lake Campground. The best and easiest way to access the trailhead is by bus. Skyline guests can purchase a Wonder Lake bus ticket for $5 and catch the 8:45AM bus right from the lodge and be at the trailhead within 15 minutes. This easy trail, with little elevation change, meanders through open tundra, a spruce forest and past many small ponds before reaching the McKinley River Bar.