McKinley Princess Lodge -- what to do?

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38 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
My tour in June includes 2 days at McKinley. (In retrospect, I'm thinking 2 at Denali would have been better.) My reading shows Talkeetna is an hour drive away. Is an activity in Talkeetna possible? We were hoping for white water rafting some time during the land tour, but are afraid Talkeetna is too far away and Denali won't afford us enough time since we arrive late afternoon and take wildlife tour early the next morning. Any advice?
14,192 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
There are lots of activities at the McKinley lodge that you should find enjoyable. IMO, it's nicer than the Denali lodge.

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1,354 Posts
Joined Jun 2001
We stayed 2 days at McKinley Lodge and Princess ran a bus into Talkeetna with set pickup times. I went salmon fishing and my wife took a float trip down a river. There are also flight seeing trips out of there. I believe the lodge had some activities as well. The tours we took were through Princess. There were tour providers in Talkeetna so you could ride in with Princess and do your own tour. I would check the web using Talkeetna as a search term.

We stopped at the Denali Lodge and were glad we had stayed at the McKinley. Denali was too busy and urban, as there are quite a few business around there. WE liked the rusticness of the McKinley.
101 Posts
Joined May 2002
We will be there next week and these are the tours listed in the"Optional Excursions" book we received from Princess.
A - Jeep Backcounty Safari
B - Wildnerness Adventure Horseback ride
C - Horse Drawn Wagon ride
D - Iditarod Sled Dog Tour
E - Trapper Creek Homestead Tour
F - Black Bear ATV Adventure
G - Sportfishing
H - Susitna Evening Float Trip
I - Talkeetna Cayon Tour (Jet Boat)
J - Jet Boat Safari
K - Chulitna River Rafting
L - Talkeetna River Float Trip
M -"Tokosha" - A Personal History and River Tour
N - Wildnerness Fly-In Fishing
O - McKinley Discovery Tour (Airplane)
P - Glacier Landing Exploer Tour
Q - Summit Flight Tour
R - Mt. McKinley Via Helicopter Tour
S - Mt. McKinley Adventure With Vista Landing (Helicopter)

Prices range from $50 - $300 per person.
I hoped this helps in your planning.

SC Traveler
Until our Alaska Land/Sea Tour & Cruise
200 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
We were at the McKinley Lodge a year ago. We took the bus ride into Talkeetna for three tours. We went fishing, on a boat ride down the river, and (best of all) took a flight that landed us right on Denali. It was the highlight of our whole trip. I can't even begin to describe how beautiful it was up on the mountain. We saw bear, moose, and mountain goats from the air, too. The one thing that you can't count on for certain is whether climatic conditions will allow for the flight.
You might also enjoy the little town of Talkeetna too. It has a number of stores to shop for Alaskan-made artifacts. Hope this helps.
508 Posts
Joined Jan 2004
I'm glad to know this information too. We'll be there July 8 and 9.

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50,503 Posts
Joined May 2000
True the McKinley Princess is out in the middle of no where. All the best activities are out of Talkeetna 50 miles away- best for white water is on the Nenana out of Denali Park. Talkeenta has only float trips and only OK, my opinion only. Best excursion is flightseeing. Be very informed of the different options. My preference is a summit flight- over the top rather than the summit "views". But a great deal can depend on your flying experience as the "view" flights offer the add on of a glacier ski landing. Talkeetna is a GREAT town. I always make it an overnight stop for me. Stop in the Park service- has climber "museum", also the small Talkeetna museum is worthwhile, consider breakfast/lunch at the Roadhouse. If wildlife is a priority at Denali park be certain you have the Tundra Wilderness tour and NOT the Natural History tour. Significant differences.
38 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
Thanks to all of you for your insights! I'm feeling more prepared now for this aspect of the trip. I took your advice, Budget Queen, and upgraded to the Tundra Wilderness Tour. Thanks for the tip!