Thursday June 2, 2022 Denali National Park & Preserve

McKinley Chalet Resort
Karstens Dining Hall on Denali Square
McKinley Chalet Resort Room
Denali Dog House
Denali Vintage Touring Car
Denali Wildflowers
Music of Denali Dinner Show

This was a quiet relaxing day spent in town near our hotel. There is a small strip of businesses along the main highway that they call Glitter Gulch, where we explored the shops. The strip is mostly comprised of some small restaurants, gift shops, artist galleries and such.

For lunch we stopped at the Denali Dog House where we tried reindeer hot dogs with cream cheese, deep fried onion strips, bacon and mustard. The flavor was all in the toppings, while the hot dog was not much different than something we might get at home.

Carnival Corporation not only owns the McKinley Chalet Resort where we are staying, but they also own a neighboring resort called the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge. The Chalet has 483 rooms while the Lodge has another 666 rooms to house guests traveling on both Princess and Holland America ships. They are both struggling to staff their resorts after being mostly closed for two years due to the pandemic. They do hire students who are studying restaurant management from places in eastern Europe, as well as young people from around the United States. They use a large number of buses to transfer people from the train station, between resorts, to and from Denali National Park, as well as around the enormous properties with all of these rooms. The properties are something like 25 acres each with small buildings of cabins and some larger newer buildings throughout. The Chalet is also located on a hillside above the river with the main lodge about 60 stairsteps above the rest of the property, so many people need the shuttles to get up and down the hillside.

We had a great view from our balcony of the forested mountains, snow covered mountain peaks and a peak-a-boo view of the fast-moving river. Now that the snow has mostly melted, the wildflowers had begun to spring up everywhere.

I’ve included a photo of one of the oldest automobiles used to transport tourists around the Denali National Park all the way back in 1928. This 1924 Fageol was built in Oakland, California in 1924 and brought to Alaska from Seattle in 1928. It was capable of transporting as many as 22 guests on its 218-inch wheel base.

In the evening we attended the Music of Denali Dinner Theater onsite. For dinner they served us a family style dinner of salmon, barbecue brisket, mashed potatoes, corn and apple crisp. After the dinner they put on a one hour show about the first climbers to reach the summit of Mt. Denali. The food was fine and the show was a bit amateurish, but it gave us something to do.