Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge // Denali State Park, Alaska

August 13, 2018

Happy Monday friends! I hope that y'all had a wonderful weekend! Today I am so excited to share about one of the three Princess Lodges that we stayed at during our road trip in Alaska. For those who may be wanting to have the opportunity to connect with different parts of Alaska, but for various reasons can't rent an RV or camper, or have decided to forgo camping for different reasons, these lodges are a great solution for this type of trip. 

We stayed for one night at the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge, two nights at the Copper River Princess Wilderness Lodge, and two nights at the Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge. All three lodges were different and unique and while I enjoyed them all, Kenai Wilderness Lodge (which I will share about in the future on the blog) was my favorite with Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge being my second favorite and Copper River being my third favorite out of the three.
Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge is located at Mile Post 133 in the Denali State Park in Trapper Creek, Alaska. On a clear day you can see Denali from the lodge (as the above picture shows) and it is a lodge that is beautifully surrounded by gorgeous views and wildlife on the property. The Lodge is approximately two hours north of Anchorage (unless you do a detour to Hatchers Pass - which you definitely should!) and then it will take you approximately four hours from Anchorage. 

If you are coming from the north (from Fairbanks) it will take you approximately 4 and 1/2 hours to reach the Lodge. 
We arrived at the lodge around 6pm after spending a beautiful afternoon exploring the Little Susitna River and Hatcher Pass. The check-in process was simple (our reservations had already been paid for and confirmed prior to the trip) and the front desk helped us with several questions that we had regarding food and the property. 

We decided to make reservations at the North Fork Restaurant for dinner (at the recommendation of the front desk) and then also purchased tickets for the photosymphony performance... after being assured that it was like seeing the Northern Lights live and in person. Due to the time of year we were traveling to Alaska in this seemed like a really neat opportunity and so we were excited about it. 
After check-in we made our way over to our building and to our room where we got settled for the evening before heading back to the main lodge for our dinner. The walk to the lodge from our room was an easy walk and it allowed us to see some more of the beautiful property. For those who may have disabilities and are concerned about staying at this property I would definitely say it was a very disability friendly property. While there wasn't a ton of handicap parking there were constant shuttle buses and offers to help if this was something that was needed. Because of the nature of this blog I do always inquire about this at each property I stay at and I was very impressed with how they have things set up. If you have any specific questions about this please let me know and I am happy to answer them.
We ate dinner and then headed to the photosymphony before heading back to our room for the evening. Our room was quiet, exceptionally clean, and provided us both with a good nights sleep for the evening. I loved that it was cool enough out that we could sleep with our window open and have fresh air blowing in our room. While Ali was very concerned about safety and leaving the window open (because we were on the first floor), I didn't feel any concerns with the property and felt incredibly safe and insisted that the fresh air was lovely. There is no air conditioning, but there really was no need for it. In addition to this each room came with a fan for those who may want to have some noise or help in moving air in the room. 
Overall this lodge is really nice and I have nothing bad to say about it. It is secluded, has some trails that you could hike, provides different opportunities for excursions (which you can read about here), and is a beautiful getaway whether you are an Alaskan resident or coming from out of state to visit Alaska.
If you are looking for a really nice place to stay that provides a lovely atmosphere this is a great choice, but if you are looking for something that is a bit more "rustic" for your stay this would not be the place. I would definitely say that out of the three lodges we stayed at this one would be the one that is a bit more "touristy" slanted for lack of a better description. This lodge had the largest gift shop out of the three lodges and even had a Starbucks in one area of the lodge. 

NONE of this is bad but I definitely walked away hoping that some of the other lodges would be a little bit more rustic. Again, I think it is all in what you are looking for and what you are wanting to experience. For those who are looking to visit Alaska and yet want a great resort without being as rustic, this is definitely a wonderful place. 
I loved my time there and enjoyed hiking around the property in the morning and seeing some wildlife and just seeing the beauty that was all around. I do have two quick notes for those who may visit in the future: 

(1) When we checked in we were told that the North Fork Restaurant would be the best choice and only choice due to the hour we arrived for us to eat at. The prices at the North Fork Restaurant are the highest out of any restaurant. The view and the food was amazing but there was a bit of a sticker shock with the price of the food! To be frank... Ali and I ended up splitting the pork dinner due to cost, but there was SO much food that it was good we did and it was so delicious that it was definitely one of our favorite meals of the trip.

I have since learned that we could have checked out the other restaurants on the property. I am not sure why we were what we were, but I would definitely recommend checking them out... but also consider the pork dinner. Hahaha. It was so yummy! 

(2) The photosymphony is NOTHING like seeing the Northern Lights in person... or at least I hope not since it is a dream of mine to see. I am giggling as I write this because as it was described to us it would be like viewing the Northern Lights exactly and I was imaging a theater with a surround sound and 360 screen and it would be just like we were outside in the winter seeing the beautiful northern lights. Hahahaha... I can't stop laughing. It was anything but how I imagined. *smiles*

 We walked into the theater only to find out that it was a very small screen in the front with one sloooooowwww changing picture from a man who took the picture back in the 70s. It was really impressive to see how he was the first one to capture the Northern Lights... but sadly some of the photos around the property were better pictures of the Northern Lights than what we saw. The music also... look I love classical music and I didn't know half of the obscure songs that were chosen... that sounded incredibly somber. There was nothing like we were told it would be and we laughed about it for the rest of the road trip. Hahaha. I sadly can't recommend this at all and don't recommend seeing this... I feel badly writing that, because I am impressed with what he did in the 70s but I think that this should have a different description told to people who visit the lodge. Hahaha.
Overall it was a lovely place to stay and it was definitely my 2nd favorite of all of the lodges we stayed at. If you have any questions please let me know! 

PS- If you are curious about the specific details of the road trip that we took throughout Alaska or if you are planning a similar road trip (or just want to see and dream about visiting the beauty!) I hope the information below is helpful. You can read all of the posts from the trip by clicking on the links below:

Anchorage: // Anchorage Travel Guide//

Chugach Mountains (Alaska 1-South Drive): // Scenic Seward Highway Drive (Turnagain Arm Drive)//

Chugach Mountains: // Eklutna Lake//

Cooper Landing (Kenai Peninsula): // Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge Nature Trail//

Girdwood: // Winner Creek Trail //


  1. We stayed here back in 2015. I totally agree that it's not that rustic.

    1. Right? It was still beautiful and lovely- but it wasn't rustic like I thought it might be. I would definitely stay again, but it was something that I wanted to mention in this post as I had a different impression before we stayed! :) Did you stay at any of the other Princess Lodges?

      Blessings, Rebecca :)

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