McKinley Princess Lodge to Denali National Park

We woke this morning to discover it had been raining through the night and the whole of the mountain range is now hidden behind the clouds.

After a nice breakfast we boarded a bus to take us back to Talkeetna, a 45 minute drive, to board our Princess Domed railway carriage for the 4½ hour journey to Denali National Park.  The carriage was similar to the Rocky Mountaineer but the Princess carriages had tables set between the seats so that two couples faced each other with the table between.  We were sitting in the very last two seats in the last carriage but we could turn around and take photos of the view from the back of the train. There was nowhere near as much space nor was it as comfortable as the Rocky Mountaineer.  The tinted domes still gave good panoramic views of the scenery that we passed through.  Today we were back in the mountainous country that we have become so used to over the last few weeks.

The rail journey took us along beside the Susitna River and lush mountain vegetation, including lots of snow on the ground, for most of the way.  Just before lunch (we were the last small group to be called down to the dining car at about 2.00pm) we crossed Hurricane Gulch over the Chulitna River.  The bridge that the train travelled across was high above the gulch and gave us spectacular views.  The area was named because of the high winds that are generated in the valley.  The train slowed to 10 miles per hour to cross the bridge, although it wasn’t windy today.

We saw a moose swimming across the river with her calf watching her from the bank.

There are locals who live along the train line but interestingly there are no roads there nor are there any lakes to land floatplanes, so the Alaskan Rail works on a “flagstop” system – if the locals need to go into town, they stand out beside the tracks and wave a flag and the train stops and picks them up.  Also if they have bigger items such as building materials, that is not a problem, as the Alaskans help each other to load and unload supplies from the train.

We arrived at Denali National Park late afternoon and were loaded onto buses for the 7 minute trip to Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge.  Along the way, we saw another Moose, with her baby beside the road.

Denali National Park is located in Interior Alaska and contains Denali – Mount McKinley, the highest mountain in North America. The National Park is over 24,500 square kilometres.  In 1980 Denali Wilderness was established within the park and is 8,687 square kilometres.

We settled into our small room, which has a king size bed – yay, we get to sleep together tonight!!  The bathroom is very small to the extent that the handbasin is actually outside the bathroom in the main bedroom area.

We then went for a walk along the Nenana River, which the lodge overlooks.  This evening we are going to the “Music of the Denali Dinner Show” here at the Lodge.


One Response to “McKinley Princess Lodge to Denali National Park”

  1. Katharine says:

    Sitting at the back of the train allowed some good shots of the scenery. Nice photo of you with a moose Mum!

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