Experience true remote Alaska at this fly-in wilderness lodge northeast of Denali National Park, which lies at the base of a mountain with a river running past it. Rustic and historic, Wood River Lodge fits in perfectly with the surrounding area. Settle into Wood River Take off in a bush plane from Healy, a town just north of Denali, and soar over mountains and glaciers to a remote airstrip along the Wood River. Check into this 12-cabin rustic-but-comfortable lodge in the serene Alaskan wilderness, then settle in to your cabin, which features one open room and en suite bathroom, along with plenty of privacy from your neighbors. Head over to explore the two-story main lodge, with its wood-burning stove and dining areas, along with big windows that offer opportunities to gaze up at Mt. Anderson and spot Dall sheep. You’ll also find a Swiss Chalet, a theater building, and a wood-fired sauna on the property. Breakfast is included in your stay, and you’ll start off each morning with a hearty meal, including items like pancakes and bacon. Other meals are optional and served family-style, though for lunch you could order up a picnic lunch and take it on a hike. Dinners are also filling backcountry affairs fit for lumberjacks—just what you need after working up an appetite.
In 1965, world-renowned Alaskan big game hunting guide, Lynn Castle, bought the camp and named it Denali Wilderness Lodge. Construction of the remaining buildings, including the main lodge, Cheechako Hotel, Swiss Chalet, horse corrals, and guest cabins were added to make a fully functional world-class hunting destination. In 1991, Lynn perished in an airplane accident and the property was sold. From 1991 until 2006, Denali Wilderness Lodge was run as an eco-tourist destination. From 2006 to 2018 the Lodge was abandoned and fell into disrepair. In 2018, the current owners, the Thorgesens, purchased the property and renamed it to what most locals already referred to it as: the Wood River Lodge. This family of 12 is excited to be sharing their homesteading adventure with others. Restoration, repair, and modernization continue to this day.
Depart in the evening on a bush plane from Healy Airport to the historic lodge. Mining was the big business in this area back in the late 19th-century. The first permanent structure was finished in 1907, and it’s still standing today. The area’s beauty was then discovered by movie makers, authors, and photographers, with expeditions shooting here in the 1940s and 1950s. By 1965 there was a big-game hunting lodge, and famous hunters from all over would fly in. The wilderness lodge tradition continued, and in 2017, the current couple who owns the lodge bought it and now run it with the help of some of their 10 children.
Choose from a variety of experiences and make this getaway your own. During the day, you can go canoeing among the swans on Swan Lake, spot moose on Moose Pond, and try your hand at gold panning in Sheep Creek. Want to work up a sweat? Explore the surrounding trails on foot or fat-tire bike, or climb the almost 3,000 feet to the summit of Mt. Anderson, where you’ll discover gorgeous views out to Cody Creek and towards Healy. Or just walk down to the river and relax in a comfy lounge chair on the platform. At night, hit the theater, where you can watch movies about Alaska in seats from a vintage movie theater. Or sit out by the fire pit chatting, making s’mores, or relaxing while you soak up the midnight sun.
Don't be too sad. You'll be coming back to Alaska...
2 nights at Wood River Lodge
Round trip bush plane from Healy to Wood River Lodge
Cabin price includes a hearty back-country breakfast, a never-ending cookie jar, coffee, hot and iced tea
Trail guides (if desired), Fat tire bikes & equipment, Canoe & equipment, gold pans, and other activities are all included in the cabin price. Bear spray, water bottles, first-aid items available upon request.
Lunches and Dinners are a flat all-inclusive price of $20 per meal per person.
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