Denali National Park

Camp Denali, founded in 1952, is family owned and operated and is Alaska’s first wilderness lodge to engage in ecotourism. It sits near the tree-line in the Kantishna hills in the heart of the 6-million-acre Denali National Park and is the only lodge with direct views of Denali and the stunning Alaska Range. Camp Denali is more than a lodge, it’s an experience. It’s remote and rustic and exudes an aura of another time. This quote from their website gives you a taste of the exciting immersion in store for you.

“The (small) cabins are hand-crafted, well-appointed, and authentic. Quilts made by our staff adorn the beds, a wood stove provides cozy warmth, and propane lamps light the cabins. A short path leads to a private, meticulously maintained outhouse, and a sink basin inside allows washing up. Drinking water comes from a spigot just outside and may be heated on your cabin’s propane hot plate for a morning coffee or afternoon tea. A three-to seven-minute walk uphill from your cabin leads you to the dining room, a modern shower facility, and our historic lodge with an inviting wood stove, cozy seating, library, and unparalleled views”

Yes, you read that right. “Outhouse” and “walk uphill.” Believe me, the extra effort is worth it! 

We’ll be in the park at one of the best times of year possible for photography. Fall colors should be appearing, the tundra bursting with reds, yellows, and oranges. The animals will be at their most glorious with their thick winter coats coming in and their robust state of health after a summer of gorging themselves in preparation of the coming winter. (Think: possible brown bears, moose, Dall sheep, caribou, wolves, fox, lynx, ptarmigan, golden eagle, and more!)

Perhaps the most valuable and unique aspect of this trip—that only Camp Denali can offer—is that our group will have our own private vehicle and highly skilled naturalist guide for photo excursions into the park. Each day the staff and I will determine which area to get out and explore in search of the best the park has to offer. 

As excited as I am to be going back to Camp Denali for the photography opportunities, I’m almost as excited to be going back for the fabulous meals. Again, from the Camp Denali website:

“In spite of our remote setting, we cultivate a high standard and commitment to good food. From our greenhouse we gather fresh lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and herbs, as well as edible and decorative flowers. Each day our bakery produces delectable breads, cookies, pastries, and desserts. From the tundra we gather and preserve berries for you to enjoy as jams and syrups.”

Meals are served family style and the lodge varies our seating so that we get to interact with all of the lodge guests that share our time out there. This is an experience to savor.

In addition, the area around the lodge boasts stunning scenery and we’ll have the opportunity to do some short hikes for photos in the area. Camp Denali hosts a special emphasis series and we’ll have the option of listening to Ronn and Marketa Murray discuss their career as northern lights photographers and possibly join them for a night excursion if conditions are favorable. Camp Denali also has canoes on Wonder Lake available. 

Those interested will share and critique photos and learn post-processing techniques at the lodge during down time and any weather delays. I’ll be working with each of you all day to help you achieve your best photos.
On the way to the park from Anchorage, we’ll take a leisurely 4-hour drive, stopping for any wildlife or stunning scenes we come across. We’ll also have lunch and a walk in the quirky, very Alaskan town of Talkeetna.

A trip highlight will be our flight into Camp Denali from the park entrance. Weather permitting, we’ll have an extended flightseeing tour through part of the Alaska Range and hopefully a close-up view of Denali herself.

Once at Camp Denali we’ll have four full days of wilderness splendor, great meals, and great company!

We’ll have opportunities to strengthen our skills in landscape, wildlife, macro, action, and hopefully night sky photography.